Click on each song title to listen to the song.
Though that accordion solo from the MTV Unplugged episode is missed, A R Rahman makes up for that with a lot of other soothing additions to the movie version of Nenjukkulle. Particularly beautiful among those are Naveen Iyer’s folksy flute bits. A lot of other things are still pretty much the same, Shaktisree Gopalan’s spotless delivery over a “sea” of advancing-receding violin sounds and Keba Jeremiah’s guitar. Elay Keechan is the song that stays closest to the kadal theme albeit in a distinctly Western way, with George Doering’s country-based (I thought there is reggae, but this @jayaramkasi insists that it is not a reggae rhythm) guitar riffs and the brilliant use of vocal harmonies from Vijay Narain and Suchith Sureshan (absolutely hooked to the Ema Seela segment), topping all of which is the composer’s own jaunty singing. The result – a song I have been starting my work day with all of this week, and probably will for quite a few days to come! Moongil Thottam has Abhay Jodhpurkar getting off to a super debut (ok apparently this is not his debut @_viju tells me, he has sung previously in Konjam Coffee Konjam Kaadhal) complementing to a tee the awesome-as-always Harini (aah the joy of listening to the lady sing for ARR again!). And complementing the two singers equally well is the arrangement comprising mainly of a plethora of string instruments and a sprinkling of accordion phrases.
Yes, Vijay Yesudas is sincere in his rendition of Vairamuthu’s seemingly contemplative lines in Chitthirai Nila. And yes, the ambient arrangement is quite nice as it builds up gradually from the tranquil opening to a crescendo-esque end. The only problem I have is that the ARR-Vijay Yesudas combo is beginning to sound a bit repetitive to me, Rahman seems to be giving Vijay the same kind of songs every time. In this case the song does have enough fuel to mitigate that factor, but I hope to hear something really different from this team next time. If I were to choose a “debutant of the soundtrack”, that would be Sid Sriram for the apparent ease with which he pulls off the mind-blowingly nuanced rendering of Madhan Karky’s imaginative verses in Adiye. In fact it is easy to draw parallels with Aaromale, the passionate singing, the blues-base et al – just that while Aaromale had a guitar-led arrangement taking on a rock flavor, here it follows the gospel route riding on the piano. And the effect is almost as stunning, particularly for the vocals – even the chorus (Maria Roe Vincent) has been employed superbly. More top class vocals are in display in the next song, Anbin Vaasale, where Haricharan gets behind the mic alongside the Chennai Chorale. With the choir’s fabulous harmonies, Haricharan’s soulfulness and Rahman’s orchestral opulence (loved the bells!) combining to create multiple goose bump-inducing moments, I am at the moment rooting for this as the best song of the soundtrack. The only song that failed to impress me entirely is Magudi – barring those initial few seconds of techno-thavil fusion, the song has nothing particularly interesting to offer, not even in Aaryan Dinesh Kanagarathnam, Chinmayi and Tanvi Shah‘s vocals. It also bears a heavy hangover from some of ARR’s past techno-based songs.
Not exactly the kind of music I expected when I first heard the name Kadal, but that doesn’t take anything away from the awesomeness of this soundtrack. A R Rahman does it again for Mani Ratnam with an exquisite mix of genres not often heard in Tamil.
Music Aloud Rating: 9/10
Top Recos: Anbin Vaasale, Adiye, Nenjukkulle, Elay Keechan, Moongil Thottam