Saturday December 21, 2019

Milliblog Annual Music round-up 2019

Posted by Karthik

This is the 12th year of my annual music round-ups. In case you are curious, here are the previous editions: 
2018 |2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008

2019, being the last in the 2010s decade, has had a lasting impact on how we think of film music. This was the decade when multi-composers became a norm and the notions of a ‘soundtrack’ died, was buried and grass has started growing on top of it now.

We have seen these trends in the past too. At some point, someone decided that having the same male and female singer sing all the songs in a film’s soundtrack didn’t make sense from a variety point of view. So, they brought in more singers, even as people were initially wondering if the same hero can sound differently for 2 different songs. This was a common early-days concern when Rajinikanth sang a sad song in K.J.Yesudas’ voice and a happy song in S.P.Balasubramanyam’s voice! When he also started singing a frisky song in Udit Narayan’s voice, all those concerns jumped out of the window and committed suicide.

Similarly, I think one decade was enough to complain about the evolution of multi-composer albums. They are here to stay, for the same reason why multi-singer soundtracks came into existence: variety. Film music is a marketable commodity. Soundtracks have lost their collective utility value and have been unbundled, thanks largely to streaming music that has become the norm now. A single is the new unit of music. And a YouTube video (mostly a lyric video) is the visual equivalent of it since most filmmakers don’t even bother to shoot those songs fully in their films. This is the new normal when it comes to film music. I fully expect the last few holdouts like Pritam and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy to join the multi-composer trend and actually produce very good music within that structure too (since they need to produce less, per film.

T-series has already sealed this trend by calling it ‘Songs’ in the film poster… what was earlier called ‘Music’, for the film Jai Mummy Di.

There is an overdose of remixes in the Hindi film music market right now and this is perhaps largely being driven by YouTube views. I don’t expect it to change in the next few years since these songs end up being extremely popular. Ironically, if you look at the Indipop scene (or at least my list of top 30 Indipop/non-film songs), they are filled with recreations too, not very different from what Tanishk Bagchi does regularly all through the year! So, blaming only film music composers of pandering to the remix/recreation trend and not producing ‘original’ music is unfair.

2019 was largely average, film-music-wise. In fact, I’d say the quality and variety of songs in the non-film music category was a lot more interesting than in the film music category, across the 5 languages I track music (Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and Kannada).

If you wonder how I/we create our own lists and end up liking specific songs among so many, read Milliblog’s Three Laws of Music Appreciation Multiverse.

As always, these lists are in my order of preference, not any random order. And yes, I make these lists primarily for my own listening. They are not meant to pander to some market forces or some star/composer’s whims or fancies – that would be a massive waste of my time. So, these lists are to answer my own question, “There are SO MANY songs to listen to. What should I listen to?“. I’m solving my own music discoverability problem given a profusion of songs throughout the year. The only reason I also share them online is to help others with the same discoverability problem and possibly help some of the lesser-known/heard songs that deserve a listen.

Happy listening!

Hindi

Pritam, who was non-existent last year, made a triumphant comeback this year with films like The Sky is Pink, Kalank and Chhichhore. Shankar Ehsaan Loy had a good soundtrack in Mere Pyare Prime Minister, but in The Zoya Factor, they failed! Amit Trivedi was largely muted, after a stupendous 2018! While Tanishk Bagchi was everywhere, remixing this and that, I have my hopes pinned on 3 composers, based on their 2019 output.

The first is Amartya Bobo Rahut. I had found him promising in 2017’s Tu Hai Mera Sunday, but in 2019, he made a super confident leap in Drive. The second is Karan Kulkarni. His Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota is one heck of an inspired, zany soundtrack. I really hope he gets more interesting projects. The third is a duo – Sachet (Tandon) – Parampara (Thakur). Even as their music for Kabir Singh was extremely popular, I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of their music in Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas.

