Milliblog Weeklies, Week 96 – NOV24.2019

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 96: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
20 songs this week. JioSaavn has 18, and is missing only the 2 Coke Studio Pakistan songs (that are missing even on YouTube – only on SoundCloud this week!). YouTube has 12 songs – many are hidden inside jukeboxes (that I have embedded below).

Choti Choti Gal – Motichoor Chaknachoor (Arjuna Harjai) – Punjabi/Hindi: Arjuna’s melody is very reminiscent of Krsna’s music in Tanu Weds Manu, but to give him credit, that’s merely a reference point. His melody stands on its own, with a beautifully lilting and serene feel, brilliantly sung by Arjuna Harjai himself, along with Yasser Desai.

Dhuaan Dhuaan – Ankur Tewari: Imagine Bobby’s Main Shaayar Toh Nahi being sung by (and in the style of) the inimitable Tamil actor-singer Chandrababu! Ankur’s new song about the pollution (starting with New Delhi) is precisely like that incredible combination! It’s a lovely listen musically, as it is thought-provoking.

Unna Nenachu – Psycho (Ilayaraja) – Tamil: Sid Sriram’s first song under Ilayaraja is every bit exquisite as one would have anticipated. Sid himself seems subdued and in a new zone, away from his now-templated singing style and credit to Raja for bringing out a different facet of Sid’s signature style. The opening ‘Unna nenachu’ appears thrice, and that repetition, though sounding odd at first, endears the tune easily as the song progresses. The interludes are usual Raja magic (particularly the 2nd interlude!) and the anupallavi too gets Sid to offer something completely different and refreshingly new! The base melody seemed like Keeravani raaga to me, something Raja has exploited incredibly across his career. But there seems to be a smattering of Kaapi raaga too, since I do hear, Kaadhal Rojave’s ‘Kannukkul nee dhaan, Kanneeril nee dhaan’.

Easy Come Easy Go – Vaanam Kottattum (Sid Sriram) – Tamil: While I continue to have the same problem as the first song, in terms of the lyrics being terribly mangled in the tune sung word by word, at least tune-wise, Sid scores well.

Vellai Poove – Hi Hello Kaadhal (Vishnu Shyam) – Tamil: I remember seeing this short film back in October and I wondered even back then if they’d release the song that persists all through the film, including the crucial climax. I missed it when they did release, and stumbled on it now. It is a lovely, soft melody, accentuated by Balram Iyer and Sruthy Sasidharan’s singing.

Murada Murada – Dhanusu Raasi Neyargalae (Ghibran) – Tamil: What starts off, and builds itself, so much like a Harris Jayaraj song (made more pronounced by Bombay Jayashri singing it!), gets the Ghibran touch when the anupallavi starts! That’s when Ghibran asserts this is his song. Lovely listen!

Apdi Paakadhadi – Jada (Sam CS) – Tamil: The phrase ‘apdi paakadhadi’ reminded me of Raja’s famous song ‘Apdi paakardhuna’ from Ivan. The tunes don’t have anything similar, of course, and Sam’s tune, for most parts works, with a simple, innate charm. Anirudh’s voice helps, especially, along with Swagatha S Krishnan’s.

Un Kadhal Paarvai – Mazaiyil Nanaigiren (Vishnu Prasad) – Tamil: This is the 3rd Harris-like song this week! Even as the man himself has moved to produce utterly predictable and unfortunately droning music, his style (at least from his earlier, spectacular days) continues to live and inspire composers! Vishnu Prasad has the tune right – it is lively and Haricharan’s lead vocals lifts it significantly. The sound is so very Harris!

Oo… Baava – Prati Roju Pandaage (Thaman S) – Telugu: While I didn’t really enjoy the title song, this song is a winner, by Thaman! His use of the mixed vocals (featuring Satya Yamini and Mohana Bhogaraju) works wonders for the catchy tune and hook.

Bullet – George Reddy (Suresh Bobbili) – Telugu: Though there was a really tacky Kannada version of Yuvan Shankar Raja’s blockbuster song from Maari 2 (Rowdy Baby), this one by Suresh fares far better. It merely borrows elements from the hit song and doesn’t make things that obvious either. It builds a new song from that sound and stands well on its own since the tune is completely new, with confident vocals by Mangli Satyavathi.

