Friday December 13, 2013

Milliblog Annual Music round-up 2013

Posted by Karthik

This is the 6th year of my annual musical round-up on Milliblog. Compared to any other year, I’m glad that I have been able to listen and share my view on many more songs in 2 languages that get the wrong end of the stick year after year – Malayalam and Kannada. One good reason for this is consistent availability of music from both these film industries.

Malayalam has a problem of its own – film-makers there don’t seem to want more than 2-3 songs in their films. And this is not a commercially viable option for them to release CDs. So, earlier CD release used to get delayed since labels need to pack 2-3 films in one CD and release it. But these days, everybody has – thankfully – jumped into the YouTube bandwagon. Music release today means making the playlist of the songs available on YouTube. This is a trend I love, but I’m not sure about the commercial viability of it. But, to start with, it at least solves the exposure problem of music. Kannada too is perhaps opening up. I see newer titles being added on Raaga.com very frequently and many Kannada labels have jumped into the YouTube circuit too.

So, thanks to all this, unlike previous years, I actually have the top 10 + the 11-20 too in these two languages, for whatever it is worth. But, as always, I’m completely removed, personally, from commercial or popular perceptions of hit music. I don’t listen to local radios in Bangalore (stick to Indigo or my own music in my car). I don’t see music countdowns in any regional language channels – wait, are there even music countdowns on TV anymore? The only exposure I have to so-called popular music is the countdown lists across 3-4 pages in SoundBox magazine… this I glance for a mere 10 seconds just to see what’s on top. In any case, this so-called ‘popular’ music has become so divisive and anecdotal. It is more like, ‘That song is playing in all the pubs!’, ‘Most weddings in Tamil Nadu are playing this song’, ‘I keep hearing this song all over the place’ or someone exclaiming on Twitter, ‘Which rock was I under when this brilliant song was released?’ and the said-song making a minor blip with his/her followers for a few minutes/hours… and so on… hardly a yardstick to judge popularity since these are such subjective statements. iTunes sales is perhaps one yardstick worth tracking, but even that is limited in terms of appeal given the number of people who pay and buy… but it is the closest we have in terms of a billboard in US.

I really wish someone would think of start a pan-Indian Billboard-like process and a true multi-lingual musical chart for India that tracks popularity of singles and albums across languages, across the country week after week… regardless of whether they are from films, pop music or even self-uploaded stuff on Soundcloud or YouTube! That would be true democratization of music in India and I strongly believe would create more stars than the present non-system.

But, in the absence of such a chart/system, I continue to retain a hermit-like (!) aversion to so-called popular tastes in music, as decided by one/more commercial outlet with some inherent interest or something is perhaps helpful in me sticking to my own point of view. For you, as a reader, you could treat me just like ‘yet another outlet spouting opinion on music’, but the only solace for you is that I don’t have any commercial interest in offering or biasing my views! For instance, I don’t create these lists with an audience in mind… the reason why I started doing this is to create a mega annual playlist for myself to listen to. I usually listen to this mega playlist of 50+ songs for about a month into January next year!

And so… here’s how the music panned out in 2013!

Hindi

2013 was a phenomenal year for Hindi film music. Most of the composers churned out consistently good music almost all through the year. And I have absolutely no hesitation in handing over the Composer(s) of the Year title to Sachin Sanghvi and Jigar Saraiya.

To put it in context, the duo had 3 songs in my 2011 annual roundup – one each in 1-10, 11-20 and 21-30 (Shor, Hum Tum Shabana and F.A.L.T.U, respectively)! In 2012, they were completely missing in my annual roundup. 2013 sees their meteoric rise in Hindi filmdom! Not only do they own the Number 1 album of the year in the list, but also a string of superb songs across 3 other albums! There was also good music in Issaq and I, Me Aur Main from them that I had to miss given that other songs from other composers edged them out… but the point is, this duo is a roll now!

Among usual suspects, Pritam too is on a roll! I actually liked Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, the movie and the role of the music within the film. As a soundtrack I didn’t quite enjoy it, though there’s no doubt about Badtameez Dil – it is most definitely a top 10 material. Pritam scored well in 2 other films as well, both pegged as Shahid Kapoor’s comeback vehicles – Phata Poster Nikla Hero and R… Rajkumar – I’m not sure how many times he’ll ‘come back’. And that kick-ass ‘Lat lag gayee’ from Race 2!! Rahman had the sole Raanjhanaa and swept the scene with that phenomenal album alone! As for Amit Trivedi, he had a standout album in Kai Po Che, and an impressive one in Lootera, though Ghanchakkar and Bombay Talkies were strangely middling. Ram Sampath (Fukrey), Shankar Ehsaan Loy (Bhaag Milkha Bhaag) and Shantanu Moitra (Madras Cafe) were the other noteworthy well-rounded albums.

