Sunday December 16, 2012

Milliblog Annual Music round-up 2012

Posted by Karthik

Mandatory note, as usual: these lists are in order of preference, not random order meant diplomatically to please assorted composers. Compared to last year, I tracked Malayalam and Kannada much lesser in 2012, mainly due to inconsistent availability of music and overall lethargy in case of Kannada.

Also, I don’t agree with waiting for the film’s release to add soundtracks into an year-end list – while there is enough justification to do so, from a sheer historical perspective (every mainstream award does so, with the reason that soundtracks are integral part of films – but we do know how that ‘integral’ thing works, right?), I have always refused to toe that line and 2012 is no different. To me, that is disrespecting the composer and giving a lot more importance to the other aspects of film-making, while judging music. My stars are the composers, not singers or lyricists, but music composers. Milliblog is only about them – every other person in the cinema music pecking order comes next to a composer, here.

With that in mind, these lists are based on long-lists of music soundtracks that released in 2012 (till the day this list was published, that is), regardless of when the films will see the light of the day.  So, let me dive right into my personal observations and top 10-30 lists of 2012 across Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada!

Hindi

I hate these gimmicky double awards; it usually seems like a ploy to please two important people at the same time. But I have no choice but to award Milliblog’s Hindi Composer of the Year title to two composers – Amit Trivedi and Pritam. Amit had a fairly strong year, topped by Ishaqzaade and residual goodness in English Vinglish, Aiyyaa, the unreleased Trishna, to a lesser extent in Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana, besides others not worth mentioning. In comparison, Pritam had two stand-out albums in Barfi and Cocktail, if we ignore Agent Vinod, to make a list. In my mind, Ishaqzaade, Barfi and Cocktail are the top 3 soundtracks of 2012 with a sheer range of songs that are consistently and thoroughly enjoyable.

But yes, the number 2 song in the top 10 list is something that Rochak Kohli and Ayushmann Khurana swoop right in with their breezy Paani da rang, much like the movie itself that swooped in out of nowhere after John Abraham picked it up. Sneha Khanwalkar’s Gangs of Wasseypur soundtracks were fantastic, no doubt, but in the overall scheme of things, they seemed less interesting.

Tutiya Dil that released right at the end of 2011 and something that I had leave out of the 2011 lists rightfully finds a place this year – Gulraj Singh is a talent to watch out for even if he has just one soundtrack and 2 devotional albums to his credit yet. Ram Sampath (Talaash), A R Rahman (Jab Tak Hai Jaan) and Shankar Ehsaan Loy (Chittagong) round off the top 10 list.

Composer(s) of the year: Amit Trivedi and Pritam

Top 3 Hindi OSTs of 2012
01. Ishaqzaade (Amit Trivedi)
02. Barfi (Pritam)
03. Cocktail (Pritam)

Top 10 Hindi songs of 2012
01. Pareshaan – Ishaqzaade (Amit Trivedi)
02. Paani da rang – Vicky Donor (Rochak Kohli and Ayushmann Khurana)
03. Aashiyan – Barfi (Pritam)
04. Yaariyaan – Cocktail (Pritam)
05. Bolo na – Chittagong (Shankar Ehsaan Loy)
06. Chhi chha ledar – Gangs of Wasseypur 2 (Sneha Khanwalkar)
07. Chokra jawan – Ishaqzaade (Amit Trivedi)
08. Jee le zara – Talaash (Ram Sampath)
09. Gustakh dil – English Vinglish (Amit Trivedi)
10. Le chalo – Tutiya Dil (Gulraj Singh)

YouTube Playlist of Milliblog Top 10 Hindi songs of 2012:

The 10 that did not make it!
11. Challa – Jab Tak Hai Jaan (A R Rahman)
12. Kyon – Barfi (Pritam)
13. Aafaton ke parindey – Ishaqzaade (Amit Trivedi)
14. Lagan lagi re – Trishna (Amit Trivedi)
15. Tumhi ho bandhu – Cocktail (Pritam)
16. Motorwada – Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana (Amit Trivedi)
17. Jiya lage na – Talaash (Ram Sampath)
18. Badla nazara – English Vinglish (Amit Trivedi)
19. Radha – Student Of The Year (Vishal-Shekhar)
20. Satrangiya dil – Tutiya Dil (Gulraj Singh)

YouTube Playlist of Milliblog Hindi Top 11-20, 2012:

