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Awesome preludes, great lead riffs, questionable lyrics, substandard  chorus,  unoriginal score, poor drumming, zero consistency – somehow music does not all come together.

Given the hype and lead in, I really had really high expectations for the music of Rock On: Maybe one reason why I am fairly disappointed. The music and the movie epitomize the struggle that India Rock music is facing and likely to face for a while to come : Brilliant Talent, poor execution.  The sheer might of the talent comes right at your face in the lead riffs of Sindbad the Sailor and Socha Hai, the lyrical genius is apparent, then why oh why is the music substandard? What makes rock music rock? (Also refer to my previous blog on musical orgasm) Let’s go back to a few classic Indian rock sound tracks (in my opinion)

·         Ground Zero : 13 AD

·         Indus Creed : Rock N Roll Renegade

·         Strings : Anjaane

·         Most songs of Junoon

The underlying theme is easy to detect even for the musically challenged musically orgasmic chorus, unique lead, temo that perfectly paints the lyrical canvas and perfectly laid interludes. While it is difficult to create, you cannot go wrong with your audience with this pattern. Music of Rock on fails in all these categories. Even in comparison to a recent comparable score of Life in a Metro, Rock On does not rock. The song, Rishtey of Life in a Metro had many a good attributes going for, while not all perfect, songs were decent, well directed and composition well executed.

Here is what I think about some of the songs:

Sindbad the sailor : prelude is great, then comes the average rest of the song

Socha Hai : Great prelude, great lead riff, surrounded by below average lyrics and an unimaginative chorus

Pichle Saat Dindon – Come on, someone actually believed you  could make a live version of this song,  Shankar Ehsaan, Loy, what were you guys thinking???

Zehreelay – Looks like a pretty pointless song that ESL added when they are really tired of working on this movie. Beta grunge to abhi door ki baat hai, pehela, garage ka soocho!

Tum Ho – a corny attempt at being an anthem / ballad song in the rock album (a la Poison’s Every rose has its thorn)

Ye Tumhari – What is this song?  I didnt get it.

The movie preview in Yahoo (http://in.movies.yahoo.com/upcoming-detail.html?news_id=170 ) is pretty hilarious, the Synopsis reads “In 1998, rock music had a shot in the arm with the emergence of Grunge. The voice of teenage angst found an audience across the globe and rock music seemed like it was on the threshold of becoming the leader in mainstream music.“ Dude, whoever you are, you must be stoned when you wrote this. Here are some fairly basic info on the characteristics of grunge

·         Grunge started in late 80’s, peaked in the early 90’s (Nirvana 1990-91) declined / stabilized by 1998

·         Altered chords, heavy distortion, feedback

·         Slow, complex and altering tempo

·         Mostly Baritone (heavy) serrated vocals

Music from Rock On is anything But.  Other than Zehreelay (which sucks!!!) nothing in the play list even comes close to grunge.  At best its pop-rock with some good lead thrown in.

Music directors, musicians et al. your current generation is fairly advanced in term of taste, exposure and understanding of Rock music…please grow up.  I also have this nagging feeling that (ESL) Ehsaan, Shankar & Loy are having creators block. Reminds me of the time in the late 90’s that the famous ARR created some pretty bland music. Whack pack time people!!!

Then again, the Indian movie audience is pretty unpredictable, given the insatiable appetite for “rock” this movie may have its short moment in the sun with metro youth audience.  A few months down, there is nothing in the music that will make me remember it.

I hope the movie is much better, I look forward to watching it. In Mid-west America that means a wait for 3 or 4 months before the DVD releases or my begging and pleading with the local grocery to rent the theater and play this movie sooner.

 

 

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Well Well Well,  Just came back from India, was visiting there after 3 years.  Three things had me smiling like a kid in a candy store: moms dosas, Hyd airport and Rolling Stones magazine.

Being a die hard music buff / critic, the first item in my agenda was to get hold of a copy of RS India, not just the latest but the first as well.  After much emotional persuasion my brother-in-law reluctantly let me have one of the five. Yes RS India launched with five covers. I must say I was not disappointed with the RS first edition or with their vision for India. I just hope they live up to it.

This blog is about my opinion of RS and how it can / may help change the music scene in India.