Yes, that number 3 spot for top album is a bit of a cop-out (a complete album vs. 3 songs!), but what to do – both the albums deserve that spot!

Composer(s) of the year: Sachin-Jigar

Top 3 Hindi OSTs of 2013
01. Shuddh Desi Romance (Sachin-Jigar)
02. Raanjhanaa (A R Rahman)
03. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (Shankar Ehsaan Loy) & Kai Po Che (Amit Trivedi)

Top 10 Hindi songs of 2013
01. Gulabi – Shuddh Desi Romance (Sachin-Jigar)
02. Raanjhanaa – Raanjhanaa (A R Rahman)
03. Meethi boliyaan – Kai Po Che (Amit Trivedi)
04. Zinda – Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (Shankar Ehsaan Loy)
05. Manmarziyan – Lootera (Amit Trivedi)
06. Ambarsariya – Fukrey (Ram Sampath)
07. Babaji ki booty – Go Goa Gone (Sachin-Jigar)
08. Badtameez dil – Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (Pritam)
09. Tum hi ho – Aashiqui 2 (Mithoon)
10. Lat lag layee – Race 2 (Pritam)

The 10 that did not make it!
11. Shubhaarambh – Kai Po Che (Amit Trivedi)
12. Aise na dekho – Raanjhanaa (A R Rahman)
13. Khud se – Madras Cafe (Shantanu Moitra)
14. Chanchal mann – Shuddh Desi Romance (Sachin-Jigar)
15. Khoon choosle – Go Goa Gone (Sachin-Jigar)
16. Tu hi tu – Nautanki Saala (Mikey Mccleary)
17. Tu mere agal bagal hai – Phata Poster Nikhla Hero (Pritam)
18. Khamaka – Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Madola (Vishal Bharadwaj)
19. Mera Yaar – Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (Shankar Ehsaan Loy)
20. Yaaram – Ek Thi Daayan (Vishal Bharadwaj)

And the 10 that are relegated to the 20s but are still worth a mention!
21. Tum tak – Raanjhanaa (A R Rahman)
22. Manjha – Kai Po Che (Amit Trivedi)
23. Jeene laga – Ramaiya Vastavaiya (Sachin-Jigar)
24. Allah meherbaan – Ghanchakkar (Amit Trivedi)
25. Gandi baat – R… Rajkumar (Pritam)
26. Titli – Chennai Express (Vishal Shekhar)
27. Bezubaan – ABCD Any Body Can Dance (Sachin Jigar)
28. Kaun mera – Special 26 (MM Kreem)
29. Dhat teri ki – Gori Tere Pyaar Mein (Vishal Shekhar)
30. Murabba – Bombay Talkies (Amit Trivedi)

