Tamizh Music – Cuss out time

Yuvan Shankar Raja probably wants us to think he is some kind of Desi Dre, except he is not. Another instance of his hip-hop affliction is discovered in his latest venture, Kanda Naal Mudhal with a song called Pushing it Hard, which also describes his attempts at making Tamizh sound hip-hop. Once you get past the inane intro where a voice demands that Yuvan “spin the shit up”, the rest of the cookie-cutter composition will set your head spinning until it explodes with the banality of the song’s bridge.
Hey Yuvan…yeah?…give it a rest. And go back to sampling vintage Tamizh LPs. That was actually good shit.

The slickness of the Ghajini trailer was overshadowed by the realization that it seemed like a desi rehash of Memento. You know, the whole 15-minute amnesia premise. Except it probably didn’t sound all too strange to Harris Jayaraj who has been foolishly banking on the listening public’s amnesia to recycle his tunes. But never mind that. What really got my attention is the fact that while Yuvan turned hip with his shit reference, HJ decided to appeal to the front-benchers. Check out this excerpt from the song Rahatullah.
I don’t know about you people, but where I’m from, that will be construed as “complimenting that part *giggle* of Munnusaamy’s anatomy”. In song.
Or maybe I just have a dirty mind.

27 thoughts on “Tamizh Music – Cuss out time”

  1. heh-heh I guess yeah. I still think Tamizh film music has the best crop of composers in the country. And while I’m not a huge Yuvan fan, I still think he is capable of better. ‘Arindhum Ariyaamalum’ was a refreshing album, while this was not. IMO.

  2. aNTi’s comment holds good. Cos…’Arindhum ariyamalum’..refreshing..Grr. But i liked that ‘Pani thuli’ song in this ‘Kanda naal mudhal’..though i must say it gives some pleasant deja vu…can’t figure out though..

  3. Muthuvel, trust me, the world would be a much better place if people just agreed with me. :))) But alas!
    Ar.Ar. was refreshing to my ears atleast. Using that vintage sample in Thee Pidikka was. The samba/bossa-nova kinda setting for Konjam Konjam punctuated by that catchy Ae Penne chorus was. Even the Yele Yele song with its well-organised interludes and saranam was. If not for the disappointing Habibi song, Ar.Ar would’ve been a really good album.
    I liked Pani Thuli too. It’s always nice to hear Yuvan’s electronically heavy rhythm gel with a song.

  4. Oh, nice of you..but then you owe me an explanation my dude..u still haven’t answered me…a q, that Rahman’s certain brilliant pieces like ‘Nahin samne’, ‘Pachai nirame’, ‘Nila kaaigiradhu’..many others were actually crooned by Hariharan… is it that ur hatred on Hariharan really prevent u from enjoying those ‘great’ songs( my personal faves, they are)…, actually am not able fig our why u don’t like Hari..but that’s a lot personal opinion…i can understand that we can’t reason out all of our likes/dislikes…we simply like or dislike… but am more curious to know ur opinion of those songs…

    Be it.even if u think…’What a fucking q is this.’ ;-)

  5. Hatred is too strong a word to use :) I don’t think too much of Hariharan as a playback singer. I’ve heard people rave about his ghazals though I’ve never heard them. (Now, ghazals. Those I hate.) So from what I’ve heard of him in movies he doesn’t hold a candle to SPB, Kishore Kumar etc. I think playback singing is not just about hitting the right notes and showing off how classically proficient you are by throwing in ghamakas & brigas and what not. It’s also about conveying the right emotion, not just by sounding sad or happy, but by understanding the meaning of the song, working on the pronunciation, the pauses, etc. It’s kind of hard for me to explain, but I hope you get the idea. Hariharan is over-rated that way. He’s got a good voice of course. Very “bendy” – to use a non-musical term. Of course he is bad when he hits the higher notes, but that’s just my opinion. But a tendency to show off his classical prowess, in the wrong places and at the wrong time, kills it for me. Plus, very rarely does he work with the lyrics, to bring an extra something to the song. On the other hand, SPB is a master at all this. I mean, the guy is a God. I grew up listening to the best playback singer ever, and to think that people actually have started preferring someone far less talented pisses me off even more. Oh, and his stage performance is pathetic. Of course this is just based on one live performace of his in LA at the Rahman concert. Man, did he suck! Compare this to SPBs performace at the same show, and also another one of his concerts at Atlanta. The man was near flawless.
    So yeah, I do like the Rahman compositions you mentioned. And I had also written before that Pachai Nirame was one of HH’s best efforts. But a song like Nila Kaigiradhu, honestly, I’d rather listen to the Harini version.

