Top recent listens! (September 2009)

Kunnathe konnakyum: Pazhassi Raja (Malayalam OST), Ilayaraja
Ilayaraja’s score for Pazhassi Raja is stringly reminiscent of his soundtrack for Priyadarshan’s Kaalapani – the canvas is huge and the score is removed from unnecessary modernity, sticking true to the theme and feel. This song by Chithra starts off in a manner that any fan of Raja can identify with immediately, but when it gets to the anupallavi, the composer’s work in the rhythms is tantalizing, adding flavor to the entire tune!

Tak dhina dhin: Aladin (Hindi OST), Vishal Shekhar
Yes, Vishal seems to be inundated with messages about ‘You may be’, but my personal favorite is Tak dhina dhin. This is as adventurous as Pancham would’ve composed, complete with swanky horns and Shankar Mahadevan is brilliant form, with a funky modern sound added to it. The track does get into a messy mode later, however.

Blame it on the girls & I see you: The Boy Who Knew Too Much, Mika
I’m a recent Mika convert – to be honest. I got completely hooked to Love today very recently while listening to it on Radio Indigo (Bangalore!) and started the search for his other tracks. Then I came across his brand new album, The Boy Who Knew Too Much – a not-so-well-reviewed album, at least till now. Its a bouncy, lively album and seems to me like a fantastic combination of 2 of my favorite British groups – Take That and East 17. Blame it on the girls has a incredibly catchy ring to it, even though its quite predictable in its structure, while I see you is the perfect blend of East 17’s Stay another day fused with Take That’s musical sensibility.

Kuru kuru: Couples retreat (English OST), A R Rahman
This is a motion picture soundtrack and listening to it without watching the movie seems to make no sense, personally. I’m not entirely sure about the purpose or context of a Tamil song, since the promos do not indicate the presence of an Indian, leave alone Tamil couple. But Kuru kuru is a fascinating track. The track has a ‘Afro Nisha’ mentioned alongside and almost every online mention of this name refers to the voice having incredible similarity with Rahman’s. I personally think its Rahman himself, but not sure about who or what this Afro Nisha is!

Barso re: London Dreams (Hindi OST), Shankar Ehsaan Loy
Barso re is a phenomenal revelation – we always knew Vishal Dadlani’s vocal range, but Roop Kumar Rathod? Oh boy, the usually soft, ghazal’ish singer goes into a full-throated frenzy and he sounds incredible. The duo sing this stadium-rock styled track in such high-pitched fervor that its hard not to get immersed!

Raja Maharaja: Ganesh (Telugu OST), Mickey J Meyer
Mickey has a particular rhythm in his mind and seems to use it quite often. Its a slightly disjoint rhythm and plays out distinctly away from the main tune. This track uses that quite effectively, though the tune waters down into a routine, commercialized dancy folk rhythm later on.

Tu hi haqeeqat: Tum Mile (Hindi OST), Pritam
Javed Ali’s Tu hi haqeeqat tops this soundtrack, at least for me, and that is indeed saying something given this album is loaded with fabulous ballads. This song plays out almost like a hypnotic prayer – the repetitive ‘Tu humsafar’ portion adding to the aura!

Fiqrana & Aaj dil gustakh hai: Blue (Hindi OST), A R Rahman
Fiqrana and Aaj dil sees Rahman having gleeful fun, after quite some time. The former should’ve been ideally sung by Rahman himself, given how much Vijay Prakash sounds like the composer and uses catchy structures similar to the one Rahman adopted in Rang de basanti. The latter starts off with no predominant rhythm, but when it starts, its mesmerizing and gets into a neat groove that makes the sound very vibrant.

Kadile paadam: Banam (Telugu OST), Manisharma
Its heartening to see Manisharma get off his stock tune bank once in a while and score brilliant soundtracks like Banam. Another track from this soundtrack, Padara padara, is an equally good listen, for its powerful sound depicting a revolution, but this velvety track uses every trick in the book, hitherto used by Ilayaraja. And Manisharma’s experience shows in utilizing Shankar Mahadevan’s vocals and building the track’s arrangement gradually.

Rabba & Terey bina: Ankahi, Shiraz Uppal
A full review of Shiraz Uppal’s new album, Ankahi, is due from me. But here’s a teaser – Rabba and Terey bina are lovely!