[Long-list of other songs that were in the consideration, in alphabetical order: Aaja meri jaan – I Love NY (R D Burman and DJ Phukan), Aaja nindiya – Aatma (Sangeet Haldipur, Siddharth Haldipur), Aiyo ji – Satyagraha (Salim Sulaiman), Alvida – D-Day (Shankar Ehsaan Loy), Ankahee – Lootera (Amit Trivedi), Barbaadi – Aurangzeb (Amartya Rahut), Chad gayi – Sixteen (Prashant Pillai), Darbadar – I, Me Aur Main (Sachin Jigar), Dhoka dhadi – R… Rajkumar (Pritam), Dil duffer – Gori Tere Pyaar Mein (Vishal Shekhar), Dil kaa jo haal hai – Besharam (Lalit Pandit), Dil kaagzi – Gippi (Vishal-Shekhar), Hip hop pummy – Ramaiya Vastavaiya (Sachin-Jigar), Idhar gire – Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster Returns (Sandeep Chowta), Ishq ki ada – Sixteen (Prashant Pillai), Jee le zyada – Aatma (Sangeet Haldipur, Siddharth Haldipur), Jheeni re – Issaq (Sachin-Jigar), Jigra fakira – Aurangzeb (Vipin Mishra), Kaali kaali – Ek Thi Daayan (Vishal Bharadwaj), Kaise bataaon tujhe – 3G (Mithoon), Karle jugaad – Fukrey (Ram Sampath), Khaleja hai – Rajjo (Uttam Singh), Khushaamdeed – Go Goa Gone (Sachin-Jigar), Kona kona – Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster Returns (Sandeep Chowta), Lazy lad – Ghanchakkar (Amit Trivedi), Main rang sharbaton ka (duet) – Phata Poster Nikhla Hero (Pritam), Mere bina tu (duet version) – Phata Poster Nikhla Hero (Pritam), Nagada sang – Ram-Leela (Sanjay Leela Bhansali), Punjabiyaan di battery – Mere Dad Ki Maruti (Sachin Gupta), Rabba main kya karoon – Rabba Main Kya Karoon (Salim Sulaiman), Rang jo lagyo – Ramaiya Vastavaiya (Sachin-Jigar), Rumani – Akashvaani (Hitesh Sonik), Saawan bairi – Commando (Mannan Shah), Saree ka faal – R… Rajkumar (Pritam), Sawaar loon – Lootera (Amit Trivedi), Shuddh desi romance – Shuddh Desi Romance (Sachin-Jigar), Slow motion Angreza – Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (Shankar Ehsaan Loy), Sun le re – Madras Cafe (Shantanu Moitra), Tere mere beech mein – Shuddh Desi Romance (Sachin-Jigar), Tose naina – Mickey Virus (Hanif Shaikh)]

Tamil

Last year, I had hoped that Imman would scale new heights… and the man lived up to that this year! His output in 2013 is absolutely fantastic. Like last year, I do continue to have that tiny quibble on his music using a template (of extra punchy folk percussion layered with a lovely native tune), but it still isn’t a problem, to me… not yet.

I had given a #200 to his Manam Kothi Paravai last year and I did not give him a single #200 this year, but given his prolific output this year across 3 soundtracks – Desingu Raja, Rummy and Varuthapadatha Vaalibar Sangam – he deserves the Composer of the Year title.

But he can’t have it all alone – he has to share it with Ghibran, who had just 3 soundtracks in 2013 and steadily proved that he’s the next big thing… so much so that he is doing the music for Kamal Hassan’s Viswaroopam 2! His Naiyyandi is my Soundtrack of the Year with a range of mighty evolved and interesting tunes and sounds. He was fantastic in Vathikuchi too, and to a lesser extent in Kutti Puli.

I did have a tough time awarding the 3rd spot for top soundtrack, but amongst contenders like Anirudh (Vanakkam Chennai), Harris Jayaraj (Irandaam Ulagam), GV Prakash Kumar (Raja Rani) and Yuvan Shankar Raja (Biriyani), I’d pick Prakash, for a wonderfully vibrant and catchy soundtrack in Raja Rani.

Other noteworthy composers include Justin Prabhakaran (debuting with Pannaiyaarum Padminiyum), Ilayaraja (Chithirayil Nilachoru and the much-discussed Megha), Maryan (A R Rahman), the consistently interesting Santosh Narayanan (Soodhu Kavvum and Pizza II: Villa), Manikanth Kadri (Manadhil Maayam Seidhaai – can someone use this composer better in Tamil, please?) and veteran Vidyasagar (Puthiya Thiruppangal and Jannal Oram).

Composer(s) of the year: D.Imman and Ghibran

Top 3 Tamil OSTs of 2013
01. Naiyaandi (Ghibran)
02. Desingu Raja, Rummy and Varuthapadatha Vaalibar Sangam (D.Imman)
03. Raja Rani (GV Prakash Kumar)

Top 10 Tamil songs of 2013
01. Kuru kuru – Vathikuchi (Ghibran)
02. Onakkaaga poranthaene/Enakkaaga porandhaaye – Pannaiyaarum Padminiyum (Justin Prabhakaran)
03. Oh penne – Vanakkam Chennai (Anirudh)
04. Angnyaade – Raja Rani (GV Prakash Kumar)
05. Inikka inikka – Naiyaandi (Ghibran)
06. Kadal raasa – Maryan (A R Rahman)
07. Kallaale senju vecha – Chithirayil Nilachoru (Ilayaraja)
08. Yethukkaaga yenna – Rummy (D.Imman)
09. Oodha kalaru – Varuthapadatha Vaalibar Sangam (D.Imman)
10. Ammadi ammadi – Desingu Raja (D.Imman)

