Monthly Archives: October 2016

Full Fledged Review of Rock

Bollywood actor Arjun Rampal had this to say about Rock On Movie “It is a new age emotional film which has the youth as the target audience but has universal emotions which everyone can relate to”. He is bang on target. Rock on is a rocking movie, a flick that can attain cult status which Dil Chahta Hai has achieved since many years. It is a welcome sight to see two good movies(whatever be the box office status): Mumbai Meri Jaan and Rock On!! in quick successions.

The story:

The screenplay and treatment of Rock On is similar to Dil Chahta Hai(will have a post about the similarities between the two flicks shortly). The story zooms between the past and present quite like Dil Chahta Hai, about how four friends were one part of an energetic, enterprising rock group Magic, and how the band split due to a bitter experience. The four, Aditya Shroff (Farhan Akhtar), Joe Mascarenhas (Arjun Rampal), Rob Nancy (Luke Kenny), and Killer Drumer(Purab Kohli) are now in their respective fields, not too happy with whatever they are doing.

Farhan Akhtar is an investment banker, Purab is in his father’s jewelry business, Luke Kenny playing keyboard for Anu Malik(yes.. Anu Malik in a cameo sportingly saying that Luke plays ‘original’ music) and Arjun Ramphal is broke, looking for jobs where he could strum his ol’ guitar. His wife Debbie who used to do costumes for the group is not taking care of their fish business.

Aditya’ wife in the movie Sakshi(played by Prachi Desai) feels that her husband is not happy within and there is something amiss in his life. She comes across some photographs and a video in which she sees Farhan and his friends chilling out and practicing rock music. She confronts her now workaholic husband about why he is running away from his real happiness. Coincidentally, Prachi also meets Purab Kohli and comes to know more about the rocking past they had as they spend hours playing music till the wee hours . Prachi arranges for Purab and Luke Kenny to come at Farhan’s birthday party, but seeing that her husband is not exactly happy on seeing old buddies, gives up hope. Prachi leaves home to meet her mother, and Farhan experiences a sense of loss. He meets up with his friends. The four meet, old memories get refreshed and they decide to rock on again. All the four take time to create MAGIK once again; Magik incidentally was the name of their group. We cannot reveal more but the fact is it is not easy for them to be perform once again on stage again, because the priorities and circumstances of each of the four members of the rock group has changed; with pressures and tensions of different sorts. Still they see to it that they give up a terrific rock performance and create history for one last time.

Technicalities:

Full marks to Abhishek Kapoor for coming up with India’s first true blue film on rock music. There have been movies of four-five people bonding together to make a band, like Tere Liye and Pyaar Mein Kabhi Kabhie in the past, but they were cradles that would rock enough to put you to sleep. But Abhishek Kapoor has come up with superlative stuff in Rock On. He seems to have his mind and heart, at the right place while making the film. He will definitely give competition to Abbas Tyrewala, who directed Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na at the awards next year.

The script does not have the depth of Dil Chahta Hai, but the story is well told. The dialogues are zingy and realistic. The screenplay of the movie makes Rock On quite interesting as the movie swings interestingly between past and present. The music of Shankar Ehsaan Loy is very catch and elevates Rock On to a whole new high.

The movie literally looks like a rock concert when it breaks into music. The choreographer deserves full marks and so does the music. You could actually sense the audience clapping along with the tempo of the rock music. Tumhari Meri Baatein, Sindbad The Sailor, Rock On(title song) , Tum Ho Toh and Pichle Saath Dino Mein are excellently picturized. Superior stuff!

Best scenes of Rock On:
1. The rockification of the Aashiqui number
2. The rock show sequences of Rock On

Minus points of Rock On:
1. The relatively slow pace in the beginning (we can forgive that)
2. The break up between Farhan Akhtar and his girlfriend is not convincing enough(we cannot forgive this)

Best performances of Rock On:

All the four, Farhan Akhtar, Luke Kenny, Purab Kohli and Arjun Ramphal have almost equal roles. Farhan has acted like a veteran though he has just debuted in Rock On. But since he is such a good student of cinema, Farhan has proved his mettle in all the three roles of Rock On: as an actor, as a director and as a singer. Farhan Akhtar looks very convincing as a rock vocalist while Arjun Rampal is apt as a guitarist. Arjun has given his finest and most probably his most popular performance in Rock On; he is so apt that no one else could have fitted the role, though Saif Ali Khan was offered his role in the movie which he had declined. Arjun may be nominated for the awards next year. Luke Kenny is interesting and Purab Kohli is quite convincing. Another debutante, Prachi Kohli underplays herself but looks as pretty as a picture in the film. Sahani Goswami suits and plays her part exceedingly well.

