When I listened to the teasers of the songs, I felt that Billa 2 might not live up to the soundtrack of its predecessor. But after two hours of listening to the tracks over and over again, I should say that it has delivered quite well. Yuvan has done increasingly well and it is evident that the director has requested tracks to be the way they were. Also what’s interesting is the fact that this album is really short – just around 23 minutes to be precise. All the tracks are around the 4 minute mark and they are reasonably slow-paced despite having a lot of techno to them. Let us take a closer look to see how unique Billa 2 really is…
Gangster – Yuvan Shankar Raja and Stefny
This song was released as a teaser a while back. We have seen Yuvan set his flag on some of the hit numbers in his albums. This is one such number but may not live up to the other ones. Putting on the techno/trance (or is it hip-hop) shoes, Yuvan has come out with a number that is full of praise to Billa. While fans will love lines such as "Donukellam don indha Billa dhan", the song has few Tamil lyrics. They almost make Billa look like a super-hero only this one is called a "monster" throughout the track. It is weird, yet has some very likeable grooves in this one. It could have been much better if it didn’t sound like the old Billa theme.
Idhayam – Swetha Pandit
Having heard songs like "En Nanbane" from Mankatha and "Engeyo Paartha Mayakkam" from YDM, I see that ‘Idhayam’ is nothing new to Yuvan. With the addition of some very welcome classical touches and some help from the tabla, this one has all the makings of a wonderful melody. The harp-like notes playing in the background throughout the song make it sound dreamy, and the veena and flute pieces before each charanam shows signs of depth in Yuvan’s music that are not usually of this kind. Swetha Pandit, another Hindi singer after the likes of Bela Shende and Javed Ali, does well. Na Muthukumar’s lyrics add value to the softness and the melody of the track.
Yedho Mayakkam – Tanvi Shah, Yuvan Shankar Raja and Suvi Suresh
This is one track that you will start liking as soon as you hear it. It starts off with what appears to be a digitalized shehnai / nadhashwara pieces (backed with guitar chords) and sets into the club mix with the flanges and phase shifts. A typical dance number, it has enough beats and is slow enough until the very end. ‘Yedho Mayakkam’ is likely to be on top of music charts the next few months. Tanvi Shah is perhaps the best choice for the song and she does justice for her selection. Her voice sets in very well with the music and along with the rapping and special effects put in by Yuvan, who also does some occasional rapping himself, gives the song a very futuristic yet down-to-earth sound. The charanams also bring in some melody making it kinda complete and difficult to review. Simply put, it draws a bridge between ‘Evandi unna pethan’ and ‘Cheeky cheeky’ from Saroja.
Madura Ponnu – Andrea Jeremiah
In today’s world of Tamil cinema, item numbers are the most boring songs in a soundtrack. But this one, as likely to turn out as an item song, is quite different. Yuvan is again right at the middle of everything and is creating some very interesting music. The instrumental piece right after the first stanza is one of the best parts of the song, maybe the album too. If you take a look at the chorus at the end followed by some jazz-like music, you would realize that this is much more than a folk song. The Andrea here is not the same we heard in ‘Idhu Varai’. Her voice is not as deep and she is very soft and timid with the phrases, which make the theme of the song natural. The lyrics are quite obvious, typical come-spend-the-night-with-me-and-learn-everything types but it would have been hard writing them when imposed on the beats of the song. A great job overall.
Unakkulle Mirugam – Ranjith
A track for the "Thala" fans, Unakkulle Mirugam is a rock song, more or less. If you were wondering why the album has gone a bit soft with the tracks, this one will indeed remind you that you are actually listening to ‘Billa 2’. The electric guitar is for you to hear until the end, with chords, in the old Billa piece in the interludes and also giving backup to Ranjith. Remember those songs in Rajinikanth movies where in the span of 5 minutes he becomes rich and successful. Unakkulle Mirugam has potential to be such a song, and chances are Ajith will be the super-villain at its end.
Billa 2 Theme – Instrumental
After seeing so much success with the original Billa theme, it’s not a surprise to see that Yuvan and the rest of the members have decided to stick with the success formula. The theme has become a trademark of Billa and it is hard not to imagine walking with the coat while it’s being played. If you are thinking it’s exactly the same thing, you are wrong. Yuvan has put in effort to make the build-up of the track unique and you can see a full string section performing in the first 40 seconds. The familiar tunes are seen only in the latter half of the track and this time, it has more prominent and audible beats backing it. The final part of the song also has variations too. You might not realize it now, but on screen, this theme is gonna rock just like before.
This may not turn out as Yuvan’s best album, or it may not be liked by some of the fans. But, the fact is that Billa 2 is a very good album. It will be enjoyed by a lot of people. The tracks are unique and represent a class of music that may not have been used as much by others as Yuvan in the modern era. He has removed the lines between the genres and has possibly experimented a lot after discussions with the director. It is not exactly the best music to hear for an average person, but it does well in representing the dark and enigmatic personality of Billa and the movie itself. I am sure we will see how apt it will fit the director’s bill when the film is released. Listen to the album over and over again and you will see how it grows on you.
Rating – 4/5 – for Yuvan’s experiments and adapting many ideologies in his music