And the 10 that are relegated to the 20s but are still worth a mention!
21. Ishaqzaade – Ishaqzaade (Amit Trivedi)
22. Saans – Jab Tak Hai Jaan (A R Rahman)
23. Mahek bhi – Aiyyaa (Amit Trivedi)
24. Piya tu – Kahaani (Vishal-Shekhar)
25. Khudaaya – Shanghai (Vishal-Shekhar)
26. Pungi – Agent Vinod (Pritam)
27. Dhak dhuk – English Vinglish (Amit Trivedi)
28. Hunter – Gangs of Wasseypur 1 (Sneha Khanwalkar)
29. Luttna – Cocktail (Pritam)
30. Maula – Jism 2 (Arko Pravo Mukherjee)

YouTube Playlist of Milliblog Hindi Top 21-30, 2012:

Tamil

It was a fantastic year for Tamil film music with veteran Ilayaraja coming back to the thick of mainstream action in complete style, thanks to Gautam Menon’s push, almost like he wanted a Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya-level film, but with Ilayaraja in tow, instead of Rahman (my personal opinion of VTV’s music is a different story that has already been well documented, debated and adequately ridiculed on the back of its popular success). Neethaane En Ponvasantham is the undisputed soundtrack of the year, in my opinion, while Rahman’s Kadal and Yuvan Shankar Raja’s Moondru Per Moondru Kaadhal round off the top 3 soundtrack’s list.

2012’s story is D.Imman’s, however. Having been relegated after a star debut with Vijay’s Tamizhan years ago, the man came back with a vengeance and demonstrated a rare consistency that I honestly did not expect from him. There is definitely a minor quibble about a kind of template seeping in his music, but I’m not that worried about it yet given his strong tunes. He had excellent tunes in soundtracks like Manam Kothi Paravai, Saattai and Kumki, with Amara and Therodum Veethiyile too offering relatively good music. Here’s hoping he scales better heights in 2013.

From individual songs point of view, Neethaane En Ponvasantham’s Yennodu vaa vaa and Kadal’s outstanding Adiye are right on top for me. I’m also glad to add that there is no repeat by any composer in the top 10 (barring Yuvan Shankar Raja). Santhosh Narayanan is the other composer to look out for, with a fairly consistent and unique sound – hope he gets interesting projects to showcase his range in 2013.

Composer of the year: Ilayaraja

Top 3 Tamil OSTs of 2012
01. Neethaane En Ponvasantham (Ilayaraja)
02. Kadal (A R Rahman)
03. Moondru Per Moondru Kaadhal (Yuvan Shankar Raja)

Top 10 Tamil songs of 2012
01. Yennodu vaa vaa – Neethaane En Ponvasantham (Ilayaraja)
02. Adiye – Kadal (A R Rahman)
03. Yenna solla – Manam Kothi Paravai (D.Imman)
04. Aaha kaadhal – Moondru Per Moondru Kaadhal (Yuvan Shankar Raja)
05. Kaatriley nadanthene – Aadhi Baghavan (Yuvan Shankar Raja)
06. Ethir neechal – Ethir Neechal (Anirudh)
07. Yaen indha dhideer – Maalai Pozhudhin Mayakathilaey (Achu)
08. Indha vaan veli – Aarohanam (K)
09. Rathiri – Pizza (Santhosh Narayan)
10. Unnai kaanadhu – Vishwaroopam (Shankar Ehsaan Loy)

YouTube Playlist of Milliblog Top 10 Tamil songs of 2012:

The 10 that did not make it!
11. Mudhal murai – Neethaane En Ponvasantham (Ilayaraja)
12. Adi raangi – Saattai (D.Imman)
13. Po po po – Manam Kothi Paravai (D.Imman)
14. Thavi thavi – Dhoni (Ilayaraja)
15. Oru kural – Vazhakku Enn 18/9 (Guitar R Prasanna)
16. Idhayam – Billa 2 (Yuvan Shankar Raja)
17. Aasai or pulveli – Atta Kathi (Santhosh Narayanan)
18. Onnum puriyala – Kumki (D.Imman)
19. Elay keechan – Kadal (A R Rahman)
20. Pudhu paarvai – Yaaruda Mahesh (Gopi Sundar)

YouTube Playlist of Milliblog Tamil Top 11-20, 2012:

And the 10 that are relegated to the 20s but are still worth a mention!
21. Kangal neeye – Muppozhudhum Un Karpanaigal (GV Prakash Kumar)
22. Vanakkam vaazha vaikkum Chennai – Marina (Girishh G)
23. Mokka manusha – Kalakalappu (Vijay Ebenezer)
24. Saayndhu saayndhu – Neethaane En Ponvasantham (Ilayaraja)
25. Avatha paiya – Paradesi (GV Prakash Kumar)
26. Nenjukkule – Kadal (A R Rahman)
27. Thuppakki engal – Vishwaroopam (Shankar Ehsaan Loy)
28. Yaarodum idhuvarai – Sollaakadhai (Ramesh Vinayagam)
29. Vaayamoodi – Mugamoodi (K)
30. Kalla paarvai – Mirattal (Pravin Mani)