Manasina Olage, Mamavathu Sri Saraswathi & Naa Ninnaya – Katha Sangama (Agnata, Nobin Paul & Gagan Baderiya) – Kannada: Katha Sangama is billed as ‘7 Directors, 7 Stories, Musicians, 7 DOP, 1 Movie’. The most interesting of the 7 songs is by Nobin Paul. Nobin actually remixes Mysore Vasudevacharya famous Hindolam-raaga based devotional song and does a smashing job of it! Sruthy Sasidharan, as the lead singer, does a stupendous job in the new-fangled version of the tune, while Midhun Dev handles the backing vocals beautifully before having his part too, towards the end. Adithi Sagar and Madhuri Seshadri are the stars of the other 2 notable songs, composed by Agnata and Gagan Baderiya, respectively. The tunes in both songs let the singers soar and shine, with the music playing second fiddle, impressively. Manasina Olage’s backgrounds go psychedelic as the song progresses, while Naa Ninnaya reminded me of Rahman’s composing style, but with a saccharine-sweet edge.

Party Zamana – Mundina Nildana (Adil Nadaf) – Kannada: Adil, who very recently produced some great music in Kapata Nataka Paatradhaari, joins the many composers of Mundina Nildana! His song is a simple and straight-forward disco-laced dance song. It works easily, given the lively singing by Chetan Gandharva and Madhuri Seshadhri.

Yaare Neenu – Khakii (Ritvik Muralidhar) – Kannada: Ritvik borrows a leaf from Harri Jayaraj’s music, much like many other composers in Kannada, pioneered by Arjun Janya himself. The ‘O o o’ hook is straight out of Harris’ style! Nice song, though – catchy, with effortless singing by Sanjith Hegde and Eesha Suchi.

Haiyaa – Hellaro (Mehul Surti) – Gujarati: While Mehul’s 4-song soundtrack is worth a full-fledged listen by itself, with a wonderfully earthy and highly melodious sound, this song stood out for me. Before breaking into the ebullient folks sounds made popular nationally by Ismail Darbar in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Mehul mounts a beautiful context with Shruti Pathak’s delightfully slow and pensive singing. The ending, where I thought I heard strains of Desh raag, is a lovely touch too!

Balma – Fariha Pervez (Coke Studio Season 12, Episode 5): Balma is a thumri, but has been orchestrated more like a pop-Thumri. The actual thumri verse starts only at 2:30, since Fariha establishes her magnificent hold over the format till then with a stupendously indulgent prelude. The backgrounds accentuate the hybrid nature of the package, with a spritely rhythm underlining the beautiful melody. This is the kind of music Coke Studio excels in bringing out. Listen to the song on SoundCloud (since Coke Studio hasn’t uploaded it on YouTube yet)

Heeray – Rahat Fateh Ali Khan & Aima Baig (Coke Studio Season 12, Episode 5): Rahat keeps things predictably moving till 3:20, for the pensive-sounding Heer-Ranjha ode. And then Aima Baig literally flows in at that point, amidst a lovely change of rhythm and changes the tone of the song! This is so, so good! Listen to the song on SoundCloud (since Coke Studio hasn’t uploaded it on YouTube yet)

Ahimsa – U2 and A.R.Rahman: The first BIG surprise, much like Rahman’s ‘Ella Pugazhum Iraivanukke’ utterance on stage while receiving his Grammy, is listening to Tamil verse in a song by U2! Never ever would I have imagined that I’d hear Tamil in a song by U2, so thank you Rahman, for making this happen. The 2nd surprise is the choice of Tamil verse – 2 couplets from ThirukkuraL. Both couplets offer variations of doing good and not doing evil/bad to even people who harm us. A more popular (in Tamil Nadu) kuraL on these lines is ‘InnA seitharai oRuththal avar naana nannayam seithu vidal’, so it is a surprise that Rahman chose a lesser-known kuraL on this theme. But, in terms of the meaning, they are perfect, for a song titled Ahimsa. The tune itself is pleasant and almost meditative, though Rahman’s twist at 2:50, however interesting, comes at a cost of his severely digitized voice.

Light Upon Light – A.R.Rahman and Sami Yusuf: This song is even more meditative than Ahimsa, with a serene—almost sedate and hypnotic—melody that works as much as a prayer as it does as a song. Rahman seems to have found the perfect collaborator in Sami Yusuf since their musical wavelength matches perfectly, even beyond music, into the kind of religion they practice and want to talk about.