I didn’t quite like the vocals in Sajna (which I believe is done by Vince Vaughn, he is supposed to have recorded a song for the movie), mainly due to the corny lyrics, but Rahman’s mesmerizing arrangement is more than enough to have you hooked to the track. The big surprise comes in the next track. How often do you get to hear Tamil song playing in a Hollywood soundtrack? Well here is one for you, Rahman crooning a chirpy Kuru Kuru set to a mildly folksy orchestration. A really addictive track this one, as I am discovering at this precise moment (thanks to a close friend for deciphering the lyrics). Jason and Cynthia Suite on the other hand begins on a more solemn note, Rahman employing all his orchestral splendour to a gradual buildup over three minutes before springing a surprise mode change to a more folksy segment led by the flute for the next two minutes. Nana which comes next, has a lot of tribal sounding words interspersed with rap in a carnivalesque track. I couldn’t discern Blaaze’s voice among the rappers. And I think the kid’s voice belongs to Rahman’s son Alim who had reportedly recorded a song in this movie.
In spite of a slight resemblance to Jaage Hai‘s orchestral sequence in its grand opening, Tour of the Villas is an absolute treat, an instrumental and more elaborately orchestrated version of Sajna. Strangely enough for a minute-long segment in between the song goes into a karaoke mode without a leading tune, just the backing instruments playing on. Of course that takes no credit off this short and sweet track. Meeting Marcel, the next track, is a spiritual song, albeit arranged in a sinister manner. While the first half with a folk tinge is dominated by the flute, the latter half taking on a darker tone belongs to the violins. Itinerary is typical background track material rather than something intended for a CD. It is made up of a sequence of different tunes which wouldn’t make much sense unless listened to while watching the movie. Undress sounds very Indian and very nicely so, thanks to the extensive use of ghatam, no negative connotation intended mind you. Lasting just over 1.5 minutes, this track would have been a perfect fit in a movie like Lagaan or Swades. It will be interesting to see how the picturisation of this happens (my interest has nothing to do with the title I assure you!).
Sharks is another mindblowing track albeit a totally classical-oriented one (Puriya Dhanasri/Panthuvarali the raga is I guess). With the violins playing at a frantic pace to an equally frenzied percussion, this song took me back to Rahman’s classic Hai Rama for a moment. Luau refers to a Hawaiian feast. And John O’Brien’s sole score for the movie is quite evocative of the party mood with its very native arrangement. Salvadore is superb fusion, Kailash Kher’s well executed Hindustani tarana (similar to thillana in Carnatic) mixed brilliantly with a Latin/Middle Eastern instrumentation. Intervention is another track marked by its orchestral opulence, and the combo with Rahman’s soulful humming is quite deadly! The result, another totally riveting track.
Similar to Itinerary, The Waterfall also features a collation of varied tunes which would be better viewed than listened to. Rahman produces an elegant reprise to Jason and Cynthia Suite with Jason and Cynthia Piano Theme, cutting down on the orchestral elements and making it more easy on the ear. Things are rounded off with another bouncy track, Animal Spirits, which starts off as a spruced up version of Jason and Cynthia theme but then moves on along a different line for about two minutes where things take a turn, with a revisit to the opening sequence of Tour of the Villas.
After a long hiatus post winning the Oscars suddenly there is a deluge of Rahman songs. While Blue was more commercialised and Passage at a more esoteric one, Couples Retreat combines a bit of both. Honestly I didn’t expect a Rahman soundtrack to displace Passage from the position of his best soundtrack this year, so soon! And now the million dollar question is, will the movie turn out to be worth such a brilliant effort. Hope it does. You can listen to the soundtrack here.
Music Aloud’s rating – 8.5/10
Recommended tracks – Kuru Kuru, Salvadore, Intervention, Tour of the villas, Undress
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