One of the things that strike you about the "Kaal" soundtrack is the way that everything is so fast, so quick and so desperate to be hip. It is like junk food. The more you eat junk takeaway stuff, the more you hanker after real homemade food. It is no surprise then that after listening to "Kaal", I found myself wanting to listen to real quality music. All the tracks on here are so aggressive and so overdone that you can barely tell the difference between the songs. They all mesh together in a bland melange of "hey look at me I can speak English!" songs.
Not that I am saying that all the songs are particularly bad (based on starpower, a couple will be chartbusters for sure). The album lacks the depth that a film soundtrack should have. Furthermore, it seems that the filmmakers and music directors couldnīt be bothered to check the quality of the lyrics and the musical/vocal arrangements. Shabbir Ahmed has written the Hindi lines in the songs while Jeanne has provided the English words.
"Tauba Tauba", "Kaal Dhamaal" and "Nassa Nassa" all are very similar to one another. Out of these, the best is "Tauba Tauba", which features the breezy voices of Kunal Ganjawala, Richa Sharma, Sonu Nigam and Sunidhi Chauhan. It starts off with the soft "O mahiya O mahiya" but the calm effect is ruined by the rapping. That is the only low point, the rest is a snappy and addictive ride. It is entertaining to listen to all the artists sing along at the same time (an enjoyment that is rare nowadays) and the terse ending of "tauba tauba!" is effective.
Kunal sings along with Caralisa, Ravi "Rags" Khote and Salim for "Kaal Dhamaal". The fluteopening reminds me of the beginning of "Dhoom Machaale" ("Dhoom"). The tune sounds like it has just been made up on the spot in the recording studio. The backing singers and the rapping artists make this song an occasionally intolerable listening experience. Yet other parts of the song are more agreeable due to the sheer force of Kunalīs charismatic voice. Uff, what a waste of a potentially good song yaar! This one is picturised on Shah Rukh Khan and Malaika Arora and should be a video to watch out for. Remember the heat that the pair generated with "Chaiya Chaiya" ("Dil Se...")?
Since "Nassa Nassa" is also in a similar mould, you would think it was composed by the same musical team. In fact the last two songs have been scored by Salim-Suleiman while Anand Raaj Anand has done the work (music and lyrics) for "Nassa Nassa". Here, you start to get suspicious about who is in charge of the music score. The incoherent rapping is in all of the songs and it is possible that it might have been insisted on by the producers against the music directorsī will. What else could explain the way that three music producers (Kailash Kher included, below) have come up with songs in similar style with remix beats and cheesy English lyrics? Back to "Nassa Nassa", Sonu Nigam and Sunidhi Chauhan have lent their voices to this one. When even "Kamaal Dhamaal" begins to sound better, you can tell that this is nothing to write home about.
Kailash Kher provides the only number that can be made truly distinguishable from the other songs in the album. He has composed and given his voice to "Ankhiyan Teriya Ve". His synthesised voice adds the punch to this Punjabi pop track. He is quite like Sukhwinder Singh in that his voice is always full of masti. The music and instrumentation is quite good but the female voice is distracting. Her English words, taken from "Eye Of The Tiger" by Survivor, which featured in the Hollywood film "Rocky III", seems out of place in a Punjabi song..
Next up is "Kaal Dhamaal - The Tiger Mix", a remix by Bobby Friction and The Infinite Scale. You wonder why there is a need for a remix when the original sounds like a remix anyway. This does not sound any better than the original and is just about bearable.
"Dharma Mix" is a remix medley of favourite songs from Dharma productions such as "Pretty Woman" and "Aaja Mahive" ("Kal Ho Naa Ho"), "Bole Chudiyan" and "Say Shava Shava" ("Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham") and "Koi Mil Gaya" ("Kuch Kuch Hota Hai"). I shuddered as I listened to these mostly hummable tracks being destroyed by unattractive remix noise. Remixing is an art and even the best classics can sound great in a remix. No art or careful thought has gone into these remix pieces. Just noise and senseless beats have been added to these tracks.
Rather better than the "Dharma Mix" is the "Jungle Mix". Vocals are by Caralisa, Jeanne and Vijay Prakash. Effort has been made into giving the number a jungle ambience and the result is an appreciable musical piece. It shouldnīt be a surprise as this is the theme music for "Kaal" and Salim-Suleiman have always given effective background/theme scores. After this, there are bonus tracks (but only on CDs) of "Koi Mil Gaya" ("Kuch Kuch Hota Hai"), "You Are My Soniya" ("Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham"), "Mahi Ve" ("Kal Ho Naa Ho"), "Bole Chudiyan" ("Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham") and "Itīs The Time To Disco" ("Kal Ho Naa Ho").
It is clear that Karan Johar has tried to be very different and unpredictable with the music of "Kaal". But I feel that he might have interfered too much with the soundtrack, he did not let the music producers get on with their own thing. When left to their own devices, Salim-Suleiman have proved that they can come up with an unusual strong rock/pop soundtrack like "Darna Mana Hai". With "Kaal", however, they only seem to be a shadow of their usual selves.