Sean Roldan is an interestingly different choice to lead Yembuttu irukkuthu aasai, though, along with Kalyani Nair, he infuses life into the otherwise standard-issue filmy retro melody. Marhaba aavona overdoes the same faux-retro, fully-filmy tone, though Shreya’s singing elevates it significantly. Semma joru is lot of fun – simple, catchy and infectious vocals by Vishal. Young Praniti’s superb singing adds to the joyously theatrical sound of Langu langu. Laala kadai does have its charm with that manic kuthu rhythm, but it also seems largely lazy and predictable. The Melancholic Ride instrumental makes for pleasant listen. Largely humdrum soundtrack by Imman.

Keywords: Saravanan Irukka Bayamaen, D.Imman

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Despite Mukesh’s enthusiastic signing and the ebullient percussion, Uchimalai is perfunctory. But in Ilaratham soodera, Yuvan shows how to do even the perfunctory in a convincing manner! Otha paarvayil starts with a haunting prelude but goes downhill as soon as Yuvan starts to indulge in something akin to singing. Even Srimathumitha seems out of sorts. This tune deserved better. Velmurugan, Jaya Moorthy and Anitha make up for that in Saama kodaangi, a phenomenally energetic folk number with an addictive lilt. Aagaatha kaalam‘s searing pathos gets a huge fillip from Ananthu’s expressive singing and Yugabharathi’s evocative lines. Customary work by Yuvan.

Keywords: Yuvan Shankar Raja, Kadamban

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As soon as the first interludes led by the strings start in Chinthicho nee, you know you are in a Gopi Sundar song! Gopi makes fantastic use of Vaikom Vijayalakshmi’s versatility, particularly in the anupallavi, given the lovely semi-classical lilt most probably alluding to Kharaharapriya raaga! Kaattingathi vegam, sung by Sri Sankar, however, seems like rather generic use of Vakulabharanam raaga. Sithara Krishnakumar’s Chilankakal is even more classically inclined and rides on her vocals sans enhancements. Njan ninne thedi, coming so close to Harris Jayaraj’s Halena, and sounding a lot similar, is disturbing. Barring Chinthicho, oddly muted soundtrack by Gopi.

Keywords: Sathya, Gopi Sundar

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Ootaanda soltuvaa is a fun, pulse-pounding mix, layering thara local lyrics and kuthu rhythm on top of a significantly more upmarket, funky package. A similar raucous mix in Mama mama and Nijaaru usaaru don’t work as well as Ootaanda, though. The choice of Sid Sriram and Neeti Mohan works wonders in Verrattaama verratturiye—an ear-worm of a pathos melody—as does the synthetic mridangam’ish percussion. Pradeep Kumar’s singing is obviously the highlight of Pogaadhey kanmaniye, an affecting tune, though the backgrounds seem outdated. In only his 4th soundtrack, Leon James’ music shows signs of a weary familiarity, despite 3 very good songs.

Keywords: Leon James, Veera

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Saahore Baahubali‘s jaunty rhythm keeps it in great stead! Daler Mehndi and Mounima, along with Keeravani himself lead it in style, while the chorus is brilliant. Hamsa naava has a lovely thrumming lilt that is almost hypnotic! The chorus is wonderful yet again, along with Sony and Deepu’s pitch-perfect singing. Dandaalayyaa‘s sweeping sound seems crafted for the screen, though the main Dandaalayyaa phrase is a compelling hook. Kannaa nidurinchara, with its classical leanings, is incredibly sweet and brilliantly sung by Sreenidhi and Srisoumya. Oka praanam ends the soundtrack on a somber, rousing note. Generously opulent, but with no stand-outs, audio-wise.

Keywords: Baahubali 2 – The Conclusion, M.M.Keeravani

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Uff yeh Noor has an Amit Trivedi vibe! Undeniably bouncy, really well sung by Armaan Mallik and a vibrant set of instruments by Amaal, particularly the brass part. Gulabi 2.0 (and the Redux) are adequately pulsating enough to make R.D.Bur…n the dance-floor. Jise kehte pyaar hai bubbles with a lovely 90s pop lilt and a large part of the credit goes to Sukriti Kakar’s delightful singing. Sukriti’s twin sister, Prakriti Kakar handles a completely different—and very mellow—Hai zaroori equally well. Amaal layers this one with a tastefully understated orchestration. After Dhoni, another almost-solo Amaal Mallik soundtrack where his music shines!

