Wednesday, December 31, 2008

summARRy :-)

A roundup of this year's releases

It’s been a wonderful year for ARR fans! And since I couldn't review a single album this time around, felt I'd atleast summarisze my opinions on the music that the maestro has given us this year.
While Sakkarakatti was the only release in Tamil this year, it had Taxi Taxi staying atop mediocrity and getting record aritime on radios!! Personally the best song in the album in my opinion would be Naan Eppothu. Yes, I've always rated Meenaxi as one of Rahman sir's all time best albums, and I can't find a better song in Sakkarakatti than the dubbed version of Yeh Rishta. Yele would probably come second, albeit the surprising Corrs inspired violin piece! Taxi Taxi was a good commercial number to shake a leg to, and it was destined to be a hit among the masses.

Coming to Ada, in Rahman sir's words, it's been a musical journey over years. And the journey shows. There were probably a few disappointments initially while listening to this album. But quite a few of the songs have grown and assumed a place in the heart. Be it the two versions of Ishq Ada Hai, with special mention to the singing in the female version, or the lilting Mehrbaan and its instrumental version, or the pick of the album, Hawa Sun, Rahman sir's quest for novelty shows. And how! Yes, personally I expected a lot from Gumsum and Gulfisha and was let down, but the songs I mentioned, just about made up for the disappointment. Overall, a good album.

Jaane tu...Jaane Tu Ya Jaane naaa(trumpet piece plays). Every time Rahman sir forays into Jazz, it gets a select few admirers all excited. And I proudly belong to that elite group :D Yes, this is easily one of the best jazz influenced songs Indian cinema has ever seen. And this song set the expectations sky high. Maybe the average listener would find it too profound to enjoy and might settle for a foot-tapper like Pappu can't dance, Jaane Tu has something magical about it. Not to forget the lovely strings bgm in the sad version of Jaane tu meri kya hai and that beautiful progression when she sings "Jaana jaana kaise tune na jaana" in the female version of the song! Trademark Rahman! Not to forget the two songs by Rashid Ali, Kabhi kabhi and Kahin To. I liked Kabhi kabhi instatnly, and though the passion to listen to it may have waned now, I still think it's the simplicity and honesty in the song that made it a chartbuster. Nazrein milana is one song I still enjoy every second of. Be it the wonderful use of vocals, the country-ish arrangements or the overall happiness the song creates, this song comes a close second to the classy title song in this album.

My initial reaction to Yuvaraaj was - what's with the synth arpegiator and scale changes in every song! Btw the synth arpegiator is my way of putting the "ta-ta-taun ta-ta-taun" thing that is evident in a lot of Sir's songs these days :-) Dil Ka Rishta, Mastam, Man Mohini, Tu Meri Dost, Tu Muskura, Zindagi... I choose to leave out the rest. Each song grew on me eventually to the point I dreamt about meeting Shreya and crooning Tu Meri Dost with her. There are different parts of each song that stand out. Tu Meri Dost with great singing by Benny and Shreya, Rahman sir's lovely take and the counters between him and shreya are mesmerising. Tu muskura, Manmohini and Tu meri dost, with traces of each other in them, yet standing out individually as brilliant compositions have always stayed in my playlist. Zindagi is a typical ARR melody, but should've been a Tamil song. overall what I initially thought was ordinary fare has grown tremendously to become on of my top favourites from Sir this year. I didn't expect the movie to do well, and it went on to become one of the biggest flops of the year. Rahman sir, please stop giving wonderful songs to mediocre filmmakers!
Ghajini had all the hype one expects of an Aamir Khan movie. I haven't seen the movie yet, but the songs are already topping the charts. Behka is brilliant, and that sax tone is out of the world!! Next comes Aye Bachu. Guzaarish might the public favourite, but I find it pretty normal, Take nothing away from Javed Ali, who has been one of the best finds of late. But this song simply fails to live up to the standards Rahman sir has set for himself. Shreya's feel in Latoo is worth mention. Coming to Kaise Mujhe, apart from Benny's pronunciation, everything about this song is mesmerizing. And Shreya Ghoshal, if you are reading this, let me tell you, I'm totally in awe! Thank you for becoming a singer!

Slumdog Millionaire came as a pleasant surprise this year. And it’s a matter of great pride that it is winning Rahman sir accolades all over! Liquid Dance, Mausam and Escape, Latika's theme and of course O Saaya are pieces I’ve been looping for long now. With Boys, Rahman sir started a new trend of programmed electronic music. Every other film that followed had thumpy vst driven numbers. With Slumdog, Rahman sir has raised the bar and redefined the art of programming in music.
Overall I’ve noticed a general tendency to use multiple vocals in the same song, increased use of ooh’s and aah’s, that synth arpgiator I was talking about, and a melodeon/harmonica type sound these days in Rahman sir’s music. Of course we aren’t complaining J
This post wouldn't be complete without mentioning a dark moment in Indian film music. The passing away of H.Sridhar sir. The man behind the Rahman sound. Listening to Slumdog Millionaire, I wonder why providence didn't let greatness last a little longer in the form of Sridhar Sir. You will be greatly missed sir.

To sum up, here are my top ten picks of Rahman sir's music this year:

Tu Bole
Liquid Dance
Tu Meri Dost Hai
Hawa Sun
O Saaya
Jaane Tu meri Kya hai
Man Mohini
Mausam and Escape
Dil ka Rishta
Nazrein Milana Nazrein Churana

Songs that almost made it:
Ishq Ada Hai
Kaise Mujhe (for Shreya!)

Disclaimer: These are solely my individual opinions and you are welcome to contradict them (in your own blogs of course ;-) )