The 10 that did not make it!
11. Mugilo – Megha (Ilayaraja)
12. Kanna kanna – Vathikuchi (Ghibran)
13. Kasu panam – Soodhu Kavvum (Santhosh Narayanan)
14. Maamanukku – Nagaraja Chozhan M.A, M.L.A (James Vasanthan)
15. Aruvaakkaaraa – Kutti Puli (Ghibran)
16. Aha mazhaiyum illai – Manadhil Maayam Seidhai (Manikanth Kadri)
17. Kanimozhiye – Irandam Ulagam (Harris Jayaraj)
18. Yaaro ivan – Udhayam NH4 (GV Prakash Kumar)
19. Nahnh na nah (Jack Swing Mix) – Biriyani (Yuvan Shankar Raja)
20. Oru thuli – Puthiya Thiruppangal (Vidyasagar)

And the 10 that are relegated to the 20s but are still worth a mention!
21. Ae le le – Naiyaandi (Ghibran)
22. Enna enna idhu – Azhagu Magan (James Vasanthan)
23. En poo nenjai – Naadi Thudikkuthadi (Ilayaraja)
24. Ennadi Ennadi – Jannal Oram (Vidyasagar)
25. Kaanum gnyanam – Pizza II: Villa (Santhosh Narayanan)
26. Kaathirundhai anbe – Naveena Saraswathi Sabatham (Prem)
27. Kannadi silaye – Iruvar Ullam (Vijay Antony)
28. Ailasa – Vanakkam Chennai (Anirudh)
29. Podhum podhum – Virattu (Dharan)
30. Aananda yaazhai – Thanga Meengal (Yuvan Shankar Raja)

[Long-list of other songs that were in the consideration, in alphabetical order: Aaja aaja – Thillu Mullu (Yuvan Shankar Raja), Adiye enna raagam – Rummy (D.Imman), Arjuna arjuna – Settai (Thaman S), Boomiyil – Pizza II: Villa (Santhosh Narayanan), Elavu – Ainthu Ainthu Ainthu (Simon), Enga pona raasaa – Maryan (A R Rahman), Ennatha solla – Vizha (James Vasanthan), Etho maayam – Nirnayam (Selvaganesh), Hey baby – Raja Rani (GV Prakash Kumar), Injathe – Nedunchaalai (C.Sathya), Innum konjam – Maryan (A R Rahman), Kaathu kaathu – Kutti Puli (Ghibran), Kona kondakkaari – Madha Yaanai Koottam (NR Raghunanthan), Kooda mela – Rummy (D.Imman), Koothadikkudhu – Azhagu Magan (James Vasanthan), Meliya saaral – Theeya Velai Seyyanum Kumaru (Sathya), Mississippi – Biriyani (Yuvan Shankar Raja), Munnaadi porapulla – Naiyaandi (Ghibran), Nandooruthu – Nedunchaalai (C.Sathya), Nariga uranga – Annakodiyum Kodiveeranum (GV Prakash Kumar), Nelavattam – Desingu Raja (D.Imman), Neram – Pistah (Rajesh Murugesan), Oru jaan vayithukku – Adithalam (Taj Noor), Oru nodi – Rummy (D.Imman), Oru ora ora – Desingu Raja (D.Imman), Paakaadhae – Varuthapadatha Vaalibar Sangam (D.Imman), Pesaamal pesum – Manadhil Maayam Seidhai (Manikanth Kadri), Raja raja – Naan Rajavaga Pogiren (GV Prakash Kumar), Ranga ranga – Ivan Veramathiri (C Sathya), Roja poo – Rendavadhu Padam (Kannan), Theeradhu poga poga – David (Maatibaani), Thiruttu paya pulla – Thagararu (Dharan Kumar), Thoda thoda – Endrendrum (Dharan), Unna paartha – All In All Azhaguraja (Thaman S), Uyiril uyiril – Vallinam (Thaman S), Vaan engum – Endrendrum Punnagai (Harris Jayaraj), Vaanganna vanakkanganna – Thalaivaa (GV Prakash Kumar), Vinmeeniley – Manadhil Maayam Seidhai (Manikanth Kadri), Yaarai kaettu – Thalaivan (Vidyasagar), Yaarukkum – All In All Azhaguraja (Thaman S), Yaeley maruthu – Pandiyanadu (D.Imman)]

Telugu

Like Imman in Tamil (and Arjun Janya in Kannada), Thaman ruled the roost in Telugu as far as number of soundtracks go and pretty listenable 1-3 songs in each as a yardstick. He still did not get one complete album right enough to feature in the top 3 soundtracks list, but, for his overall prolific output, he sure deserves the top composer spot.