Keywords: Noor, Amaal Mallik, R.D.Burman

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Ethetho‘s oh-so-gentle melody makes it a great listen, particularly in Vaisakh C Madhav’s vocals (as also Anju Joseph’s female version) where he sings as if the tune is brittle, amidst a beautiful flute phrase! Vaadaathe sounds like Shaan Rahman’s material! Good vocal harmony, barring that rap part. Vineeth Srinivasan is hilarious in singing his sorry state in Pettupokumo, with a lovely brass’y sound. The brass sound headlines the short Joker In Pattavayal too, while Ashik ashik is very Tamil and rides on OK Gopi’s nadaswaram. After Darvinte Parinamam, Sankar Sharma proves he’s no flash in the pan with Avarude Ravukal.

Keywords: Avarude Ravukal, Sankar Sharma

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South Indian film music’s current North Indian darling, Armaan Malik earns his standing singing Aalisu baa exceptionally well. His singing perfectly syncs with the song’s three layers, the other two being a slightly retro-reminiscent percussion and a brilliant layer of strings. Belakendare ups the ante significantly! In what seems like Hamsanadham raaga (Bantureethi kolu!), Arjun weaves a rich semi-classical melody with a fantastic tabla base. Haricharan and Indu Nagaraj seem to be genuinely enjoying the singing part and that shows! Manasina continues with the highly melodic tone of the soundtrack and has an aptly placed violin layer that adds considerable charm to Karthik and Anuradha Bhat’s vocals. The tune is spritely and easily likeable. Yaare nee, the ominous tune gets its alluring and minimal backgrounds right, and in a way, sounds like a classic Hamsalekha number at least going by the sound! Vyasa Raj’s deep vocals matche the song’s pathos, while Arjun slowly and steadily builds on the backgrounds. The Raaga theme picks on Manasina’s violin strains and ropes in Sudeep to add gravitas with his narration – short and sweet. Hebbuli and Chakravarthy were undoubtedly good, but in Raaga, Arjun guns for Mungaru Male 2 level quality and succeeds!

Keywords: Raaga, Arjun Janya, #200, 200

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Karuppadu throbs with inventive corniness, with a dash of Santhosh Narayanan! Arunraja and Dhibu’s singign augments the hilarious tone. Pradeep Kumar is perfect for Nee kavithaigala, a Sean Roldan’ish melody that is oh-so-gentle. Dhibu builds the song beautifully into a rock ballad of sorts. Sharanya Gopinath’s diva-style singing carries the Bond Theme style Aasai. The soundtrack’s best is Koattai aanda arasan, a brilliantly mounted song with absolutely captivating percussion and frenzied singing by Arunraja and the backing chorus! Usiredukkum closes the soundtrack in style, with Vijay Joseph’s guitar headlining the classic rock sound. Promising Tamil debut by Dhibu Ninan Thomas!

Keywords: Dhibu Ninan Thomas, Maragadha Naanayam

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Dhibu’s composing debut was the Malayalam song Sneham, sung by Job Kurian.

Mira mira mixes swanky guitar and a dash of Wild West in what is essentially a catchy kuthu. Laage laage is no different; that violin phrase is such a lovely touch to the captivating sound. Dhanunjay’s earthy vocals and the pulsating folk rhythm aids Jivvu jivvu, while his other song, Yelo yedarilo is the soundtrack’s best, with a lovely retro’ish feel and a cleverly repetitive hook. Armaan and Shreya breeze through the easy-on-the-ears Emo emo, with an addictive hook. Netha cheera, despite the foot-tapping lilt, and the Love theme are the soundtrack’s most generic. Simple, likeable commercial album by Anup.

Keywords: Katamarayudu, Anup Rubens

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