Monday, July 19, 2010

Bollywood Is Finally Getting This Electronic Music Right!

I'm no great music reviewer, which is why you will never see a soundtrack review on this blog. I couldn't tell instruments apart if my life were hanging on the last bass guitar chord, and I don't have particularly refined tastes in music. I like it, or I don't. It's up my alley, or it's not. But since Bollywood is finally discovering my favorite genre, electronic music, after flirting disastrously with hip-hop, disco and bad dance music, I will use one post to express my gratitude for living in such exciting times.

One of the first "modern" soundtracks I heard out of Bollywood was Dhoom 2. And even now I wonder how I managed to keep the faith... Then, not too long after came Kismat Konnection. Wow, that took weeks, nay months to grow on me (and Shahid's dancing did help a lot, I can't deny it)! Then... it only got worse! After going through everything else that was "hot" around that time in the fateful year 2008 (Race, Cash, Dostana, Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na, etc.), I decided that I'd better join them if I don't want them to kill me in a slow, painful, brain-freezing way. So I started dancing merrily to the silliest beats and singing the lyrics to the most appalling songs (yes, including Move Your Body Now), and decided that I will continue to love my Bollywood, damn it, I will!

Even though that became increasingly more difficult, the likes of AR Rahman, Shankar Ehsaan Loy and Vishal Shenkar did manage to shine some magic under the door whenever they came up with a new, more traditional sounding soundtrack.

But on the "modern" music front, I was stuck in the early 90s and it didn't seem like there was any way to crawl out of there! Until one day...

... One wonderful day I got the soundtrack for Luck By Chance. And once I managed to get past playing Baawre on repeat, I discovered my first ever piece of Bollywood 21st century electronic beats:

Why this actually sounds... electronic! Somewhere halfway between drum&bass and dubstep? Go figure! Plus the lyrics are fabulous!

Then for a long while I went on thinking that was just a fluke. It was back to disco beats and 90's euro-trash for another few dozen soundtracks (and don't get me wrong, I love what I call euro-trash just as much as the next kid in my generation who grew up with 2 Unlimited, Snap and Technotronic, but I love it where it belongs, and that place is not Hindi movies).

Then this year, I was rewarded with not one, not two, but three songs that can hold their head up high and say "Yes, I was born in 2010!".

First it was this piece of awesomeness:

which I'll admit, sounds very much like the above mentioned veterans from Technotronic for the most part, but check out the bit in the middle starting at 0:50! Do I dare call that "almost dubstep" again?

Next up it was this song from Ishqiya:

which also has a strong electronic vibe to it, I can almost picture some underwater house dance steps to it.
It's too thick to flow like a house song, but speed it up a bit and you get this:

which starts off sounding like trance, and then... then it just goes haywire, but heck, it's good haywire!

And finally my year was made by Ishq Barse, from Raajneeti. The first song that indubitably mixes house (my favourite music genre) with just a wee bit of hip hop and something that sounds almost traditional but I can't quite place it, all tied together by some sweet, smooth flowing vocals that belong on a beach far away, in a Roger Sanchez song...

And it helps that the lyrics are in a place where love pours like rain and we dance and spin around, in a state of bliss. Such a shame the movie didn't have the full song picturization, and instead teased us with the first few dance steps and some sexy poses by the, granted, very photogenic Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif, to then cut to some more scheming and killing scenes. Well, I'm grateful for the song nonetheless!

ETA: Finally stumbled upon the song that Ishq Barse reminds me of: Take a Chance. And I also recently noticed that the version of Ishq Barse that they used in the movie was not only chopped up, but also a slightly different tune, so just for the record, this is the version of the song I've been going gaga about.

"4 songs over 3 years and you call that progress?", I see you raising an eye brow in disbelief... I know, I know... it's not a lot... But it's a damn good start. And if I have to go through another 50 so called dance songs to uncover another 3-4 evergreen gems like these, I'm happy to do that. Though I do hope Bollywood will speed things up a bit going forward...


Nicki said...

I'm an awful music reviewer that's why I never do it either. But we all like music for different reasons though. Whether or not we understand the lyrics, we still listen if it sounds good :D

Dolce and Namak said...

That's true. But some songs I like right away (like Ishq Barse), others grow on me, and yet others I almost force myself to like (sometimes by overplaying the picturization even though the song is awful - "Mr. Perfect" anyone? :P). I'd like it if I could fall in love with more of the "modern" Bollywood songs right away, for themselves, not because of exterior factors like placement in the film or picturization...

dunkdaft said...

Good that you are turning towards latest tracks. Luck by chance has got really good soundtrack. Have you checked out Karthik Calling Karthik by same musicians? Some kool tracks over there. Also Wake Up sid is my fav since last one year [it hasn't got any electronic sound though :P)

Nice blog, i found yaar. Have to check it out regularly. Keep on blogging !!

Oh, and fab header !!

Dolce and Namak said...

Thank you for the visit, dunkdaft, and an even bigger thank you for the compliments! You made my day! :D

And I agree, you named two of my favourite soundtracks from last year (KCK and WUS). They never left my iPod since they came out :)

Sorry about the header, it's actually about to get replaced as soon as I come back from vacation, so enjoy it while you can :P

Cheers and hope to see you around here again! (If not, I'll have to come looking for you on your blog, don't mind if I do!)

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