Debutant Sunny M.R’s Swamy Ra Ra is my choice for the best Telugu soundtrack of 2013. I have no idea how the film did or if the songs were hit or not (by whatever warped yardstick since most conventional yardsticks are dead), but to me, this was the soundtrack that broke new ground in Telugu film music. I really look forward to what Sunny is up to next! Mickey J Meyer’s Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu would be my 2nd choice in the top 3 soundtrack’s list and another debutant (to Telugu), Santosh Narayanan’s Billa Ranga would rank as my 3rd.

Others like Achu (DK Bose and Naa Rakumarudu), Pawan Kumar (Mallelatheeramlo Sirimallepuvvu) and Shravan (Alias Janaki) are making their presence felt, while veteran Devi Sri Prasad, despite a few stand-out singles, perhaps needs to work harder or reinvent himself. Sri’s comeback has been a bit soft and I do expect him to do better in 2014.

Composer of the year: Thaman S

Top 3 Telugu OSTs of 2013
01. Swamy Ra Ra (Sunny M.R)
02. Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu (Mickey J Meyer)
03. Billa Ranga (Santosh Narayanan)

Top 10 Telugu songs of 2013
01. Krishnudi varasulantha – Swamy Ra Ra (Sunny M.R)
02. Padipoya – DK Bose (Achu)
03. Inka cheppaale – Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu (Mickey J Meyer)
04. Melam moge – Billa Ranga (Santosh Narayanan)
05. Meher meher – D For Dopidi (Sachin-Jigar)
06. O naadu Washington – Greekuveerudu (Thaman S)
07. Adi enti okkasari – Swamy Ra Ra (Sunny M.R)
08. Nee jathaga – Yevadu (Devi Sri Prasad)
09. Okkatai okkatai – Gouravam (Thaman S)
10. Jabilli nuvve – Ramayya Vasthavayya (Thaman S)

The 10 that did not make it!
11. Ikkadinundi – Dalam (James Vasanthan)
12. O kanu papa – Saahasam (Sri)
13. Ninu choodani – Masala (Thaman S)
14. Bapu gari bomma – Atharintiki Dharedhi (Devi Sri Prasad)
15. Adede tholiprema – Aadu Magaadra Bujji (Sri)
16. Idhedho bagundhe – Mirchi (Devi Sri Prasad)
17. Yaevaindho – Balupu (Thaman S)
18. Mabbulu kurise – Mallelatheeramlo Sirimallepuvvu (Pavan Kumar)
19. Thapeswaram kaja – Naa Rakumarudu (Achu)
20. Kaadhal prema – Alias Janaki (Shravan)

[Long-list of other songs that were in the consideration, in alphabetical order: Allah allah – Jabardasth (Thaman S), Cheliya – Yevadu (Devi Sri Prasad), Diamond Girl – Baadshah (Thaman S), Kathi lanti pilla – Nayak (Thaman S), Mara o mara – Thadaka (Thaman S), Padipoyaanila – Balupu (Thaman S)]

Malayalam

Thanks to Malayalam film music industry’s whole-hearted adoption of YouTube as a platform to showcase songs, I have been able to listen to a LOT more songs in 2013. Prasanth Pillai’s Amen rules the soundtrack list for me, for its wonderfully diverse songs. A close 2nd would be Tamil composer K’s Annayul Rasoolum (that had one song guest composed by Bijibal, but I’m going to drop that for the sake of this list, however). And like in Hindi, I’m forced the split the 3rd place between the debutant (after SO LONG!) Stephen Devassy (KQ) and now-established Shaan Rahman (Thira). Shaan would also get my vote for Composer of the Year, for Thira and for that delightful song in Kuteem Kolum.

There’s a lot of fresh new musical blood in Malayalam and the one I look forward to more include, Rahul Subrahmanian (Philips and the Monkey Pen), Govind Menon (North 24 Kaatham) and Navaneeth Sundar (Buddy). Rex Vijayan is no new blood anymore, but he continues to impress, including my choice for the song of year. Deepak Dev had one fantastic score in Aaru Sundarimaarude Katha, while veterans M.Jayachandran (making his place felt superbly in Pattam Pole) and Vidyasagar continue to produce very music, as usual!

