Musical pastiche

SuperHeavy, the "Rock supergroup" that includes musicians from across the globe, is out with its first self-titled album today. The Guide got an exclusive opportunity to listen to it ahead of its worldwide release

We have good news and bad news about SuperHeavy's eponymous first album. The good news is that if you were severely underwhelmed by the only two songs that have been released online so far, Miracle Worker and Satyamev Jayate, the rest of the album is decidedly better. A pastiche of various musical styles ranging from Reggae to Latin-Jazz with influences of Bollywood and typical Synth-Pop, SuperHeavy is definitely not a boring album to listen to.

SuperHeavy consists of Mick Jagger, Joss Stone, Dave Stewart, Damian
Marley, and AR Rahman

Which brings us to the bad news. SuperHeavy, possessing some of the most talented musicians currently on the planet -- Rolling Stones vocalist Mick Jagger, Bollywood composer AR Rahman, British soul singer Joss Stone, former Eurythmics guitarist Dave Stewart and Reggae's heir apparent Damian Marley (Bob Marley's son) -- carries with it a hefty responsibility of living up to the wild expectations of fans across the globe. The chances of that happening, as we think after listening to the record, are unfortunately not very high.

The album opens with a self-titled track -- an upbeat Reggae-Pop song with omnipresent high-gain guitars, lush vocal arrangements and a mellifluous Rahman vocal solo. Its carnivalesque feel is infectious, but the song is repetitive and sounds like it's trying to oversell itself as well as the band.

One of the main problems here is that there's too much of Jagger and far too little of Stone and her powerful mezzo-soprano voice. This is most evident on One Day One Night. It's a fabulously arranged song filled with warm tremolo guitars that the Rolling Stones frontman ruins with terrible vocals. He sounds like a cross between Buddy Guy and Jim Morrison at his drunken worst.

To be fair, he does redeem himself somewhat with the power-ballad Never Gonna Change. But the vocals are only really good when it's either Stone singing solo (best exemplified by Common Ground) or the two of them belting it out a la Gimme Shelter on up-tempo numbers like Energy (destined to be movie montage/trailer music) and I Can't Take It No More.

SuperHeavy are at their best when they're introspective as is evident in I Don't Mind, possibly the album's best song. Marley's new age Reggae and Dancehall sensibilities seem to make up the sonic glue holding the band together, while Rahman's experiments on Satyamev Jayate and Mahiya (reminiscent of Satrangi Re from the movie Dil Se) are a bit of a hit-and-miss.

The album is definitely several notches above most music made nowadays but SuperHeavy, on first listen at least, does not bowl one over. Perhaps it's an album that needs to grow on you, much like some of the greatest music ever made. Multiple listens will, perhaps, tell if this album is worthy enough to be filed under 'Great Music', but we wouldn't keep our fingers crossed. 

The album, which comprises 12 songs, comes in two editions: Standard (Rs 395) and Deluxe (Rs 495). The former has a bonus track Mahiya, whereas the latter has that and three other songs:  Warring People, Common Ground and Hey Captain

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