Couple's Retreat according to A.R.Rahman is his formal entry into Hollywood. His previous score for Slumdog Millionaire had a more Indianised touch while Couple's Retreat takes a different path slightly embracing Western Classical. Its in Rahman's own way. Its more grand and more symphonic in its structure. Lets get a sneak preview of the songs.
1) Sajna Sajna:
The song(sung by Vince Vaughn??) has everything that one would expect from a Rahman number. Simple, provoking number. A great melody number to start with-this is what "Dreams on Fire" was for Slumdog Millionaire. With the ever appealing piano and well panned chimes section and a mild 'kick' rhythm to accompany, this song is a dream melody. The strings section deserves a special mention. It is mild and not over powering and gives a soothing effect. Though this song reminds another number from "Bombay Dreams" and "Ore Chori-Lagaan", the similarity ends in a single phrase. A very good melody.
2) Kuru Kuru-A.R.Rahman
Wow. This is the vintage Rahman number one was waiting. Rahman actually mentioned in one of his interviews that there is a big surprise in Couple's Retreat. Right!!. Who can expect a full fledged Tamil song in a Hollywood movie?? The wizard is right there with the perfect sounds. With pianos,shakers,neat bass section, guitar plucks and strings, he brings the 80's pop style with reggae right here. Perfect rendition and he rightly brings those whistles towards the end. A great Rahmanish number to a Hollywood movie.
3) Jason and Cynthia Suite:
With neat guitars and strings section, this instrumental has a nice symphonic feel to it. Violins, harps, horns,trombones and Oboes adds majesty to the piece. Its a neat melody and it easily shifts to higher octaves along with cymbals and the hits takes the song to higher crecendos and suddenly timpani section, horns, brass,flutes, solo guitar,bells and pizzicato arrangement project the theme "Sajna Sajna Re" to the fore and again the scale changes and the piece ends majestically.
On first hearing, one gets the feeling of Carribean beats sweeping our way. With neat calypso beats,bass and trumpets and with an interesting rap section rendered by Blaaze, this is a true native hit number. Rahman's son(Alim Rahman) has done a neat job. He is the one to watch out for in future. Its a true Rahmanish number capsuled in Spanish and Carribean style.
5) Tour of the Villas:
This is another instrumental version of Sajna Sajna with those beautiul strings section.The congo drums(or is it our Kanjira at the start??) along with strings and guitars renders the main theme shifting across the scales. But wait....there is another surprise. In this piece, Rahman brings the Chinese erhu along with the flutes and bass into the main theme. The flute variation and the bassline towards the end along with our tabla is simply mesmerising. Its a mind blowing orchestral piece.
6) Meeting Marcel:
Its sounds like a Chinese meditation piece drawing inspirations from Tai Chi. The previous number had an erhu while this number again starts off with flutes and chants. One has to see the movie to find out if it has any Chinese connection. Suddenly we find aggressive violins, cellos and double bass and it has an indianess' to it.We also find a grand piano(the bass note),horns/orchestral hits/(taikos??) and brass towards the end. Sounds like a serious number.
This lone orchestral marvel is enough to show the world what Rahman is capable of. Even after hearing his brilliant strings work in "Warriors of Heaven and Earth","The Bose" and "Elizabeth", people accuse the Mozart of Asia for his over dependence on synthesizers. This piece rightly shows Rahman's mastery over WCM. With an aggrandized strings section,pizzicato strings, percussions and double bass he has composed a mind blowing waltz. If one closes his eyes and listens to the track, they would think it was composed by a seasoned Hollywood composer. The brass section along with strings section creates magic.
If the previous one was mind blowing, this is a stunner. Rahman starts with the veena and he brings his favorite Ghatam/mirdhangam, bass and fuses them together and the song ends with a rush of orchestral hits and a perfect manjira/jalra . A perfect fusion number.
Its a perfect dark number with all those pianos,hits,violin section and brass falling in place. It seems like an Indian semi classical piece. Suddenly we hear brass, timpani and manjira bit and Rahman's solo high pitched voice at the end. Its a pure situational number.
10) Luau by John O' Brien:
This piece is a true Carribean number. This piece is by John O' Brien. Its all guitars and calypso beats all the way.
This time, Khailash Kher joins hands with Rahman and it looks like a fusion number blending Khailash Kher's voice in Spanish style. It has a deja vu feel to it reminding his previous number "Jumbalaka" from En Swasa Katre".
The song starts off with Rahman's voice in the backgroud. Hearing the instrumental from 1.00 minute is pure bliss. He has gained such mastery over the orchestration that the entire strings section sweeps our hearts. Its so pleasing to hear those strings with all those variations along with the melodramatic voice of the music wizard, it ends with horns and pianos.This is easily one of the best pieces in this album.
13) The Waterfall:
A very youthful melody, it again brings the main theme "Sajna Sajna" to the fore. It is a very short piece again with the soulful flute, strings and a solo guitar.
14) Jason and Cynthia-Piano Theme:
In this piece, Rahman brings a Vangelis feel into it by bringing in his trademark electric piano and slowly the horn section with violins elevate this lilting number to new heights. It has a Mandarin feel to it. Sounds like a pathos number.
15) Animal Spirits:
The song starts off with a neat assemblage of strings, percussions, flutes and it easily embraces the WCM and reminds us of the vintage Rahman of Uzhavan days. Again Sajna Sajna is played and it suddenly takes a serious route and transforms into a routine symphony number and again towards the end the tempo picks up and it ends on a happy note. A delight to hear.
Even when I was hearing the album, Sajna Sajna became my favorite though i would rate "Dreams on Fire" higher. Its a typical appealing Rahman theme number. The music wizard is an exponent in composing themes and he again has delivered the goods here.And hats off to the orchestrator Kaz Boyle. Then there is our own tamil number "Kuru Kuru" and a lot of orchestral pieces. Its pure magic from Rahman. Now one has to wait for the movie(sad thing to note that its a second grade movie)to see if they could do justice to his music.
A must buy for any A.R.Rahman fan.
A must buy for any A.R.Rahman fan.