Neethane En Ponvasantham Music - Good and Bad
by NEP Music Lover
Recently, Gautham Vasudev Menon had tweeted "To all those people who have liked the music of neethaane, you have good taste in music.. Keep it up". This statement had upset a number of people who read between the lines and came up with the corollary question, does it mean people who didn't like any aspect of the albums have poor taste in music? Secondly, what makes Gautham believe that he can pass judgment on people's taste in music. Keeping Gautham's teasing comments aside, here is a quick write-up candidly pointing out what I feel are good and bad about this special album after listening to it countless number of times.
"Ennodu Vaa Vaa" is absolutely a delight no matter how many you may have listened. This song is a perfect 10 in all departments - music, vocals and lyrics. This is clearly the top favourite number among all the songs released in 2012 so far. Another song which is absolutely out of the world is "Vaanam Mella" in terms of music (see below for further comments about the vocals). It is refreshing to hear music in its true rich form without any of the pre-packaged loops, synthetic sounds, doctored voices, etc. This album definitely makes us appreciate the ethereal nature of Ilaiyaraja's music that we have been missing out for most of the last decade. I will keep this section intentionally short as many reviews have extolled the virtues of Raja's music and I don't have anything new to add. This is as good as it gets.
Vocals : The biggest gripe about this music album is the quality of the vocals. I feel Yuvan's singing brought down the quality of the album a few notches down. "Saaindhu Saaindhu" was such a great piece of music that probably did not reach its true potential because of its vocals. Similarly, "Pengal Endraal" is another song that did not achieve what it was set out to do. Despite the great music in "Vaanam Mella" song, it is tough to believe that Bela Shende and Ilaiyaraja are the best choice of singers. The weaknesses show when it reaches high pitch in charanam lines. When there are so many prolific singers and new talents identified from Super Singer TV shows, it is tough to believe whether the vocal choices that Ilaiyaraja has made are absolutely the best he could do. (Quick Tip: If you are gnashing your teeth because of poor vocals, you can consider listening to the Telugu versions of above mentioned songs which may provide some respite).
Lyrics have a special place in Gautham Menon's movies. It is usually appreciated for the subtlety and personal touch. The lyric writing by Na. Muthukumar is another area where Neethane En Ponvasantham should have been better given the epic expectations. Most of the lines are pedestrian and doesn't take the listening experience to the next plane. In songs like "Pudikala maamu", the lyrics are downright silly and amateur. Music of Pudikala maamu starts promisingly and goes downhill till the very end. The much touted transition from rock to kutthu is not convincing nor seamless. This song if it had been part of any other music album would have gotten crucified.
Not many had written negative comments about this music album in any of the online sites that I have come across so far. Some of us have bottled up a few negatives about this music album due to love, gratitude and respect for Ilaiyaraja's contribution to music. I seriously would not have penned these thoughts if not for Gautham Menon's provoking statements.