In view of the recent dissatisfaction of the average music lover with CWG theme (so much so that the maestro apologized to the public, such a sorry state of affairs), and in general the apparent newness that Rehman’s albums (Robo, Ravan) have created to superficial listeners, I felt like expressing my reasons for holding the genius’ work in such great regard. As I understand it, people seemed to have absolutely no problems in appreciating albums like Jeans, Roja, etc. A primer for the post is the standard structure of a normal song.
Standard Structure of a Song:
A song usually has the introductory stanza- called Pallavi in Telugu- followed by a refrain. This refrain is quite catchy and is repeated often in the song with minor changes/tweaks. You might as well call it the USP of the song. Some music directors get off by just focusing on a good refrain with the rest of the tune being mediocre (BYLA BYLAMO from Sainikudu). The combination of the intro stanza and the refrain adds up to 6-8 lines. This is followed by an instrumental interlude which could also be supported by some vocals – individual or chorus. Then comes the intermediate stanza and the sequence is repeated.
This sequencing is to be found in the picture containing lyrics of the song ‘Poovullo Dagunna’ from Jeans: (Ajooba in Hindi). The song essentially has three layers: an intro, a refrain and the intermediate stanzas; there could be minor changes in the pitch/scale. This is how most of the songs are composed and Rehman did follow suit until a while ago.
A new pattern:
Imagine an intro and a refrain adding up to 10-12 lines; followed by a single (and not two/three) longer intermediate stanza; and this further by an intro in a different tune/ with male female voices reversed in case of a duet. What you get is the song ‘Neelo Valupu’ from Robo.
The point of the post:
I totally understand that there cannot be any rationale in a preference; and all those who didn’t like ARR’s previous albums have my full respect for their opinion. But I am afraid that theirs could be a ‘snap’ decision; and the reason for such decisions is the point of this post. For one, the standard structure is very, very easy to absorb. Because there are only three layers in the song which repeat themselves, it hardly takes ten listens to get a hang of it. Contrast this with the second pattern where in there is hardly any repetition in addition to the refrain. Also, the intro itself is double the size of what it normally is. So, it feels as if the song has started out of nowhere. I am inclined to believe that the second pattern takes at least twice as many listens; and that too, mind you, with a good deal of concentration. Nobody is to be blamed; it is just a tendency of the mind to expect uniformity/repetition. In pure logical terms, the permutations and combinations in the second pattern are a little more complex than in the first. All I am saying is that unless you take the time to totally absorb the song, your judgment is half-baked and carries absolutely no weight. Try listening to the more complex works of Mozart and compare them to Fur Elise. The latter follows a fairly standard tune. I hope the point that I am trying to make will be driven home. The song “I have been waiting for you” from Jhootha hee Sahi is another case in point for the second pattern.