Wednesday December 8, 2010

Top recent listens (November 2010)

Posted by Karthik

Dog Days Are Over, Howl & Drumming Song – Lungs (Florence and the Machine)
One of those albums that I discovered late and got completely hooked…so much that at one point I was listening to nothing but this for over 3-4 days in November! And here’s a live version of Howl, by Florence Welch!

Devangane vaa vaa vaa – Kayam (Malayalam – Mohan Sithara)
Songs based in raaga Mayamalavagowlai can seldom go wrong and this song only reiterates that. It is a fairly staid template that gains immensely from the resonant music and Raja’ish twists that are at once predictable and because of that, enjoyable!

Dilli & Aitbaar – No One Killed Jessica (Hindi – Amit Trivedi)
Frankly, I can’t get enough of these 2 tracks! Enough said!!

Bolo Ashtalakshmi – Ragada (Telugu – Thaman S)
The only song that actually scores in this soundtrack by Thaman. Even this is a bit too clever for itself and is clearly built on its catchy hook, without anything else to fall back on!

Supernova – Bada Boom (Ranjit Barot)
One of the best tracks I’ve heard this year – the Charukesi-based track can indeed get uncomfortable as it moves into its jazzy portions, but give it a patient, non-judgmental listen and you’ll love it as you comprehend its structure fully! I couldn’t get Supernova on YouTube, but here’s Revolutions to showcase what this album is made of!

Title song & Kamal kavidhai – Manmadan Ambu (Tamil – Devi Sri Prasad)
This is a surprisingly listenable soundtrack by DSP, something I did not expect at all, due to my preconceived notion about his skills. He clearly fills a gap with this catchy, massy compositions and actually goes many steps ahead in providing effective backgrounds to Kamal kavidhai that stand out even beyond Kamal’s amazing words!

The Flood, SOS, Kidz & Underground Machine – Progress (Take That)
As a fan of Take That forever, and as a particularly loyal fan of Gary Barlow, I love the reunited band’s new album. It is that perfect blend of Take That’ish pop sensibilities mixed with Robbie Williams’ style. The above 3 songs stand out for me, even as I cringe at the ‘Eight letters, 3 words, 1 meaning’ mushiness in Eight Letters!

Sikkapatte ishtapatte – Super (Kannada – V Harikrishna)
I feel almost apologetic in listing this track here, but what the heck! This is an unabashed kuthu track that makes for a captivating listen – street-smart and instantly catchy!

Jilla vittu – Eesan (Tamil – James Vasanthan)
The only track that stands out in the 2nd combination of Sasikumar and composer James Vasanthan. The charm of the track, as I had mentioned earlier, lies in Thanjai Selvi’s fabulously simple vocals and wonderful lyrics by Mohan Rajan!

Isi umar mein – Isi Life Mein (Hindi – Meet Bros Anjjan)
I’m going out on a limb for this one, specifically for Mohit Chauhan who infuses life into this otherwise-predictable track! It has got a ‘Purai Jeans’ style simplicity that is endearing!

Priyankari – The Thriller (Malayalam – Dharan)
The quintessential Dharan song! It has everything that a fan of Dharan would expect in his music and that includes Mamta Mohandas’ lovely, albeit vocalized singing, as usual!

Sheila ki jawani – Tees Maar Khan (Hindi – Vishal Shekhar)
It’d be a crime to not include the most-discussed song of the season…the new Munni, as people like to call it. To give context, this is a considerably more skillful composition than Munni, which was based on folk influences. Sunidhi Chauhan is in scorching form here and the arrangements are top-class too!

Ayyayo & Yaathe – Aadukalam (Tamil – G V Prakash Kumar)
Ayyayo carries the magic of Prakash’s Veyyil debut and his choice of the dad-son combo of SPB and SPC works brilliantly! Yathe, on the other hand, sees the composer reserving the best for himself and does complete justice too, backed by some breezy lyrics!

Nangai, Thee illai & Nenjil nenjil – Engeyum Kaadhal (Tamil – Harris Jayaraj)
Nangai…yes, I know…the Jackson influence. It still is gorgeously catchy! Thee illai brings back pleasant memories of Minnale and Naresh Iyer only makes it better. The showstopper is of course Nenjil nenjil…Harris invoking Charukesi shows his class!

Ainvayi ainvayi & Tarkeebein – Band Baaja Baaraat (Hindi – Salim Sulaiman)
Ainvayi is triumph of a good, pop’ish tune arranged expertly – Sunidhi, in particular, ROCKS (in caps, I mean it!) here! Tarkeebein is the kind of song that makes one like the duo Salim Sulaiman – fantastic music and that interplay between the tune and their arrangements…simply amazing!

Acid Darbari & R.I.P – 127 Hours OST (A R Rahman)
Why did Rahman have to add that synthetically repetitive vocals that keeps popping up in an otherwise flawless Acid Darbari? If I were overlook that (it perhaps has a reason), this one’s a complete charmer! R.I.P’s finale is unbelievable and takes the song to a whole new level!

Then thennale, Mosobathiya banaao nahi, Aah ko chaahiye & Kaanuvan vaiki – Makaramanju (Malayalam – Ramesh Narayanan)
The twin-related songs – Then thennale and Mosobathiya are beautifully intertwined with Sunitha Menon’s vocals standing out mildly above Manjari’s solo version, even as Srinivas holds his ground impeccably! Aah ko and Kaanuvaan vaiki is the other twin tracks that have intertwined structures…again, great vocals by Hariharan and Sujatha. Listen to these 4 to know how the composer incorporates ghazal down into a corner of South India!

Dangerous, Best laid plans & Superstar – Some Kind of Trouble (James Blunt)
I’m an on and off fan of James Blunt, but this album falls in the on category. Good listen and the man gets close to his debut high!

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