Evolution of Music

Music has been evolving since its creation. This evolution of music has led to a vast variety of music that all people can enjoy. Artists who make good music, are praised and revered for their talents, and recently this has lead to many aspiring musicians who want to acquire fame and fortune through their music. In the United States music in constantly evolving, and in recent years this evolution of music has sped up to a very fast rate. Music has evolved for many reasons including, improved technology, and change in culture, and a desire to create something new.

Primarily change in music has been related to the culture. During the Middle Ages music everyday music was located in two places, the church and the tavern. This was not a good atmosphere for good music to bloom. However during the Baroque period, 1600-1750, wealthy people began to hire musicians to compose music for them. These patrons would pay the musicians to compose and play music for the patrons enjoyment, and for entertainment at his or her parties. Music did not change very much in Europe for a long time. In America music was began to evolve in its own way. This new country had a culture of its own and this was reflected in its music and dancing. One of the main styles of music originated in Detroit, and it is called big band. It is called big band, because a large band was used to create snappy, catchy tunes. This style of music soon became popular in Europe as well as America in the 1920s. Big band music was very positive for America as a means of enjoyment and entertainment.

Adolf Rickenbacker invented the electric guitar in the later 1920s and in doing so he changed music forever. This was the first time that people began to use electricity to amplify their instruments. Furthermore with the invention of the electric guitar came the birth of Jazz music. Before the electric guitar came onto the scene it was nearly impossible to incorporate a guitar into band music because it was not loud enough, but the electric guitar solved the volume issue. African Americans strongly connect rhythm with their music. This can be seen in the tribal music of Africa which consists of drumming and singing. African Americans took hold of the electric guitar and used it to throw poppy grooves over the brass instruments and Jazz was born. Jazz was a type of music that spoke out as a bit of a rebellion against the culture. It was nothing like the music that was played in church, and it was perfect for dancing to. African Americans took hold of Jazz and made it a part of their culture. However racism still ran deep in the American culture and many whites dislike jazz music simply because it was generally performed by black musicians. However white musicians began to play the songs originally written and performed by African Americans, once this began to occur more whites began to appreciate Jazz. Somehow certain whites thought it was OK to listen to Jazz as long as it was performed by other whites. Overall Jazz music was very positive for the American culture because it helped give pride to the African Americans.

As long as the culture continues to change their will be a reflection of this in the music that is composed. America in particular has a culture that is always changing and growing, and this will, and has, lead to a continuing change in music. Rock n Roll came onto the scene in the late 40s and from its start it was about rebellion. The word “rock,” as used in Rock n Roll, means to shake things up, and the word “roll” is slang for sexual intercourse. Rolling Stone argued that Elvis Presley’s hit “That’s alright mama” 1954, was the first Rock n Roll song, but this is very debatable. In the 1950s the youth were moving out from the post war era, and moving into a culture of fun loving freedom. Elvis Presley hit the scene wielding his electric guitar and rocking to catchy tunes. Although by today’s standards Presley’s music is considered tame, in the 1950s he was on the cutting edge of adolescent rebellion. Presley was criticized for gyrating his pelvis during performances, this and his “dirty” lyrics led to a few of his songs being banned from certain radio stations. Elvis could not be stopped and his popularity continued to grow wildly. The culture continued to change with the introduction of birth control during the 60s and this led to hippie era which was deeply rooted in music, particularly folk and rock n roll. Hippies were all about having “free love” which meant that you should be able to have sex with whomever, wherever, and whenever you wanted, as long as you were not hurting anyone else. The Hippie movement has had very negative effects on society, and it was fueled by rock n roll music.

New Technology was introduced in the 1960s-70s that paved the way for many new styles. This technology was the use of digital effects that were placed into songs. This technology was brought into the center of pop culture with disco music. Disco Music has a strong melody with deep beats that are perfect for dancing. This type of dancing isn’t technical in nature people of all different skill levels could participate. However the adolescent culture of the time was split between the pop sound of the disco, and the cool rebellion of rock n roll. Most of these changes in music have been due to the culture, and more directly the culture of the youth. Although people of all ages enjoy the music it is primarily the adolescents that were and are shaping the music in the 20th century and beyond.