  6. Manoj, Hmmm, you are not a HH fan? And which one of his songs did you think he screwed up in LA? Hai Raama?
    IMHO, the opening 20 odd seconds of Hai Raama, when he does that aalap is a hidden gem. In the tape/CD of Rangeela, you won’t hear it till you hear it in max volume and half the people don’t recognize the song when he starts it on stage… Is this the song you are talking about? Again, I am not techincally strong when it comes to music! if its sounds good to my ear, it is good. But I can’t stand the likes of Sukhwinder (i call him Suckwinder) and Udit Narayan. The two always seem to lose their cues while on stage!
    But, SPB is SPB! No question about that!
    Lastly, I don’t care too much about Yuvan’s voice, but songs like Pushing it hard kinda bring a fresh air into TFM, don’t you think? A lot of purists had the same complaints about Rahman’s electronic sounds and though i think its still early days as far as Yuvan is concerned, he seems to be doing the right things…

  7. Anti, I don’t really care about his alaaps. As far as I’m concerned, it means little if you’re not going to take care of the actual song. He is just showing off and people applaud. If they like it, then I’m glad they are getting their money’s worth. I remember him messing up songs because of all the prancing on-stage. Messing up on rhythm especially. He would miss a beat or two and that pissed me off. Very unprofessional IMO. And he did miss those high notes in one song. I wish I could remember which one.
    SPB on the other hand stood & delivered. Every note in place. I didn’t want to mention in my previous comment, but during a dinner with SPB on the eve of his ATL concert, Rafiq (who runs the Rafiki Yango blog) discussed this with him. And while SPB said he really liked HH, he grudgingly accepted that he could be more professional on stage and make sure he delivers 100%.
    Sukhwinder is horrid, no doubt. But Udit is decent when he is singing Hindi. But then, no one calls him a great singer anyway.
    I really don’t know about “fresh air”, Anti. When Rahman burst into TFM, even a hardcore Ilaiyaraja fan like me found myself wanting to hear more of him. I was fascinated by Roja. It blew my mind to hear that music the first time. I was right in the middle of the Rahman storm when it happened and I savored every moment of it. It’s just not right to compare a mediocre effort like Pushing it Hard with Rahman’s work. No comparison at all.
    btw, just to clarify. My complaint against Pushing it Hard is not that it has electronic sounds or a hip-hop influence. Just that it’s a badly done song, very cliched and no different from your standard R&B song in structure & style. Compare this with even Rahman’s first “pop” number in Chikku Bukku Rayile. Cliched? Far from it. That song had ingenuity written all over it. This doesn’t mean that I think Yuvan can never compose a good hip-hop type number in Tamizh. When that happens, I’ll make sure I mention it here on my blog. :)

  8. Actually I havent seen that of Hariharan yet. I mean the missing beats. Saw it in Suck and Udit and was livid considering they were singing one of their biggest hits each – Chaiya Chaiya and Hai Ajnabi!
    SPB is peerless though. Happened to hear/read an interview done by someone on Dhool.com a couple of years ago and the man comes off as not only a great, but also the humblest of human beings! Will try to find it for you, if you havent read/heard it yet.
    And mebbe I think that my previous came out as a praise of Yuvan. Actually come to think of it, its just appreciation. I heard he was intending to do a full hip hop album. I really read it somewhere on the Hindu, but can’t find the link anywhere! So, I did not really mean to compare Roja or any of ARR’s early efforts with Yuvan!

  9. Anti, I’ve heard that interview on Dhool too and yeah, he is extremely humble. That’s why I was reluctant about posting that little anecdote in the prev. comment. Didn’t want it to seem otherwise. For the record, he didn’t go on a tirade. Just an acknowledgement of my friend’s passionate claims. :)
    I had posted about Yuvan’s hip-hop aspirations sometime back. And call me an ass, but I’m still skeptical about it. :)

  10. I agree with Manoj’s on HH’s unnecessary ghazalish improvs that detract from the mood of the song, especially in his live renditions. SPB’s voice has that natural sweetness that HH lacks, especially when it comes to romantic numbers. SPB is just gifted. Technically, HH is probably more equipped than SPB and might eat SPB alive in classical numbers. But give a light romantic song or a teasing song and our man comes out trumps. As they say, SPB stands taller and fatter than most playback singers :-)

    On a slightly different note, I am afraid that with the current trend(since Rahman’s advent) being introducing one fresh voice every album just as a gimmick, the era of glorious playback singers has probably ended. I mean, even if there is another SPB out there, he would be lost among the Naresh Iyers, Tippus, Karthiks etc. who are being introduced dime-a-dozen by MDs. Rahman doesnt bother much about grooming singers I guess. Also by constantly having fresh voices, its probably his way of having his hold or stamp firmly over the product and not let the song be known as a SPB song or Hariharan song(this is just my intuition).

    Even Hariharan – how many songs has he sung to even warrant a comparison with SPB and KJY, whose body of work is of Guinesseque proportions? The sad outcome of all this is that singers like Sujatha, Shankar Mahadevan etc. are ‘nt getting the right opportunities they deserve. In the meantime we have more female voices like that of Naresh Iyer masquerading as male singers, to go with their usual bad pronunciation.

