Music Review: ROCK ON

\m/.Bollywood Rock has Arrived. And it is FULL ON.\m/

Rock OnSo we have it. The first Indian Rock Bollywood soundtrack. Ugh! I so hate to call it that. It is a Bollywood movie soundtrack-Yes! And it IS ROCK. How Indian? I can see no Indianization in it (except for the Hindi lyrics) and it is an all out-full throttle Rock soundtrack with no holds barred. No cliche’ sitar addition or an Indian classical solo on a distorted electric guitar in the arrangement of which Indian Rock soundtracks in Bollywood are known to be. Nothing wrong about them as well. But Rock On’s soundtrack is what it is-ROCK ON. It is somehow an Indian tribute to the many Legends of Rock that we have grown up listening to –AC/DC, Megadeth,The Who et al. And I know it for sure that Farhan Akhtar saw way too many concert DVDs before sitting down to sing for the soundtrack. The attitude, the grunge and the punch in the vocals comes through easily, and yes, get ready to be hit by the Vocals. And well, it might not be a totaly new sound for us Rock fans, who pretty much listen to it all the time, it is a big welcome change for Bollywood Music. And quite frankly, it seems funny (in a good way) to hear Hindi lyrics on a Rock Song. As always, I am gonna go the reverse way -Last track first.

But well, there is now a twist to it. The Last track is a Live version of the second track in the album. SO let’s go for it together. Track 2 and 8: Pichle Saat Dinon Mein – Farhan Akhtar on the vocals. I know it is Ehsaan on the guitars belting out the riff. 🙂 . The lyrics is as silly as it could be , but well you don’t expect a very metaphorical referencing rhyme in a Rock Song-not this one. It is about what stuff the guy lost in the last seven days. And it contains things as trivial as a Laundry Bill, a lady’s phone number, a king of hearts from the deck of cards, and a silver ring. Pretty meaningless and irrelevant, unless we hear the organ sound in the background, the riff, and the chorus going Na Na Na Na Na!! And hold on it does contain the Lines- Maryjane ka ek packet, Meri Denim ka ek Jacket. And who did we say wrote the lyrics. Javed Akhtar \m/. For those who still don’t have any idea of what Maryjane is (no it isn’t Mrs Spiderman), get some ejj..ucation. The guitar solo is Oh Yeah!! And this song leaves you grooving to its addictive sound. Special mention: Listen to Farhan go :-Kabhi Khud Pe Hasaa Main, aur Kabhi Khud pe…Ro.yyyaaa (in perfect Bon Scott fashion).
Now for the Live version: Starts with “Hello Everyone” in a concert venue. Farhan asks people to sing along the chorus Na Na Na Na. Somehow, when I try to sing it, it always loses direction and shifts to the Na Na Na of Cuts Like a Knife (Bryan Adams). LOL. I know, both are very different Na Na Nas. Anyway, the Live version creates the ambiance of a Rock concert, and I can totally see the people sway with the guitar riff. Nothing much added to the studio track (this one is as well, but then for the sake of it, we’ll call it the Live version), but it is really cool to see that they didn’t do a Lounge version and a Techno version, and oh yeah a Bhangra Underground version with Punjabi MC. :P. This track (both) sets the mood right. Really cool. Finally good to hear loud guitar solos (not subdued muted ones ala Pritam).

Track 9: Phir Dekhiye: Its an acoustic one. Caralisa Monteiro on the vocals. This one is on the lines of the many lady artistes we get to hear -may be a bit of Alanis. Very cool sounding pianos to go with the svelte vocal lines. Very likeable and perfect for a quite evening when you want to listen something calm as you sit down to solve your Sudoku. 🙂

Track 7: Sinbad the sailor: The guitar ‘sounds’ so similar to AC/DC’s You Shook Me All Night Long. But then, the Keyboard kicks in and we are almost back into the 80s. I cannot search the right name of the band which inspires such sounds-perhaps a whole league of Brit Bands in the 80s. But this is the weakest tracks of the album. The lyrics are predictably about Sinbad, the sailor. Nuff said. The guitar solo is likable, nothing that would qualify for a smokin solo. This is at best a clichéd Rock track which fails to live up to the standard of Tracks 2 and 8. But, wait we are not done yet. The final 2 minutes is when the track picks up.Enter Raman Mahadevan and there is a fresh twist to the sing, and hear Farhan go the falsetto way – high ,high and high. And it all wraps up in typical guitar solos and the cymbals going disshhhh. Huh, after the climax, I’d rather, not Bad eh!

