Top recent listens (March 2010)

Morning bird – Sade (Album: Soldier of love)
Sade Adu’s new album comes 10 years after her/the band’s last (Lovers Rock, 2000) and is a suitably rewarding experience for fans. Morning Bird is the pick of the album, with its almost faint notes and languorously assembled music.

Swapnathin (Preethi Pillai version) & Title song (Ranadheera) – Nayakan (Malayalam – Prasant Pillai)
For a soundtrack released by A R Rahman himself, Nayakan didn’t make any noise at all! Preethi Pillai’s version aces Renjini Jose’s relatively muted version, with its expansive, chendai-fusion style orchestration. The title song too is a good listen, even though, it is as standard as a hero-intro song in a Tamil film!

Thanjavoor jillakaari – Sura (Tamil – Manisharma)
“the equally foot-tapping Bommali, with Malvika and Hemchandra’s trendy singing” is what I had written about Manisharma’s ‘Bommali’ from the Telugu soundtrack of Billa (2009). The Tamil version is ditto – quite apt for Vijay’s dancy image; this is one heck of a catchy song, despite the stupid lyrics.

Dil kyun yeh mera & Tum bhi ho wahi – Kites (Hindi – Rajesh Roshan)
KK’s Dil kyun is almost like a Rajesh Roshan tune from the 80s – just that the soaring orchestration is very, very 2000. Tum bhi, on the other hand, uses fresh (at least to Rajesh Roshan) voices of Vishal Dadlani and Suraj Jagan, and concocts a zingy track that sounds like it has been skillfully composed by one of the newer composers, complete with world music influences.

Keh do zara – Jaane kahan se aayi hai (Hindi – Sajid Wajid)
Keh do zara sounds like Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Naa’s Aditi in more ways than just Rashid Ali’s vocals – even the construction of the track and that mild tempo too resembles the earlier chartbuster. But not the tune, thankfully. It’s dulcet and lovely!

Papa jag jayega – Housefull (Hindi – Shankar Ehsaan Loy)
I’ve seen very disappointed reviews for the trio’s latest soundtrack – I, personally, love it! Papa jag jayega and even I don’t know what to do have me in splits every time I hear. So, I avoid listening to it in the car!

Nee hanga nodabyada – Hoo (Kannada – Harikrishna)
This is such a Ilayaraja-styled number that I have trouble seeing Harikrishna’s name as composer. This could have been straight out of a 80s Telugu film of Raja – very catchy, very rhythmic and a gorgeous tune.

Aye khuda – Paathshaala (Hindi – Hanif Sheikh)
Paathshaala’s soundtrack is a pleasant surprise, for a debutant, unknown singer turning into a composer, it is pretty good. Aye khuda, in specific, stays on with you beautifully.

Title song, retro-version – Maanja Velu (Tamil – Manisharma)
Even if the title song of Maanja Velu is recycled from the composer’s own Lakshyam number, Suku suku, the retro version is a neat little touch with an obviously put-on datedness that is endearing!

I can’t hold it any longer – Love Sex aur Dhokha (Hindi – Sneha Khanwalkar)
I was aghast at how this song was picturized in the film. Yes, I did not appreciate the film, particularly after how good reviewers had heaped priase on it. But this song had kinky chutzpah and expressing it from a woman’s point of view was a first in Indian cinema. Pity it was treated so badly in the film!

Saalambaakkam – Pullimaan (Malayalam – Sharreth)
Sharreth Vasudevan is one of the most promising composers in Malayalam and even dabbles in Telugu, occasionally. Saalambaakkam, in specific, had a lovely Spanish twang to it, even as it was a plain ‘ol catchy track with a tantalizing, extended mukhda!

Naal naal & Naukar tere – Kyun Dooriyan (Shafqat Amanat Ali)
Shafqat’s album after Tabeer is significantly tamer, but there are a few gems! Naal naal is surely one – a throwback to the older style of Paki pop, but built expertly. Naukar tere is pure Sindhi catchiness, almost like Runa Laila’s evergreen Dumadam mast kalandar!

Musafir – Lahore (Hindi – MM Kreem)
It’s sad that the film came and left so fast, leaving no time for the music to sink in. The music was promoted badly too, in any case. But MM Kreem always has something interesting up hi sleeve, particular for Hindi soundtracks. Musafir was precisely that, where his own version aced even Daler Mehndi’s!

Neelaponmane – Ringtone (Malayalam – Shaan)
A track oozing sweetness so obviously. Vineeth Srinivasan and Swetha’s vocals are a huge plus.

Need you now & Love this pain – Lady Antebellum (Album: Need you now)
Need you now is a very competent sophomore effort from the 3-member Nashville country band. Despite the masochistic tendencies in Love this pain, it is a addictively neat listen with fantastic vocals while the lead song of the album is the best; Hillary Scott rules this one!

maujKhayal & Hasratein – Mauj (Album: Now in Technicolor)
Mauj’s l-o-n-g awaited album is strictly an ok’ish listen and the best thing about it is the brilliantly kitschy cover art, credited to Tapu Javeri. Musically, there are some goodies, like Faiz Ahmed Faiz penned Khayal, who’s grungy pieces work so well with the poetic lyrics. The other interesting track is Hasratein – the drums play a phenomenal role here even as the hooks are mighty good too!