ROCKSTAR Music Review: AR Rahman is a rockstar

Wed, October 5, 2011 2:34pm UTC by 36 Comments
ROCKSTAR Music Review: AR Rahman is a rockstar

Cineswami had anointed Vishal-Shekhar’s RA.One album as the soundtrack of the year. It pales in comparison to Rahman’s tunes for Rockstar

“I hear music when I close my eyes. When I open my eyes the music does not go away. I often can’t follow the words that people speak, but I get the music of their soul. It’s good that way, because words can lie but music cannot. Pleasant or disturbing, music is always the truth.” These profound words echoing a Sufi saying can be found on the album inlay of the Rockstar CD. The words could very well be a reflection of the musical mind of India’s greatest living composer AR Rahman, the creator of the Rockstar soundtrack. Ranbir Kapoor may be the star of the film and Imtiaz ‘Jab We Met, Love Aaj Kal’ Ali, the creator, but Rahman is the driving force of this musical. Not so long ago, Cineswami had anointed Vishal-Shekhar’s RA.One album as the soundtrack of the year. Though undeniably good, it pales in comparison to Rahman’s tunes for Rockstar. This masterpiece of an album greatly benefits from some truly inspired lyrical poesy by Irshad Kamil. Mohit Chauhan has been chosen as Ranbir’s voice for the album and he delivers in spades.

The album kicks off with Phir se ud chala that begins with Chauhan rendering a brief aalaap and then moving up and down lilting scales to create a memorable ballad. Chauhan returns with one of the songs of the album Jo bhi main, though in such a brilliant soundtrack it is difficult to play favourites. This slow burning rock anthem has terrific lyrics that translate as ‘whatever I want to say, my words destroy’. Bravo Kamil saab. The playful Punjabi-infused Katiya Karun is up next featuring vocals by Harshdeep Kaur, backed by Sapna Awasthi. It’s a pleasant number, serving as an appetiser for the riches to come.

Rahman is back in his Sufiana Kalam element with the qawwali Kun Faaya Kun, dedicated to Sufi saint Nizamuddin Auliya. The voices of Rahman, Chauhan and Javed Ali combine to hypnotic effect in this track. After the fervour of the qawwali it is time for a dig at a Bollywood recording session where a crass music director is trying to get Chauhan to get the nuances of a typical Hindi number. But this being Rahman, he can’t do typical and the result is a superior melody.

Tango meets Gypsy rhythms in Hawaa Hawaa with Chauhan in his element, accompanied by Viviane Chaix, Tanvi Shah, Suvi Suresh and Shalini. The Gypsy Kings themselves would have applauded this number. As if trying to prove that he is the master of every possible musical genre, Rahman moves into Nitin Sawhney territory with Aur ho that opens with haunting, ethereal vocals by Alma Ferovic and then develops into a song of love, loss and longing voiced powerfully by Chauhan.

After the intensity of Aur ho, it is a palliative to listen to the instrumental Tango for Taj where Rahman begins with the traditional accordion played Argentine style but sneaks in some raga violins to create a very satisfying fusion. An old favourite Kavita Subramaniam nee Krishnamurthy returns with Tum ko, a song of yearning beautifully interspersed with tabla. Instrumental track The dichotomy of fame has a superlative shehnai-guitar jugalbandi between Balesh and Kabuli.

Continuing to surprise, Nadaan parinde opens with Boney M-like chorals before electric guitars and driving drumbeats join in until Rahman and Chauhan enter to complete a pitch perfect rock track.

Chauhan and Suzan D’Mello’s Tum ho is a companion piece to the earlier Kavita track and possibly the best romantic song you’ll hear this year.

And of course, next up is the hugely popular Sadda haq, definitely the rock anthem of this young century that we live in. Orianthi’s driving guitar perfectly accompanies Chauhan’s compelling voice and Kamil’s empowering lyrics. All good things must come to an end and sadly Rockstar concludes with Ranbir Kapoor reciting Meeting place, based on a poem by Rumi.

So, ladies an gentlemen, unless Amit Trivedi can pull off a heist with Trishna, put your hands together for the album of the year – Rockstar.Subscribe to me on YouTube

  • SHakib

    extremely well written article…probably the ebst so far i’ve read….this is one of the best album i’ve ever heard in my life…so much prgressive, complex structures and tunes…AR RAHMAN is a musical gift from GOD almighty!!

    • Rajesh

      Rockstar is an Album of year…i dont think any MD can give 14 unique tracks in single album without remixes and stuff..initial impression..yes i sounds boring and bad music..1 week into it..u cant stop listening to it…add 1 more week..it is addiction man…only ARR can do it…wooo…

  • noman

    india wallo tomare mha ke choth

    • robert frost

      bahinchod teri ma ko chod ke tera bhai paida ka de ge,cricket khelte rehna…………

  • arun

    awsum review….truly a gift for music lovers this…bow to u sir..

  • Faslu

    AR RAHMAN> To rock you’r world!

