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Amit Trivedi – Take a bow !
I am usually very skeptical when a music director says that his album is going to be different and even more so if he goes on record saying that his album is going to be the “baap of all genres”.
One album, 18 soundtracks, musical film, varied genres.
Unless you really know what you are doing, you are pretty much screwed if you are a composer. But this guy wins all the way !
Firstly, I am really excited at finally having someone other than A.R. Rahman and Shankar Ehsaan Loy to look up to for good music. And secondly, because Amit Trivedi *baffles* me, atleast for now. There was a time when A.R. Rahman used to baffle people, but now I think most serious musicians won’t listen to any soundtrack of his and go “What the #@##@”.
That happens with Amit Trivedi. It happened in Aamir, it happens in Dev D and is damn exciting if you are a musician !!
The songs in the album are arranged alphabetically for some random reason. Lets get started now :
Aankh Micholi : Sung very nicely by Amit Trivedi, this is a decent number. Mainly composed using electronic sounds and rhythm loops, the highlight is undoubtedly the singing.
Dev Chanda theme 1 : This sounds like a retro jazzy number, decent melody and a short track.
Dev Chanda theme 2 : This song has a very strong melody and for some random reason is whistled, but really raw and unprocessed. I am assuming it is for a reason and this is what makes Amit Trivedi different, his songs are really raw and unprocessed at times, and it will make an A.R. Rahman cringe with discomfort listening to such tracks.
Dhol Yaara Dhol : One of my favourites, this is a Rajanthani folk number. It is a soft number and sung really well by the Shilpa Rao, who gives another great performance after Ek Lau from Aamir. Again melody is the highlight and the arrangement perfectly complements the lead track, be it the sarangi or the strings or that string plucking.
Dil Mein Jaagi : It starts with some classical piano playing and is classical jazzy all the way. Decent number and it proves that the composer understands the genre more than anything else.
Duniya : Wonderful track, again great singing by Amit Trivedi. Looks like he too tends to keep the best songs for himself. This is fast paced with rhythm loops supporting it but the highlight as usual is the melody !
Ek Hulchul Si : Another wonderful track reminiscient of the soft rock tracks of the 80′s. Joi Barua does the honours here. I really hope we don’t lose all these new singers. Almost everyone is going to like this track, just for the melody if not anything else.
If you are wondering why I am stressing melody so many times, I am glad that being a new composer his main focus remains on the melody, something that A.R.Rahman used to do long ago. The songs here are all about the lead melody and everything else is just accompanying it, just the way music earlier was.
Emotional Atyachaar : What a track ! What a track ! I wouldn’t have imagined in my wildest dreams that I would appreciate a song arranged around a brass band !! Brass bands are the ones that play at weddings and processions with the loud trumpet thing, fast snare drums and a base drum that emits just one beat per cycle. This is what I would call as brilliant. The lyrics sound small town and blend in perfectly with the music.
Emotional Atyachar (rock version) : This is as different as it gets from the above track, while keeping the lead vocal melody same. Out and out rock, sung brilliantly by Amit Trivedi by Bonnie. (Thanks Tejas)
Hikknaal : This is the old-school Punjabi track arranged perfectly. The melody is very simple like most Punjabi numbers and something I didn’t really like, proving that he knows the genre pretty well [:)].
Mahi Mennu (sad version) : Sung really well by Labh Janjua, this is a slow version accompanied just by the synth strings.
Mahi Mennu : The fast paced version. It starts off with an amazing groove and is a more contemporary Punjabi number. Far better than the other Punjabi numbers that get thrown at us, and again I liked the lead melody.
Nayan Tarse : Nicely done and nicely sung ! This is a blend of classical, electronic and rock patches.
Payaliya : Another wonderful track sung by a newcomer Shruti Pathak. I still haven’t identified the raaga. But it is a great composition and I am sure he would be proud of this track.
Pardesi : Sung by Toshi, this sounds like a Rajasthani number but without the folk touches in the arrangement. Decent number.
Ranjhana : A very short and slow solo number, but it is really beautiful.
Saali Khushi : It is basically a rant, but singing is again a highlight here. This guy sings almost perfectly for the given lyrics !
Yahi Meri Zindagi : I would have been disappointed if the album ended on a negative note, but that is taken care of by this last track. Sung well by a newcomer Aditi Singh Sharma again, it is a track that sounds very fresh and innocent in the beginning but moves to become fast paced. A good way to end the epic album.
Overall, the production values of the album aren’t great, but that is not what the album or music in general is about. We all have our woofers and subwoofers and speakers that play every damn frequency perfectly, but without the music that sounds good to the ears they are pretty much useless. That is the reason I would recommend this album to everyone. You *have* to like atleast one track, such is the vast area it covers !
A special mention must be made of Amitabh Verma Bhattacharya who writes most songs for Amit Trivedi and also sings in quite a few. The lyrics sound fresh and after all these years of Javed Akhtar, Gulzar and Sameer, Prasoon Joshi and Amitabh Verma Bhattacharya are a welcome change.
Take a bow, Amit Trivedi.
Musically, this was a typical year for Bollywood, a few good releases by A.R.Rahman, Shankar Ehsaan Loy and some good newcomers.
Best Film Album (OST)
This was a tough one, but I think I’ll go with Amit Trivedi for the music of Aamir. Let me defend now.
Jodha Akbar was complex, grand and multi-layered, Slumdog Millionaire was something different from Rahman, Rock On was one of the best albums I heard in quite some time (and if not for Aamir would have been an easy choice), Welcome to Sajjanpur was really melodious but very situational at times and Khuda Ke Liye was a great album overall.
About Aamir, it was earthy, it was simple, it was melodious. Heck, at some points it was so raw that it would make an A.R. Rahman cringe at the sound ! But it was very good music, it was different, it was experimental. I still listen to the songs of Aamir almost daily. The sufi number Ha Raham, the folk and earthy Chakkar Ghumyo, the fast Phas Gaya, the experimental Haara and of course the philosophical Ek Lau, which assumed great significance in the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attacks (lyrics and translation here).
You might also want to listen to this song composed by Amit Trivedi for the Mumbai victims.
Best Non-Film Album
This was me was a contest just between Sonu Nigam’s Classically Mild and Rabbi Shergill’s Avengi Ja Nahin, and it was easy to choose Rabbi (review here). His first album was undoubtedly more catchy but Avengi Ja Nahin was deeper. Every song in this album deserves a proper listen and understanding !
Best Song : Bilqis (Jinhe Naaz Hai) (review here).
I do not think anyone would dispute this. This song is one of the reasons why music can be powerful yet subtle.
Best Singing Male : Sonu Nigam in Soona Soona (song here).
Sonu Nigam came back with some brilliant singing in a classical album this year and still managed to hold fort as one of the best singers we have.
Best Singing Female :
I really liked Dominique in Ye Tumhari Meri Baatein from Rock On but I think I will go with Madhushree in Ek Meetha Marz from Welcome to Sajjanpur. I haven’t heard a female playback voice sweeter than hers and you just have to listen to the way she sings this song (that too just one stanza).