Saturday November 3, 2012

Top recent listens (October 2012)

Posted by Karthik

Nenjukkulle – Kadal (Tamil – A R Rahman) ~ Unplugged version from A R Rahman’s MTV episode
Trust Mani Ratnam to bring out the magic in Rahman! This song is superb! Shaktishree Gopalan gets a chance as good as Chinmayi, in Kannathil Muthamittaal and she delivers brilliantly. I believe the song’s orchestration will be vastly different in the film version, but the base tune is absolutely gorgeous!

THE ENTIRE ALBUM – Jagjit Singh: The Master & His Magic
This is a collection of 9 unreleased songs of Jagjit Singh and each one is a veritable showcase of the man’s superb vocals and the nuance of making appropriate compositions that go with poetic verses. A must-own album, in physical form, not just mp3!

Candy, Gospel, Hunting for you & Into the silence – Take The Crown (Robbie Williams)
Take The Crown is ideally the real comeback for Robbie, much more than his last middling come-back in Reality Killed The Video Star. The sound is very, very good, in the hands of his producer, Jacknife Lee (of U2, REM and Snow Patrol fame). The U2 sound shows quite obviously in tracks like Into the silence and Hinting for you, while his collaboration with his ex-band member Gary Barlow, Candy, is bloody addictive and very, very Gary Barlow! Good mainstream pop-rock, this!

Muthal paarvayil, Kaathal nadhikkarayoram & Yetho yetho – Nandanam (Tamil – Gopi Sundar)
Gopi Sundar has a decent track record with his limited Malayalam repertoire – his music is easy on the ears and usually quite adept with the orchestration. He uses the same template in Tamil too, in his debut film, Nandhanam. Muthal paarvayil, in particular, carries his penchant for using Middle Eastern hooks, much like how Yuvan used them in Arindhum Ariyaamalum.

El harraga & Elle est partie – C’est La Vie (Khaled)
Khaled’s vocal flourishes are intact, but the tunes are decidedly and dramatically different. It seems much less native and mor like the man trying to go out of his comfort, native zone to more international areas. That’s pretty obvious in Khaled’s collaboration with Pitbull, in Hiya hiya. But what works is his staple, native sounds in songs like El harraga and Elle Est Partie.

Seethakoka nachchave, Dola dola dola and Hola hola – Okkadine (Telugu – Karthik)
Singer Karthik’s Tamil composing (film) debut, Aravaan, was reasonably good, but didn’t really stand out. Okkadine is no better, but he definitely shows improvement from his debut. The liveliness in Seethakoka, the sweeping tune of Dola dola are really impressive!

Chirigina notu & Yevevo kalale – Genius (Telugu – Joshua Sridhar)
Joshua Sridhar seems to reserve his best for Kannada (which has been rather less too, recently). Genius is mildly better than his recent no-show. Love the sound of Chirigina notu… super peppy kuthu!

Perfect, Higher, Runaround Sue, When you say my name & Keep me hanging on – Higher (The Overtones)
The doo-wop boy band is back and in style! The sound is consistently doo-wop R&B and most of it works mighty well. They get superb support from Robbie Williams’ producer, Trevor Horn and even deliver a bloody good cover of Fairground Attraction’s 1988 single, Perfect!

Long drive – Khiladi 786 (Hindi – Himesh Reshammiya)
Someone should really tell Himesh not to spoil all his better tunes by insisting that he sings them himself. No, seriously – he seems to be coming with decent tunes (like this film’s Sari sari raat) but he makes them utterly unbeareable by singing them himself in his Godawful nasal twang that still seems to have a reasonably sized fan following, most of whom linger in this blog’s comments section. Mika rocks Long Drive, however – kick-ass Punju hip hop!

Title song, Kalalake kanulochina & Pattuko pattuko – Bus Stop (Telugu – JB and G.Anil)
One of the better Telugu soundtracks in recent times – JB’s contribution is a bit better than Anil’s with the playful title song and Kalalake ruling the soundtrack. Anil Pattuko rocks in Madurai Chinna Ponnu’s dependably cool vocals!

Tere khayal, Yun toh naadan & Chahe dard de – Ek Din (Indipop – Kavita Seth)
Kavita Seth’s En Din is an interesting attempt in Indipop – there’s little sufi here, the genre she is predominantly associated with (even though Sufi is not the word for what she sings, anyway). Her own tunes are consistently good albeit a bit tempatized. She also chooses her orchestration with care and that helps in accentuating the appeal fo the album.