Track 6:Tum Ho Toh: Farhan tries a ballad (ok, Shankar ,Ehsaan and Loy made him to). A bit pitchy at times in the intro, romantic lyrics, and yes, Farhan does the falsetto again.As suggested in the promo posters, Luke Kenny is on the keyboards. And this song, surely does have enough shots of him, considering the Keyboards portions in the arrangement. Prominent bass to go along. It does sound a bit like Coldplay at times, but then may be it’s because I have been listening to a lot of Coldplay’s latest album (Viva La Vida, check out Violet Hill from the album). Listen to Farhan do the falsetto in the second verse. Ladies n Gents, Boys n Gals-Farhan Akhtar,the singer has ARRIVED.

Rock OnTrack 5: Zehreelay: 1…2…3..4..Oh Yeah. Silly lyrics again..LOL. Talks about venomous snakes. Forget the lyrics. I bet you can’t stop headbanging to this one. The double bass on the drums keep on thumping. This one’s really Metal. Oh yeah. Bollywood featuring Metal. Awesome! can’t wait to see this one on the movie. And that is what excites me more than anything. I would like to watch and hear this tracks on the loud, ear piercing speakers of a multiplex cinema. The vocals of Suraj Jaggan are very typically thrash (where has he been so far?). Very harsh, the drums as brutally wild as it can be, and the guitars are fast. The rhythm riff is very Megadeth, and the solo is blazing fast. Beware Bollywood -The Metal has finally landed. This one has got to be my favorite of the Album. You have to buy this album for this ONE. The wrapping up part just grabs you by the..ahem…and just throws you away. God, there are zillions of people sounding like this in English,German or infamously from Norway, but Zehreelay makes Hindi added to the list. Now listen Shankar,Ehsaan and Lloy, no matter what Yashraj Uncle says, DO NOT GO BACK to doing Karwa Chauth and God Bharai songs. Puhleeeezzz.

Track 4:Ye Tumhari Meri Baatein-Dominique Cerejo– Who’s this lady? I have one word for her-Satine’. Would love to hear her sing any damn Jazz song and I can just sit hours listening to her. May be a bit of Norah Jones would also make me go crazy. Love the bass lines on this track. A romantic ballad. But I can’t get over her vocals. Pitch perfect!! I wouldn’t be surprised if this is shot on location in a Jazz bar. This is actually how it should look. We have to wait for how this is gonna be picturised. My second favorite of the album. Dominique-step out and SING.

Track 3: Title Track-Rock On: Enjoyable Guitar Riff- Standard Rock Lyrics speaking of freakin’ out, speaking your heart out, screaming your lungs out blah blah!

Rock On-Hai Ye Waqt Ka Ishaara,
Rock On-Har Lamha Pukaara,
Rock On- Yu Hi Dekhta Hai Kya Tu,
Rock On- Zindagi Milegi Naa Dubara

Okay, probably it is me because we just have heard so much about this stuff in the ones that started it all. I would have liked the lyrics to have been a bit more innovative.
Leave the lyrics aside, and this one is actually enjoyable. Has the rhythm riff, a guitar solo, the head shaking drum beat and a catchy chorus line. What else do you need?
There we have it-The Title Track-tailor made. I say, fits well. Just not Armani yet.

Track 1: Socho To: Is it me, or is it still the same guitar -yeah, the AC/DC of You Shook Me All Night Long. Although we get to hear flashes of a bit of Joe Sat, and a bit of Colplay as well. Man, I am insane now.
This does sound a bit like some Strings track as well. Or should I stop thinking of references and listen to this track. I am enjoying the bass track more than anything on this track. Listen closely and you’ll understand what I am saying. The guitar solos embedded in the track are a bit on the lower side of volume. And then, the louder solo kicks in. This one is a Happy Rock Song with even the Happy Oh ho ho. The lyrics are again, quirky and a bit childish.

