Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Fly:soup :: Na. Muthukumar :ATM

Certainly Kavignar Vaali is a doyen of Tamil poetry. I have all due respect to his epic series in Ananda Vikatan.

But consider this:
Rahman' composition for Tamil movies is now only a fraction of the number he used to do five years ago. And of these little few, these are the lyricists whom he worked with in the last six movies.

Anbae Aaruyirae (2005) - Vaali
Jillendru Oru Kadhal (2006) - Vaali
Godfather (2006) - Vairamuthu
Guru (2007) - Vairamuthu
Sivaji (2007) - Vaali, Vairamuthu & others
Azhagiya Tamil Magan ATM (2007) - Vaali

Far cry from the days when Rahman wouldnt go beyond Vairamuthu for any of his compositions. Gone are the days when music lovers could look forward to even so-so movies (disappointing case in point, Anbae Aaruyirae by S. J. Surya) for the musical treat of Vairamuthu-ARR combine. Now we have to listen to the finest music director in Tamil music and his choicest singers and musicians crooning 'Nee Marilyn Monroe scanning/cloning (whatever that was)...' Blasphemy!

If ever there was a rift between Rahman and Vairamuthu, it has lasted long enough. Vairamuthu had said once "I agree wholeheartedly that Rahman is a great composer. But I do wish his music would not totally swamp my lyrics to the extent that nobody can make them out"

But hasn't Rahman himself said, "Lyrics lend immortality to a melody. The eternal, evergreen hit songs are always the ones with profound lyrics; lyrics that remain true and meaningful even after years."

Hasn't Vairamuthu's lyrics themselves paid tribute to music? "Innisai mattum Illaiyendraal naan Endro, endro iranthiruppaen" (But for sweet music, I would be dead)

I am not saying that Vaali doesnt do justice to his lyrics. Some of his songs (Jillendru oru kaadhal) were actually good. But personally I do feel that his idea of 'peppy' music a tad too flippant. Disagree ? What to say when one of the finest compositions of late (ATM) is interspersed with references to mixies and chutneys ? Even good lyrics in the album (Madurai-ku pogaatha..) are just that. Good. There is not even a hint of competition between the lyrics and the music in vying for the listener's attention.

Only hope is that Mani Ratnam or somebody of like stature talks sense into both ARR and Vairamuthu and does a favor to listeners like me. Till then we only have tracks of Alaipayuthe, Kandukondaen2, Jeans, Sangamam and the like to console ourselves with.


Karthik said...

Both wikipedia and raaga agree that the lyricists for ATM are assorted. Vaali has just one credit - Ella Pugazhum. I thought Kelaamal by Thamarai was the best in lyrics in the album. She has this knack of writing lyrics with very simple words but rich in thought.

Maybe you had some other songs in mind of Vaali. As for crappy lyrics, I feel there have been a fair share by both lyricists you have mentioned.

On the issue of Music Vs Lyrics, I am marginally biased with ARR. Music transcends language. To a person with such musical depth as ARR, its a language on its own.
While minimalism is enjoyable like Harris's work, ARR works on the other side. Of trying to push in as many layers as possible and still remaining extraordinarily musical. If its not decipherable, it cannot always be. The human brain can make that adjustment! Infact layering enables decoding lyrics as people find it interesting to come back and hear it. Vairamuthu is probably being a little purist here.

Same with you. Stylish songs end up having crappy lyrics because the lyricist has to focus more on rhyme and rhythm than meaning.

Gokulakrishnan S said...

@karthik: Wikipedia rocks. i stand corrected. That particular song was Na. Muthukumar's. 5 lyricists including Vaali have worked on that album. Still Vaali doesnt go scot free :)

Inbetweengap-la ennai purist-nu accuse pannittae!

I am not convinced a good lyricist (read an ossum lyricist) has to sacrifice meaning for rhyme and rhythm.
Vairamuthu. QED.

Karthik said...

point taken.