Music Review: Rock On

Fans of Farhan Akhtar take note: the director of Dil Chahta Hai (2001) and Don (2006) can sing pretty well, and we're close enough to seeing him act in a movie he's produced, Rock On. The film is scheduled to release on August 29, and stars Arjun Rampal, Farhan Akhtar, Purab Kohli, Luke Kenny, Shahana Goswami, Prachi Desai, and Koel Puri. With lyrics by Javed Akhtar and music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy (S-E-L), its soundtrack is the first real surprise of the summer.

The album starts out with Socha Hai? (have you thought?). Besides being a song I'll have fond memories of for a while (it played in the theatrical trailer accompanying Jaane Tu...), it is a good song that offers some thought-provoking material. Although the way in which lyrics are integrated is typical of S-E-L and starting to get redundant (it worked wonders in Taare Zameen Par, not so in Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic, but slightly better than TPTM here), the track works, primarily because of the music and vocals. That is the story of this album.

Meri laundry ka ek bill, Ek aadhi padhi novel.
My laundry bill, And a half-read novel.

These lyrics kick off Pichle Saat Dinon Mein (in the past seven days) sung by Farhan Akhtar and offer a good example of how English words can work rather well in a Hindi song! The guitar makes an extended appearance toward the middle of this song, and is used to good effect. This song appears in a live version later in the album, and is equally fun.

Rock On -- a third consecutive Farhan Akhtar track -- likely offers the best musical composition in the album. Lyrics like Zindagi milegi naa dobara (shall not get a second life) sound appropriate and consistent with the theme of the film, with some very good guitar arrangements.

Dominique Cerejo sounds very pleasant in Yeh Tumhari Meri Baatein (our discussions). You might recall that she was outstanding in the Taare Zameen Par title track. She is in good form in a song that seems to be a situational track. This is the kind of song you want to play on a weekend, by the bar. Much like Tum Ho To (if you are here) by Farhan Akhtar, which belongs to the same category.

Zehreelay Zehreelay (poisonous) by Suraj Jaggan sounds too much like something from a Linkin' Park product for me to like it. One of my least favorite tracks from the album, if only for the ease with which this song managed to give me a headache each time I listened to it (or tried to) in its entirety.

The first time I listened to Sinbad the Sailor, I rewound a few seconds to be certain I heard right. Yes, here is a ballad on good ole Sinbad the Sailor! It is a surprisingly creative track, and nothing prepared me for the huh-ooo toward the end of each paragraph. Some good music (electronic guitar included) and vocals by Farhan Akhtar and Shankar Mahadevan make this good.

And finally, Phir Dekhiye draws the album to a close. This is one of my favorite songs from the album for it gives me hope for contemporary vocalists other than Sunidhi Chauhan and Shreya Ghosal. Here is a post dedicated to the song, where you can listen to the song, sing along with my transcription, and check out my translation.

Overall, a rather good album. The sincerity in the effort is evident. I have listened to it a few times since its release, and it sounds good while working, in the car, cleaning a bedroom, and taking a billiards break on a Saturday afternoon. Some of the tracks sound great in the gym too. If you enjoy rock (I do), this should be a complement to your music collection. It is undoubtedly an innovative approach to music in Hindi cinema.

If you are not enthusiastic about the genre, stay away.

Rating: 3/5 (Good!)


Deepa Dev said...

totally agree with you about zehreley - I thought the exact same thing... sounds like Faint by Linkin Park... at first I thought Farhan's voice was a bit besuraa but, like you said, it grew on me.. I think its a new approach where more of the actor's personality is put into the movie through his voice...

And what's a rock album without a ballad right? S-E-L have done a good job... I like the album overall... the non-farhan songs are quite playable too...

did the trailer remind you a little bit of the movie August Rush where Jonathan Rhys Myers is in a rock band which splits up and reunites?

just my 2 cents... think I will def'ly catch this movie...

theBollywoodFan said...

Hi Deepa: Hope you're well, and thanks for your comment. With you on the playability of the album. It really is quite good.

I haven't seen August Rush, so I wouldn't know the answer. Trust your take on it, and Rock On should be interesting, yes!


Ganja said...

hi thr....can u get me the translation of socha hai....?