10.20.2008

Yuvvraaj Soundtrack

People often say that Rahman’s music grow on multiple listening. Even I had this opinion, but ‘Yuvvraaj’ music made me realize how rubbish that statement is. The time one takes to understand and appreciate the music depends solely on person’s music sensibilities and the level of concentration one pays to the music while listening. With so many distractions around, the attention span of people in common has obviously come down. Over a period of time, we tend to become so dumb and want everything to be spoon-fed, we want everything quick and instant and my negative reaction to ‘Yuvvraaj’ music is a danger signal to my deteriorating concentration when it comes to listening music. I couldn’t appreciate ‘Yuvvraaj’ music on first listening, because I wasn’t listening at all, I was just hearing. That is not Rahman’s fault. For all the relentless work that Rahman puts in to give us a new music listening experience, he asks us very little in return, concentration and if we are incapable of that, at least a little patience for the songs to sink in. Though I lack concentration, I alteast had the patience and didn’t jump into any conclusion on first listening.

Rahman’s music in general or Rahman’s music in ‘Yuvvraaj’ specifically, isn’t as complex as everyone claims it to be. The 5th Beethoven Symphony that punctuates the introduction speech of Salman Khan in ‘Main Hoon Yuvvraaj’ actually misleads a listener. There is symphonic grandeur throughout the soundtrack and to strike a balance between the classical roots and modernism there is also the typical synthphony of Rahman. Ofcourse there are lot of layers of sounds which may make it sound complex. But, in music, it is not the sound that adds to the complexity, it is the layering of melodies or as they put it, it is the counter melodies that one should consider to determine the complexity of a song. In that sense, there are no such complex counter melodies here. Also, Rahman has totally avoided acoustic percussions and has used catchy synth rhythm loops to make it sound simple and easy for listening. But it is in the flow of the melody and the structure of the songs where Rahman doesn’t compromise.

Rahman has always defied the conventional structure of Indian movie songs, and it is not a big surprise that no song in Yuvvraaj sounds conventional in its structure. Phrase after phrase, the melody makes unexpected twists and turns and that is why I wasn’t able to get the overall beauty of the song on first listening. ‘Mastam’ is one of the most euphoric songs that we would get to listen in this year and yet because of the unpredictable flow of melody I found it difficult to comprehend initially. It keeps flowing without giving us a breathing space for the just-heard phrase of melody to sink in. But I must admit that the melody of ‘Aaye jhee baanke aaye’ line made me instantly and involuntarily sway my head left and right. The collective euphoria of the sound of Gluzar’s word play, Irish rhythm, the taps, claps, harmonica, strings, and choir makes oneself feel lighter and brings a smile on one’s face. This is the first song of the soundtrack to become my favorite.

‘Tu meri dost’ is intricately layered with brilliant and appropriate usage of acoustic instruments. Though there is a constantly looping e-beat and lot of e-sounds and looping layers, the core emotion of the song is carried through by strings, the piano that peeps in and flute that flows in at most appropriate moments. Like say, when Rahman ends his line with ‘nisa nisa sari sari’, the flute that takes off, Harp that slides through all its strings and the piano chords that starts and continues to accompany the vocal that follows, sounds scintillating. The way Shreya hits the low with the words ‘gungunathi hai’ and ‘mila thi hai’ and that distant cry of Shreya going ‘Awaaz hoon main’ at the end of the song are heavenly.

Surprisingly, the prelude of ‘Tu Muskura’ starts with the same cello piece that we just heard in the interlude of ‘Tu Meri Dost’ and later to our surprise, it indeed is the main melody of the song. Rahman being aware of the fact that the melody in the following stanza is a little disconnected from the main melody tries to connect the stanzas with an interlude that hints the vocal melody of the following line, on strings and so when soon Alka starts to sing the line, it doesn’t sound odd or disjointed. And when Alka repeats the same melody again along with the same interlude piece played on strings in tandem, our ears become quite comfortable with the melody. And after when Javed Ali takes it off from where Alka Yagnik left to the main melody, our ears feel at home. It is these cheating techniques that make Rahman’s songs work quite magnificently. ‘Tu muskara’ then leads to a stunning climax with Alka singing the main melody as a counter melody to Javed Ali’s classical alaap and the strings playing a totally different melody perfectly in harmony with both the vocal parts.