YouTube Playlist of Milliblog Tamil Top 11-20, 2012:

(Except No.28 – Yaarodum from Sollakadhai)

Telugu

I live in Bangalore, not in Hyderabad. I’m definitely aware that this list won’t make much sense for a native Telugu who is exposed to a lot more Telugu film music and may be swayed by trends that are dictated more by local media and star power in Andhra Pradesh. You know what? Star power can take a hike. My stars are the composers, as I mentioned earlier. From a personal and purely musical point of view, I did have a tough time selecting the Composer of the Year for Telugu. In fact, I went with ‘None’ for a long time, but Eega’s work perhaps (at least in hindsight) deserves praise and I’m picking Keeranavi for the tag.

Despite assorted allegations of inspirations, I still rate Karthik Raja’s Tuneega Tuneega very highly. And Keeravani ‘s other, almost forgotten Dhammu ranks high in my list – it had the Vidyasagar-Dharani style masala music that I found irresistibly catchy! There is a Paani da rang-style swoop in on the top 10 songs list, by Radhan (with Yemito) and singer Karthik, who fit right inside between Eega at number 1 and Tuneega at no.4 – thoroughly deserved! Thaman was the big disappointment in 2012, at least for me personally, and so was Mickey J Meyer. I hope both spring back with full force in 2013. I have very less hope from Devi Sri Prasad going by his last few soundtracks.

Composer of the year: MM Keeravani

Top 3 Telugu OSTs of 2012
01. Eega (MM Keeravani)
02. Tuneega Tuneega (Karthik Raja)
03. Dhammu (MM Keeravani)

Top 10 Telugu songs of 2012
01. Konchemu ardhamaina – Eega (MM Keeravani)
02. Yemito – Andala Rakshasi (Radhan)
03. Seethakoka – Okkadine (Karthik)
04. Dhoodi pinja lanti pilla – Tuneega Tuneega (Karthik Raja)
05. Vasthu baagunde – Dhammu (MM Keeravani)
06. Kalalake kanulochina – Bus Stop (JB)
07. Sir osthara – Businessman (Thaman S)
08. Nuvvu naku kavali – Poola Rangadu (Anup Rubens)
09. Amma ni kothaga – Life Is Beautiful (Mickey J Meyer)
10. Arare pasi manasa – Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum (Mani Sharma)

YouTube Playlist of Milliblog Top 10 Telugu songs of 2012:

(Short versions for #3 and #8)

The 5 that did not make it!
11. Chinnadhana – Ishq (Anup Rubens)
12. Rathiri – Gundello Godari (Ilayaraja)
13. Dola dola dola – Okkadine (Karthik)
14. Dhigu dhigu – Tuneega Tuneega (Karthik Raja)
15. O Madhurimave – Ko Antey Koti (Shakthikanth Karthik)

Malayalam

That double award gimmick again, after Hindi! But, I can’t help it – both Sharreth and Shaan deserve the top spot and it is very difficult to drop one of them. Sharreth had two knock-out soundtracks – Thalsamayam Oru Penkutty and Ivan Megharoopan, while Shaan had just one, the enormously enjoyable Thattathin Marayathu. These two are the top soundtracks in Malayalam, for 2012, in my mind. Like Telugu, I’m sure the local trends may be very different and may include many Mohanlal, Mammooty and other star films with music by folks like Ratheesh Vega and Ousepachan ruling the charts. But, I was bored enough to not venture reviewing them when I heard them – just my opinion, since I can trust only my ear and brain!

An interesting point to note is Gopi Sundar’s marginal exodus to Tamil – he had fairly strong offerings in Tamil, in Nandanam and Yaaruda Mahesh and I’m guessing he will find stronger footing in Tamil Nadu in 2013 if he stays on course. He did have good music in Ee Aduthakaalathu and Usthad Hotel, of course. Rahul Raj’s Bachelor Party and Prashant Pillai’s Nee Ko Njaa Cha are the other two soundtracks of note in the top 10 songs list.

