Sunday December 15, 2019

Milliblog Weeklies, Week 99 – DEC15.2019

Posted by Karthik

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 99: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
11 songs this week. Both YouTube and JioSaavn have all the songs!

Saalaikal, Kaadum Malayum, Nee and Jeele Jeebhar – Namah (Thaikkudam Bridge) – Indipop: Namah has been in the making for a long time and I had featured Saalaikal back in February 2018. While the album is a sprawling, ambitious effort with a lot of interesting collaborations, I found it less engaging than the band’s earlier work, Navarasam. The collaborations perhaps forced them to think in a different direction for the album’s overall sound. It is a highly listenable effort, no doubt about that, however. Even in the songs that didn’t entirely work me, there are stupendous highlights that are worth going back to! Like how Tamil envelopes the mid-section Hindi phrase in Saawariya that has Pandit Ram Narayan and his grandson Harsh Narayan on the sarangi, accentuating the song’s inherent melancholy. Avial’s lead singer Anandraj Benjamin Paul keeps Kanne consistently enjoyable, while in Inside My Head, featuring German drummer Marco Minnemann, the shift in the 5-minute mark is fascinating! Kalliyankatt Neeli, featuring Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatton Mohan Veena is the album’s most hypnotic, intense and affecting. The most ambitious song, though is Thekkini, a 9-minutes+ instrumental song featuring 2 renowned percussionists, metal drummer Chris Adler and mridangam virtuoso Umayalpuram K Sivaraman, using the background music (and song) composed for Manichitrathazhu as a base to showcase their incredible talent.

The four songs that worked for me include Saalaikal, the most accessible and catchy in the album, featuring Jordan Rudess on the keyboard, and a scintillating guitar solo. Rakesh Chaurasia on the bansuri owns Kaadum Malayum, and joins a lovely guitar-bansuri jugalbandi in the end. The most engaging melody in the album is in Nee, featuring Niladri Kumar’s sitar, while my favorite in the album is easily Jeele Jeebhar, featuring Hindustani vocalist Ustad Rashid Khan. The pulsating opening, led by Rashid Khan and a fantastic extended prelude with tremendously exciting percussion is worth multiple listens! And surprise – you also hear shades of 96’s Kaathale Kaathale in this song!

Over’a Feel Pannuren – Hero (Yuvan Shankar Raja) – Tamil: Pa.Vijay’s lyrics try to best fit in the current college lingo in Chennai, but go significantly overboard too… annoyingly so. But Yuvan’s music hits all the right notes and his usual disinterested style of singing actually helps this catchy tune.

Theera Theera – Sarbath (Ajesh) – Tamil: Sarbath’s first single was released back in August (Karichaan Kuyile). In the 2nd single released now, Ajesh lives up to the promise he had showcased in that single, though not up to the magnificent promise he demonstrated in Paambu Sattai’s music. Good, listenable song, nonetheless, with excellent singing by Ajesh himself and the underrated Saindhavi.

Thazhvarangal – Valiyaperunnal (Rex Vijayan) – Malayalam: Two songs by Saju Sreenivas and two by Rex? While Labbaikkallah didn’t work for me, Rex is on more solid footing in Thazhvarangal, with its beat dropping to great effect.

Hands Up – Avane Sreemannarayana (Ajaneesh Loknath) – Kannada: This is one film that has both Ajaneesh and Charanraj scoring the music! Ajaneesh opens his account with a superbly orchestrated, flamboyant number. The call-and-response phrases (the Hands Up and the response) hark back to his trademark homage to Hamsalekha’s music. Fantastic music that even sounds visual!

Neelaakasha Kelu – Sarvajanikarige Suvarnavakasha (Midhun Mukundan) – Kannada: Devare was a very good song, and composer Midhun turns this focus away from that tone and offers a very pleasant melody for balance. Haricharan’s singing is, as usual, ace, while Rakshitha Rao offers great support. Midhun’s building the backgrounds is what works perfectly in the song’s favor.

Manase Chooru – Ramarjuna (Anand Rajavikram) – Kannada: With Lee and Relax Satya, Anand has proven to be a capable-enough and interesting composer to watch out for. In Manase Chooru too, he uses Puneet Rajkumar, usually a special-item singer used for star-power, in a mellow turn. The tune and the musical package makes it better, with its mellow thavil and nadaswaram base.

Aa Jaana – Lijo George, Dj Chetas (Indipop): Jackky Bhagnani discovered that he perhaps has a better future being a music curator than trying his hand repeatedly in acting. And when he found pliant working partners in Lijo George and DJ Chetas in Mitron’s Kamariya, he got to work more in that direction. With Darshan Raval and Prakriti Kakar for vocals, the melody and rhythm are reminiscent of Kamariya’s style and are effortlessly catchy.

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