Hindi Top 30 playlist on YouTube | Saavn

Composer of the year: Pritam

  1. Dil Hi Toh Hai – The Sky is Pink (Pritam)
  2. Apna Time Aayega – Gully Boy (Dub Sharma & DIVINE)
  3. Jugraafiya – Super 30 (Ajay-Atul)
  4. Kalank Title Song – Kalank (Pritam)
  5. Nakhrewaali – Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota (Karan Kulkarni)
  6. Rezgaariyan – Mere Pyare Prime Minister (Shankar Ehsaan Loy)
  7. Naina Yeh – Article 15 (Piyush Shankar)
  8. Jako Rakhe Saiyan – Batla House (Rochak Kohli)
  9. Slow Motion – Bharat (Vishal-Shekhar)
  10. Bekhayali – Kabir Singh (Sachet-Parampara)
  11. Sanu Kehndi – Kesari (Tanishk Bagchi)
  12. Shaitan Ka Saala – Housefull 4 (Sohail Sen)
  13. Ghungroo – War (Vishal-Shekhar)
  14. Choti Choti Gal – Motichoor Chaknachoor (Arjuna Harjai)
  15. Hai Re Farebi – 706 (Anikhet Khandekar)
  16. Ishaq Chaliya – Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas (Sachet-Parampara)
  17. Karma – Drive (Amartya Bobo Rahut)
  18. Kyun Dil Mera – Paharganj (Ajay Singha)
  19. Naah Goriye – Bala (Jaani/B Praak)
  20. Bad Boy – Saaho (Baadshah)
  21. Nadaaniyaan – The Sky Is Pink (Pritam)
  22. Tere Liye – Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota (Karan Kulkarni)
  23. Makhna – Drive (Tanishk Bagchi)
  24. Zara Suno – Malaal (Shail Hada)
  25. Ruan Ruan – Sonchiriya (Vishal Bhardwaj)
  26. Nadh Khula – Malaal (Shreyas Puranik)
  27. Chale Aana – De De Pyaar De (Amaal Mallik)
  28. Channa – Gun Pe Done (Rimi Dhar)
  29. Madaari – The Extraordinary Journey Of The Fakir (Amit Trivedi)
  30. Kaash – The Zoya Factor (Shankar Ehsaan Loy)
Hindi Top 30 playlist on YouTube | JioSaavn

Tamil

It was a mixed bag in Tamil as far as composers go. Almost all composers had their share of good songs with no one person sweeping the year. If Santhosh Narayanan had Ottha Seruppu and Gypsy, Sean Roldan had Mehndi Circus. Sam and Ghibran were all through the year, but their body of work is starting to sound a bit jaded now. Joshua Sridhar made a surprise entry with July Kaatril, but both the soundtrack and film sank without a trace, in true Joshua style, sadly.

Justin Prabhakaran pitched the maximum – he had a multilingual in Dear Comrade, produced some great music in Monster and some middling music in Naadodigal 2. I also quite like Vivek-Mervin’s style of racy music, in songs like Sangathamizhan’s Kamala and Jilebara from Thumbaa. The composer I’m looking forward to producing more, better music is Simon K King. His Kolaigaran theme completely surprised me, while he had good songs in Rajabheema and Marketraja MBBS, both of which went turkey, while starring the same hero (Arav). I don’t think Rajabheema has even released in 2019.

