1. Dil Bechara Title Track - AR Rahman: A fun ballad for all the smitten and the friend-zoned aashiqs. It reminds me of the Tamil film Kutty (2010) where the protagonist is a believer and an example of unrequited, one-sided love. However, the difference is in the structure of the song lyrics' composition. For starters, the way the Hinglish is broken down in the song, I got a bit confused as to what is meant by "ray ray ray" (turns out it the 'day' of 'birthday'). The lyrics aim to extol the pains of a friend-zoned heart and the love that's not reciprocated. Going by the trailer, it is where Manny starts to pursue Kizzy and she turns him down and later accepts him as a friend. The song has got a nice rhythm pattern reminiscent of a lesson in London Trinity School of Music and the orchestration is catchy and peppy. The Hinglish instead of attracting only confuses and what remains is the hook.
2. Taare Ginn - Mohit Chauhan and Shreya Ghoshal: This song describes the initial "cuteness" when the love is finally accepted and the couple cherishes each other - their company, their words and so on. Mohit Chauhan and Shreya Ghoshal are great in this song. The introduction that starts with a staccato pattern sets the pitch for a great song. The following refrain with Taare Ginn is mellifluous. Watch out for the brilliant violin symphony towards the end of the song which is a typical Rahman treat! What doesn't work is the overlapping of the singers' tracks. Due to the many layers of the vocals and the instruments, the lyrics aren't heard that well. Nevertheless, this number doesn't disappoint.
3. Khulke Jeene - Arijit Singh and Shashaa Tripathi: My favourite and an earworm for a long time. The highlight is the first stanza of the song. Both the singers sing the same lines simultaneously but in different scales which function as complimenting counters to each other. The lyrics are philosophical and don't cater to only the lovers. The Mozart of India shows his brilliance when the scale of the song changes and goes a notch higher. Shashaa Tripathi sings the higher octave and Arijit the lower one and it works wonders. Don't miss this out, people!
4. Main Tumhara - Jonita Gandhi and Hriday Gattani: A soothing melody. With deep lyrics and deeper voices this songs tugs at your heart. It is a celebration of love (when the heroine is breathing her last? when they both are being separated by the circumstances?) with an undercurrent of melancholy. The lyrical structure is almost Ghazal like with the lines repeating after every stanza. Hriday and Jonita are absolutely soulful and Rahman touches your heart with this no percussion track filled with the raindrops of the piano notes.
5. Maskhari - Sunidhi Chauhan and Hriday Gattani: Reminiscent of a song where one of the characters in the film tries to elevate the mood of the lead characters! The hook has got a nice groove to it for which we can dance. The guitar strumming in the interludes well complimented by the tambourine makes this song a must-have during the Monday-morning-work-from-home-blues. A quick song and a happy one but quite generic and easy to forget after a few times.
6. Afreeda - Sanaa Moussa and Raja Kumari: Reminiscent of the Coke Studio hit Zariya and Khalbali from Rang De Basanti. The Palestinian tune with the crazy crossovers by Raja Kumari raps makes you long for the song to continue even after it ends. The small tease in the middle with just the alaap by Sanaa Moussa (man, that is some voice!) is like the denial of climax during intercourse! An absolute swashbuckler with the signature Rahman all over it!
7. Mera Naam Kizie - Aditya Narayan and Poorvi Koutish: The clarinet and the rhythm pattern remind us of the black and white days of Indian cinema where the swing was used to show that the two lovers get along well and are celebrating life as it happens. The clarinet is refreshing to hear and the singers compliment each other very well. The interlude with some thumping Timphony and the end with the clarinet solo are my favourite parts. This is an easy-on-the-ears song but nothing special as far as the brand of Rahman is concerned
8. Friendzone - AR Rahman: This only seems like a remix of the title track with little change to the structure (The confusion with "ray ray ray" continues) and might as well be called that. The only differences are the length and the extra thump that gives this track a dance-number feel. The rhythm makes it more appropriate for a John Travolta kinda dance where the upper body remains stiff and the legs slide to the left and right.
9. The Horizon of Saudade - Instrumental: The only number in the album that has got a smooth flow and smoother transitions from one phrase to the next. Starting with the rain-drop piano, the track flows ends as a violin dominated one dominated number with the piano being an accompaniment. With traces of Taare Gin, this is the most melodic number in the whole album.
Verdict: AR Rahman has always been very experimental with his music and this album is no exception. Unfortunately, with only hints of his brilliance sprinkled in this album, this is just another ordinary piece of work. As a Rahmaniac myself, I feel that his Midas touch is gone with the 90s and the early 2000s, though he has surprised us with some great numbers in between. But they are only sporadic and countable. Therefore, a good album but a seasonal one.
Picks (In the order of preference): 1. Khulke Jeene 2. Afreen 3. Main Tumhara