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Needhane En Ponvasandham: Rise of Raaja

22 Sep

The greatest joy for an Ilaiyaraja fan is to see the maestro come back to his past pristine form as he was in the glorious 80’s. It surely has happened with Needhane En Ponvasandham (as it has with a few albums recently like Sri Ramarajyam, Dhoni etc). Almost all the 8 songs are brilliant and here are the best things (worst only where applicable) about each of the songs. Saying that I was awaiting this album would be an understatement and I was very scared whether the album will match the hype and I am so elated that Raja has indeed delivered and how! Its like having your prayers answered.

  1. Kaatrai Konjam: A song which became an instant hit at the time when it was previewed itself. It triggered lots of discussions in the web and increased the hunger of all the fans. Its a masterpiece as its quite complex and the staggering variety of instruments used in this is heard to be believed. I have listened to it almost 50 times in the last 20 days and its a song with so many layers. The usage of strings (London Orchestra), the mild electric guitar, the piano, the 7/8 beat. the saxophone counters, we can go on & on about it. The choice of Karthik also is perfect and he sings it with great gusto and gaiety. The tune progressions in the charanam and the supporting counterpoints are too amazing and Ilaiyaraja’s class is written all over the song.
  2. Mudhal Murai: This is called an high-energy song. IR shows that you need not create a heavy-beat Kuthu song, you can infuse enough energy into a song with a bunch of cellos/double bass/a great voice like Sunidhi Chauhan! What a wonderful song it is and the most striking thing about it is the first interlude where the violin is played in a high-pitched western style, its pure goosebumps stuff. Once again choosing Sunidhi for this was a great idea and she delivers more than expected.
  3. Sattru Munbu: Ramya is a revelation and her western-styled voice suits this song to a T. Once again a fantastic tune by the maestro and he leverages the power of the live orchestra very well in this song. As usual, the charanams are fabulous and so unique with the notes being multi-layered. This is a song in the album which just grows on you after a few listens.
  4. Saaindhu Saaindhu/Yedhi Yedhi: I have purposely added the Telugu version of this song beause Yuvan is unbearable in this song. He just kills the glorious tune. That is why I have the Telugu version of this song sung wonderfully by Shaan & Ramya. This is a vintage Ilaiyaraja tune loosely based on Mohanam and makes for a great listen. Yuvan definitely must not sing and his voice is suitable only for niche songs as the one below.
  5. Pengal Yendral: This is a song which I used to skip as I stupidly assumed that it would be bad owing to the rock tune and Yuvan singing. I was totally wrong and this song suits Yuvan’s voice and is a killer tune. The distortion guitar usage and the unpredictability of the tune are the things that make it unique. I strongly feel that this is one of the best songs sung by Yuvan ( I know that list is very small). One more beauty in this song is towards the end where the distortion guitar starts playing after skipping one beat after Yuvan finishes the line and its gives an awesome effect.
  6. Pudikale Maamu: Somehow I have not yet started liking this song, who knows I may be wrong again 🙂
  7. Vaanam Mella: Once again a good tune and maybe the choice of singers could have been better. IR & Bela Shinde singing this diminishes the beauty of the song and I strongly feel that with better singers singing it would have been much better. Strangely even Bela who normally sings well, sounds out of sorts in this song especially in the higher octaves. The orchestration again is very good with great usage of strings and some wind instrument (not sure what it is, maybe Oboe).
  8. Yennodu Va Va: A superb song sung amazingly by Karthik, it has a retro feel to it and the first interlude is sheer magic. The charanam progression is almost like waves falling on each other and I am constantly humming this song., the second interlude becomes a little synthy but thank God its not too overpowering and Karthik’s voice stands tall. IR again uses a blowing instrument which sounds totally apt for this retro’ish tune.

In my opinion 6 of the 8 songs are extremely good and this is definitely a Grand Slam album by Ilaiyaraja. A million thanks also to Gautham Menon for making Ilaiyaraja push his boundaries. Somehow he has the knack of having great music for all his movies.

Uliyin Osai—Masterstroke from Maestro Ilaiyaraja

22 Dec

Uliyin Osai has to be one of THE best soundtracks of Maestro Ilaiyaraja at least considering the 2 stunning classical compositions in it. I am now only able to FULLY appreciate the genius of the songs, especially Aganthaiyil, Pulargindra, Kaalathai Vendra and Kallai Irundhen. Instead of writing about these, I would like you to read a brilliantly written post here. After reading it, I am enjoying the songs even more! It will give you a clear idea about the intricacies of the compositions tuned by Maestro Ilaiyaraja and how he THINKS in a different plane altogether. Though I am not so well-versed in classical music, I am still hooked to these songs, just imagine the classical connoisseurs, how much bliss they would be deriving from these songs!

Laptop:Music Review

3 Nov

Laptop is a Malayalam movie which released about 2 months back. The movie sank at the box office but the music of the movie by acclaimed Carnatic vocalist, Sreevalsan Menon, was fantastic! The album had all soft, ghazal-like numbers, which is quite common in Malayalam films. Almost all the numbers are very soothing but there are 2 melodies which were outstanding- Etho Jalashankkil and Maymassame. The first one is a duet sung by Amal Antony/Sonia and the second one is sung by Amal alone. The tunes are so celestial that I am addicted to them and listen to them almost everyday, atleast once. Its pure bliss!
Sreevalsan Menon has already released many carnatic-based albums-the best one that I have heard is Monsoon Anuraaga(compositions in all rain raagaas) which is a brilliant album. I really appreciate Sreevalsan in Laptop because, being a great singer himself, he has not sung all the songs but has given an opportunity to Amal Antony (winner of Gandharva Sangeetham 2006), whose singing is fabulous. I hope and pray that Sreevalsan Menon gets more such chances to compose and Amal gets to sing more. The varnachitram blog has a great detailed review here of Laptop’s music.