Friday, December 16, 2005

I tend to listen to music as loud as possible, especially ARR's because I can then listen to the little treats he throws in. I was forced to listen to his music on my headphones because of the fact that I was listening to 'Hai Rama' at the highest volume that my laptop will allow, at 2 am on a weekday. I figured that neither my roomies nor my neighbors would really appreciate it as much as I always do when it comes to ARR. Not only did I get the little treats he threw in there, I also was gobsmacked at how different and how much more there is to the same song when listened to on the headphones. The first song I listened to (after Hai Rama!) was Anthimanthaarai's instrumental. I always thought that ARR excelled at instrumentals/themes, but you have to listen to this piece on your headphones to realise how beautifully he mixes his music. I could hear the flute on one headpiece and the violins on the other. When I pulled away and covered one headpiece I could hear only the flute being played, and when I pulled away the other all I could hear was the violin. Oh well, that's just the tip of the iceberg. Listening to Narumugaye is always a treat, but listening to it on the headphones, is another experience. The chalangai sound moves from one side to the other giving you this circular feeling. Out of reach in one ear and into another. Is it just my imagination or can everybody else also hear the breathing in the beginning of the song? I've listened to Snehidane, I don't know how many times, but on the headphones, I got not only certain nuances I had missed before but also the same ARR-chalangai effect. Anbe Aaruyire had this secondary singing effect in the chorus. I tried hard to get whether the second voice was also ARR's but am still unsure. Even his No Problem has some of those switching sides deals. I've listened to RDB several times at work on the headphones, and noticed some of these effects in Khalbali, and why not? I think its the one song I've listened to over and over again, and still find something new, something minute. The Zarra Zarra... part moves from one side to the other, I think this however is something that's present in all ARR songs. Maramkothiye has more than a little bit of the switchin' sides deal. I have this feeling that I'm going to be listening to all of his songs again to see whether he does this to all his songs or just a few. I know that the mrindangam sound has been split in Minsara Poove. Even in Anbe Ithu... piano notes can be heard only in one earpiece. These are only to name a few. I'm very excited, this is like listening to ARR all over again, the experience listening to his music as it it were a new piece. Only it's a old well-loved piece.

On a more negative note, I actually got to watch the videos of Ah Aah..Anbe Aaruyire. I did not get to see the movie so I don't know the context of the songs. Was the title song supposed to be a joke? If it wasn't then I want to kill SJ Suryah for killing the song. The biggest letdown was Mayilirage. OH MY GOD?! We need to take lessons from SJ Suryah on how to kill a song totally by way of picturisation. One of the most beautiful songs of the movie and all I could see is this kinda pretty unknown actress' bloated stomach dancing on screen. Oh wait, I also saw some very unimaginative 'dancing'. Can it even be called that? It's almost sacrilegous!!! There's gotta be a law against such work! Why does ARR still make music for this guy?

Friday, December 09, 2005

Rang De Basanti

Oh...My...God!!! Seriously, I know I'm biased and all that, but I really wasn't expecting this one to be as mind-blowing as it obviously is. When I heard parts of the title track and Paathshaala, I wasn't too impressed, but I chalked it down to the "repeated listening - then liking" syndrome that Vijay referred to in his comment to my last post. I did eventually start liking and then got hooked on both of the tracks in a couple of days. After having listened to all the songs more than a few times, I'd say this lot reeks of ARR from a while back. There are some of his melodious pieces too, even Kaadhalan had Ennavale, and Kaadhal Desam had Ennai Kaavilaye. But it was the wilder numbers that stood out and made the youth of the nation stand up and take notice of him. But it's been a while since ARR did anything that sounded young and just plain fun in Hindi. The inclusion of Paathshala and given the amount of publicity that that one song is getting should do wonders for the lack of a hit for him. Well, atleast I hope it does.

The title track starts off very well..Daler, the King of Bhangra, does full justice to yet another bhangra number. Chitra was barely used at all. There could have been some more of her singing in the song. This song is one of those no win songs. It's a let down in that ARR didn't do anything new here. But if he had done something there'd be this big hue and cry about how he messed with bhangra . It wouldn't be bhangra anymore, would it then? Oh well, I remember him saying something about how the North is bored with the steady diet of bhangra it's being fed. Why this song then? I agreed with him. While the song was definitely an enjoyable and a good piece, I feel he sold himself short for a hit, something he hasn't had since what Saathiya? or was it Yuva? To which I would say, his music is awesome and mind-blowing without him having to resort to what everybody else is doing right now. Didn't we all start liking his music because he was making music that was vastly different from those who came before him and his peers? Besides the beginning seemed familiar, and with good reason. Paarthale Paravasam's Moonrezhuthu has the same tune to it. Oh well, it fits and it sounds good, what more can a person ask for?

Moving on, I loved the way Roobaroo started out and liked it even better when ARR starts out with the title of the song. Very non-hindi filmi. Or maybe it's just that I've been out of touch with most Hindi movies and their songs since the Salaam Namaste fiasco. Naresh Iyer sounds like he'd fit right in a pop song. Having heard him doing some heavy duty singing in Ah Aah (Mayilirage)...makes me think he's a very versatile singer. There are, however, some parts where he doesn't quite sound right, or where I can't appreciate his singing. The seconds in some parts remind me of Simon and Garfunkel. Very likable song.

