Kaala music review: For Rajinikanth's next, Santhosh Narayanan crafts experimental soundtrack dominated by Tamil rap
Santhosh Narayanan's jukebox for Rajinikanth's Kaala is packed with layers. The album is a classic example of what to expect when rap meets local Tamil music and emotions. Santhosh gives a pretty exhaustive jukebox; one that is surprisingly unlike any other typical Rajinikanth album except few praise references here and there.
With this playlist, the composer takes us through various characters and important elements of the crux that director Pa Ranjith has tried to bring out with the upcoming gangster drama. Divided into two sides, one side of the album has melodies, while the other represents raw street style.
Here is how the Kaala album takes us through the voices of the people and dwells in rap as well.
'Semma Weightu' by Hariharasudhan and Santhosh on vocals and a range of artists like Arunraja Kamaraj, Dopeadelicz, Logan, MC Mawali, Dope Daddy and others is a mix of rap, beat boxing and bass.
One of the first tracks to be released from this much hyped album, 'Semma Weightu' definitely takes a while to kick into your system unlike 'Neruppu Da' or any other roaring track that can be slightly compared to this one. In fact not many fans rated this as their favourite, except for the 'Kaala Seetu' parts. The track, though, is full of praises and whistle-worthy lyrics. It is also the much subtler, sharp and sleek rap version of the otherwise fast beat introductory commercial songs. Carrying forward Rajini's 'gethu' factor, the track talks about unity, power, violence and the many sentiments associated with urban areas.
The composer calls this the 'sound of the slums'
'Thanga Sela' is a tribute to the gangster's wife and for the gem of a person she is portrayed to be. The celebratory melody, reminding us a bit of the 'Gaana Paatu' genre, has Rajinikanth break into a subtle song and dance in dedication to the woman of the moment. Arunraja's lyrics and Shankar Mahadevan's vocals rightly express how Easwari Rao has stood by the gangster and the community through thick and thin. The happy track also has Pradeep Kumar and Ananthu's rendition to amp-up the feel. Shankar's vocals make the song goofy and pleasant at the same time.
Santhosh mentions in his album preview about how the Black Panther trailer inspired 'Katravai Petravai'. One glimpse of this track and we understand from where he borrows the feel. 'Katravai Petrvai' is also said to have a social message in it with the chorus screaming out 'Educator propagator'. The track is also quite similar to 'Semma Weightu' in terms of the roar probably because of the similar set of artists behind this composition — Yogi B, Arunraj, and Roshan Jamrock. But in the midst of this raw song there is one thing that takes us back to Thalaivar. The bit where the artist whistles away to glory, giving us a hint of how exactly Rajinikanth would perform his trademark walk to this part.
'Kannamma' is a sweet lullaby and an emotional rendition by Pradeep, Dhee and Ananthu. Composed for the activist that Huma Quereshi is in this action drama, 'Kannamma' would make you dwell in emotions. 'Kannamma' rightly expresses the selfless soul and the changing times. A sentimental song for those who can relate, it will make you sway, smile and shed a tear all at once. 'Kannamma' represents some of the most impactful parts of Kaala's crux.
'Urimayai Meetpom' is an intense track that represents the voice of a community. Another group song, 'Urimayai Meetpom' is by the people and for the people, with Rajinikanth as the leader of this pact. With transcending genres through the track, Santhosh experiments a south style Kawali which majorly talks about the hardships of a clan and their strong traits.
'Pooraduvom' by Dopeadelicz brings us back to the rap genre and is an anthem for the people. The track is dominated by the citizen's never ending spirit, for themselves, and their leader. 'Pooraduvom', to put in one line, is Santhosh's version of 'We will, we will, rock you' The track also has many Hindi RAP references, for being shot in a slum in Bombay.
'Theruvilakku' is for the hip-hop lovers. Full on street style, the track reminds us of the cult 'Pedarap' when it transcends to 'Theruvillaku velichethile, naanga muneri varuvoom uyarathile', the song's catchy chorus. The motivational and groovy song is another one of Dopeadelicz's trademark tracks, only this time he has 'Muthamil joining in.
If you're wondering where the kuthu in this album is, here it is. Yes, Kaala has no proper dan da naka, and 'Nikkal Nikkal' is the only track that has our favourite beats. This also starts with a little rap, but then gives us a hardcore 'Nikkal Nikkal' chorus which occasionally breaks into the part which will make us stand up and dance. Every few minutes, it is drum roll time in this song that instigates the antagonist. Apart from the Hindi dominated chorus, 'Kazhambu Kazhambu, Kazhambu da, vidirinjichi' must just make for a fun watch.
Kaala is not an album for those of you who are looking for the usual commercial tracks that uplift Rajinikanth's image. What Santhosh does here is bring together a pool of local talent and an ensemble artist line-up at to give us a very different jukebox. Infused with Thalaivar's style yet crafted for the people, Kaala is slow kill for many. Not your everyday album, that makes you groove or stay hooked, Kaala is the one with thoughtful lyrics and for Tamil rap lovers. Except for the few breezy melodies completely contrasting to Kabali — Santhosh's last outing with the same team.
Kaala's album is now out in Tamil, and Hindi as well. The film, presented by Dhanush's Wunderbar Films, is all set to hit the screens 7 June, 2018.
Listen to the Kaala Tamil jukebox here:
Updated Date: May 09, 2018 14:03 PM