Music: Have You Heard of It?

To most of us, music is a blessing in disguise. For whatever different reasons, one can safely assume that music serves as a tonic to the varyingly unlike populace – the sad or the introspective minds, as a stress-buster or a mood-lifter, as an inspiration or learning, to the learned, the professionals and the mango people – alike. Music in whatever configuration has always come in an unbiased form, bare-naked and see-through, to anyone and everyone. Of course, it’s not the same way everyone interprets it – and that’s possibly one of the best things about listening to music. It doesn’t judge you/form an impression about you the way you do, and expects nothing in return either. How good can it get?

The intention here is not to rant about music in general, or to talk about my likes of it as an elixir of life. Rather, it is to talk about a music director’s creations who, in fact, has a fan-following across the globe, predominantly by the Indians. I’m referring to none other than AR Rahman, the one guy who has caressed and throbbed billions of hearts since the early ’90s by his music. Now for those who may not know him, his songs/music/creation usually have a heavy [read: musical] background score to the lyric, not to subdue the vocal, instead to enhance it. One of the traits since way back about his music has been to save a song or two from the movie/album for himself to playback. Known for the fact that he looks for his playback singers to record at midnight, he is also known to have an occasional chat amongst the select cast to understand their character, should he face any difficulty while creating the score for them.

Just to share with you a sample of his music, here is a song featuring from one of the recent most movies from Bollywood that released in February 2014, Highway. This is one of the songs, he apparently reserved for his own vocals. I have heard this song countless times in the past and, without second thoughts, have not only liked it, but also, it’s been one of those songs that has helped me lift my spirits all those many times. I happened to re-listen to this song about two days back, and I noticed something very different for the first time. It’s unputdownable the way he introduces the neat and fine layers through different sources and styles during each spell of the song, flowing it in a way that no two parts sound the same. The first layer starts off with the basic percussion retreating into minor rhythms, supported by finer handheld stringed instruments, the bass, a piano, an intermittent chorus, an echo/rebound, the fade-ins and fade-outs – all supporting his vocals. Was I paying attention to the lyrics? Are you kidding? When you have so much else to notice [and much more that I may have missed], lyrics and vocals may become just the tip of the tips of the iceberg.

Has this happened to you earlier? Is there a song where you may have deep dived much so that the vocals start seeming like the background? Check out here what I’m trying to say. All you’ve got to do is play.