This being my first review for an international album, I was a bit nervous about how I would review it, but the songs are mostly connected to India, so it was pretty easy to write this review! 😀
♪ Music by:- A.R. Rahman
♪ Music Label:- Walt Disney Records
♪ Music Released On:- 12th May 2014
♪ Movie Released On:- 9th May 2014 (in India) / 16th May 2014 (abroad)
To hear the full songs of this album on Saavn CLICK HERE
Million Dollar Arm is a Hollywood biographical sports drama film which released on 9th May 2014 in India. It has been directed by Craig Gillespie, written by Tom McCarthy, and distributed by Walt Disney Motion Pictures. It stars Jon Hamm, Madhur Mittal and Suraj Sharma (‘Life of Pi’ fame) in main roles. The music of this film has been scored by A.R. Rahman, making it his fourth international venture after ‘Couples Retreat’, ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, and ‘127 Hours’. I wasn’t expecting much from the music of this film actually, and it came as a surprise to me when the soundtrack got released in India as well. So I decided to review it! 🙂
1. Makhna:- Singers ~ Sukhwinder Singh, Neeti Mohan
The combo of Rahman and Sukhwinder Singh always produces great songs, and that is the case here too! The song starts with tumbi, and after Sukhwinder starts, you cannot even think of missing it. The composition is an ordinary Punjabi one, but the music is awesome! Neeti Mohan just has some backing vocals, which have been broken up but she does even that well. It is a short track, and whoever has written the lyrics hasn’t been credited. Maybe Rahman himself wrote them. A short Punjabi track, with awesome singing by Sukhwinder! Go for it!
2. Million Dollar Dream:- Singers ~ Sukhwinder Singh, Iggy Azalea
This is another Punjabi track, with use of tumbi and dhols, but this one has some English rap blended in with the Hindi part. Both the parts have been blended together very well, and make this track a very nice hear. Iggy Azalea, a rapper from Australia, has done her part very well. Sukhwinder also sings what he is best at, Punjabi songs, in this track, so it is no surprise that he has performed well. Another fun-to-listen Punjabi track, with two very contrasting parts blended in a very genius way by the maestro.
3. Unborn Children:- Singers ~ K.S. Chithra, Unni Krishnan, Lyrics by ~ Vairamuthu
This song is a Tamil song, ‘Thirakkatha Kaattukulle’ from the 1999 film ‘En Swasa Kaatre’ which was composed by Rahman himself, and it has been featured in this film too. It is a calm and soothing track, which I would have missed had it not been for this movie. Chithra and Unni Krishnan have sung beautifully! The musical arrangements are great and the composition is timeless, which proves how consistent Rahman was even fifteen years ago! Only problem is that I couldn’t understand a word! 😀 However, this just proves yet again the phrase, ‘Music is a universal language’! A must-listen song, with great music and a sweet tune! It is a #5StarHotelSong!
4. We Could Be Kings:- Singers ~ A.R. Rahman, KT Tunstall, Lyrics by ~ KT Tunstall
If you have ever seen a Disney movie, you will immediately recognize the Disney effect which is very prominent in this song, in the form of the English chorus by KT Tunstall. A.R. Rahman has fused the contemporary English lines with the classical lines sung by him very, very well. The most magical line is ‘If I have your hand, I have a million hands…’ I don’t know why, actually, but it is the line which made me love this song instantly! IIt is an inspirational song, and it mostly focuses on teamwork, which is a main theme of the movie since it is about baseball. The tablas have been used exceptionally! Rahman’s sargam will blow you away! KT Tunstall, a Scottish singer-songwriter, also performs amazingly! A fantastic composition, fantastic music and awesome vocals! A must-hear for all those who need motivation! #5StarHotelSong!
5. Taa Taa Tai:- Singer ~ A.R. Rahman
This track is an awesome example of good fusion! Sitar is the main instrument, and along with Rahman’s extraordinary vocals, which are some classical tabla bols, it is an exemplary piece of music. The techno beats help in generating interest for the international listeners. I wonder how it has been used in the movie! Definitely worth more than a listen!
6. Keep The Hustle:- Singers ~ Wale, Raghav Mathur
It starts with too many techno sounds, which did not impress me all that much. This track is purely meant for only international music lovers, and not people like me who love classical touches in music. The famous rapper, Wale, has collaborated with Rahman in this track, and he does great! Raghav Mathur also carries out his part very well. Actually Raghav Mathur is an Indo-Canadian so he is very comfortable singing electronic hip hop songs in English. The female singer has been uncredited. I don’t know why Hollywood likes to leave the names of the people who have done backing vocals a secret, because they actually do a great job! After ‘Wanna Mash Up?’ from ‘Highway’, Rahman is back with a praiseworthy attempt in making an electronic hip hop track, this time for an international project! A great effort by Rahman, but strictly for hip hop lovers!
