Archive for February 18th, 2010


Music Review: Connections

A R Rahman wrecks superbly crafted music with very average vocals

What can be said about A R Rahman that hasn’t been said before? Here’s something: His vocals don’t cut it. Honestly, it’s upsetting to have a legendary composer push himself as a vocalist when there are great singers around. A minor clarification – ‘great’ does not mean Sukhwinder Singh. Also, it’s obvious Rahman’s trying very hard to put himself out there as a vocalist, since he has ‘handpicked’ songs he has sung on.

Percussion is king on Jiya Se Jiya, a lovable tune dampened by A R Rahman”s voice right from the start. Khalballi is a wonderful example of how some music should be released without vocals. Ever wished you could choke someone by just thinking about it?

Meherbaan from Ada‘s soundtrack is a classy song. The music is perfect, and after a long time Rahman’s voice sounds bearable. Surprisingly, it sounds alright even when he goes higher on this one. Dil Se has kickass music, there’s plenty going on and it all fits right in. For those who long for the Rahman of yore, you’ll find some of him in here. Ek Mohabbat ‘Vote For Taj’ is like the other songs on the compilation… well composed. Almost every track is Rahman attempting to show his mellow side, which is terrible for this collection because there’s very little here that actually ‘connects’. By the time Pray For Me Brother comes on, you’re ready to toss the CD case at someone just to start a fight out of sheer boredom.

The fabulous Bombay Theme overshadows everything else on this compilation. Not only has Rahman done the music a huge favour by not singing, but the composition is also excellent. Bombay Theme is the only song on this collection that is full of soul. The rest is stuff that will be praised to death because it has Rahman’s name on it.

The instrumental version of Pray For Me Brother sounds better than the original, but may very well be played while you’re having free lunch at a wedding. It’s pretty pointless to have a Club Mix of Jiya Se Jiya, and it’s even more stupid to make something like that, but then everyone wants to make money, yes?

My only beef with Rahman is that his singing is dull. He’s bloody good at composing music, and manages to sing with sincerity. But sincerity does not always ensure quality.‘A Journey Through Anthems’, the CD says, but how many of these tracks can actually be called ‘anthems’? Sorry to break it to you, but except for Bombay Theme, there is nothing else on this CD that comes close to being an anthem.

What use is a compilation that doesn’t feature some of the artiste’s best work? Is it an attempt at showcasing his lesser known songs? Or is it an effective money-squeezing exercise, considering fanboys will buy it anyway?

The biggest question here is, how many musicians who sing about peace and hugs actually care? Do musicians and music labels not know everyone cannot be fooled and some people can actually tell when an artiste is cementing his popularity among the public that doesn’t know better? It’s really not that hard to recognise a poseur, y’know?


Maybe the best of Rahman’s work has been kept aside for future compilations. Neat way of ensuring the cash never stops flowing, but too obvious. And way too pretentious. I bet all your Michael Jackson CDs have been dusted, so just continue spinning ’em if you want to listen to songs about peace.

RATING: 2.5/5

(From my Buzz18 reviews)

SEE: Songs I Hate

Music Review: Ghajini

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