Vintage Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. So no surprises, but a really good album.
The trio is back again after Rock On, which was one of the best 2008 had to offer. Melodious and lyrically philosophical (just the basic paths, choices, dreams, etc.) is how I would sum the album. But when your album is called Luck By Chance, you will get some of that thrown around. Apart from that, you can relate most of the songs to some previous track of SEL.
The albums starts with Yeh Zindagi Bhi, a really melodious track. This is sung beautifully by Shekhar Ravjiani (who is a trained classical vocalist and a former Sa Re Ga Ma contestant) of the Vishal-Shekhar duo. The duo have been frequently singing for SEL in the recent past and I am glad they are. This track has a Rockford feel to it, but it really kicks off when the chorus begins. The chorus completely elevates the song to another level. Loy is also credited as a singer, but I am not sure where he was in the track.
The second track is the fast paced Rajasthani folk song Baawre. It starts off with free vocals in true folk style before the folk rhythm sets in. It has a nice melody and fast feel to it and then proceeds to electronic beats with accompanying strings. They have mastered such tracks previously in Kajra Re and we have heard similar arrangements from SEL before but this track might be a winner just because of Hrithik Roshan performing in the foreground. Shankar Mahadevan sings this fine, the Rajasthani Ensemble is actually quite good and I still cannot figure out where Loy was in this track.
Next up is Pyaar Ki Dastaan. I don’t really need to tell that it is a romantic number. Indian Idol 3 contestant Amit Paul is behind the mike for this one with another SEL regular Mahalakshmi Iyer. You can tell the singer is new just from the detailing, effort and singing within limits. But Amit Paul surprisingly has a voice tailor made for such tracks and his voice is smoother. The melody has that hint of retro feel to it, just like Chup Chup Ke from Bunty Aur Babli. Overall decent track.
Sunidhi Chauhan sings Yeh Aaj Kya Ho Gaya. It is easy to tell this song is going to feel great in the movie with the guitar strumming in the background. Again decent track, but falls short of being a masterpiece like a couple of previous tracks.
The next one makes up for all that. Sapno Se Bhare Naina is easily the best track of the album followed by O Raahi Re. I am not sure of the raaga it is set in, but classical vocals accompanied by the bass guitar and electronic beats in most cases makes for a great listen. So does this. But the singing here is truly great.
A word about the lyrics here. Javed Akhtar is a veteran no doubt but after a point when the words are predictable, I personally cannot appreciate the lyrics as much. This album has classic Bollywood lyrics, not many words or phrases out of syllabus. Rock On was a different effort from Javed Akhtar, and was apt in songs like Pichle Saat Dinon Mein but was disappointing in the title track of Rock On.
The last original track is O Raahi Re, a philosophical call to the protagonist. It is quite melodious and easy on the ears with its pace and arrangement. Sung aptly by Shankar M. And I really liked the lyrics from Javed Akhtar here for a change. Sample this snippet of the stanzas :
Aasaaniya Mil Sakti Hai
Tujhko Zamaane Se
Par Zara Yeh Bataa
Jeena Hai Kya Yunh Tujhe
The last is a remix of the only remixable track, Baawre. It is well, a remix. So you know what to expect.
Overall this is a nice soundtrack from SEL, surely not as brilliant as Rock On, but they are themselves to blame for setting the bar so high. But they keep up their track record of consistently giving good uninspired (to be read as music that is not inspired by other sources) music, which in itself is an achievement. I seriously cannot think of a single bad soundtrack from the trio.
But all those times they fall short of outright brilliance.