Mansour - “Faraari”

Taraneh Enterprises Inc.
2005 (1383)

Noroozetaan Pirooz!! WOW!! Two years have past and 100 reviews to be exactly! Why do I even bother to write the reviews, some have asked me during the past two years! Well, mainly because when I myself turned to Iranian music in the late 80’s/early 90’s there were no satellite-TVs nor Internet to get yourself up-to-date via, with recent events and releases, let alone to seek for advanced information about the industry and its history! In terms of media, the only available and reliable source of information for us Europe-based Iranians were the weekly LA-magazines and the annual NOROOZ-shows. I searched and researched the media for NEWS along with interviewing some older music fans and artists for a glimpse into the history. And I would have LOVED to have someone who systematically and periodically presented me with insight and information about my PASSION! But sadly, my dream never came true! A few years ago, by an accident I met someone who reminded me of the thirsty 15-year old that I once was back then! And that’s when the idea of my music reviews was born. Articles that aim to serve the reader by offering personally stored knowledge and gathered information with a twist of relaxed and personal humour! Herby I would like to seize the opportunity and thank you all for sharing this personal achievement and milestone with me, especially those who have been with me all the way from the very first start! I COULD have done it without you, but hey …WHY WOULD I?! So thank you my dear friends for your precious time and attention!!

Mansour is FINALLY back with his highly anticipated new album entitled very cinematically “Faraari”! After having tapped the composer waters in the previous two albums, he has now decided to take on the main responsibility of the album’s music, while collaborating with Babak Roozbeh as the MAIN lyricist along with Fred Mirza, Elton Ahi, M. Cheshmazar, Babak Sahraei and Homa Mirafshar. “Faraari” features 9 tracks and comes in a slipcased COMBO-package together with a 10-piece DVD packed with music-videos from “Divooneh” and “Faraari”. The album is released on Taraneh Enterprises Inc..

Take the BOOT CAMP-chant-rhyming style of “Divooneh” and the “ROAD-MUSIC” mood of “Bezan Berim” and then stress and accelerate things up to an almost insane POUNDING LEVEL and you’ll have the title-track!! “Faraari” is pale and has the charm that any “Divooneh”-REDUX can possibly have, which is next to nothing! Very disappointing, except for the energising pace of the song!

Now while we are at it, lets revive “To Azize Delami” too and revise it into “Mikhaamet”! What can I say, a pretty good song …but an over-used formula!

“Azaadi” is a PROGRESSIVE HI-NRG song with a groove derived partly from Cheshmazar’s “Jesus Christ Superstar”-inspired “Talaagh”-beat! While the song might not seem like a commercial attempt at first, it is an obvious “flirt” with the POLITICAL MUSIC-trend that is currently flowing in LA! While the B- and C-list singers have found a lucrative market in the current freedom movement inside Iran, and the discontented Iranian youths thirst for fuelling anthems in particular, and “afford” to be more explicit in their lyrics and approach, the A-list stars are more cautious and “diplomatic” in their exploration of the market! The try to make sure that their “contributions” are conducted in a way that they can be both interpreted as POLITICAL (when the time is right!) and SPIRITUAL (when it’s NOT!)! So is this a “spiritual freedom“ or “socio-political freedom“?! It’s for Mansour to know, and for you to wonder (*LOL*)!! “Azaadi” is arrangement-wise the most interesting and innovative track on the album.

Well, one thing is for sure! And that is that the commercial success of “To Azize Delami” has motivated an overrepresentation of its sound on this album! “Arezoomeh” is its second representative!

“Doroughgoo” comes as a song in spirit of the “Mano Bebakhsh” sound! Once again, a good song but TOO familiar to sound original!

One song “Divooneh” enjoyed as exclusive and FRESH, was “Gharaaemoon Yaadet Nareh”! A song that managed to “engage” through its different musical, lyrical AND vocal manoeuvres! For the creation of the BALLAD “Yaadete”, however, Mansour and Mirza have made a detour back to 2000 and revived “Benevis” instead! A lovely BALLAD that fails to engage by being too formulaic and generic!

“Shirin” comes as a typical M. Cheshmazar-arranged song with the GHERI and uplifting groove. Even this song is based on the “To Azize Delami”-formula! This is perhaps the most MAINSTREAM song ever preformed by Mansour. A rather nice song in fact!