7. Nimma Nimma:- Singer ~ Jaspreet Jazz, Lyrics by ~ Jaspreet Jazz
This song, you might remember, if you watched the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony, in which this song was featured. Since this film is a sports film, it is natural that the makers of it will want the song which Rahman had composed for the Olympics. It is another Punjabi song. However, it is a very nice composition with great use of instruments, like dhols, and sitars. Though you might not start dancing in the first listen itself, this song will surely grow on you in the successive listens. Jaspreet Jasz’s lyrics seem to have no connection to the movie. His singing is energetic and he sounds a lot like Daler Mehndi. Try it at least one or two times, you won’t regret it!
♪ Bobbleheads:- This track is not actually instrumental as it has some sargam sung by a female voice who is uncredited. Her vocals are not even that great, and out of pitch in most of the places. The music is good, though, and this saves the female singer. Guitar, manjeeras and flute have been used very nicely.
♪ Never Give Up:- This track starts with mild piano notes, followed by great violin orchestration, which A.R. Rahman had showcased in ‘Rana’s Dream’ from ‘Kochadaiiyaan’ as well. It completely changes track few seconds into it, and becomes a fun and quirky song, with just as fun music. The percussion used is very mild, but also such that you will start grooving along with it!
♪ Lucknow:- This track sounds like a tabla baithak, like those which are held in Lucknow, as the name suggests. A.R. Rahman is an expert at such songs, ‘Kun Faaya Kun’ from ‘Rockstar’ being the best recent example. The harmonium, sitar and tablas have been used very brilliantly, and you feel as if it has ended too quickly. Rahman’s voice adds to the magic. By far, the best of the instrumental tracks.
♪ Farewell:- Starting with tanpura and flute, it is another classical-based instrumental track, but it would definitely fit in the movie. The aalaaps by a female singer, again uncredited, are beautiful this time, and Rahman succeeds in making a sad track which would suit in the background of a ‘farewell’ scene in the movie.
♪ Desi Thoughts:- This track only has an electric guitar which seems to be muted playing all throughout the track, which does not make it sound that ‘Desi’. However, the guitar is played in a classical way, like a sitar. The track gives a bit of a haunting feel, but it does fare as well as the other instrumentals of this soundtrack.
♪ First Tryout:- Another track using harmonium, and also piano notes, this track is slow and soft. It is a confusing track, maybe describing the confusion in the head of the person who is giving his first tryout. It ends very abruptly before you can understand a thing, so I say you should skip it.
♪ Calling Scouts Again:- Such a sound was last heard in the instrumental tracks of ‘Jal’, with great folkish percussion. It sounds very nice and quirky, and you will immediately start dancing or moving to the beats. Definitely try this one!
♪ Welcome to India:- This is a calming track, and it will give you lots of mental peace. Again, traditional Indian instruments have been used, creating an Indian ambience which I am sure the international listeners will be blown away by! At the end, the flute comes in to add in to the peacefulness. A great track!
♪ The Final Pitch:- This is the longest instrumental in the album, and another peaceful one, too, like the previous one. Piano has been used very mildly throughout the song, giving the feel of a piano recital abroad. At five minutes, though, this track is too long. Rahman’s vocals are also featured in this track. Violins also come and go, and they have been orchestrated very, very well! Towards the end, the suspense builds, like a suspense movie’s climax, and the tempo also increases. Percussion and horns are introduced towards the end. Maybe this is when the main character hits the baseball finally. Thank you for hitting it and ending the song! 😀 With this track, the album also comes to an end.
Overall:- Rahman has shown the world that he is capable of composing for nearly any type and genre of movies, with this album. Though it is a Hollywood film, he has shown us that he has the capacity to score for Hollywood films, yet again! Out of the songs, though having an overdose of Punjabi tracks, they have been composed and arranged very well, and it has been a good attempt by Rahman. The Tamil song is the sureshot winner out of the songs. Where the instrumentals are concerned, Rahman has delivered exactly what was needed in each situation, like for ‘Lucknow’ and ‘Welcome To India’ and of course ‘The Final Pitch’. The only problem is that the Indian audience won’t be able to connect with some songs, and neither will the international audience with others. Again, Rahman shows his versatility with this album, and it is a very good attempt by him. According to the Hollywood standards (which are anyday less than those of Bollywood) this soundtrack is great!
Final Rating for this Album:- सा < रे < ग < म < प < ध < नी
Note:- The letter which is underlined is the final rating.
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