'Paradesi' has a young musician trying to impress one of the most demanding directors in Tamil cinema. As GV Prakash Kumar tries to bring in his ordeals to a very different form of film making, we might still get to witness some great musical numbers. Five songs in total, ranging from three to eight minutes, there might be a few surprises in store for us.
Avatha Payya - Yasin, Vandana Srinivasan
The opening song of the album, 'Avatha Payya' promises to be a soft folky number with subtle use of percussion throughout the track. Flute pieces and occasional string chords that make things lively accompany the vocal leads. The veena interlude before the second stanza appears out of line when compared to the rest of the song. It is one of the more memorable songs from the album and is likely to feature a good video.
Yasin, the male lead and Vandana Srinivasan make up a good duet between each other as the share the lines. The music makes way for their vocals pleasantly without being overwhelming and add a nice touch overall. The lyrics are down to earth and Vairamuthu impresses again.
Sengaade - Madhu Balakrishna, Pragathi Guruprasad
Sengaade has Madhu Balakrishna taking the drivers seat and is one of the longest songs in the album. The vocals are prominent with very minimal percussion. The string sections in the opening parts of the song make you wonder in retrospect and keep you wondering of a different generation of music in Kollywood. The second stanzas appear similar to the preludes and continue down the same road.
Vairamuthu's lyrics speak of sadness and difficulties of travelers who bid farewell to their homes. A closer look at the lyrics gives you a story in itself. Madhu Balakrishna is very outward with the lines and does well, but even that isn't enough to keep you from getting diverted. Pragathi appears for just a little hum. Not exactly a preferable song for casual listeners.
Mirugam - V V Prasanna, Pragathi Guruprasad
What starts off as a dark and enigmatic number grows on you with multiple listens in Or Mirugam. Again, GV Prakash has really contributed to the theme of the film with his use of instruments. The percussion and the barely noticeable chords give a reverberate-like effect to the song. The strings are used well and render well when listened to without much noise.
The lead singers vocals are definitely a high point of the song. Prasanna flows through his lines and provides a emphatic touch to every phrase. Every line he touches reaches through several pitch points and the singer deserves praise. Pragathi of Airtel Super Singer fame, impresses in her first ever song. She appears to have a very mature voice for her age, and catches listeners by surprise. Vairamuthu's words finally get some justice through this track.
Thannai Thaane - Gaana Bala
Thannai Thaane is one of the two tracks from Paradesi that don't follow the enigmatic nature of the album. Blended with some very folky and 'kuthu' pieces, it brings life to the theru koothu class of music from the Tamil industry. The pipe instruments take up a prominent role in the short track.
Gaana Bala's rugged voice breaks through the song. Although Vairamuthu's words are apt, one can very much have mixed feelings about the song. The end to the songs, with the sudden bursting in of Christianity is odd by any standards.
Seneer Thaana - Gangai Amaren, Priya Hemesh
The album returns to sadness right at the very end with Seneer Thaana. Old-fashioned instruments adorn the timeline once again, and one can see the huge change in GV's style with this once. A strong presence for the vocals again, which take the driving seat once more. Except for the interludes (especially the second one), which sees some unique composing, the track is very straightforward with it's message.
Gangai Amaren's emotion packed lines, and Priya's backing in-between verses are the high points. All the while, they resemble the sorrow portrayed throughout the album. Vairamuthu is once again in place to add some sparkle with his words. Certainly a better offering than the majority of tracks from Paradesi.
Overall, Paradesi is a dark album filled with sorrow. If you are used to listening pleasant music, you might want to skip everything else but the first track. Some of the other tracks, including Or Mirugam and Seneer Thaana offer some interesting listens. However, the album doesn't have the necessary ingredients to churn out chartbusters.
GV Prakash Kumar's music, for a change, serves a higher purpose and comparing it with albums like 'MUK' and 'Aadukalam' gives a stark contrast. You won't be able to get the complete experience until you see the visuals yourself.
Rating: 3/5 - for some interesting music despite some tight guidelines