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People Like Us by A.R. Rahman (Review)

posted Jul 10, 2012, 9:15 PM by Kaya Savas

To American audiences A.R. Rahman is known as the Slumdog Millionaire composer. Danny Boyle used him once again for 127 Hours and he was able to prove that he is not just an "Indian" composer. People Like Us is indeed an interesting choice for the composer and he does indeed demonstrate a more mature and subtle side. People Like Us is writer Alex Kurtzman's directorial debut, and he noted that music was a very important part of the film. Based off the score you can tell how integral the score is. The music is a very distinct narrative as the score flows in dramatic fashion with subtle character nuances and emotional beats.

It's really tough to make a modern un-stylized drama score without being one-note and boring. This is a character drama that is solely about the characters and their lives. There is no crazy situations or aliens or anything for the music to absorb. The score absorbes the characters and Rahman is able to mold a very nice story of it. The score works as a whole piece and must be experiences as a full listen from beginning to end. There really aren't any standout tracks that define the score. He introduces his central motif in the first track and that serves as the structure for the whole score's soundscape. The piano and guitar are the most notably featured instruments and as naturally solo instruments they add a distinct human touch to the music. As we come to the end we wrap up the subtle journey in a heartwarming fashion. Everything works out at the end of this story and while some people may find that cliche and cheesy, it does leave you with a nice feeling inside.

The score is thoroughly enjoyable and does a lot by doing very little. The tone stays pretty much the same the whole way through, and that may be my only gripe. It rarely shifts into heavy emotional territory and because of that it's hard to pick up the conflict of the story within the music. A.R. Rahman handles the whole thing very well and executes it with a uniformed touch. It may be too one-note at times, but the strength of the story in the music makes the characters very identifiable and it becomes a human story we can all feel. An above average modern drama score that shows A.R. Rahman's more universal side.