  11. On YSR and others,

    I think just like with playback singing the era of big trends are probably over, atleast for the next few years. Rahman ushered in the last big trend sounding so much different from the previous MDs, which was his biggest asset. All the current MDs including YSR lack that individuality, unique style, which in my opinion is the hardest to achieve in TFM. Think about it-there has been only 3 major trends in the last 50 years in TFM- MSV,IR,ARR. Thats how difficult it is to bring about an unique style. For most MDs these days , their music is a mix and match of all idioms earlier adopted by IR/ARR and they scratch their heads to come with some funky sound from their Korg Karmas, which is about all they can manage to think of newly. Conceptually, nothing fresh has been brought to the table.

    And with YSR, I have said this before, but I guess he stepped into the field without properly doing his homework or having a strong foundation in music. His classical knowledge is suspect. His sense of melody is weak. He is scratching and groping his way around TFM and thanks to the hype/patronage he received earlier, courtesy the Raja part of his name, he got his opportunities. For the number of duds he delivered earlier in his career, he shouldnt have gotten any more opportunities than say Bharadwaj.
    However, he is still young and has age in his side and the hope is his music will mature from here on.

  12. Vijay, agree with everything you said. Couldn’t have said it better myself. :) And hopefully the next trend is not based off hip-hop! Not because the music would be bad, but the thought of Vijaykant,Sarat Kumar & Co. rapping out gives me the creeps.

  13. Oh..hey, the changed look is really ..(to use the cliched term) cool. And just when i come down to comment on this, this ‘welcome back Muthuvel’ thingy really gives a warm reception…oh cool again…

  14. Yep, I like it too. :) Of course all I did was upgrade my WordPress theme from a Beta version to the new one called ‘Rin’. Also upgraded WordPress to 1.5.2 and installed a Spam killer that originally marked your comment as spam! :) I’ve instructed it otherwise now, so you are always welcome back.
    Now all I need to do is start posting again!

  15. Manoj, Yup, the thought of Gaptain rapping is scary..

    Vijay, give Naresh Iyer a break. He’s just one song old and is in his early 20s having lived all his life in Mumbai!! And even in his first song, I thought the female voice (Madhushree??) was the one with the bad pronounciation, or did she sound male-ish enough for you to attribute it to Naresh Iyer? :) Just joking…
    But some of the rest of the Rahman imports suck, particularly when they sing Tamil numbers.

  16. hi manoj

    i full agree with anti, we shoud wait and watch . Naresh iyer has already recorded more songs for ARR . He has pronounced all the words properly in Mayilarage. A He is really superb. Let us all wish him a great success in his career.

  17. Saraswati, there are many like Vijay who do not appreciate the spate of effeminate voices that have invaded TFM. Unnikrishnan, Harish Raghavendar included. So it doesn’t matter how many songs he has chalked up in the future, fact remains that his voice will never be a selling point to them. Personally, I didn’t mind him too much. But I can’t really see anything in his singing that shows promise. The only singer I looked forward to making a mark was Karthik, but even he seems to have become stale. Madhu Balakrishnan is really good, but very one-dimensional in his singing.
    Not many songs are being composed that really challenge the versatility of a singer. SPB had the advantage of Ilaiyaraja…and his own genius.

  18. I liked your site and the evenly measured inetlligent comments that are not based of fanatic idolising. I agree that the latest trend is not very refreshing. But I think as music lovers we can take up some responsibilty to create a new taste and spread it across and not leave it all to music directors.
    I think in recent times Shankar Ehsan and Loy have brought in refreshing tunes in Dil Chahta Hay. MDs in TFM may follow their footsteps. Cheers!

  19. Thanks Allwyn. And I’m sure all the commenters thank you too. :)
    Not that I doubt your familiarity with the latest Bollywood music, but didn’t SEL come up with a lot of albums after DCH (Mission Kashmir to the recent Bunty Aur Babli)…and didn’t many of them turn out to be damp squibs? I still trust the Tamizh composers to be more innovative than SEL. I mean, you have to agree that for 3 dudes working as a team, they do consistently fall short of quality music. :)

    1. We quit using any chemical products on our lawn and garden (and for the most part in our home) about 6 years ago. A perfect lawn and giant tomatoes just is#18n2&7;t worth the added chemical exposure to my family!

  20. hi friends,

    as regards naresh iyer, you are all very wrong. I personally know him very well, because of his good voice and good diction only, he has been selected by ARR and his future songs are really superb. He is very dedicated to music. It is very easy for us to criticize from the back stage. He has already joined ARR group and he had been to 3 D dimensional tour of ARR to Singapore, London, Australia, Bangalore etc. and have been well appreciated by the audience.

  21. hi friends,

    Again to tell you all it is the Mayilerage song which is on the top 10 in almost all sites and also on Oli.sg singapore radio. You all can check.

  22. Saraswati, I can understand how criticizing your friend must be hard for you to take. But in a world where even “maestros” and “whiz-kids” aren’t spared, did you really think Naresh Iyer would be an exception to the rule? :) In any case, for your sake, I hope the others go easy on your buddy in the future. And good luck to him.

  23. hi manoj

    thanks a lot. we should encourage the new singers and wish them good luck. you know they also must be reading all the reports, which can discourage them. maestros also received such reports but for them it is not new and for the new singers it can be difficult to swallow. any how before further criticizing, let us also hope for the best and wish naresh iyer a big success in his singing career.

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