A post by Aishwarya
2004 was one of those landmark years for me. It was probably the only year when I truly enjoyed school. I had also just become a crazy Rahman fan.
2004 was also a landmark year for Rahman. I realized this only a few days ago when I was counting the number of albums he released that year. The year started off with Kangalal Kaidhu Sei, then came Aayitha Ezhuthu and New. In Hindi, there was Swades, Meenaxi and Yuva. Apparently Lakeer was released in 2004 too, but I still haven’t given it a proper listen. I find it amazing that there were so many albums, and that they were of very high quality too.
(Collage using images from http://www.goodmorningmidnight.com/yuvapage3.html, by Viju)
In this post I will focus on Aayitha Ezhuthu. I absolutely loved the movie. I’ve read comments where people say the movie had more style than substance. But hey, I really enjoyed the style and technical part of it. But the movie would not have been half as stylish and interesting if not for the music and background score.
I remember very distinctly the excruciating wait for the soundtrack of AE to release. 10-20 second snippets of the songs were put up on a website. I would listen to Dol Dol repeatedly, and wonder who is screaming in this strange song titled ‘Yaakai Thiri’. I would visit the official website of the film every other day. And then the album finally released. I had the cassette and played it every night for a month right before going to sleep.
Today it struck me that AE is similar to Thiruda Thiruda’s music in some ways – the amount of technology used. And that I’ve never heard songs like those earlier. That is why AE stands out for me. Unlike Kangalal Kaidhu Sei or Meenaxi that came out the same year, AE sounds extremely synthesized. But it works and came together quite well in the movie.
All six songs are distinct in their own way but the album seems to end very soon. Hey Goodbye Nanba is one of the most experimental songs I’ve heard – it meanders a lot in 5 minutes but doesn’t lose its way. The highlight are the voices of Sunitha Sarathy and Shankar Mahadevan. They make a very fresh pair which translates onto the screen as well.
Jana Gana Mana is when things turn electric. This song is all about the energy. The chorus remains addictive and a favourite. More and more instruments are introduced in the song as the seconds pass by. Also the glass-breaking and the dog barking sounds! And Rahman sounds wonderful. Have you all seen the unplugged version of the song? Rahman played it during an interview which I remember was aired on Tamil New Year in ’04. I watched the whole programme although I had an exam the following day.
The third song Sandai Kozhi is ruined by Madhusree. It has great lyrics but she makes it very difficult for me to enjoy them. I think this is the only song that is free of computer generated sounds. It is a good break from the heavily charged Jana Gana Mana.
The album picks up (a lot of) pace with Dol Dol, the most addictive song of all. It is only 4 minutes long but manages to pause in between for a breath and start again with a vengeance and finish on a high.
Nenjam Ellaam is an interesting duet. It is a slow paced long and takes its own time to unfold. Adnan Sami and Sujatha are perfect for it. I love how the song goes back and forth quickly between the singers. The album ends with the fantastic Yaakai Thiri. I still don’t understand the meaning of all the words but I prefer this to the Hindi version..”hone do dil ko, fanaa” just doesn’t cut it for me. Anyway, the aalap in the end of the song ends the album perfectly. My sister and I spent hours learning the aalap and I doubt we would ever forget it. Yaakai Thiri is unfortunately let down by the video with guys in shades and vests rapping the aalap.
It has just dawned on me that Rahman has sung three songs in the album, including the background vocals for Sandai Kozhi. Every song has a new sound and it isn’t often we hear an album so out of the ordinary.
Aayitha Ezhuthu will forever hold a special place for me not only because of the music and the film but also for reminding me of my innocent younger days when I requested the radio station to play Yaakai Thiri even when I had the cassette and the song on the computer.
P.S.: There might be a second part to this post..with more description and fangirlish writing.