Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Rock On

I know this review is coming in quite late. But heck, i just wanted to write it.
After lot of resistance, i finally listened to this album 'Rock On' and it took quite sometime for me to get into the premise of the album. I remember the day when i heard the track "Pichle saat Dinom mein" and the lyrics "Meri laundry ka ek bill, ek aadhi padi novel..ek ladki ka phone number, mere kaam ka ek paper" put me off completely. What was Javed Akhtar writing there? But later, i gave the whole album a patient hearing, only because Shankar-Ehsan-Loy are among the very few composers whom i admire these days. And the album did impress me quite a bit, which is why i am recording few notes about it, on this blog.

1. Socha Hain - The songs starts off like opening a door to rock music. Guitar tune, playing the main tune and bass guitar, then drums joining in. The song has a very lively flavour and Farhan Akhtar did surprise me with his rendition of the song. Keeping the synth levels to the minimum, the song borrows heavily from the Rock genre, true to the film's name. Javed Akhtar comes up with some thought-provoking lines such as:
"Ped hogaye kum kyon, teen hain mausam kyon..Chaand do kyon nahi.
duniya mein hain Jung kyon, behtha laal rang kyon, sarhadein kyon har kahi".
some very good guitar work, interspersed with nice bass. Rock songs, by nature, have some rebellious tinge in them and the usually, the lyrics tend to reflect the same. This song imbibes elements such as these, in lyrics and the rendition. Watch the way Farhan starts off "Aasmaan Hain Neela" at 3:00mins, a very dragged and coarse way of taking off, which works very well.

2. Pichle Saat Dinon Mein: This is the song i had much problem with. But then, the tune of the song is quite hummable. The song starts off with hardly any instruments and gets groovy when the guitars and drums get on. The charanams are quite short and simple and what keeps the song going is the hummability quality in it. The guitar piece towards the end reminded me of Knopfler. Putting an out and out rock song in the premise of Hindi song is actually difficult and this song justifies exactly that.

3. Zehreelay: Hard Rock is the genre. I couldnt attempt to listen to it more than twice, because the song is a major assault on my ears.

4. Yeh Tumhari Meri Baathein: One of the brilliant songs of this album, which evens out the scales, to match the kicky rock songs on the other side. This one is a pleasant melody, a simple one too. Backed only by a guitar melody, keyboard, bass and jazz-trap kit, the song is a wonderful western melody, with apt rendition by dominique. The song oozes beauty and romance. Javed Akhtar's simple and beautiful lines get into the tune like hand in glove. This is Shankar-Ehsan-Loy's one of the finest compositions.

5. Tum Ho To - This one is a soft romantic ballad, which has been rendered brilliantly by Farhan Akhtar. The melody is vintage, while the instrumentation is modern, although with minimal instruments. The beauty of the song lies in the shift from the slow melody to change in chords and carrying the song in the same pace. and Do watch out when Farhan does a brilliant job at "Tum mile to mili...Yeh Zindagiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii".

6. Sindbad The Sailor: The song starts off very anthemically and it really got me into it there itself. Rock buff would dismiss this song because this is essentially less of a rock song (compared to Socha Hai and Pichle Saat Dinom) and more of a Dance number, much on the lines of 'Koi Kahe kehta Rahe'. But heck, it got me tap my feet and even dance. The song's structure is not the usual mukhda-anthara, but it has 3-4 musical lines, woven into phrases which are sung again and again. Yet, the song doesn't bore a minute. Farhan Akhtar again shines and to his luck, his vocal inconsistencies got lost in the guitars and keyboard riffs which back the song. The best part of the song, is when the whole euphoria slows down and Farhan re-sings 'Tum Ho To' and picks it up to a height, re-igniting the euphoria again. watch the guitars and drums when he goes off "yeh zindagiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii", i could keep my hands silent and air-drummed everytime i listened to it.

7. Phir Dekhiye - Another soft ballad, with acoustic guitars and piano. A very impressive composition which is melodic rather than euphoric. Javed Akhtar's lines shine again here. The song sounds sweet more because it is a simple melody and very simplistic treatment given to it. A wonderful bedtime song, not to be missed at all.

I have many reasons to appreciate Shankar-Ehsan-Loy in this album. the foremost being the fact that they did not stick to pure rock songs alone. neither they gave conventional hindi music. Instead, they gave mellow western numbers such as "yeh Tumhari Meri Baathein" and "Phir Dekhiye", using same guitars and drums, without disturbing the mood or the melody. Then, their choice to make Farhan Akhtar sing actually works. Not that he has a great voice, for it is very coarse. It is only that the voice has been intelligently used be in rock songs or ballad (Tum To Ho). To give due credit, Farhan did not disappoint and did justice to the compositions. and ofcourse the last reasn being the likeable numbers. I liked 6 out of 7 songs and thats quite cool. Isn't It?

Rock On is indeed a very different album, which might not please every music lover, but only those who identify with the genre of Rock Music. Yet, for others, the albums caters with wonderful soft songs. For me, the album gave me much more than i expected - good but not over-done rock music, good instrumentation and soft melodies. Rock On!