  • MOHAMMED ALTHAF

    ROCKSTAR ROCKS.. PAST ONE WEEK I’M HEARING ROCSTAR MUSIC…DAY BY DAY ALL SONGS ARE GROWING IN MY BODY…
    RAHMAN IS GENIUS…ALBUM OF ALL TIME…MASTER PIECE FROM LITTLE GENIUS…

  • krishna

    A R RAHMAN THE EMPEROR OF MUSIC.

  • http://sf ak

    Ra.One is better.j

    • macho

      wish u had better hearing ability..

    • Anand

      Just wash u r ears again

    • ab

      go nd hear masala songs

    • rahmaniac

      chootia

  • Tamilnesan

    We wish oscar tamilan A.r.rahman for his music. Say salam to tamil nadu for giving this genius to india.

    • Soke

      @tamilnesan.. im even from tamilnadu…but u take pride like as if you r his dad.. rather say: He is from India

      • gg

        exactly

        • mysteryGuy

          well said soke & gg

      • Praveen

        Well said Soke… I am from Tamilnadu too and I certainly did not like Tamilnesan’s comment. Its like branding Air for a particular state…

  • shaheen

    To All other music directors “HEYY KIDDOS, STOP MAKING NOISE. DADDY IS BACK AT HOME” :D

    • shan

      thumbs up bro..

  • dipesh

    wow kay film ha ha ha ha ….. ha ha ha ha ha ha ha .. realy yar

  • chanshar

    A. r. Rahman is a musicial genius but Rock Star soundtrack is disappointing…hardly any rock songs…the songs do not have everlasting effects..of dil Se or Rangeela…how much were the reviewers paid to write positive reviews for an average boring music album?

    • Sushil

      Dude go and listen to the whole album. YOU WILL THEN UNDRSTND THE SHEER GENIUS OF Rahman

    • suuuu

      Don’t compare this album with Rangeela and Dilse.. Rockstar really Great album…Rehman Rocks..

    • OFiroz

      I too thought the same way when I listen it first time, now I can’t live without it. Haunting music, it is echoing all the time in my head. It is an amazing album, quality is so superior I won’t even dare to compare to any other musician, not even ARR’s previous albums! Trust me, this album is a germ to keep!

    • umar

      dont give comment with music and tittle , rahman gave what the script wanted ,nobody can give better than this , if you hear some other music director you will feel that this song i hered someware so you can catch in first time listining but rahman you can’t heared some resemblence so you want to listen the song one or more time then you will realise the work of ar , only after rehman our music cross the boundaries and only we wait and check the date of ar music not others , he is special if you under estimate ar then you are not a music lover

  • james

    The music of Rahman sales for his previous work. Nobody says his music is bad because he has achieved such height by scoring with OSCAR. For example SADA HAQUE is an usual rock number. Nothing different.

  • Divyajeet

    Few Rockstar Songs are too good but on the whole Ra.One is better Commercial album.
    Rockstar being a music film should’ve had better Soundtrack.

  • Divyajeet

    I mean where are rock songs if he is a rockstar. if you don’t know what rock songs are hear ‘Rock On!!’ Album. It is a big letdown on whole but the songs which were not supposed to be rock are great like Kun Faaya Kun. Ra.One album too is disappointment except Bhare Naina, Raftaarein and Criminal.
    But I’m expecting both the movies to be AWESOME!!

    • jhondy

      babe please hear it again and again you will change your decision that what it proves by reports from you tube please be patient you will say rahman is genious at leaset after watching the film rockstar…

  • Mohammed Imadh

    Heh folks , Raone cant be comparison wit Rockstar , Raftarein is plagiarized wit one of the oldest songs of Bollywood , Chammak challo and Akon’s Smack that are v much similar tracks , Rockstar songs are just awesome , no comparisons with it guys , Dont think that all songs should have been Rock , Rockstar songs are based and composed with respect to respect , great collaboration with Rahman and Irshad kamil by director Imtiaz , Sadda Haq has become youth anthem these days-great guitar work by Orianthi the lead guitarist of Michael Jackson , Kun Faaya is holy divine one , Tum ho the song of the year , Tum ko Kavita with the Tabla is Melliflous , enjoy this album which is just like some virus which infects and just infects :-) .

  • Jijo Thomas

    The music of Ra-One is good. It is a decent effort that has produced some good tracks. But, if the question is whether Ra-One is better than Rockstar? Then the truth is that Rockstar is the winner. We listeners should realize something. We should enjoy music, rather than judge the musicians by comparing them to each other. They are all unique in the own way. Of course, A.R.Rahman is the most talented and the God sent. But, the other musicians are also creations of God as music is something that flows from the divine. So, instead of wasting our time arguing amongst ourselves let us listen to the music and music alone.

  • JHONDY

    rockstar is like an uncut diamond when you hear for the first time you dont see that it is going to shine …. rahman may god bless you

  • Naga Rajan

    truely rockstar is best. . ra-one is commercial movie. so even normal music directer will give good songs: but rockstar based on musical film. a r r gave very heart touching songs. . . . . no one will give these type of songs. thats why directer select A r r.

  • gnana

    ar rahman is rocker

  • Tristan

    it was superb ever since i heard your mix of Dil se deep longue with maayera ..ARR and HJ combo..that was stupendous.. got hooked on to your work bro am juz lovin it .:) your work do finds a place in my ipod :) way to go WB:)


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