Chennai: Music now goes beyond conventional mellifluous compositions. It`s time for some most unexpected sounds mixed with unique beats and meaningless lyrics - a la ‘Gangnam style’ and ‘Why this kolaveri di’. Some attribute this to technology and others to evolving tastes.
The viral success of such new age songs seem to be overshadowing the essence of conventional music composing. But is it?
Veteran southern composer M.S. Viswanathan says music has only taken a different shape due to technological advancements.
"Today, a song I composed over several days can be composed in a few hours. This doesn`t mean that the conventional style of music composing has been taken over by technology. We need to appreciate the progression in technology and embrace it because it is the future," Viswanathan told IANS.
"You find numerous remixed versions of a song nowadays, but even remixing involves a lot of creativity. Therefore, we can`t discard these songs. People who listen to my evergreen melodies might also be listening to these songs," he added.
Telugu composer Shravan feels the choice of music depends on an individual`s mood.
"People listen to `Gangnam style` or `Kolaveri di` when they are in a party mood, but when they are sulking or even romantically high, then they automatically switch to the tunes of A.R. Rahman or Illayaraja. People generally prefer songs that are easy to sing and remember," said Shravan.
"Even in film soundtracks, you will find a fast remix of a slow number. This is because some may not like the slower version of the song and therefore, as composers, we are bound to give them what they will enjoy," he said.
Dhanush`s "Why this kolaveri di", written and crooned by him, was a global hit, while Korean musician Psy`s "Gangnam Style" went on to be a record-breaking viral hit.
Tamil lyricist Madhan Karky says viral hits have a "limited" shelf life vis-a-vis golden melodies of several composers.
"Nobody talks about the `Kolaveri` song today as much as they did when it was released. People listen to the songs for a period of time and then they move on to the next song. But songs composed by the likes of Illayaraja and Rahman are eternal," Karky said.
Karky, who has penned numbers like "Maayavi maayavi", "Vaaya moodi summa" and "Elay keechaan", says songs with quirky or catchy lyrics are written with a specific purpose.
"Therefore, they have simple and meaningless words because anyone can sing it. Nobody can write a popular song! It only becomes popular with time or it might not because you can`t predict the fate of a song," he said, adding how he doesn`t like his own song "Google google".
"But audiences loved it. I think a healthy way of composing is making something new and fresh that audiences will appreciate," he said.
"Google Google" was a club number from the recently released Tamil action drama "Thuppakki". It was a chartbuster for weeks.
Bollywood composer Ehsaan Noorani of the popular Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy trio says these songs may be popular, but they can never become classics.
"Certain songs have a certain amount of gimmick in them. `Kolaveri` is simple and catchy with its strangely coined words, while "Gangnam style" has a chant like element and a dance step to it. These songs may not necessarily become classics, but they are catchy and popular all the same," said Noorani.
One of the recent examples of a song with strange words and a catchy tune is "Pistah" from Tamil crime-thriller "Neram". The lyrics, which were taken from a comedy track from Malayalam film "Kinnaram", have no meaning. But so what?
"It was not intentionally made that way. We wanted a theme song for the climax chase, but we couldn`t find suitable lyrics and therefore we used these meaningless words from a comedy track. We added a few more words to the song and finetuned it," said the film`s director, Alphonse Putharen.
"These songs are fun to listen to. You can listen to them after a stressful day at work or even when you`re unwinding. (But) They can never replace genuine compositions," he added.