The ONE-HIT-WONDER Golnaraghi’s OLD CLASSIC “Maraa Beboos” has now been used as a foundation for Mansour and the crew to build their own adaptation/addition on! A song that I had anticipated a long time with high expectations and what a disappointment it turned out to be! If you recognise the melodic ARABESQUE manoeuvres, its because they have been borrowed from Mustafa Sandal’s MEGA-HIT “Aya Benzer”! All these borrowings without any credit to either the originators of “Maraa Beboos” or “Aya Benzer”! An argument in defence of such action would be that most people already KNOW about this legendary song, but on the other hand its never wrong to inform the younger generations about the RIGHT identity of their artistic institutions and heritages!!

Mansour was the second (Shahrum Kashani was the first) of the young LA-based artists to officially release a song in the memory of the victims of the tragic BAM-earthquake! “Eidi Nadaaram” is a very beautiful song in style with his songs from the YAMINI-era! This very same song helped to raise my expectations on this album and is without a doubt THE BEST song on “ Faraari”! I love the dual meaning of this ROMANTIC REQUIM!

Without the slightest hesitation one can easily suggest that “Faraari” is Mansour’s WEAKEST album till date! While the album will still be able to cash in on the last album’s success in the short run, in the long run it is only a FAILED attempt to “commercialisation”! When I wrote the review on his previous album, I blamed the lack of innovation and creativity on the short period of time (only 11 months) between “Zendegi” and Divooneh”, while I also praised him for trying to consolidate an annual record-release tradition! The postponing of the follow-up, however, made me believe that things MIGHT have been starting to happen and perhaps a whole reinvention of the sound was about to take place! Today, after 2,5 years, not only has Mansour let go that grip of the close-kept releases but with the highly anticipated result in hand, I could have not been MORE disappointed! How many copies can one copy and recopy before the original motif becomes virtually transparent? While the OBVIOUS disappointment is in the beyond-a-play-value WASHED-OUT and REPETITIVE sound, its causes should be pointed out and further stressed! Mansour has in this album, more or less single-handedly taken on the responsibility for the album’s compositions! And while it is only positive that a singer elaborates on her/his creative ambitions, she/he must also have a realistic understanding and distance towards the actual “abilities”! Only “aspiration” is simply not enough! A full-fledged composer must have a certain flexibility and versatility, which Mansour unfortunately don’t! His compositions are basically narrowed down to TWO repetitive generic formulas: the “Divooneh”- and the “To Azize Delami”-recipes practically sum it all up! While the compositions are the “Achilles Heel” of “Faraari”, the SCHOOL-YARD-rhyming of Babak contributes further to its dire state! Most albums would “positively” enjoy a couple of Babak’s charming pieces in his TRADEMARK lyrical style, but an ENTIRE album is just tooooooo BIG of a body to nourish with that simplistic style! The ONLY positive and actually innovative thing that the album offers, in terms of musicality, is the arrangement of one single song! The progressive style of “Azaadi” is simply breathtaking and should be further used and developed in the future HI-NRG songs. But pay attention that I said “used”, not “overused”!

The beautiful and innovative “POP ART/Graphic ART” design of the package by Siros Kerdouni and the DVD-collection with a superb A/V-quality are other attractive features of this release! If you are a Mansour Fan, you’ve already picked up the album! But if you don’t know the artist then is “Faraari” NOT the introduction that I would like to recommend!!

(On a Funny side-Note: Last time I heard Mansour’s “Bezan Berim” I was literally “Hitting the Door” while Brian Wayy stopped me and said hey bro, its not the DOOR the kid wants you to HIT in the beginning of the song but rather the Indian instrument DUL! While thanking Brian for his enlightening information and as tempted as the little lewd and decadent SHEYTOONAK in me is to elaborate on the whole “DUL-hitting” conduct (*LOL*) I leave it right there! He he!!)

Artistic Performance: ++
Artistic Ambition: -
Commercial Potential: ++
Technical Quality: ++
Aesthetic Presentation: +++
Ethical Adherence: ++
[ +++ > --- ]


Review by: Pourya E.

Reviews described herein are mere opinions, and must be construed in that manner only! In other words they are not absolute!