The effect of the music on the cultures is hard to place in a strictly positive or negative light. Of the examples of music trends given earlier, some were positive and some were negative. However it cannot be said that they are wholly good or wholly bad. These changes in music reflected the culture that they were brought into, and often these changes brought about good and bad reform. There are some fads in music that many would argue are completely negative, such as rap. The vast majority of rap music that is played on the radio is full of explicit content, and because of this is receives a bad wrap. Rap music is often inspired by gangster life, but people do not consider that when these people are writing music instead of starting fights on the street. Although rap music is often inappropriate it has given people the African American youth something constructive to do with their time, that will not lead them to being perceived as losers by the other gangsters. Therefore rap has both positive and negative aspects as do must trends in music.

America has started several trends and fads in regards to music, and they will continue to do so. Since America is a melting pot of cultures there is a huge wealth of new music that will become apparent as more time passes. If there was to be a standstill in the music industry, there would need to be a standstill in the culture. However the culture of the American youth has been constantly changing at an increasing pace. With all of this change there is no sign that the music industry is going to slow down. New songs are always going to be composed, and new styles of music will always be coming to the surface of the musical world. The study of the popular music in a culture gives a person deep insight on the values of the culture, because a populations culture is directly linked to their music.

The Modern Sleaze Rock Epidemic

Since the decline of the hedonistic 80’s Glam Metal era, Rock and Roll seemed to have been on a long-term hiatus with Grunge effectively dominating the modern rock scene. However, since the early 2000’s Glam Metal seems to be making a comeback within the underground rock community, mostly erupting out of Sweden. This new movement is referred to as sleaze rock, and today there are many sleaze bands popping out from all around the world (although Sweden and Finland seem to be the most prominent). For the most part, these bands seem to have a unanimously positive response from their internet fan base, most of whom are well aware of their 80’s Glam Metal predecessors. Although many online fans make the claim that “Rock is back” or “These guys are bringing back Glam Metal”, are these modern sleaze metal bands really giving Glam Metal a good name? Of course, good and bad are subjective to personal opinion so I do not claim that my opinion is absolute.

First, lets take a look at some of the 80’s glam metal bands and consider the influences found in their music. Glam Metal was a very diverse genre; considering almost every band that played rock or metal (except extreme metal bands) were thrown into that category by record companies during the 80’s. Many of the Glam Metal bands had strong roots in blues, funk, hard rock, pop, punk, and metal that they took and mixed from their 60’s and 70’s rock predecessors. If we were to specifically consider Glam guitarists we’d see that glam metal spawned a large majority of virtuosos (i.e. Reb Beach, George Lynch, Nuno Bettencourt, Vito Bratta, etc..).

Sleaze Rock Bands

On the opposite end let’s take a look at the modern sleaze metal bands. Sure, they have a similar image; spiked teased hair, leather and studs, cowboy boots, etc… but is the music really there? A quick listen to bands like Crashdiet, Dirty Penny, Vains Of Jenna etc and you’ll quickly realize the only similarity between sleaze and glam metal seems to be the stereotypical anthemic sing-a-long choruses, while the rest is a mix of punk, pop and modern rock. These bands sound more like alternative rock than glam.

The sleaze rock music formula becomes obvious quite quickly: A vocalist with weak range and an attempt at aggressive vocals that only comes off as a snarky chipmunk suffering from severe constipation, a very standard rhythm section, and a lead guitarist with limited technical and innovative rhythm/lead skill recycling a 2nd rate Slash solo. These bands seem to have little in common (with the exception of image) with the obvious Glam groups such as Motley, Ratt, WASP, Whitesnake, Dokken etc and have more in common with the punky sleaze styling’s of bands like Faster Pussycat, LA Guns, Hanoi Rock, and GNR. Not to insult the 80’s sleaze bands, but it seems like the modern bands are simply a cheap copy singing pop songs while desperately trying to appeal to the perceived stereotype of the genre. They seem to lack that raw integrity, hunger, anger, and rebellion that made the older bands so interesting and no amount of hairspray, leather, and spandex is enough to put them on the same level.

The Modern Pop Sleaze Band

Also there are bands with hardly any rock influence prevalent in the music. Sleaze Rock Bands like Reckless Love sound identical to modern techno pop; fit only to appeal to a growing tween pop crowd but trying to maintain an ‘edgy’ hip look. Unfortunately, they dress in 80’s fashion, have long hair and carry guitars in their videos giving Glam metal an even worse reputation (who would have thought that was possible, right?). Yet, many fans claim that they are “Bringing back ‘old-school’ rock” simply because the image is similar. Are we so desperate for the return of Rock N Roll that if Justin Bieber grew his hair long and started wearing leather pants we would call him Glam Metal or Hard Rock? Bands like Reckless Love are about as rock n roll as the Orianthi or Adam Lambert albums, just because it’s marketed or hyped in that way, doesn’t make it so.

