Raunaq – Music Review (Indian Pop Album)

Raunaq_album_artKho Jaayein Hum is the song that conforms most to the poetry bit of the album’s tagline. Shweta Pandit and Jyoti’s recitation of Kapil Sibal’s lines is set to an ethereal, minimal arrangement by A R Rahman that will literally have you losing yourself in a very Vangelis-in-Blade-Runner kind of way. The only annoying point is where in the latter half Shweta’s Kho Jaayein Hum bit keeps repeating for over a minute. By contrast to the previous song, the filmy Khatta Meetha sounds the least poetic. The flashy elements aside, the arrangement carries a strong ARR hangover about it. Even the choral bits that support Mohit Chauhan’s lead vocals often tread on familiar territory. Seven months have given me enough time to like Kismat Se more than I did when I first heard it, but I still find the song fairly ordinary. What makes the song worth listening to is Shreya Ghoshal’s singing.

Of the two songs that Jonita Gandhi sings in Raunaq, Geet Gaaon is the album’s best. A lovely melancholic melody that the singer delivers to perfection while the composer interestingly incorporates a jazz flavour into the sombre strings-led arrangement (wonder if that lead instrument in the interlude is a sitar or a sarod). Even the second song Aa Bhi Jaa gets off to a beautiful start – the flute, the guitars/mandolins and the singing – but somewhere along the course of the track the charm wears off (one possible cause being the percussion). Rahman reunites with the singing legend KS Chithra after a long gap (Puli I believe the last one was, if one were to discount the Thirakkaadha reusal in Million Dollar Arm) for the pleasant track that is Sach Kahoon. The neat use of guitars and the bossa nova style rhythm make this laid back piece another of the album’s picks. Finally, ARR gets the doyenne Lata Mangeshkar for Laadli, Sibal’s ode to women. The sections that Lata sings understandably get bogged down by the age showing in the veteran’s voice. It is the bits sung by the female chorus set to the classical dance-y rhythm (the beautiful seven beats cycle) that are the high points of the song (interestingly got reminded of Unnai Kaanaadhu from Vishwaroopam in places; jaijaiwanti raaga?), there is some lovely use of tabla all through the song. And a super bass line.

Raunaq. Has some nice music from A R Rahman, but lacks that wow element as an album. Given that this is the first proper non-film album from the maestro in over five years, one would have expected more.

Top Recos: Geet Gaaoon, Sach Kahoon, Laadli, Kho Jaayein Hum

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