When ‘Tu meri dost’ borrows the main melody of ‘Tu muskura’, and gives its melody in return, when ‘Manmohini Morey’ slips into the deeply moving cello version of ‘Tu muskura’ melody, one gets to understand how thematically structured and linked the songs are, by which the songs beautifully borrow melodies from each other to fill in their interludes. Not for nothing, ‘The Soundtrack’ has been written on the front cover of the lyrics booklet that comes with the CD. It is a movie soundtrack in which music leaves open ended for the visuals to take it further and complete.

‘Zindagi’ is Rahman’s beautiful tribute to M.S.Vishwanathan. Srinivas’s exquisite rendition and the natural serenity in his voice further elevate the melody that was always destined to sound divine. The backing strings and solo cello pieces are so intrinsically woven with the lead melody, and it perfectly echoes the pain as in and along with Srinivas’s vocals. The melody sits up conveniently on soft guitar strumming and soft beats. The beats will make people who may otherwise feel the melody tedious, long and boring to sit up and settle with it.

When we listen to a song for the first time, we don’t begin to like the song from its very first note. We listen and as it flows, there comes a takeoff point, where we start to like the song. Every song has its takeoff point. In ‘Dil Ka Rishtha’, which starts with the catchy main piano theme which we heard in the promos of the movie, the takeoff point comes much later when the lines that start in lower octave with ‘Dil Dil hain Dil Dil’ suddenly moves to a higher ‘Jaane de’ with immense passion and aggression. I cannot express in the words the kind of exhilaration this ‘Jaane de’ gives to me. After the song finds its takeoff point, one realizes that this is one such song, where every note and every beat fall beautifully in place. The most innovative and refreshing element of the song is that the western choir instead of singing their melodies in some strange language sings them in ‘Sa ri ga ma pa da ni sa’. When Rahman gets exhausted playing with all possible permutations and combinations of many melodic themes of the song, he takes up everything to an exhilarating climax moment where ‘door dilse nehin hai hum door’ melody takes its most grandest form leaving a listener in awe of the song’s overall grandeur, structure, the fusion and the emotional impact.

After the storming ‘Dil Ka Rishtha’, Rahman baths us in a sweet gentle drizzle of Indian classical music in ‘Manmohini Morey’. It instantly catches a listener with its extremely catchy rhythm loop, the hooky ‘Thom Thom Thana na’, the soft strings, the soothing vocals of Vijay Prakash and the rendition that walks on a thin line between heavy classical and lighter filmy feel.

Shano Shano is an ultra cool disco song that traverses through different set of melodies and grooves and hits it right with the main Shano hook line. The remix version by Krishna Chetan is equally good.

The day I bought ‘Yuvvraaj’ CD, unexpectedly I had to travel 400 Kms in a very uncomfortable means of transport and I can’t think of surviving that journey without ‘Yuvvraaj’ music. Rahman helped me in reaching the destination through a scintillating musical journey in ‘Yuvvraaj’. Only a person in love can understand how it feels to be in a Romantic mood, and only a Rahmaniac can understand how it feels to be in a Rahmantic mood. Rahmantic is the mood which a Rahmaniac gets into when a new Rahman album releases and especially when it turns out to be as beautiful as ‘Yuvvraaj’. I don’t know if it is will become a classic, but by seeing everyone having different list of favourite songs covering all the songs in the soundtrack, which is an earlier indication of a soundtrack that has the potential of becoming a timeless classic. But for now, let us immerse ourselves in this musical downpour of Rahman.

24 comments:

Arun said...

Excellent review, Suresh! As good as the album :-)

only a Rahmaniac can understand how it feels to be in a Rahmantic mood. Rahmantic is the mood which a Rahmaniac gets into when a new Rahman album releases and especially when it turns out to be as beautiful as ‘Yuvvraaj’

So true!

Shahid said...

Ahh.. my eight hour journey to Kandy and back in very uncomfortable means of transport was accompanied by Yuvvraaj… amazing!

Thulasiram said...

Great review... ARR rocks! Yuvvraaj is simply superb...

Suresh Kumar said...

Arun - Thanks. Happy that I could post the review quicker than I thought.

Suresh Kumar said...

Shahid - Good to know that you too had a similar experience. Thanks.

Suresh Kumar said...

Thulasiram - Thanks. Yes it is.

Vicky (Malaysia) said...

Rehman is awsome and fully deserves full credit for this masterpiece. Just listening to the songs gives chills to you...It's been a while since i last heard something this pure...music at it's pinnacle. There is not one note out of place and still so light on the ear and the soul...How does this guy do it and still keep his foot firmly on the ground? I've always been a fan and have always tried to attend as much live concerts as possible. Here is another reason why rehman can truely be considered the modern day mozart..to complement Suresh's Review....each and every song will touch you in a certain way...you'll have to listen to it to believe it...GOD BLESS AR REHMAN....Music truely is Universal...