First my opinion on Rolling Stones. RS is probably the only magazine that represented the counter culture of the late 60’s and early 70’s. It was NOT meant to be a POP CULTURE MAGAZINE FOR THE YOUNG or a Music ONLY mag. How do I know this? I am so obsessed with the mag that I keep picking up old copies (from the 70’s and 80’s) every time I go near an old / used book store.  However since pulp magazine guy Ed Needham was hired and the death of the Flower Power, RS started leaning more towards Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll : Moving from counter culture to pop culture, a big difference for folks like me who for some strange reason wish we were living in the ‘60s. I don’t blame the mag, it had to survive and keep up with the times, a sad reflection of the evolving music scene and times itself. Jann Wenner’s famous words “ RS is just not about music, but about the things and attitudes that music embraces”  had to be slowly forgotten just like we forgot that Bill Gates once said “No one in the worlds will need more than 64 MB..”or some such ridiculous thing. You cant really blame Jann, the music now is more about music rather than what the music embraces. A few consistent themes and the positive outcome of RS have been: 1. recognize great music work, spread the word to create a fan / listener base and 2. provide substantial knowledge on the music and the artists of bygone eras and 3. provide info otherwise unavailable to the common man, regarding aspects surrounding music like lifestyle, attitudes, politics etc… and that’s the reason the mag still makes a good read for me, more to verify things that I already know and to a certain extent introduce me to new music.

Here is my opinion on RS India (as per my cover to cover read of the first edition in India). RS India was to have 35% local coverage, I thought to myself, how much content is there to publish here without a heavy doze of Bollywood. I was amazed, ONLY 1 out of 170 pages was spent on Bollywood. Such a breath of fresh air. The magazine lived up to my expectations. It had the international features, launch the mag, Led Zep, Hendrix, RadioHead, Winehouse, Jay_Z, Depp et al; this is hardly a surprise considering the size of the industry and the appeal to the Indian audience. However the promised 35% local content blew my mind. I went in expecting the coverage of the usual suspects Strings, Indus Creed, Rabbi (he was indeed covered), KK… Instead it exposed me to the following artists / bands / artist / articles and they were all awesome feast for my music appetite 

        Soulmate : the blues band from Shillong

        Amit Chaudhuri who I have heard a few times before

        Good coverage of Avial, who I am already a fan of

        Skin Alley

        Half Step Down

        All of India’s Axe men: I had not heard of Dhruv Ghanekar, Rex Vijayan or Rudy Wallang

        Goldspot

        Susheela Raman, Thanks RS, but I discovered her a long time ago and have been following her music ever since.

What was amazing was that a lot of these guys were promoted by indie records (read my previous blog on why this is a good thing).

The movie reviews and the selection of movies to review were less than impressive, everyone knows about Cohen Brothers and NCFOM,

Now I am wondering where they are going to get local content for the remaining editions, since I cant get RS India edition in the US, I am relying on the undying love of my brother–in-law to save up the copies for me.

RS can do great things for Indian music scene. Firstly, It can continue to provide the much-needed exposure for artists like Rudy Wallang, who without RS has no hope of reaching a wide listener base. I am very encouraged by the first edition, if they remain true to the format and commitment on the content, then its going to be great going for local artists. Secondly, it needs to move India music fans to embrace their own genres and bands that belong to “the generation of the Y2K”. It saddens me to see old has-beens like Deep Purple, Iron Maiden, Fleetwood Mac making such a big splash when they are rarely given a chance to perform in the US.  Don’t get me wrong I love those guys, but come on, there are a million good artists that have come on since then, All over the word people are embracing newer music. Secondly, move the Indian audience from listening to big stage performance bands to just to smaller plain good music bands, Very few acts can pull full off a full concert on their own these days: I mean it takes five divas (Celene Dion, Maria included) to pull of ONE night show in Vegas. Look at http://www.summerfest.com/ to see how many bands it takes to pull of an evening of music. This will also be great for the Indian music Industry (or should I say Indie). Thirdly and most importantly, move India to have a music industry that is free of the bollywood gutturals: Do I need to explain any further and Lastly, allow the industry to create and users to embrace genres of mucis, Indian blues, rock, metal, groove, urban, etc… This is the only way for the industry to grow and get listeners unlimited supply of software.

RS can help do all of the above, and going by the first edition they are likely to. I am a die hard optimist. I believe in music itself and the potential for resurgence of the Indian listener to demand high-quality, music that is unique, original and touches him and few like him(her).

Till my next blog about the music industry….and the critique of the above artists…Adios

 

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