Tamil Top 30 playlist on YouTube | Saavn

Composer of the year: Justin Prabhakaran

  1. Manamengum Maaya Oonjal – Gypsy (Santhosh Narayanan)
  2. Kodi Aruvi – Mehandi Circus (Sean Roldan)
  3. Merkilae Merkilae – July Kaatril (Joshua Sridhar)
  4. Neeyagave – House Owner (Ghibran)
  5. Pularaadha – Dear Comrade (Justin Prabhakaran)
  6. Unna Nenachu – Psycho (Ilayaraja)
  7. Ganesha – Rajabheema (Simon.K.King)
  8. Vaa Vaa Penne – Uriyadi 2 (Govind Vasantha)
  9. Maruvaarthai – Enai Noki Paayum Thota (Darbuka Siva)
  10. Andavane Thunai – Kolaigaran (Simon K King)
  11. Kaatre Kaatre – July Kaatril (Joshua Sridhar)
  12. Naan Varuvean – Dear Comrade (Justin Prabhakaran)
  13. Thandalkaaran – NGK (Yuvan Shankar Raja)
  14. Veyil Mazhayae – Mehandi Circus (Sean Roldan)
  15. Dingu Dongu – Sarvan Thaala Mayam (A.R.Rahman)
  16. Maavuliyo Maavuli – Irandam Ulagaporin Kadaisi Gundu (Tenma)
  17. Kannamma – Ispade Rajavum Idhaya Raniyum (Sam C.S.)
  18. Desaandhiri – Gypsy (Santhosh Narayanan)
  19. Takkaru – Ayngaran (G.V.Prakash Kumar)
  20. Kamala – Sangathamizhan (Vivek-Mervin)
  21. Naan Pizhaippeno – Enai Noki Paayum Thota (Darbuka Siva)
  22. Malto Kithapuleh – Hero (Yuvan Shankar Raja)
  23. Kulirudha Pulla – Oththa Seruppu (Santhosh Narayanan)
  24. Anthimaalai Neram – Monster (Justin Prabhakaran)
  25. Pasappukkalli – Devarattam (Nivas K Prasanna)
  26. Kannale – Market Raja MBBS (Simon K King)
  27. Yaarovai – Angelina (D.Imman)
  28. Karadu Moradu Poove (Joyful Version) – Bakrid (D.Imman)
  29. Uthira Uthira – Pon Manickavel (D.Imman)
  30. Adhuva Adhuva – Naadodigal 2 (Justin Prabhakaran)
Tamil Top 30 playlist on YouTube | Saavn

PS: I have updated the list and playlists given that I had assumed that I had previously added songs from Darbuka Siva’s Enai Nokki Paayum Thotta in the 2017 list! But, I had not! This is one big problem with delayed or staggered song releases. Using film release dates doesn’t seem fair or right either since this film’s songs should have been part of earlier year lists, but this one had other problems as well – that of no knowing who the composer was, for a very long time! So, I have substituted the 2 songs from this film in the older list, with the 2 from earlier years, as they rightly deserve.

Telugu

2019 was Anirudh’s year in Telugu. His Gang Leader and Jersey make me wonder why he isn’t producing such music in Tamil! My favorite underdog, Shravan Bharadwaj had a tepid Manchukurisevelalo, but produced a cracker in Vinara Sodara Veera Kumara! Did the film release? Has anybody heard the songs? Shravan’s luck continues to be terrible! Last year’s star Gopi Sundar had one great outing in Majili, while Justin Prabhakaran pitched his best in Dear Comrade, though my favorites in Telugu and Tamil are very different! Vivek Sagar is really pushing his luck within this zone.

I see promise in 3 composers. One is Chaitan Bharadwaj. He had a great debut in 2018’s RX 100, and followed up with good music this year in 7 and got a big film in Manmadhudu 2 (though Guna 369 was average). The second is Suresh Bobbili, whom I had noticed first in 2017’s Maa Abbayi. In 2019, he had a good run in Thipparaa Meesam, George Reddy and Tholu Bommalata. The third is my favorite so far: Mark K Robin! He didn’t have a full-fledged soundtrack in 2018’s Awe (outstanding movie, by the way!), but he scored darn well in Suryakantam and Mallesham.