Sehra sehra, Chand hain & Tore naina – Piya Basanti…Again (Indipop – Sandesh Shandilya)
I have gushed enough about Chand hain… I have also heard it so many times since this album’s launch. One thing is clear – Sandesh Shandilya is phenomenally underrated. But he perhaps should stay away from Hindi films and make a niche for himself in Indipop, where he may have better freedom to do his own thing without the constraints of a story or a script.

Neethone unna – Routine Love Story (Telugu – Mickey J Meyer)
The name is perhaps indicative of how the soundtrack is. Neethone unna is the only saving grace – now, to wait for Mickey’s next, Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu.

Vechaani vayasu, Rathiri & Ekkadundhi naa kodi – Gundello Godari (Telugu – Ilayaraja)
Trust Raja to remix his own classics and he does it in style! Some of Gundello Godari is annoyingly dated, but a large part is also dependably Raja.

Jee le zara, Jiya lage na & Hona hai kya – Talaash (Hindi – Ram Sampath)
Talaash is clearly one of the best Hindi soundtracks. Jee le zara is my personal favorite, but Jiya lage na comes really close too! I really like how choosy Ram Sampath is, in selecting his films and giving them his everything.

Mellasirithaal kadhalthan & Poovum poovum – Aadhalaal Kaadhal Seiveer (Tamil – Yuvan Shankar Raja)
A rather middling soundtrack from the Yuvan-Suseendran combo, that too, with just 4 tracks. But 2 out of 4 is not a bad deal at all. Everything is very, very Yuvan in the 2 tracks that work… that may be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how much like the man!

Brahma’s Dance, Dhanashri thillana & Swans of Saraswati – The Inner Self Awakens (Indipop – Agam)
The best non-film album in quite some time! The music is assured, differentiated and has a marked style. Swans of Saraswati is my personal favorite.

Title song, Hare rama hare krishna, Unparvayilae & Kuthu dancer – Poda Podi (Tamil – Dharan Kumar)
Yes, I have complained a lot about autotuning by Dharan, but he is not alone in his annoying trend – Joshua Sridhar is quite similar. But Dharan gets his tunes very right almost throughout the soundtrack. Though, in terms of lyrics, this soundtrack hits a rock bottom in Tamil cinema – it is atrociously stupid and mindless, in the name of cool, colloqial lyrics.

Para para – Neer Paravai (Tamil – N R Rahnanthan)
Rahnanthan’s show of form, finally! Para para, with 3 versions, is a great showcase of what he is capable of. He should do it more often!

Motorwada, Luni hadi & Title song – Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana (Hindi – Amit Trivedi)
One of those Amit Trivedi soundtracks that did not work entirely for me, though I have seen enough people gushing about it. Shellee’s lyrics are perhaps better than Amit’s music, but that doesn’t take anything away from a gorgeous tune like Luni hasi and the coolth of Motorwada.

Challa, Saans, Ishq shava & Jiya re – Jab Tak Hai Jaan (Hindi – A R Rahman)
I’m aware of the kind of reactions this soundtrack has evoked. At least from what I have seen, a majority of fans have disliked the soundtrack and that seems rather strange to. One, I hardly find this as the Yuvvrraj template (as lyricist Varun Grover hilariously pointed out in AIB – AIB is not for the faint-hearted, you have been warned!) and two, I don’t find anything that wrong with the soundtrack to deserve the kind of drubbing it has received! The one thing that really intrigues and annoys me is the tune in Saans that goes haywire, at least to me – the part, ‘Tere khayal mein doob ke aksar, achhi lagi tanhayi’. I really wonder why and how Rahman came up with that bridge to go back to the mukhda.

Oru thuli vishamai, Bagavan rap & Kaatriley nadanthene – Aadhi Baghavan (Tamil – Yuvan Shankar Raja)
Despite Udit Narayan’s Tamil chutney, Kaatriley nadanthene is one of the best Tamil songs in recent times, in my opinion. Phenomenal work by Yuvan! Even the samples used in Bagavan rap are mighty cool!

Arare pasi manasa – Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum (Telugu – Mani Sharma)
Mani Sharma’s return to form and he does very well. The entire soundtrack smacks of something slightly different from his usual, commercialized sound and that is a good thing!

Panche kattuko & Pilla neevalla – Denikaina Ready (Telugu – Chakri and Yuvan Shankar Raja)
Both the composers seem to be in middling form in this soundtrack, but they square off with one good track each.

Bichdaan & Yeh jo halki – Son of Sardar (Hindi – Himesh Reshammiya and Sajid-Wajid)
Not singing Bichdaan is one of the best decisions by Himesh in his life. He hands it over to Rahat and the result is delightful. The singer is in great form even in Sajid-Wajid’s Yeh jo halki!

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