Hitman – November 21, 2015

Originally published in The Hindu.

Paatta podunga ji – Oru Naal Koothu (Tamil – Justin Prabhakaran)
As if Justin Prabhakaran’s Ilayaraja invocation isn’t enough—when the violins play in the first interlude of Enakkaaga porandhaaye, from his debut, Pannayaarum Padminiyum, one can almost picture Rajinikanth in white and white, with his hands in the pocket walking amidst greenery in his usual style, like in Malaayala Karayoram, from Raajadhi Raja—he composes almost a homage of sorts in Paatta podunga ji. With its chorus’ish vocals, mix of strings and rhythm, the song is a lovely throwback to Raja’s 90s music. Justin layers it further with nadaswaram, funny dialogs from radio and lyrics (by Veera), a fantastic second interlude and a amazingly harmonious tune that Karthik leads in his inimitable style.

Padded cell – Seal (Album: 7)
Much has been made out of the fact that this is Henry Samuel a.k.a Seal’s 9th album, while being titled 7. And that this is the British singer’s first full-length album since splitting from ex-wife Heidi Klum (there are signs of that split in the album, though. Like the song, ‘Half A Heart’ which starts with, ‘You took a piece of me when you left…’!). The album itself is a throwback to the times when Seal was in heavy rotation across TV and radio—the 90s—moreso because he is working with his debut producer Trevor Horn again. Songs like Padded Cell, with its gently throbbing Europop synth mix raises above the album’s familiarity and ennui.

Meghaalu lekunna – Kumari 21F (Telugu – Devi Sri Prasad)
Meghaalu lekunna sounds at best like the Telugu version of a song by the Hindi pop band Euphoria. The tune is similarly lush and folk’ish. Devi does some interesting things in the interludes – the use of violins and solo-violin in the first and second interludes, to be specific. Yasin Nizar sings it mighty well, and one should thank Devi Sri Prasad for not singing it himself.

Keep On Dancing – Ellie Goulding (Album: Delirium)
English singer and songwriter Ellie Goulding’s 3rd studio album, Delirium, is decidedly more straight forward pop than her earlier album. And she works with today’s heavyweight pop producers like Max Martin. It’s an easy-on-the-ears album with the whistle-laden hooks in a song like Keep On Dancing smoothly ensuring repeated plays.

Ottathoval – Rajamma@Yahoo (Malayalam – Bijibal)
No, the film is not about Rajamma (Michael Rajamma) joining the internet giant Yahoo.com and getting his Yahoo email ID. Yahoo is just the nickname for Rajamma’s brother, Vishnu Yohannan. That @ cleared, Bijibal does what one usually expects from an Ilayaraja or a Vidyasagar – treat a raaga with reverence. In Ottathoval, it is raaga Panthuvarali, that gets a clean, deeply melodious treatment, in Ganesh Sundaram and Roopa Revathi’s vocals!