Telugu Top 30 playlist on YouTube | Saavn

Composer of the year: Anirudh

  1. Gangu Leader – Gang Leader (Anirudh)
  2. Samajavaragamana – Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo (Thaman S)
  3. Inthena Inthena – Suryakantam (Mark K Robin)
  4. Gira Gira – Dear Comrade (Justin Prabhakaran)
  5. Nuvvu Naatho Emannavo – Disco Raja (Thaman S)
  6. Kanne Kanne – Arjun Suravaram (Sam C.S.)
  7. Priyathama Priyathama – Majili (Gopi Sundar)
  8. Spirit Of Jersey – Jersey (Anirudh)
  9. Yemainado – Mr.Majnu (Thaman S)
  10. Vagalaadi – Brochevarevaru Ra (Vivek Sagar)
  11. Prema Vennela – Chitralahari (Devi Sri Prasad)
  12. Varshinchana – 7 (Chaitan Bharadwaj)
  13. Mella Mellagaa – ABCD (Judah Sandhy)
  14. Thirugude – Vinara Sodara Veera Kumara (Shravan Bharadwaj)
  15. Choti Choti Baatein – Maharshi (Devi Sri Prasad)
  16. Hoyna Hoyna – Gang Leader (Anirudh)
  17. Padhe Padhe – Jersey (Anirudh)
  18. Sampaddhoy Nanne – 7 (Chaitan Bharadwaj)
  19. Naaku Nuvvani – Mallesham (Mark K Robin)
  20. Ninnu Chuse Anandamlo – Gang Leader (Anirudh)
  21. Hey Menina – Manmadhudu 2 (Chaitan Bharadwaj)
  22. Ra Ra: Roar of the Revengers – Gang Leader (Anirudh)
  23. Pilla Picture Perfect – Ranarangam (Sunny M.R)
  24. Yegire Yegire – Madhanam (Ron Ethan Yohann)
  25. Andanike – Burra Katha (Sai Karthik)
  26. Kummeyra – Ranarangam (Karthik Rodriguez)
  27. Canteen – Dear Comrade (Justin Prabhakaran)
  28. Mouna Hrudaya Ragame – Thipparaa Meesam (Suresh Bobbili)
  29. Anandam – Manchukurisevelalo (Shravan Bharadwaj)
  30. Yentha Kottagundi Premalona – Mouname Ishtam (Vivek Maha Deva)
Telugu Top 30 playlist on YouTube | Saavn

Malayalam

Gopi Sundar was his prolific self in 2019 too, and had good music all through. Besides him, and the other regular Shaan Rahman, there are so many composers in Malayalam! 10 songs and 10 composers in the Top 10! 12 more composers in the next 20 songs! I continue to hold a lot of hope on Sooraj S Kurup who had a great soundtrack in LUCA, and Sanjeev Thomas, who was damn good in Manoharam.

Malayalam Top 30 playlist on YouTube | Saavn

Composer of the year: Sooraj S Kurup and Sanjeev Thomas

  1. Parayuvan – Ishq (Jakes Bejoy)
  2. Ponveyilin – Puzhikkadakan (Ranjith Meleppatt)
  3. Uyiril Thodum – Kumbalangi Nights (Sushin Shyam)
  4. Athippoovin – Oronnonnara Pranayakadha (Leela L Girish Kuttan)
  5. Ore Kannal – LUCA (Sooraj S Kurup)
  6. Jaathikkathottam – Thanneer Mathan Dinangal (Justin Varghese)
  7. Aaraadhike – Ambili (Vishnu Vijay)
  8. Munnotithaa – Manoharam (Sanjeev Thomas)
  9. Njaanakum Poovil – Happy Sardar (Gopi Sundar)
  10. Vennilavin Thaliralle – Neermathalam Poothakalam (Sheron Roy Gomez)
  11. Akale – 9 (Shaan Rahman)
  12. Kungumanira Sooryan – Neeyum Njanum (Vinu Thomas)
  13. Neer Kanikayil – Ente Ummante Peru (Gopi Sundar)
  14. Hey Madhuchandrike – Argentina Fans Kaattoorkadavu (Gopi Sundar)
  15. Nee Mukilo – Uyare (Gopi Sundar)
  16. Vanil Chandrika – Luca (Sooraj S Kurup)
  17. Jeevante Jeevanay – Sameer (Sudeep Palanad)
  18. Aganaga – 18am Padi (A.H.Kaashif)
  19. Ennuyire Penkiliye – Margamkali (Gopi Sundar)
  20. Kinavo – Manoharam (Sanjeev Thomas)
  21. Raathein – Love Action Drama (Shaan Rahman)
  22. Shilayude – Android Kunjappan Version 5.25 (Bijibal)
  23. Arike Naam – Underworld (Neha S. Nair & Yakzan Gary Pereira)
  24. Hey Song – Valiyaperunnal (Saju Sreenivas)
  25. Kavarathi – Pranaya Meenukalude Kadal (Shaan Rahman)
  26. Kaattil Veezha – Uyare (Gopi Sundar)
  27. Aarodum Parayuka – Kolambi (Ramesh Narayan)
  28. Pularum Vare – Shibu (Sachin Warrier)
  29. Chenthamara Poovin – Neermathalam Pootha Kaalam (Nahoom Abraham)
  30. Shalabamaayi – Praana (Arunvijay)
Malayalam Top 30 playlist on YouTube | Saavn