Khoon Chala - Beautiful song. Everything in this song lends itself to prefection. I think this song depends on picturisation for it to be something big though. I hope Aamir obliges.

My abso fav initially - which totally rocked my socks off was Paathshaala. Granted I had some more exposure to the growing effect, but man this song just rocks. The lyrics had me smiling despite the way my body was swaying to the music. Loved it, loved it, loved it!! Was Aamir a part of the song? As in did he sing? Esp. the apni to paathshaala, masti ki paathshaala part. I read some other review where someone said that the song reminded them of a Michael Jackson number. I can see where that came from, theres a part where the electric guitar(?) is strummed on. I think I vaguely rememeber an MJ song that had it in one part. I don't know if it was lift or not. I'm thinking not, as nothing else in the song reminds me of any MJ song. Anyways, the song rocks (even though its not a rock song). I wonder how ARR would deal with an out-and-out rock number. Now that's a thought that's I'd really like to see materialised!

Paathshaala - Be a Rebel is pretty much the same with Blaaze rappin' it up. He always does a good job. I think he wrote the lyrics for this one. I liked the Zinda-bad Zinda-good part. It was cute. I'm fairly sure he wouldn't appreciate his lyrics being termed as 'cute'. What can I say, it was cute-funny. The song was neat.

I liked the way Khalbali opened. Hone hone de nasha, khone khone ko hai kya, ek saas main pi ja, zara zindagi chada.... I really liked this part. Didn't like the Ziddi parts in the songs. This one grew on me. Really liked it after the 6th or 7th time I heard it. Kinda tecnho, there's so much happening. Now that's something to expect in an ARR piece. Tecnho+arabic+some string instrument in some parts+ARR singing(albeit with accent issues) = one awesome piece. My current fav of the album! It's been exactly 10 years since his last Arabesque song was released, and he doesn't disappoint.

My first impression of Lukka Chupi - starts out great. A tad too long but still not bad at all. Would call it pretty darn good. ARR still doesn't seem to have his Hindi accent down pat. Kya bataVun maa kahan hooon main. Kya main vudnen...It's surprising how ARR sounds so different in each song. Sounds very nasal in Lukka chupi. Did he have a mild cold when he recorded the song? I think if he'd been singing the song in Tamil he'd have done a way better job. I think he was too busy concentrating on the pronunciation of the words that he couldn't quite figure the feeling into his singing. I didn't particularly like the sound of the harmonium in the background but it's growing on me too. I think he did great in Kannalane with the use of the harmonium, but I didn't think it really fit in here. Despite that, the song is very likable. His rendition towards the end was awesome.

All the slow numbers are vintage ARR. Tu bin bataye was great, just didn't like the way Madhushree draaags on parts. Tu bin Bataaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaye, mujhe leeeeeeeeeeeee chal kahin, jahan tu muskuraaaaaaaaaye meri mannnnnnzil wahin. Meeeeeeeeeethi lage.... and so on and so forth. Beautiful, beautiful number though. I usually think of the sax as something that's played at the dentists and on phones when they put you on hold. I loved the way ARR's used it here. I also think Sonu Nigam would have been a better choice with the male singer. The church bells are a nice touch too. I know he tends to do this with a new find...overuse him/her. He sure did that with Naresh Iyer in this movie. He could have used some other singers as well, is what I think.

Lalkaar cannot really be judged as a song. It's more like poetry being recited to a background of humming and some singing. Ek Onkar is similar is that it is a short prayer (?). It's not really a song. It's a beautiful prayer.

Overall, I'd say he refrained from using his favs: Udit Narayan, Hariharan and Sadhana Sargam. Given that there's just one female in the movie: Soha Ali Khan, I'm guessing there wasn't a call for many female singers. He did use a couple of his regulars: Madhushree and Chitra rather well. Normally he sings one song in his films, I'm surprised that he allowed himself 3 this time around. Hey! I'm not complaining, I think he should do it more. He has a very different voice, it goes hand-in-hand with his different style when it comes to music. I really enjoyed it in Khalbali.

One thing I can say about the sucess of the music is that ARR has played around quite a bit, experimented some. Expectations that rise when seeing the A R Rahman name on a film, might be dashed because most people who are not really acquainted with ARR will not think to listen to the music more than once. I don't see very many people being able to appreciate this album. I think people's tastes lie in different areas that even when they are aware that a song is a copy (and a bad one at that) they will continue to listen to it and extoll the MD for his work. This has been my experience.

These are my views. I tend to be critical of anything and everyone. Bottomlin: I really liked the songs in this movie. Only ARR could possibly render a set of songs that are all almost flawless in and of themselves. I would say that the music of Lagaan was perfect. I would also say that this movie's is not perfect, but is close. Looking forward to his other work with bated breath.

The picture is courtesy of arrahmanfans · Fans of A. R. Rahman. Some of the fans (you lucky lucky ppl) were able to see ARR at the audio release of RDB at Planet M in Mumbai recently. This was one of the pics shared by them.