Funny moment: Reckless Love playing to a crowd of literally only 7-13 year old girls and their parents. The lead singer proceeds to tear his shirt off for the crowd during a song and perform shirtless. While I have no problem with sexual imagery, it seems out of place and embarrassing to tear your shirt off for a crowd of children with their parents…

The Emo/Screamo Metal Sleaze Band

Definitely the worst of all the Sleaze Rock offenders.

As the popularity of Emo declined in the late 2000’s, the surviving emos decided to evolve into a new breed. Emos began to combine themselves with ‘Extreme’ metal genres such as death, hardcore and screamo metal. Bands like Black Veil Brides however, were not satisfied with only extreme metal so they started to fuse their emo image with Glam Metal. Black Veil Brides blatantly rip-off Motley’s SATD image and mix it with a tween emo hot topic look to create their own concoction of Emo/Screamo Sleaze Rock/Glam Metal. However, some of the members maintain their side-swept bangs in order to look modern. The outcome is an Emo Sleaze image, mixed with alternative pop rock and screamo metal. Their lyrics follow the Emo formula by expressing their sadness and whininess of being ‘outcasts’ and appealing to the tween ‘scene’ Hot Topic crowd. 14 year old girls everywhere with dyed black hair and lip rings find themselves chanting along to a Black Veil Brides self pity chorus.

Another Emo Sleaze Rock/Metal Band is newcomers Toxic Rose. Toxic Rose is from Stockholm Sweden (Big surprise!) and have an identical image to Black Veil Brides. The music is also identical to BVB, however, no growling/cookie-monster screamo vocals are included.

Congratulations Toxic Rose and Black Veil Brides, you have officially ruined Motley Crue’s best album for me.

There are definitely a few other concoctions of sleaze rock out there but I’m too lazy to list them all. Although I am a Glam Metal fan I cannot endorse these new Sleaze Metal bands and their supposed Rock N Roll ‘revival’. Musically, I don’t hear any similarities between 80’s Glam and New Sleaze. Their songs have no substance, they are simply commercial bubble gum rock bullshit copying an image they have no real understanding of. If these sleaze rock guys are “bringing back glam”, then please leave it buried. Oh and Sweden: stop, just stop.

The History of Rock Music

During the fifties and later, vital, energetic, and rebellious youth produced their own music in contrast to traditional music, becoming a target for censors and conservatism. When I saw this book with an Elvis-like drawing on its cover, I had to pick it up, because it reminded me of the times when most of us in my generation were, musically speaking, in love with Elvis and his successors.

The type of music called rock music sprung up from peacetime America but was adopted by the youth through the entire world. Although it started as an act of a rebellion, rock music became the governing music form for the next few decades, eventually turning into a customary music genre and leaving its throne of rebellion to other types of music. Rock music involves a vocal melody accompanied by musical instruments such as guitars, drums, and keyboard instruments.

When rhythm and blues met country music, rock music was born. The book, “The History of Rock Music,” gives this type of historical information alongside with the biographies of and information about famous rock stars who determined and shaped the course of rock music from early on. In addition to the musicians, Dick Clark with his television show “American Bandstand” promoted the rock music and coerced its respectability by the general population.

Among the earlier artists mentioned are Little Richard, Elvis, Buddy Holly, Woodie Guthrie, and Bob Dylan, and from the sixties on come the Beatles, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Motown, Jerry Garcia and The Grateful Dead, The Beach Boys, The Doors, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix. Later, when hard rock surfaced, its representatives became Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, and Black Sabbath. From seventies on, singer-songwriters came into the music scene like Jackson Browne, James Taylor, and Joni Mitchell.

The book not only gives information about music groups and presents several features from actual history, but it also provides details on the instruments and the evolution of rock music trends to the end of the nineties, from before Elvis’s time to Curt Cobain’s grunge.

“The History of Rock Music” is a volume from the Masters of Music Series, in hardcover and 64 pages, with ISBN-10: 0764151371 and ISBN-13: 9780764151378.

The author, Andrea Bergamini, has written other books on music like Beethoven and the Classical Age, Music of the World, and Le rock. Also, a great deal of appreciation goes to the book’s illustrator, Ivan Stalio, who has illustrated numerous volumes such as: The Atlas of World Religions, Adapting to the Environment, The Animal Atlas, The History of Technology, Life Cycles, Mammals, and Plants.