Listening to Rahman's latest music album "I", I remembered that I was once a fan of this musical genius! I did not exactly stop being his fan now but I lost that fascination for his music. I still like his music (I loved his album "Highway") but his music no longer touches me deeply. So, I was surprised that I kept listening to his latest music album "I" repeatedly.
I never listen to Tamil albums, as I don't understand Tamil and understanding the lyrics is crucial for me to appreciate a song. So I don't know what prompted me to listen to this album in the first place. To my surprise I found that, with my focus diverted from lyrics, I could appreciate Rahman's music in a purer form! Ignoring the lyrics would not have been possible with a language I know. Now, for the first time, I can possibly feel the pain of Rahman fans who keep complaining that Telugu lyrics of Rahman's albums suck!
There is a song for every taste in this album and Rahman managed to keep each song fresh and novel. So the melody number "pookkalae" sounds unlike any melody we heard earlier and one may be surprised to realize that "ennodu ne irundhaal" is actually a sad number. Also, Rahman seems to have deliberately ignored the typical Indian movie song structure of a pallavi, charanam 1 & charanam 2 in almost all the songs. Clearly, he is given a lot of freedom and his creativity is in full form here. The party number “Ladio”, with its silly lyrics (You don’t need to understand Tamil to recognize that a song that starts with lyrics like “Ka Sha Da Tha Pa Ra, Nya Na Na Na Ma Na, Ra Pa Ta Tha Pa Ta, 32-22-32” does not make much sense!), has still some kind of a magic appeal to it. I also liked the peppy numbers “Mersalaayitten” and “Aila Aila”.
Rahman amazed me again with his choice of singers. I loved the voice of “Sid Sriram” in “ennodu ne irundhaal”. Earlier, I listened to “Kadal” but did not realize the beauty of this chap’s voice. What a voice it is! I would say the female version of “ennodu ne irundhaal” fades away when compared to the male version just because of his singing. And the girl who sang “Ladio”, Nikita Gandhi, is amazing too. The way she sings “Beautiful Ladio, Sexy Ladio” is quite sexy! Due to lack of my musical knowledge, I can’t comment on the instrumentation used by Rahman but I feel it is top-class. I particularly loved the Guitar bits in “ennodu ne irundhaal”. Overall, the album is a winner for me, the one album of Rahman I loved after a long time. Being a big melody lover, I would pick “pookkalae” & “ennodu ne irundhaal” as my top picks with “ennodu ne irundhaal” being the final winner for the wonderful tune and the heavenly voice.
I do have a complaint, more on Rahman and less on the album “I”. His music is becoming more and more a “listening experience” than a “singing experience”. Many of his songs are difficult to sing, or even to hum, except by professional singers or those who have a solid singing voice. But possibly that is the idea of Rahman – to prevent his songs from being spoiled by singers like me!