Composer of the year: Shaan Rahman

Top 3 Malayalam OSTs of 2013
01. Amen (Prashant Pillai)
02. Annayum Rasoolum (K)
03. KQ (Stephen Devassy) & Thira (Shaan Rahman)

Top 10 Malayalam songs of 2013
01. Thanaro – North 24 Kaatham (Rex Vijayan)
02. Theerathe neelunne – Thira (Shaan Rahman)
03. Pampara pa pa – Amen (Prashant Pillai)
04. Azhakolim mariville – KQ (Stephen Devassy)
05. Kaayalinarike – Annayum Rasoolum (K)
06. Doore doore – Geethanjali (Vidyasagar)
07. Andha naalil – Pattam Pole (M.Jayachandran)
08. Kootti muttiya – Pullipulikalum Attinkuttiyum (Vidyasagar)
09. Karaliloru – Kuteem Kolum (Shaan Rahman)
10. En kanimalare – Philips and the Monkey Pen (Rahul Subrahmanian)

The 10 that did not make it!
11. Ask me – Aaru Sundarimaarude Katha (Deepak Dev)
12. Porumo – North 24 Kaatham (Govind Menon)
13. Solomanum Shoshannayum – Amen (Prashant Pillai)
14. Kanni vasantham – KQ (Stephen Devassy)
15. Thazhvaram – Thira (Shaan Rahman)
16. Neelakasham – Neelakasham Pacha Kadal Chuvanna Bhoomi (Rex Vijayan)
17. Kadalil kan mashi – Buddy (Navaneeth Sundar)
18. Kannil kanniloru – Pattam Pole (M.Jayachandran)
19. Kando kando – Annayum Rasoolum (K)
20. Kaatiley poomanam – Kathaveedu (M Jayachandran)

[Long-list of other songs that were in the consideration, in alphabetical order: Aa nadhiyoram (Che Guevara song) – Left Right Left (Gopi Sundar), Etho sayana – 10:30am Local Call (Gopi Sundar), Kannin aayiram – Aaru Sundarimaarude Katha (Deepak Dev), Manickyachirakulla – Idukki Gold (Bijibal), Manjuthirum Ravinullil – Hotel California (Shaan Rahman), Mella thanji konji – Zachariyayude Garbhinikal (Vishnu-Sharath), Neeyo njano – Chewing Gum (Jonathan Bruce), Otta thumbi – Pullipulikalum Attinkuttiyum (Vidyasagar), Parayathey – Rasputin (Roby Abraham), Pavizhamundhiri – Geethanjali (Vidyasagar), Ponoonjalil – Aaru Sundarimaarude Katha (Deepak Dev), Thaazhe nee – Thira (Shaan Rahman), Vattolly – Amen (Prashant Pillai), Vinnile tharakam – Philips and the Monkey Pen (Rahul Subrahmanian)]

Kannada

2013 was Arjun Janya’s year – there’s no doubt about this! Incidentally, the man was the Composer of the Year for 2011 and 2012 too, and with this year, he seals his place with a hat-trick! But, I’d still place debutant Vijay Prakash’s (the singer) score for the Shivrajkumar starrer Andar Baahar as the soundtrack of the year. I seriously wish he works in other languages too, as a composer. Shaan Rahman’s debut in Kannada was very impressive too (Nam Duniya Nam Style), while Harikrishna and Joshua Sridhar share the rest of the list generously, totally dominated by Arjun!

Composer of the year: Arjun Janya

Top 3 Kannada OSTs of 2013
01. Andar Baahar (Vijay Prakash)
02. Barfi (Arjun Janya)
03. Nam Duniya Nam Style (Shaan Rahman)

Top 10 Kannada songs of 2013
01. Andar baahar – Andar Baahar (Vijay Prakash)
02. Yeno onthara – Barfi (Arjun Janya)
03. Ura mandhi – Whistle (Joshua Sridhar)*
04. Node node – Auto Raja (Arjun Janya)
05. Kannu kannali – Angaraka (Arjun Janya)
06. Jiya teri – Bajarangi (Arjun Janya)
07. Take It Easy – Nam Duniya Nam Style (Shaan Rahman)
08. Arare arare – Huchudugru (Joshua Sridhar)*
09. Free idheera – Sakkare (V.Harikrishna)
10. Masthaani – Rebel (Jessie Gift)*

*missing in playlist since the songs are not available on YouTube.

