Idin - “Revolution”
Taraneh Enterprises Inc.
While there were only a couple of years between “The Voice” and “Guess”, it took more than four years for Idin’s third album to finally see the light of day. The recent years have been both fiscally and politically turbulent for the LA-industry and the tough times have taken toll on the album releases. There is consequently a new reigning order which the albums that have made it through had been forced to face. Whether this situation has had anything to do with the release of this particular album taking four years we cannot tell for sure. The new album titled “Revolution” has also meant a change of label from Avang, which both of his previous albums had been released on, to Taraneh. Idin himself has been involved in the production of this album, mainly as the producer but also composer and lyricist in one case. He has been accompanied by two of his long-time collaborators, namely Farzin Farhadi in one composition and Roma Kanyan in the arrangement of the entire album. Lyrics of one song are by Mina Jalali and Parsa H has several lyrics and compositions on the album. “Revolution” features also two pieces written and composed by the legendary Jahanbakhsh Pazoki.
The album opens with a dramatic intro where Idin word-storms the definition of revolution and expresses his idea of solution.
Next comes the first Pazoki creation called “Hamvatan”, where Eastern elements blend neatly with Western counterparts. It’s a neat and mellow retro tune with strong lyrics, which unfortunately is rather forgettable due to the lack of solid formation.
“Bachehaaye Kooche” continues the formula and turns into a DESI BEAT song, which just like the previous song is too shapeless to leave a lasting impression. After a while you just hear the beat while everything else gets tuned right out!
With a ROCK “Dorough” tries to pick things up and manages to do that, almost! It’s definitely a shape up compared to what we have heard so far but still lacks the currency which makes a song sound current.
The second Pazoki creation is called “Faatehe Sahne”. It’s about the singer of the song, Idin in this case, being the conqueror of the stages in an ADULT CONTEMPORARY style of song. It has both oriental and continental influences, a neat and catchy chorus but incredibly outdated composition and arrangement. Sounding like a relic from the 90’s!
Time for the first ballad of the album. “Yaadam Midi” is on par with the rest of the album’s shapelessness, despite a retro-romantic organic arrangement.
Next song is an Afghan inspired POP song, which is pretty formulaic but neat. “Kashki Mishod” is a song for all you sing-along fans out there. Probably the most commercially potential song on the album, as it is the only one which is playable on dance-floors!
“Shayea (shhh …)” is another one of the albums shapeless tracks, with the same outdated Eastern/Western arrangement that by now has become a fact in this album.
The second ballad “Lezzat” has beautiful and strong lyrics, however very outdated when it comes to an attempt to classic composition and arrangement.
If you have enjoyed the album’s Hollywood-Orientalistic musical concept then you will enjoy “Nefrin”, topped with an extra amount of Idin’s signature wailing as icing on the cake. I however pass, I’m full!
Thank you! Finally comes a message in the night, a song that is lyrically and musically coherent and current and makes the nationalistic theme of the album justice. Unlike the rest of the album “Shabnaame” is neither pretentious nor outdated! And the wailing is kept to a digestible minimum. It’s simply exquisite. Nothing complicated, yet elegant. Which makes one wonder why the rest of album stand in such contrast, even though created by same crew?!
And this revolutionary album ends appropriately with the title-track “Enghelaab” which is a song written by Idin himself. I have to say that it’s one of the better songs on the album and it puzzles me that Idin hasn’t written more on the album. I have to say that it even surpasses Pazoki’s two compositions! The song is even lyrically solid, so hopefully we’ll hear him doing more creation on his future albums.
Idin’s two previous albums are among the highest ranking albums in my list of nearly three hundred album reviews through the past eight years. Those were both albums that were clear and present in their ambition and production, both artistically and spiritually aligned with the zeitgeist of their time. Unfortunately this is not the case with this third album. There is no question about the spiritual ambition of “Revolution”, as the defined and charged lyrics of several songs are like a manifest written to salute a nation and support a generation that fights for its right to freedom. That part of the production is clear as crystal. What is not though, is the artistic ambition and direction of the album. It is that half that causes massive confusion for me as a fan of Idin’s previous works and a reviewer. The change of style from “The Voice” to “Guess” was evolution defined; the developments were natural and all traceable. You could see how he had come from that point to this point. The change of style from “Guess” to “Revolution”, however, is extreme and in no way explainable by normal means. If the album’s title is to pin down this extreme change in artistic direction, then it does the job perfectly. Because only revolution can define such extreme makeover, not evolution. And the main problem with revolutions is that they often do not make complete sense to everyone when occurring, instead they are best understood and analyzed in retrospect.
So the confusion I’m feeling right now might be a temporary estate. Nevertheless I fail to understand the changes in artistic image and style, the artistic ambition and direction of the music and its connection to the strong theme and message of the lyrics of the album. The lyrics are the only element in this album that are in line with the zeitgeist of this album, they are current and contemporary. While the music feels old and obsolete, even though arranged by Roma Kanyan whose arrangements I have praised in the past. No matter how I try I cannot make these unrelated elements configure and connect. I think the cover of the album shows this stylistic incompatibility of elements perfectly! Like I said, there might be a statement Idin is making by trying to mix political oppression and social despair, fashionable flamboyance and Hollywood style of Orientalism into one single entity. Perhaps there is influence by the “Prince of Persia” motion picture? Either way it’s confusingly conceptualized and executed. “Hatef” once tried to do a similar fusion in the album “Safir”, which didn’t work. “Revolution” simply does not sound like Idin, I’m sure Idin disagrees with me, rightfully so; nevertheless this is how I feel. We’ll see if time will affect my impression and evaluation or not.
Overall Performance: ++
Artistic Ambition: --
Commercial Potential: --
Aesthetic Presentation: --
Ethical Adherence: +++
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