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New Music Review

Hits top of the charts
Sunday, May 30, 2004 • Tamil Comments

Like every other of his albums, music director A.R. Rahman's latest release "New" has quickly climbed to the top of the charts, possibly because the competition is currently not too tough.

After listening to the first track, one gets the feeling that the music has a very young, zippy and Western feel to it - to put it simply, very similar to "Boys". But that is not all there is to "New".

The album opens with the track "New New", which seems to be strongly influenced by the hip-hop. The rap rendered by Blaaze, who has quickly become a fixture in Tamil music, sets the listener's feet tapping. Like several songs in "Boys", this song is partly in English and partly in Tamil.

The next track, "Sakkara Sakkara", sung by S.P. Balasubramian and Sujatha, is very different from "New New". This is a paradigm shift from the hip-hop genre to a more sedate traditional genre. Even the lyrics sound completely different.

Another track that is worth mentioning is "Spiderman", belted out by Kunal and Sadhana Sargam.

"Spiderman" starts out with a guitarist strumming away - rather like an Elvis Presley number straight out of the 1950s - and sounds unlike any other song one has ever heard before.

Again, the lyrics are not completely in Tamil, but in a mixture of Tamil and English. Those who may wish to know how a track named "Spiderman" crept its way into a Tamil film may wish to catch the movie to find out. Hopefully the film provides a clue.

Rahman's "Boys" was a young album, and all the tracks seemed to reflect that. But in "New", he has not composed songs that would just bring the crowd that loved the music of "Boys" on their feet, but has also attempted to compose the kind of tunes that people in Tamil Nadu have savoured for years.

One somehow gets the feeling that this album may not completely satisfy either constituency.

But the rest of the album consists of tracks that are pedestrian at best, at least by Rahman's standards. This album does not appear to possess the timelessness that has marked some of Rahman's earlier compositions like "Roja" and "Alai Payuthey".

On the whole, this album is worth buying only if you can't find any of Rahman's earlier classics on your music shelf.