96 music review: Govind Vasantha delivers a winning soundtrack for Vijay Sethupathi, Trisha-starrer
The album of 96 consists of eight eclectic tracks in total and features uplifting vocals of Chinmayi Sripada and Pradeep Kumar
After making an impressive Tamil debut in Sasikumar's Asuravadham with an adequate background score and a short three-song album, composer Govind Vasantha, one of the founding members of Kerala's renowned music band Thaikkudam Bridge, delivers an effusively enthusiastic, winning soundtrack for the Vijay Sethupathi, Trisha-starrer 96.
The album of 96, helmed by debutant director C Prem Kumar, consists of eight eclectic tracks in total and features uplifting vocals of Chinmayi Sripada and Pradeep Kumar. In 96, Govind Vasantha churns out a vibrant and rhapsodic soundscape that is chock-full with the most original sounds.
At a time when Tamil music scene continues to be dominated by EDM-laden pieces and heavily auto-tuned vocals, the OST of 96 comes as a breath of fresh air that touches the soul and mind quite effortlessly with Govind Vasantha's rejuvenating compositions. It would definitely not be an overstatement to call 96 the best Tamil soundtrack of 2018, a year which has produced some repeat-worthy albums like Thaanaa Serndha Kottam, Nadigaiyar Thilagam, Kaala, Pyaar Prema Kaadhal, Peranbu and Kolamaavu Kokila.
Govind Vasantha hits it out of the park with the wildly ecstatic 'Anthaathi', the first track from the album. Rendered with the voices of Chinmayi, Govind and Bhadra Rajin in pure euphoric harmony, 'Anthaathi' is what you call an ultimate celebration of love. Bolstered beautifully by the absorbing lyrics of Karthik Netha, the song, from the exceptional construction of the tune to the motley assortment of sounds, quietly transports you to a different world.
The transition of Chinmayi and Govind's soothing vocals from the pallavi to the introduction of the mind-blowing chorus is, undoubtedly, the most seamless masterstroke pulled off by Govind in the entire album. Bhadra Rajin's delicately-rendered interlude of Konjum Pooraname is as exceptional as the ethereal Pirivondru Nerumendru interlude from AR Rahman's 'Theera Ulaa' in O Kadhal Kanmani.
The entire chorus portion in the song induces sheer goosebumps and the way the track reaches a crescendo from the interlude to the hummable 'Kaathalae Kaathalae' chorus (used in the film's teaser) sum up the orchestration grandeur of Govind's masterly piece of work. 'Anthaathi' is hands down the best track of the album.
'The Life of Ram'
The immensely talented Pradeep Kumar conjures magic with his sparkling rendition of 'The Life of Ram', which starts off with his serene vocals. Then, the song takes off with Pradeep's crescendo-esque Vaazhaa En Vaazhvai Vaazhavae pitch and is finely complemented by Karthik Netha's lovely lines (Sample: Karai Vandha Pirage Pidikkudhu Kadalai, Narai Vandha Pirage Puriyudhu Ulagai). 'The Life of Ram' is a welcome addition to the ever-growing library of Pradeep Kumar's most sprightly tracks.
'Yean' is the only not-so-accessible track of the album, which otherwise brims with instantly likeable tunes. Nevertheless, Gowri TP's earnest vocals bring out the intended melancholy and mood of the song, which somehow looks slightly detached from the rest of the album.
Kicked off superbly by Mithun Raja's gentle guitar riffs, 'Vasantha Kaalangal' reeks of Chinmayi's mellifluous vocals. In fact, her sweet-toned voice spearheads this pleasing melody, which is punctuated by the consistently tender guitar work.
After churning out remarkable tracks individually, Chinmayi and Pradeep come together to deliver the achingly beautiful 'Thaabangale', which is nothing but a delightful listen on the ears. It's the kind of track that leaves you wanting for more!
Chinmayi and Pradeep produce another deeply affecting, nostalgia-inducing track in 'Iravingu Theevai', which lingers long enough to keep us engrossed. Pradeep Kumar seems to be absolutely enjoying the mood numbers with his ability to inject pathos effortlessly in the songs.
'Kaathalae Kaathalae' (Duet), 'Kaathalae Kaathalae'
The brief but highly effective and impactful duet of Chinmayi and Govind quietly overtakes the exquisite violin and the enchanting flute-play of the musicians. The second version of the version, rendered by Kalyani Menon, is equally immersive and delivers an amazingly soulful experience like the first one, which underscored the film's teaser.
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