Madhumatiye is quite and earworm, with its reggae-meets-retro charm, and sung particularly well by Shreekumar Vakkiyil, with a distinct nasal twang that amps up the old-worldly feel, and Preeti Pillai. Bijibal and the chorus—and Anwar Ali’s word-play—ace the pulsating propaganda song Lokam ennum, while Udhichuyarnne picks up the pace steadily, amidst the street-theater style music, with lively singing by Sithara Krishnakumar and Vaikom Vijayalakshmi. Theyyum thindaka‘s hypnotic, intonation style tune is instantly catchy, along with the captivating folk percussion, brass and guitar fusion, though the baby is definitely not going to sleep with that short an Aarariro. Rich, thematic soundtrack.
The title song is yet-another generic high-pitched call for some cause. Chellakutti joraa, like Justin’s Ethithu veetu kaliflowere (Raja Mandhiri) has a gently playful and retro’ish touch, with a particularly imaginative nadhaswaram-thavil mix, but for a middling tune. Poi varavaa‘s maudlin medley drones on, but in Vaikom Vijayalakshmi’s voice, Vaasamulla poovaa makes for a haunting and soulful listen, with composer Bijibal’s young daughter Daya ending it with a twist, by singing a lullaby! Pradeep Kumar rocks the exuberant Ettoorum kekkum, with a lively percussion and interestingly imagined chorus-enabled anupallavi. After recent highs, Justin’s music in Thondan is relatively less impressive.
Aalangiliye is incredibly pleasant and so very likeable across the melody, the interludes, the singing, with a more-than-generous dollop of early Rahman, particularly Aathangara marame. The gentle, lilting kuthu Karukku kallangolu gains enormously from Anirudh’s oh-so-casual rendition, with Sean Roldan’ish intrusions like that nadaswaram interlude. Andha madhiri ponna ups the ante, with lovely strings, tabla and reggae’ish layer meandering alongside the amiable tune, helping Ravi G elevate the song significantly. Sean handles Enga pona‘s pathos elegantly, again, seeking help from the searing violin layer, but Blaaze’s screams douse much of Iruda poruda‘s bravado. Pretty impressive mainstream stuff by Sean Roldan.
Asha Bhonsle adds gravitas to the ghazal’ish Prem mein tohre, but age-related strains are evident in her vocals. But compared to Kavita Seth’s oddly detached rendition, Asha’s version seems more nuanced and soulful. Anu Malik handles the music well, particularly the strings in the background. Rahat and Sonu go through the motions in Aazaadiyan, with Anu rehashing his stock tunes and backgrounds for the nth time, while O re kaharo‘s generic quasi-Middle Eastern sound is painfully outdated. Holi khelein seems more like Anu needed a song to challenge his talent show contestants. Begum Jaan is from another era, music included.
PS: The bonus song, Woh subah, has Anu elegantly modernizing Khayyam’s pensive melody, though Arijit and Shreya sound too clinical when compared to Mukesh and Asha Bhosle’s original vocals. But Arijit does score well in the other bonus song—the soundtrack’s best—Murshida, aided generously by vintage Anu Malik-style tune, bringing back memories of Refugee.
Joleem kooleem‘s reetigowlai raaga base is its clear and absolute highlight. Within that gorgeously likeable raaga, Gopi and his chorus have an easy winner. Interestingly, even Omal chiriyo seems to allude to reetigowlai raaga in the interludes, though the tune is predictable Gopi Sundar fluff, well sung by Ramshi Ahamed. Oduvile yathrak, in both versions—by Rajalakshmi and Vijay Yesudas—offers a somber, almost hymn-like tune that works because of its minimal sound. Kabadi kabadi is the soundtrack’s surprise, channeling revati raaga into a pulsating fusion-rock sound, led impressively by Ranjith. Simple and likeable set of tunes by Gopi for this Pooram.
The profusion of keys and violin that starts Nee illai endraal paves way to the soft melody so very well, even as Haricharan and Vandana Srinivasan converse in perfect sync. Sathya Prakash holds Ithu pol together with his splendid singing, though the tune is largely flat, with a been-there melodic sound. The soundtrack’s best is the very unplugged’ish melody, Mannippaaya, sung wonderfully by the film’s heroine, Aparna Balamurali, and Udhay Kannan. Andhi saayura neram is pedestrian, though, despite the functionally catchy Kokoko hook. Composer Sundaramurthy KS does considerably better in 8 Thottakkal, when compared to his average debut in Avam.