Aasman hai Neela Kyu
Paani Geela Geela Kyu
Gol Kyu Hai Zameen

Silk main hai Narmi Kyu
Aag main hai Garmi Kyu
Do aur Do Paanch Kyu Nahi

Try singing these lines and I am sure you’ll fall in love with this song. Much like a Nursery rhyme with a bass track, a drum beat, a rhythm guitar to go with and a guitar solo. I would say, not a very good opener to a Killer album, but yeah, kinda good.

So there you have it. My verdict: GO BUY IT. It is Rock as you would expect, and Bollywood music as you would never. Few things are still unexplored- may be darker themes for a rock song, a punk sound and perhaps, even an instrumental track. But then, you know how demanding I can be. Heroes of the soundtrack- Farhan Akhtar, Shankar Ehsaan Loy, Dominique, and definitely Suraj Jaggan. I’ll go with 3.5 stars out of 5 for this one .

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31 thoughts to “Music Review: ROCK ON”

  1. Wow!!! Thats one hell of a review 🙂

    “the AC/DC of You Shook Me All Night Long. Although we get to hear flashes of a bit of Joe Sat, and a bit of Colplay as well”

    You got that spot on!!!

    mind writing the complete lyrics here?

    \m/Rock On\m/


  2. I am addicted to rock and metal music and when came to know about the movie ROCK ON, i was really excited to listen it. The music, OVERALl, is satisfactory but lyrics were not upto the mark. I am disappointed with the lyrics or may be i was expecting alot from the FIRST BOLLYWOOD ROCK MOVIE. Hope i like the lyrics when i listen them while watching the movie.


  3. What can I say, or rather have been left to say? After such an exhaustive review, it only make sense to turn on the volume and play ..Maine Pichle Saat Dino Main ye sab kuch hai ,….Khhooooyaaaaa!!!



  4. Dude, whats wrong about comparing this witn international acts.
    For starters, rock music was born there. And it is not an Indian art form.
    And the main thing about rock, that is aggresion in music, the lyrics, power and rebel yell et al- all of that can come in a musical form only and only when someone has listened to these great legends of rock..

    Even Metallica takes inspiration from artistes who preceded them…so go f urself…and enjoy this soundtrack…

    Zehreelay Zehreelay….this song rocks


  5. I think that this review is the most comprehensive and exhaustive of all present. was reading it while I was listening to the tracks and I could exactly relate to it.
    Great job Sujoy. And great work Farhan n team. Shankar u too. 😛


  6. Coming back to the review, I think you somehow managed to suck it up to the makers. You must be a big DCH fan, (considern your review of Jaane Tu). The lyrics of this album just plain suck. The music isnt as fresh and rocking as you’d hv expected it to be. It is but a step towards a change from the nasal notes of Himesh and the lifts of Pritam.

    One good thing of the review was that you pleaded Shankar to not go the karwa chauth Yashraj way again. I am sick of tht sound. Another song churned out by them, and I’ll play Altaf Raja on Radiocity whole day long for Shankar.


  7. How about this one? Like all people who attend a rock concert , we should all go to watch this movie with black tees n denims, n grass and Coke bottles filled with Rum 🙂


  8. …. Rock on is really a rocking change from the regular bollywood fare

    btw u just got hit by an avalanche of feedback heheh 😀


  9. “that can come in a musical form only and only when someone has listened to these great legends of rock..” -Vijay Killer

    if thats true then there wuldnt have been any rock in first place at all.


  10. F Off Vijay, wudnt rock come in the first place…a-hole, learn the history and then talk, Rock originated from blues and some pieces of Opera music which wud include certain chords…so each music is just built upon inspiration ..Ozzy didnt wake up one day and started singing ..Bark at The Moon…so get hold of ur music…


  11. Thankfully, someone has acknowledged the fact that the lyrics, well basically, ‘were not upto the mark’. I can’t believe the hype around the songs, they’re good yes, i agree, they are different, but the lyrics of ‘pichhle saat dino mein’ were pretty lame. I love Zehreeley Zehreeley, Kaale peele neele. The lyrics get me laughing every time but you gotto love the music of the movie and the guitar riffs 🙂


  12. U want Rock Music??
    The 4th Version has been launched recently
    and we’re also celebrating the 2nd Anniversary.
    CHecK iT oUT . . . !


    Sujoy Reply:

    @ Vaibhav: Thanks a lot for that great link.


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