In the past ten years or so, Tamil Film Music has been the leader in Film music innovation when compared to other regional scores mainly thanks to AR Rahman on the western front and Ilaiyaraja on the classical and folk side. As years progress, we see more and more composers spawning and creating a very healthy competitive arena. Yet, It has been a year of average compositions for Tamil Film Music. Film music composers understandably work with different motivations rather than creativity, so not much can be expected of them. Yet, it’s not a complete disappointment.
If you are wondering what my choices for best songs of Tamil Film Songs in this year of 2004, here is my top ten. Before going the actual countdown, two songs need special mention. For those special reasons, I have not included them in top ten. They are:
Veena Vani / Kalpana, Prasanna / Pon Megalai / Ilaiyaraja / Muthulingam:
This is such a classical song, incomparable and outstanding; it will be unfair to compare it with others. So it’s special. Excellent performance from the two sisters - Kalpana and Prasanna. This song will find a special place for many years to come like the song ‘Pazhamudir solai’ of Varusham 16. Hats off to Illaiyaraja.
Vanin Uyaram / Harish R, Gopika Poornima / Vanam Vasapadum/ Mahesh/ Vairamuthu:
This is a beautiful duet from Mahesh’s last film. It’s a powerful score to leave strong and haunting memories of him for the years to come. Wish Mahesh is still with us, to see TFM lover’s great reception of his performance.
'Kangala Kaithu Sei' is not been included as it was considered for last manager and did earn 2 positions in top ten.
Let me go to the count down now.
Song/ Singer(s) / Film / Composer/ Lyricist
10. Thottal Poo / Hariharan, Harini / New / A R Rahman:
The fusion of techno music and classical percussion at the start sets the theme of the song - Experimentation. From there on, it’s all left on Hariharan to exercise his enormous abilities. Wow, he mesmerizes the listener with all that ‘aharam’ singing. What a fluency, he has. If only musical instruments can think, they wound cry in envy, hearing Hariharan sing. Echoing of words in middle of sentence is something new. Though, this is a nicely done remix, hope it doesn’t do a trend setter.
9. Nijama Nijama / Kay Kay, Shreya Goshal / Bose / Yuvan Shankar Raja:
Nice song with fast beats. The fast beats in both the interludes combined with keyboard is something new. But it needs many hearings to understand what’s going in this progression. Kay Kay’s voice is refreshingly different in TFM. Sheya Goshal is good, but need to work on her pronunciation.
8. Unakenna / Haricharan / Kaadhal / Joshua Sridhar / Na MuthuKumar
A song with great interludes with nice flute and violin solo pieces. The sax start and huge thunder like sound at the start violins in the interlude sounded very much like ARR. Joshua Sridhar displays his strong western classical skills in the interludes of this song and the rest of the album. But he has to go beyond interludes, to conquer tough competition in TFM. Singer Haricharan sounds soothingly nice. Little nasal, but never mind. The traditional drum backdrop is strength of the rest of the song.
7. Enge enge / Karthik / Sathurangam / Vidyasagar / Yugabharathi :
The solo piece wonderfully sung Karthik is set for the situation of hero looking for his lover. Karthik is all set to conquer great heights in TFM, proves his class and versatility once again by singing a soft number this time. Yugabharathi has pen down great fresh lyrics for this song.
6. O Mohalai Mohalai / Harish R, Harini / Arasatchi / Harris Jeyaraj:
From start to finish, a perfect complete synchronous number. Harini and Harish Ragavendra have done a very good job. It’s a typical Harris Jeyaraj tune, yet a classic. Harris nicely adds the Quwali flavor using tabala and claps and blend is very natural. This song is like a lesson for few other composers out there who can do no better than few sounds and interludes rather than a complete song where start to finish all the sounds conveys the same mood rather than trying to show all their talent in one song.
5. Malargale / B JayaShree / Pudukottaiyilirunthu Saravanan / Yuvan Shankar Raja
A Very soothing number from YSR, though the tune sounds like that of Harris Jayaraj. Bombay Jayashree is played to perfection. Both interludes (first in violin, second in flute) are very nice. The piano keys fall on me like honey droplets from the heaven.
4. Eppadi solvathu / Chinmayee, Unni Krishnan / Orumurai solli vidu /Bharathwaj:
A very nice duet, from a less known film. The guitar progression in the first interlude will definitely raise your eyebrows. The lyrics are also rice matching the jathi. Unni Krishnan is at his best fluency, as he has proven before of his wonderful soothing voice. Chinmayee is also impressive, especially the finishing of the song. The song is fully sprinkled with flute pieces all over very nicely.
3. Kavithai Iravu / Karthik, Sujatha /Sullan /VidyaSagar /YugaBharathi:
Versatile Duet queen Sujatha pairs with Karthik for this song, which is typically in Vidyasagar’s style. Who can fail to recognize those short fast violins he has been adding consistently, for many years now. The lyrics of YagaBharathi are also strength of this song. The highlight of song is the fast solo veena (or is it guitar or mandolin?) interlude, with a Middle Eastern touch.
2. Adiye Kiliye / Illayaraja / Kudaikkul Mazhai /Karthik Raja/ Parthiban R:
Its great to see Karthik Raja making it to top ten, whose songs off late lack completion. This is an exception and lives up to his erstwhile reputation. As a singer, Illayaraja masterfully refelects the pathos mood of the song. The first and only interlude played in piano is simple and sweet. The way the piano progression slows down in the interlude is very nice, reflects philosophies in it. The same piece is also played in Violin in another track which is also nice.
1. Kaadu thirandu / Hariharan, Sadhana Sargam/ VasoolRaja MBBS /Bharathwaj:
A classic song composed in perfect harmony. Pallavi yields to violins playing Madurai Mani Iyer ‘s English notes and then Hariharans voice, followed harmonious violins reaching higher octaves progressively which is then mixed with Sadhana’s humming. In the second interlude, he ends the violins with a crisp bell sound, WOW. Where was Bharathwaj hiding these talents all these years? See, what the confidence of a successful year can do to a composer. Hariharans voice adds to the beauty of the song and Sadhana sargam comes clean on pronunciation.
The albums which came close, but did not make it to top 10 were:
Virumandi, Jay Jay, 7 G Raibow Colony