Anniyan, [Tamil] Album Review

Oscar Films Anniyan, Director: Shankar Music : Harris Jayaraj. The songs are out in OOSAI.COM,

I got to hear it for few times now. I felt it was time to review the songs. This music album was hyped for last six months and had increased my expectation. Shankar switched from his favorite music director ARR. He chose the next best option to Rahman , Harris Jeyaraj, definitely Harris is a talented composer and has produced very good albums in recent times that includes Kakka Kakka, SAMI, Kovil etc, I have been a fan of Harris I can boldly say that we can expect some kind of freshness in his tracks. Before we go into the review, the scale I use to decide the song quality differs based on the over all movie production values and other few factors. With this in mind did Anniyan suffice my expectations? Read further.

The first track I heard was kadal yanai, this song was leaked out few weeks before the audio release. The track starts of with typical Harris kind of lead vocals. Slowly after the 1st minute it starts to drag, why? I failed to understand the words and the music arrangement. What I heard was a bunch of Acid loops being lined up and played without serious musical harmony over weak melody lines. For example the bass part especially in the 1st BGM, sounds clearly acidified. I think Harris has fallen into the Sony Acid pro trap; yes it is very tempting to make easy music. Like every other track build using acid I could not hear any kind of coordination or freshness in these background arrangements. In the pallavi on those “algebra” lines assuming the song’s root to be in D minor, Harris has the talent to change the chord to a G7th at least, but nope instead the boring bass pumps in few lame keys. Adding to the agony, the melody fails to help, I found it very hard to recollect anything from the track. A good point to note was the lead vocals by Nakul [Boys fame?], G.V Praskash and Melwyn. Why? These guys provide some saver mint for the song; they have put forth serious effort on the vocals. However the melody will not help them to prove their talents further in singing, though it would help them if they choose to become “Auctions kings”. I would dare and second guess this track with the climax song from Boys [Sa re ga me] and a song from Dhil [vedum vedum Dhil Dhil]. Bottom line Harris disappoints. A 0 for 1 start but I was not that worried, may be Sehwag on the other end would come to rescue.

The next track was “Kannum Kannum”, it was dance number, and I decided this based on the groove. These kind of straight beats are used by DJs for medley tracks in dance clubs. It starts of with weird tone technically it might be a vocoded voice. My ears, already in a quarter-fatigued mode started to focus on the Lyrics. I really don’t know why Shankar slipped so badly in choosing those words. The words are not so pleasing and did not make sense in most places. There were mere fillers. Once again the same agony, the over all tune loses its way big time. The [u-dance] beats were so monotonous, it sounded like timed washing machine that goes on round and round until the clock turns it off. The major goof up is yet to show up, the lady vocals in the Saranam. It sucks right royally, she tries to scream at high pitched notes beyond her capacity and fails horribly with her so called Husky vocals. I bet the “abathbandavan” “anatharatchagan” Anteris the pitch correcting software” crashed during mixing. A blunt second guess, the beat and tune mix sounds similar in Kovil [College ku povom]. The sax part in particular. Seriously I am still shocked for this careless track; is this for real, is this for a Shankar’s movie? This song is mere waste of time. Score now: -20 for 2, Sehwag goes.

After 2 songs down the gutter, hopes start to fade but, wait the number 3 the wall. Under usual circumstances 6 out 10 times this track might sound very ordinary, but under minus 20/2, I think the track Andang kaka plays the big match saving innings. This tracks started to impress me right away. The major plus point to this track –“the melody” it carries the song all through. What is special, “Rendaka Rendaka” a nice set of new hooks, it works for me, Words are very native and much better than what I heard in previous tracks. The male vocals team Kay Kay, Jassie gift chips in clean power vocals while the female team lead, the naturally talented Shreya does her act quite well. Best thing that made me smile was - “I heard original music and not that many Acid loops”. This track brings in the much missed Harris and his typical arrangements like chord changes using keyboard pads etc. After the first two authoritative cacophonies, I was happy to listen to this track twice in order to clean my ears. This track might make me buy the CD; Whew! Harris and Shankar team seemed to work finally.

Shanker Mahadevan, a class act opens the next song on a classical note. He sings with an accent all through the song. The lady singer for this song Harini, I have been missing her voice for quite some time. On first go I liked this song; it is more musical with proper chord changes and arrangements. Basically it does not survive on loops. I think I heard the raga Durga/Arabi spread across the tune. I also felt that the song mood should be similar “adutha veetu pen” song, where someone back tracks for the hero. Harini just joins in for few lines and does her job quite well. Prognosis: A well balanced and clean track. Our score now is well within the decent run rate.

Iyengar vettu, title for the next song. Censor can create trouble for this title. For first few minutes of the track we hear “goshti” gAnam similar to Thyagaraja aradhani, the “goshti sings “jagada nandakaraka”. This is interrupted by a low TR kick drum. Ustad Hariharan takes over. He starts to sing a free flowing close Natai in Hindustani format. Old lion prowls around hunts down brigas at will, while Harini neatly does justice to the track. The gambeera natai veenna part in the BGM clearly inspired from a Rahman’s composition [Narumugaiye - Iruvar]. This song did have few distractions, like the pallavi was often distracted by a wood sounding background drum sound [that falls on 4 count of beat]. Beats were kind of boring after some time. And I also felt this, the tune could have been better; and there was more scope for improvisation, the raga was not exploited to its full potential. Both the singing “Hari’s” have potential to execute it, but the composer Hari, thought other wise. If you hear the Pallavi/ Saranam few times you would agree with me. Still I liked the over all song flow and structure. Finally the title theme music, no comments, Need to watch the movie to comment on its sanity.

So, what do you think? Disappointed? Yes, I am disappointed; Why ? Shankar, we all know how grand his production is; His producers would not hesitate to spend, if Harris had wanted Alicia keys, he could have had her sing. I really don’t know why he opted for few mediocre singers. Frankly effort put by him for Sami or LesaLesa is much superior to Anniyan. I think Harris wasted a big opportunity by not giving a rock solid album. He was Rahman’s replacement, hence I expected a flawless or near flawless album. Having said this, I will get the CD in order to hear it on a proper audio system, which can change some of my opinions. Though as of now I am very disappointed. Crude truth - Shankar seems to miss the Big Guy, A.R.Rahman. Hope at least the video takes over and reduces my disappointment.

[Pic: Chennai Online]
Ps:Thanks to Sundar for sending me the links