Thought I’d break the prolonged silence on my blog with a music review :).
SOK Music Rating: 4 and 1/2 out of 5.
I had heard the music of SOK some time ago, because there were a lot of people talking about it, and I was getting requests to post a review. After three weeks of intense personal activities, here is my take on the album (whew…finally :)):
What can I say about AR Rahman, that hasn’t been said before. It can only be a man of pure genius (like him) who can come up with a number like Munbe Vaa En Anbe Vaa. Each time I hear the song, I feel my senses melting – suddenly, nothing else matters in the world and the song takes my body and soul into another dimension altogether. The song starts with a piano interlude (don’t I love songs that start like that :)) and the combination of Shreya Ghosal and Naresh Iyer, that follows, is sheer magic. While her sweet honey-like voice wafts into your ears and fills your being, his husky, silvery tones gently brush alongside hers and sweeps into prominence almost at the end of the song (I would have liked more of Naresh in the song though 😦 )… Rahman blends multiple layers of both the voices to create a masterpiece that only the maestro is capable of. I also love the lyrics (and will be posting it on my song lyrics page soon) – here is the extract that I like the most, because I think it has this spark of naughtiness 😉
Nilavidam vaadagai vaangi
Vizhi veetinil kudi vaikkalaama
Naan vaazhum veettukul verarum vanthaley
Thenmalai thekkukku nee thaan
Unthan thoLgalil idam tharalaama
Naan saayum thOlmel verorum saainthaley…
Neerum sengula chErum
Kalanthathu poley kalanthavar yaar…
The next song that I liked in the album is the other popular number Machakari. I first saw the song on TV before I heard it, and what struck me initially was that it is almost a continuation of Rahman’s experiments with western music. Its a dance number with catchy beats, and will get you to shake your head, tap your feet in tune with it. Shanker and Vasundhara are complete rock stars in this song, and Rahman succeeds in tapping the raw-ness potential in both the voices thereby giving us facets which we haven’t heard earlier; Also another surprising element in the song is that both loud and soft sounds intermingle and there are instruments (that I cannot recognize) playing softly in the background contributing to the multi-layers.
NewYork Nagaram was the surprise piece for me, because I never really expected it to be so addictive. Rahman is in superb form (his voice tugs on my heart); the guitar strings and the hollow chorus in the background is haunting. The perfect song for solitude :), and for commemorating long-distance love, and longing… [Infact, the song is so perfect that I found the visuals in the movie lacking – it was looking like a Tanha Dil (DCH) copy :(]
Jillendru Oru Kaadhal is the opening song of the movie. Very stylishly packaged song – reminds me of the English Broadway musicals in the 60’s, of jazz, the movie Chicago, and Rahman’s own number “Hello Mr. Ethirkatchi” in Iruvar. The voices (Tanvi, and ?) are very cute, I loved the indulgence :).. there is also a stray alley-cat somewhere there. Leave it to Rahman to add a bit like that 😉
Majja Majja: SPB Saran in yet-another-sensual number, with Shreya accompanying him. Reminded me of kaadhal sadugudu… but please don’t compare the visual presentation of the song. Kaadhal sadugudu is a treat for the eyes – sensual and subtle whereas even though Majja Majja is interesting and catchy, the visual in the movie is in-your-face, and there are too many jatkas-matkas that destroy the subtle nuances of play in the song. I was disappointed because this was the song where Surya’s and Jyothika’s chemistry should have set the screens ablaze, but it did nothing of the sort. The song is beautiful – please listen to it while banishing all thoughts of the actual visuals – you’ll enjoy it then.
Maricham: Techno-indulgence. Rahman displays the finesse that he showed in “Dol Dol” in Ayudha Ezhutha, here also. I love what he is doing to Indian contemporary music – we get to hear so many world influences in his pieces nowadays… we’re coming of age :). Some parts of the song have an Enigma hangover, and then some parts of the background that remind me of the Nightrider theme music. I didn’t understand much of the lyrics – I think if I do, I will appreciate this piece more. The “Tejomayam” echo lingers on…
Kummi Adi: This is a track set in the tamil village – exulting over a marriage with elements of the Iyer culture thrown in generous doses within the lyrics. Kummi Adi is the perfect icing on the SOK cake that blends such diametrically different music in the same album. I wish I could understand the lyrics a little bit more – for now, my appreciation of the song is limited to its native flavoring, and of course Naresh’s presence in it 🙂 – Rahman surely knows how to tap the vocal dimensions of this guy – what a contrast Kummi Adi is to Munbe Vaa, Roobaroo and Tu bin bataye.
Summing up, this is one album every Rahman fan needs to have with them. However, when I watched the movie, I did secretly wish that it had been Mani Ratnam instead, to give the perfect visual interpretation to the maestro’s magic… anyway, I guess the effort was good enough. I’d give the movie a rating of 2 and 3/4 (because it wasn’t good enough for a 3)… oh, but then that’s content for a whole new post isn’t it ;).