OK Kanmani/ OK Bangaram – Music Review

[UPDATE: Iteration 2 is now up! Updated with how I feel two weeks later about the songs]

Rahman’s album release day is something a lot of musically thirst folks look forward to with outstretched ears. And now finally, OK Kanmani(Tamil)/OK Bangaram(Telugu) is out! I’ve listened to both the Tamil and Telugu versions of the songs one after the other and happy to report that the Telugu songs are equally good this time around. Probably because the Telugu lyrics sound apt and not off like other dubbed movies, the credit entirely going to lyricist Sirivennela.

The below is what I noted down as I was listening to the songs, so yes, it’s a bit concise. I would like to think of this as just Iteration One though  Updated with Iteration 2 now, as Rahman’s compositions are always better after repeated listens. I might write another review if and when I feel something more needs to be said –

Kaara Attakara/Raara Athagada: Starts off with a vivacious hook but becomes less interesting and disjoint as it progresses. He better have a good reason for introducing that rap. Now I know some people do like stuff like this but I don’t consider Rap as “music” so the rest of the song falls absolutely flat for me. It only comes live during the Kaara Aattakara line.

If you ask me, a perfectly good tune that was given a wrong twist, for whatever reason.

Mental Manadhil/Mental Madhilo: Upbeat. Lively rhythms. Will top radio charts.

Now see, when I first heard this I shrugged it off as “just okay”, since from a purely musical point of view, there is nothing enchanting about this song. But that tune turns out to be so wonderfully catchy that I can’t seem to get this song out of my head. I still don’t listen to this that much, but I continuously keep humming it!! What have you done to me Rahman!!?

Aye Sinamika/Aye Amayika: That flute. The electronic and acoustic guitars. And those Violins. Aaaah!

Karthik’s vocals blend beautifully with the music. And the song develops beautifully, adding additional layers of music. It’s a tad long at 6 minutes but Rahman keeps the feel intact till the end. And we get a classic crescendo ending too! Beautifully composed, this one!

First song I can listen to in loop.

Parandhu Sellava/Maayedo Cheyava: Uses singer’s vocals to orchestrate most of the first part to a good effect. And yet, the violins that spring up midway wonderfully complementing the tune, are the best thing about this song. A good enough breezy tune.

This song has grown on me. Especially after the violins enter, Sasha’s crooning sounds hauntingly beautiful!

Naane Varugiren/Yedho Adagana: Hmmm not sure what this song is doing in this album. Good singing and an old-age tune. But just doen’t fit together with the rest.

Oh how wrong I was about this song! This was an absolute delight to discover. Such a scintillating tune that reverberates through your heart. And Sasha Tirupathi’s vocals are perfect too! Added this to my loop now.

Theera Ulaa/ Neetho Alaa : Simply and utterly ethereal!! High-pitched vocals that actually work, with classical chants, pulsating beats and electronic sounds. Only Rahman can do this. Second song going in loop.

Mental Manadhil/Mental Madhilo (Female): A bit more playful when compared with male version. Nice variation in orchestration. Jonitha Gandhi’s tamil version is better than Dharshana’s vapid telugu rendition.

Malargal Kaettaen/Manasa Theeyaga: A very good classical melody. Chitra completely owns it, as usual. But would I go back and listen to this again? Most definitely not.

Maula Wa Sallim: Rahman gets to showcase his Sufi side again. Very serene song. Would be interesting to see the placement in the movie.


VERDICT: Even though initially I had only two songs in loop, the entire album has somehow grown on me now (well, surprise surprise!) Though it is still true that this is not ARR-Mani’s better efforts, it does fit the genre very well and fulfills what it sets out to achieve. I do feel  that songs like Mental Manadhil have a very short shelf life. They’re good while they last. What I’m guessing would stay for a long time are Theera Ulaa, Parandhu Sellava, Naane Varugiren.

Agree or disagree with me? Let me know what you thought!

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