Composer of the year: Sharreth Vasudevan and Shaan Rahman

Top 3 Malayalam OSTs of 2012
01. Thalsamayam Oru Penkutty (Sharreth Vasudevan)
02. Thattathin Marayathu (Shaan Rahman)
03. Nee Ko Njaa Cha (Prashant Pillai)

Top 10 Malayalam songs of 2012
01. Poovaaname – Thalsamayam Oru Penkutty (Sharreth)
02. Anuragham – Thattathin Marayathu (Shaan Rahman)
03. Nee nilavupol – Nee Ko Njaa Cha (Prashant Pillai)
04. Paathirayo pakalaai – Bachelor Party (Rahul Raj)
05. Appangalembadum – Usthad Hotel (Gopi Sundar)
06. Enthe hridayathaalam – Thalsamayam Oru Penkutty (Sharreth)
07. O ponthoovalai – Ee Aduthakaalathu (Gopi Sundar)
08. Vishukkili – Ivan Megharoopan (Sharreth)
09. Raaja gopuram – Puthiya Theerangal (Ilayaraja)
10. Shyaamambaram – Thattathin Marayathu (Shaan Rahman)

YouTube Playlist of Milliblog Top 10 Malayalam songs of 2012:

The 5 that did not make it!
11. Ponnodu poovai – Thalsamayam Oru Penkutty (Sharreth)
12. Tanapichu beer – Nee Ko Njaa Cha (Prashant Pillai)
13. Chandanathennalaa – Vaidooryam (Vidyasagar)
14. Kappa kappa – Bachelor Party (Rahul Raj)
15. Namosthuthe – Thattathin Marayathu (Shaan Rahman)

Kannada

As I had mentioned earlier, I heard much less of Kannada music in 2012. There were tons of soundtracks that I opted out of reviewing and these include big budget films starring stars like Shivarajkumar, Puneet and Darshan. V.Harikrishna is almost like the Pritam of Karnataka – he’s composing in every other film and the result is that they all sound the same. My bet for quality Kannada film music is on Arjun Janya. Arjun was all over my top 10 list in 2011 and the scene is no different in 2012. I just hope that good directors like Suri and Yograj Bhat would try Arjun instead of Harikrishna in the years to come. Veteran Gurukiran seals his place with the highly enjoyable Govindaya Namaha, while I do wish more people gave Anoop Seelin a chance.

Composer of the year: Arjun Janya

Top 3 Kannada OSTs of 2012
01. Romeo (Arjun Janya)
02. Govindaya Namaha (Gurukiran)
03. Varada Nayaka (Arjun Janya)

Top 10 Kannada songs of 2012
01. Aalochane – Romeo (Arjun Janya)
02. Pyaarge aagbittaite – Govindaya Namaha (Gurukiran)
03. Yeno kane – Varada Nayaka (Arjun Janya)
04. Achachu beldachu – Sidlingu (Anoop Seelin)
05. Olavina kiranake – Rajinikantha (Arjun Janya)
06. Maribeku – Alemaari (Arjun Janya)
07. Smilevasi – Romeo (Arjun Janya)
08. Maaya maaya – Only Vishnuvardhana (V Harikrishna)
09. Yaarilla yaarilla – Adduri (V Harikrishna)
10. Mane tanka baare – Rambo (Arjun Janya)

YouTube Playlist of Milliblog Top 10 Kannada songs of 2012:

(Except song #9)

Indipop

It was truly a wonderful year for Indipop, in my opinion. In recent years, I don’t recall having so many Indipop albums to list in my year-end lists – last year, I had 5; this year, I have 10… all deserving the place! Papon’s long-awaited pop debut is the Indipop album of 2012, in my opinion. It was a result of a man trying to go mainstream for many years and when finally he got a chance, he gave it his all… to make it truly memorable. Piya Basanti’s sequel, Mandolin Rajesh’s follow-up to his 2007 Into The Light, Following My Heart, Agam’s debut and Rabbi’s III were the top 5, for me. The other 5 are might good too and the fact that I did not restrict my 2012 list to 5 is reason enough to proclaim their quality.

Top 10 Indipop albums of 2012
01. Papon: The Story So Far – Papon
02. Piya Basanti Again – Sandesh Shandilya
03. Following My Heart – Mandolin U Rajesh
04. The Inner Self Awakens – Agam
05. III – Rabbi
06. Vaazkai DJ – Benny Dayal
07. Durbine Chokh Rakhbo Na – Anupam Roy
08. Call Me Rashid – Rashid Ali
09. La Pongal – La Pongal
10. The Silent Sea – Advaita

English

This list is completely pointless if you are a Western music buff straddling multiple genres. These reflect just my personal taste and I’m no more ashamed to stand by this list as I once used to, when people around me were debating rock, country and metal. This is what I like – try it; if you like it, good enough. Don’t like it? Find another blog to get Western music recos!

Top 5 English albums of 2012
01. North – Matchbox Twenty
02. The Origin Of Love – Mika
03. Born To Die – Lana Del Ray
04. Overexposed – Maroon 5
05. Some Nights – Fun

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