Kannada

Ajaneesh Loknath and Charanraj continue to elevate the musical standards in Kannada cinema – thankfully! Ajaneesh’s Padde Huli deserved a lot more praise, incidentally. Judah Sandhy had a less prolific year, and even Arjun Janya, despite scoring a lot of music, is starting to seem tired. The one new composer I’m pinning my hope on is Adil Nadaf. He was terrific in Kapata Nataka Paatradhaari and even the single he scored for Mundina Nildana.

Kannada Top 30 playlist on YouTube | Saavn

Composer of the year: Ajaneesh Loknath

  1. Kalabeda Kolabeda – Paddehuli (Ajaneesh Loknath)
  2. Oye Kamali – Kalbettada Darodekoraru (J. Anoop Seelin)
  3. Yaake Anta Gottilla Kanree – Kapata Nataka Paatradhaari (Adil Nadaf)
  4. Manase Maya – Mundina Nildana (Masala Coffee)
  5. Gamyave – 99 (Arjun Janya)
  6. Mamavathu Sri Saraswathi – Katha Sangama (Nobin Paul)
  7. Ide Dina – Kavaludaari (Charanraj MR)
  8. Baduku Jataka Bandi – Padde Huli (Ajaneesh Loknath)
  9. Neene Modalu Neene Kone – Kiss (Adi Hari)
  10. Bhaavaloka – Nathicharami (Bindhumalini)
  11. Onde Aetige – Amar (Arjun Janya)
  12. Yenda Yedathi – Padde Huli (Ajaneesh Loknath)
  13. Ondanondu Kaaladinda – I Love You (Aria Dakshin)
  14. Abbabba Ninna Kande – Preethi Irabaaradey (Sabu Varghese)
  15. Neenene Neenene – Kapata Nataka Paatradhaari (Adil Nadaf)
  16. Dorassani – Pailwaan (Arjun Janya)
  17. Devare Devare – Sarvajanikarige Suvarnavakaasha (Midhun Mukundan)
  18. Thakita Thakita – Aayushmanbhava (Gurukiran)
  19. Nigooda Nigooda – Kavaludaari (Charanraj M.R)
  20. Thangali Mellage – Bill Gates (Nobin Paul)
  21. Yaariva – Nathicharami (Bindhumalini)
  22. Heli Hogu Kaarana – Padde Huli (B. Ajaneesh Loknath)
  23. Joru Paattu – Amar (Arjun Janya)
  24. Banda Nodu Pailwaan – Pailwaan (Arjun Janya)
  25. Darlingu – Demo Piece (Arjun Ramu)
  26. Anisuthidhe – 99 (Arjun Janya)
  27. Sanchari Hrudaya – Chambal (Judah Sandhy)
  28. Khaali Khaali Aniso – Kavaludaari (Charanraj M.R)
  29. Life is Beautiful – Mundina Nildana (Kaushik Shukla)
  30. Chaaruthanthi – Munirathna Kurukshetra (V.Harikrishna)
Kannada Top 30 playlist on YouTube | Saavn

Indipop

Non-film music was my favorite in 2019, more than film music. The variety, in terms of musical styles and languages, was stupendous. I do understand that mixing multiple language songs seems dizzying, but that’s the only fair thing to do, given that the one common element among all of them is that they were not composed for films, and are singles (not even part of albums)! I also noticed an unusually large number of non-film singles in Tamil – a good sign that the film music grip is mildly slipping.