The 10 that did not make it!
11. Maleyali minda – Andar Baahar (Vijay Prakash)
12. Sorry Please Thank You – Nam Duniya Nam Style (Shaan Rahman)
13. Ba bare cheluve – Jayammana Maga (Arjun Janya)
14. Nille nille kaveri – Bul Bul (V.Harikrishna)
15. Arare ararare – Dilwala (Arjun Janya)
16. Andaaje siguthilla – Tony (Sadhu Kokila)
17. Kannalle kannittu – Shravani Subramanya (V.Harikrishna)
18. Aase aase – Andar Baahar (Vijay Prakash)
19. Ninthalle ninthukolle – Case No 18/9 (Arjun Janya)
20. Bisilu kudure – Googly (Joshua Sridhar)

[Long-list of other songs that were in the consideration, in alphabetical order: Priyamani – Angaraka (Arjun Janya), Rokka eradakku – Daasvaala (V.Harikrishna), Nalla nalla – Nam Duniya Nam Style (Shaan Rahman), Soundharya samara – Kaddipudi (V.Harikrishna)]

Indipop

2013 was more like 2011, since I have just 5 Indipop albums to recommend, unlike last year when I had 10. The quality of output in Indipop was darn good, but not in terms of quantity… which is actually ok! Raghu Dixit’s sophomore album is the pick of the year for its sheer variety and approach towards Indipop, which was mired in ‘one bhangra, 3 melodies, two semi-classical and one techno’ or variants of these templates. In a way, that was the music labels’ idea of a pan-India appealing Indipop album format… and this is laughable, at best. Abhijit Sawant’s Farida is mildly based on this template too, since it is label-driven, but the man knows his tunes (right from his debut album where Amit Trivedi scored music before he became THE Amit Trivedi) and saves it from mediocrity.

Raghu Dixit doesn’t have any such compulsions. He is his own label and he can add any kind of songs he wants. That IS the model for future Indipop – own your label, self-release your music and support yourself financially with shows, all the way enjoying the entire process. Obviously, the singer or composer here turns into an artist + manager (Raghu has one, though, who is also part of the band) + promotional channel all rolled into one. It is a lot of work, but what the heck, you’re working for our own success! It’s a great thing that Raghu got the much-needed fillip from Vishal-Shekhar who launched him through their new label, but that label was a very different concept from a traditional label like Sony or T-series.

Sandeep Chowta’s Matters of the Heart is by Sony, and is in the other end of the spectrum. It is hardly Indipop and the only reason it is here is because Sandeep’s Indian! But, this is a world music album… or fusion jazz, to be more specific. And it is a phenomenal album, at that!

I await the second volume of The Shah Hussain Project, given how good the first was and continue to have expectations from people like Abhijit Sawant and Naveen, who have proved that they can produce consistently good non-film music!

01. Jag Changa (The Raghu Dixit Project)
02. Matters of the Heart (Sandeep Chowta)
03. The Shah Hussain Project Vol 1 (Vasundhara Das, featuring Mir Mukhtiyar Ali)
04. Farida (Abhijeet Sawant)
05. Flutetronics (Naveen Kumar)

English/International

That list below indicates that I have been listening to a lot more English and international albums. This is my top 10 for the year, unlike 5 last year and 3 the year before!

01. The 20-20 Experience (Justin Timberlake)
02. True (Avicii)
03. Nomad (Bombino)
04. The World’s End (OST)
05. Swings Both Ways (Robbie Williams)
06. Ya Bay (Hayajan)
07. Head Up High (Morcheeba)
08. Heaven In This Hell (Orianthi)
09. Native (OneRepublic)
10. Bonafied (Richard Bona)

Random others!

A random, no-list (4 is hardly a list!) of songs that I liked in languages that I don’t regularly write about. I can’t really start tracking more languages actively, but I always keep my ears open!

Dhin khon mapa ache – Hawa Bodol (Bengali – Indradeep Dasgupta)
Rubaru – Saadi Love Story (Punjabi – Jaidev Kumar)
Proper Patola – Diljit Dosanjh, feat. Badshah (Punjabi)
Haravali pakhare – Balak Palak (Marathi – Vishal Shekhar)

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