The Modern Love Chennai edition of the popular music franchise has received high praise, especially for its diverse array of talented musicians and its standout composer, Ilaiyaraaja. The album features a variety of songs from different episodes, each with its own unique style and charm.
G V Prakash Kumar contributes just one song to the album, “Kaadhal Enbadhu Kannula Heart Irukkura Emoji,” performed by Ramya Nambessan and Vagu Mazan. The song, titled “Kukunnu,” has become a favorite among listeners, with its catchy melody and quirky folk-electronic fusion elements. One highlight of the song is the remixed version of S Ballesh’s shehnai solo, which adds an interesting twist to the composition.
Sean Roldan, no stranger to folk and flippant romantic numbers, delivers two impressive tracks for the album. “Jingrudha Dhanga,” featured in Lalagunda Bommaigal, captures the essence of Roldan’s signature folksy style. The song is delivered with great energy by the composer himself and is complemented by Bakkiyam Shankar’s colloquial and Chennai-centric lyrics. Roldan’s second song, “Uravu,” is a haunting melody that showcases his collaboration with Padmapriya Raghavan. The song features charming elements like whistles and Ashwin Suresh’s guitar work.
Yuvan Shankar Raja, known for his immersive compositions, contributes two brilliantly crafted songs to the album. “Yaayum Gnaayum,” the title track of the anthology, is a love ode with sultry vocals by Shivani Paneerselvam. The song features trippy elements and a hypnotic rhythm loop that keeps listeners hooked. “Peranbae,” from Balaji Sakthivel’s Imaigal, is a sufi fusion track that once again showcases Shivani’s talent alongside Yuvan’s composition. The only drawback of the song is the composer’s own singing, but the overall arrangement and production make up for it.
The album reaches its climax with the inclusion of three songs by the legendary composer Ilaiyaraaja. These songs are part of Akshay Sundher’s Margazhi episode, appropriately titled “Ninaivo Our Paravai,” after one of Ilaiyaraaja’s classic compositions. “Paavi Nenjae” stands out as a retro jazz piece, with Raja tweaking his voice to suit the nostalgic vibe. The song features top-notch orchestration, especially the excellent use of horns. Ilaiyaraaja pays homage to composers from before his time with two songs, “Aanaal” and the instrumental piece “Kaamaththup-Paal.” “Aanaal” draws inspiration from a 60s song by Veda-Kannadasan-L R Eswari, and Ananya Bhat delivers an excellent performance with her languid, Western-influenced singing. “Kaamaththup-Paal” is a tribute to Edvard Grieg’s “In The Hall Of the Mountain King,” with the song gradually building up in intensity and tempo.
The album also features standout tracks from other artists, including Christopher Stanley’s soulful rendition in “Thee Inbame,” Priya Mali’s powerful vocals in the frenzied rock piece “Sooriyan Thondrudhu Saamatthilae,” and Shivani Paneerselvam’s mesmerizing performances in the retro jazz number “Kaala Visai” and the raw, stripped-down “Thaen Mazhaiyo.”
In addition to the vocal tracks, the album includes three instrumental pieces by Ilaiyaraaja. While “Kannil Pattu Nenjai Thotta Minnal” doesn’t leave a strong impression, “Uncertainty of the Future” delivers a suspenseful and unsettling tune. The album’s longest track, “The Good Bye,” showcases Ilaiyaraaja’s expertise in jazz incorporation, with a melodic phrase repeated over and over, accompanied by piano, saxophone, and strings.
Overall, the Chennai edition of Modern Love stands out among its predecessors, thanks to the exceptional talent of the musicians involved, particularly Ilaiyaraaja. The album successfully captures the essence of retro music while also introducing new and fresh elements. With a rating of 4.5/5, this album is a must-listen for music enthusiasts.