A dash of 80s synth pop. Almost Harris Jayaresque bare essential sound. But Mickey layers them on a lovely melody in Edho edho bagunde, with fantastic long phrases sung beautifully by Rahul Nambiar. Kadile lokam mottham and Kanulake teliyani seem to be stuffed with Harris Jayaraj’ish gibberish! That they both have rhythmic, largely likeable sound helps. Sayyori is far more conventional, in comparison and the jaunty rhythm makes it a great listen. Jhoomore, though, pushes that conventional bar a bit too hard, and despite 4 convincing singers, sounds templatized. Mister Mickey opens his 2017 account with a rather middling soundtrack.
Of the 2 songs by Revant & Siddharth, the title song barely survives—thanks to Sukhwinder Singh—but Mano ya na mano is a complete washout. Arko’s Rishta drones on between his own voice and Arijit offering minor gravitas to the strained predictability of the tune. It’s Vipin Patwa who offers the impoverished soundtrack some succor. KK is fantastic in Bezubaan, handling the hook beautifully, while Rog jaane, despite the familiar template, makes for a sweet listen in both versions. Vipin, though, pushes his luck in Naino ke pokhar and it’s too templatized to make an impact. Lackluster and outdated shaadi, this.
Mira mira, Laage laage, Yelo yedarilo and Emo emo – Katamarayudu (Anup Rubens)
Hamsa naava and Saahore Baahubali – Baahubali 2 – The Conclusion (M.M.Keeravani)
Ela ela – Velipomakey (Prashanth R Vihari)
The entire soundtrack of Velipomakey is quite interesting, for a debutant. The sound is resonant and there is a spark. Ela ela is the pick of the soundtrack though the bubbles up among the other songs thanks to Kamalaja Rajagopal and Karthik Rodriguez’s fantastic singing and the way composer Prashanth infuses that Shanmukapriya raaga phrases mid-way.
Jingidi – Guru (Santhosh Narayanan)
That one new extra song not in the Tamil or Hindi version of the same film (Saala Khadoos/Irudhi Sutru). Venkatesh sings this himself and the tune is good old Santhosh – easy funk!
Ghumshuda – Rogue (Sunil Kashyap)
Given that Puri has now resigned to doing films like Loafer, Ism, Jyothi Lakshmy and Temper, his music sense has gone out of the window too. He ropes in Sunil Kashyap for Rogue and the man produces a trainwreck of pointlessness. The one hope is the surprise Hindi song, Ghumshuda, sung by Chinmayi! The somber, mildly Latino sound and Chinmayi’s voice, coupled with that lone violin makes this song totally worth the listen!
Daggaragaa raavoddilaga – Vaisakham (DJ Vasanth)
DJ Vasanth is the kind of composer that I cannot afford to completely ignore. He does have something interesting somewhere in his soundtracks. In Vaisakham it is Daggaragaa raavoddilaga that comes with a cool sound and a tune reminiscent of Nilavai konduvaa (from Vaali). Ramya Behara aces this song with her vocals.
Hrudayavaathil, Aromale and Chakkikkochamme – C/O Saira Banu (Mejo Joseph)
Ethetho and Vaadaathe – Avarude Ravukal (Sankar Sharma)
Chinthicho nee – Sathya (Gopi Sundar)
Promo song – Take Off (Shaan Rahman)
This song doesn’t even have a name! For all the good word the film’s garnering, I really wonder why the makers seem so hesitant in releasing the 2 songs it has properly, even if it doesn’t feature in the film (which is beside the point anyway). This one’s good old Shaan, since he sings it himself too. That thrumming rhythm sound is totally alluring!
Aalisu baa, Belakendare and Manasina – Raaga (Arjun Janya)
Today is April 1. You have noticed me referring to some songs as Raja’ish. That word is not going to fool hardcore Ilayaraja fans, but, for the average music listener, some songs do recall Raja’s music easily, if not in the tune, at least in the background music or the interludes.
Here’s a list of 10 recent (not too old like Vedham Pudhidhu’s Kannakkul nooru nilava that was NOT composed by Ilayaraja) songs that I thought deserve that tag more than the others.