Indipop Top 30 playlist on YouTube | Saavn

  1. Loka Samasta – Aruna Sairam and the Thayir Sadam Project
  2. Dilruba – Aki Kumar
  3. Kadhakal Neele (Paadhi Raavaagilum) – Kadhakal Neele (Mejjo Joseph)
  4. Azhaikka Vandhaayo – Sanjay
  5. Maravairi Ramani – GrooViDa (not on JioSaavn playlist)
  6. Jeele Jeebhar – Namah (Thaikkudam Bridge)
  7. Mon Ke Bojhai – Sona Mohapatra and Sahil Solanki (Oriplast Originals)
  8. Mullu – Vasu Dixit
  9. Poovey – Funktuation
  10. Dwijavanthi – Marghazhi Reloaded
  11. Bas Mein – Bhuvan Bam
  12. Superheroes Without Capes – Thayir Sadam Project
  13. Chango – Jatayu
  14. Charukesi – Marghazhi Reloaded
  15. Dil Ki Doya Hoyna – The Folk Diaryz ft EPR
  16. Odi Odi – Kimaya (Masala Coffee)
  17. Aajo Cholechi – Papon & Shalmali Kholgade (Oriplast Originals)
  18. Nee Aara – When Chai Met Toast
  19. Thozhane – Kaal Nootraandu Kaadhal (Ashwin Vinayagamoorthy)
  20. Vasantha – Marghazhi Reloaded
  21. Manmohiya – Maati Baani
  22. Vainko – Brodha V ft. Jordindian
  23. Maa Devi – Srikanth Koppula
  24. Karam – Rangle Sardar & When Chai Met Toast (Equals Sessions)
  25. Paayum Oli Kannamma – Ratchakan Sridhar
  26. Dil Mera Dolda – Jazbati (Nooran Sisters, Jaidev Kumar)
  27. Ajnabee – Bhuvan Bam
  28. Dil Aziz – Subhash Kumar, Dheeraj Kumar Gupta ft. The Mellow Turtle, Tre Ess
  29. Avizhaai – Madras Gig Season 2 (Darbuka Siva)
  30. Hey Zara – Ben Human
Indipop Top 30 playlist on YouTube | Saavn

Marathi

I continue to listen to Marathi film music on and off. Given that infrequent hearing, a much shorter list, as always. The trio, Hrishikesh-Saurabh-Jasraj, continue to be outstandingly interesting with their music and Anandi Gopal, was easily one of the best soundtracks of the year, not just in Marathi, but pan-India. The other soundtrack I’d rate very, very high is AV Prafullachandra’s Kaagar. I’d love to hear from him!

Marathi Top 10 playlist on YouTube | Saavn

  1. Lagliya Godi Tujhi – Kaagar (A.V.Prafullachandra)
  2. Ranga Maliyela – Anandi Gopal (Hrishikesh Saurabh Jasraj)
  3. Virala – Khichik (Abhishek-Datta)
  4. Khari – Khari Biscuit (Suraj-Dhiraj)
  5. Mogra Phulaalaa – Mogra Phulaalaa (Rohit Shyam Raut)
  6. Waata Waata – Anandi Gopal (Hrishikesh Saurabh Jasraj)
  7. Tu Ekda Ha Bolna – Aamhi Befikar (Pranay Adhangale)
  8. Hey Man Maze – College Diary (Revaa)
  9. Darval Mavhacha – Kaagar (A.V.Prafullachandra)
  10. Adugula Madgula – Baba (Rohan Rohan)

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