Cheers,
Vicky (Malaysia)

Anonymous said...

Hmmmmm.I am told it takes several hearing to get the feel of Rahman's music. here it took me several readings to know that the reviewer was indeed raving about the music of Yuvvraj. Iam no expert in loops and synth rhythms and sargams, and all the hi tech words but my ear and heart tells me the movie score is a great one and the background score will also be as good. Some times ignorance about music is bliss when heart melts with what it hears and head remains blank. One only hopes Ghai does not take the movie the Kistna way.
My bet is another Filmfare award is on its way for this movie score and Rahman like Lata did years back,must decline the award that some one less deserving might get it. May be if not now he might do it after getting his 25th award? Rahman is beyond awards.

Suresh Kumar said...

Vicky - Good to know that you liked the music.

Anon - I am surprised that you found my review confusing. And good to hear that you liked it inspite of being ignorant of the technicalities of the music. That is the biggest compliment a composer can get.

Though I have no big hopes on the movie as such, I am sure Subash Ghai would picturize the songs well like how he did for 'My wish comes true' song in Kisna

Krishna said...

"inspite of being ignorant of the technicalities of the music. That is the biggest compliment a composer can get." :I feel that is not a real compliment to me:) "Inspite of" does it imply that to hear rahman's music one must know the technicalities?

Any how from roja days to this moment, have been a fan of rahman and never equipped my self with book knowledge and technicalities to enjoy his music. I also admire him as a rare human being sans ego who attributes all his success as a divine blessing. We must learn that from him. carry on friend.

Anonymous said...

only rehman fans can like this album. it is made for them.

Rams said...

Great review... can empathize with that as I was also kind of puzzled in the melody flow and it took a few hearings to get hooked on to Yuvvraaj!

Amjath said...

Brilliant write up dude keep it up
Review Rocks like the album
-amjath

Suresh Kumar said...

Anon - You can also say, 'Only fans for good music can like them. It is made for them'.

Suresh Kumar said...

Rams - Thanks and Yes. The flow in the melody is the major reason for songs not being instantly catchy.

Suresh Kumar said...

Amjath - Thanks.

Rahmanic said...

Gr8 review dude...
Yuvvraaj rockzzzzzzzz...
ARR the GOD of Music any doubts??

Anonymous said...

I am so surprised that criticims and disagreements are not encouraged. Suresh loves adulation and thanks every one who agrees with him instantly! I think Suresh like Rahman you must learn to be modest.Rahman once said he felt Devdas deserved the award than his Taal!! While i disagreed and told him so and still liked his humility.

Suresh Kumar said...

Rahmanic - Thanks.

Suresh Kumar said...

Anon - If you have been reading my blogs, I have criticised Rahman many times before for different reasons... And I don't understand what made you think that I am immodest?

Anonymous said...

Only fans for good music can like them. It is made for them

have u lost you mind? can u define good music?? people like you egoistic idiots..rehman will feel bad to have fans like you, who differentiate music as bad and good

deepayan said...

Awesome review!! I have bookmarked it :P

Anonymous said...

For the first time, I got annoyed with an Indian movie - Yuvraaj. Subash Ghai, the director, thinks Indians are idiots. I do not know how else you can explain an extravagant piece of crap that this movie is. His idea is to show Prague, Austria and the great palaces of London (the old world Punjabi thinking requires a mandatory shoot at Laxmi Mittal's place!) and some stupid actors - everybody comes and goes without any idea of a plot and the director is definitely sleeping on the wheel. As usual, the movie drags out to 3.5 hours.

So what's new - there are several other big budget crappy Hindi movies that have been made this way - why am I getting annoyed? The hero is a choir singer (there is not one choir performance in the movie) and the heroine plays the cello. They are part of the Prague orchestra - wow, what else can give a music composer a better opportunity to display his Western Classical Music (WCM) skills? AR Rahman blows the opportunity. His music is so pedestrian, that the movie got even more annoying.

I understand that he has started a conservatory for Western Classical Music in Chennai - he should first get some lessons.

Folks like Subash Ghai still think that his viewers are 8 year olds. 'Taal' had a decent storyline and good performances - even 'Yaadein' was not bad, though it was a bit dragging. This is the ultimate drag with the lousiest of actors. Even for free do not watch it.

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