Saturday May 29, 2021

Milliblog Weeklies, Week 149 – May.30, 2021

Posted by Karthik

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 149: On Spotify | On YouTube
17 songs this week. YouTube has all the songs, while Spotify is missing just one – the Rivers of India song. I have embedded the video below.

After that long break in the middle of 2020 owing to the first wave of the pandemic, here I am, after a 2nd smaller break during the 2nd wave of the same pandemic. In 2020, the musical shortage seemed more because people didn’t know how to deal with the lockdown that put artists and producers away from their workplaces. Eventually, people coped up and improvised and we saw a lot more IndiPop releasing in the latter part of the year.

But the 2021 shortage seems to be happening for a very different, sadder reason. More people are affected, there is genuinely a break in work because people are down. And, at a larger level, I felt that more people don’t think this is a good time to produce or consume music… something that genuinely fills us with joy, but amidst a raging pandemic and raising death and suffering, publicly/visibly enjoying something seems criminally wrong (enjoying it on a personal, non-visible level is perhaps more appropriate).

After I recovered from my illness, I hardly felt it was appropriate to write about new music when there was much suffering all around. It took me more than a month to get over that state of mind and start listening to new music again.

Tohfa – Vayu (Hindi/Indipop): Vayu continues to impress with his heartfelt tunes and is a perfect foil to the decidedly more commercially successful former partner Tanishq. Tohfa is a lovely follow-up to Vayu’s song from last year, Baatein Karo. Vayu’s pensive tone in the singing and the vibrant music go well together.

Jaye To Kahan – Sharmistha Chatterjee (Hindi/Indipop):
Sharmistha does everything here – lyrics, singing, and composing! It’s a darn good effort, given the output is a highly listenable song with tastefully conjured music in the background. A special note of appreciation for Salil Charaya’s guitar and Omkar Salunkhe’s percussion.

Piya More Piya – Santanu Ghatak feat. Sharmistha Chatterjee (Hindi/Indipop): Santanu, known for his work for albums like Tumhari Sulu and the Bangla album Hingtingchhot, produces a melody befitting Sharmistha’s caliber and range. The song’s rhythm and the cascading tune make it a lovely listen.

Tum Pe Hum Toh & Rehguzar – Bole Chudiyan (Raghav Sachar, Samira Koppikar) – Hindi: Two surprisingly warm and well-written melodies from this film! Raghav’s song sounds almost like a ghazal in Laado Suwalka’s lines and gains tremendously from Raj Barman’s singing. Sameera’s song too gets a big boost from Puneet Sharma’s lyrics and while Shahid Mallya sounds fantastic, I felt Samira Koppikar’s portions could have used a different (better) female singer.

Ye Rasa – MaaManithan (Yuvan Shankar Raja) – Tamil: This is the kind of song where Yuvan proves that he is truly the mirror of Raja’s musical style – it almost sounds like a thathuvam song that Raja may have composed in the 80s, but the sound is 2020 fresh! This is something even Raja hasn’t been able to achieve, ironically. That “Un sogam theerum paadha maarum… vaa raasa” is so very Raja from the 80s/90s! (Note: I still think Karthik Raja is a more natural heir of Raja’s music, but his style was entirely and uniquely different from Raja’s music when he started. It’s a pity he couldn’t sustain it and chose to focus on being Raja’s assistant after the initial tries).

Kan Munnale – Varun Sunil (Ft. Shweta Mohan) – Tamil/Indipop: Varun Sunil is someone I remember hearing good pop songs in Telugu so I’m surprised to hear his Tamil song. It has a very pleasant melody and the music too has a lively vibe.

Idhu Varai – Staccato (Tamil/Indipop): After the series of covers and mixes under their ‘Freshly Brewed’ series, Staccato band gets back to originals. The soaring vocals of Gowtham Bharadwaj and Niranjana Ramanan, the wonderfully uplifting music, that ‘Na na na’ vocal phrase that punctuates the song at many places… this is a fantastic song!

Neetho – Jagame Thandhiram (Santhosh Narayanan) – Telugu: The only reason to pick the Telugu version of this absolutely lovely song by Santhosh is the choice of the singer – Vijaynarain. Versus Dhanush in the Tamil version. Now, I fully understand the commercial considerations that may have gone behind the Tamil choice, but Vijaynarain is stupendously good for this particular tune. In comparison, Dhanush’s raw and casual singing does injustice to this softer, sweeping melody. The song is delightful, with a European flair and Santhosh’s ‘aasthaana’ musical profusion.

Devi Kalyana Vaibogame – Vivaha Bhojanambu (AniVee) – Telugu: I recall not being that impressed with the 2 earlier songs from this film (ABCD and What A Man). But composer AniVee sounds considerably more confident in this song. The layering of Chinmayi’s semi-classical’ish part with Anthony Daasan’s outburst of a hook is fantastic!

Premante Enti – Pelli SandaD (M. M. Keeravani) – Telugu: A classic Keeravani song that reminded me of many other songs, mainly Thathithom’s opening humming from Azhagan by Keeravani himself (the ‘Nuvvante naaku… dhairyam’ part) and Mr.India’s Kaate Nahin Kat Te (the ‘Challaga allukuntadi’ part). The raaga effect is so very pronounced in the song and they don’t make songs like these anymore!

Entha Baavundo – Gunde Katha Vintara (Masala Coffee) – Telugu: These Masala Coffee fellows keep popping across languages when least expected! Unusually, the song has 2 male voices – Crishna Jk and Varun Sunil! The tune has a bit of a ‘Putham Puthu Bhoomi Vendum’ (Thiruda Thiruda) feel in terms of the background and the build-up, but still sounds gorgeous!

Kanmoodi Parthaal – Sam Simon George, ft. KS Harisankar (Malayalam/Indipop): If I had not seen Sam’s name, I may have guessed this to be a song by Shaan Rahman. It has the same pleasant sweep and Harisankar’s singing only makes it all the more likable!

Bareve Bareve – H34 Pallavi Talkies (Ajaneesh Loknath) – Kannada: While Ajaneesh doesn’t disappoint, it does sound a bit too simplistic for the kind of standards he himself has set. This is probably the role of a director who can extract the best from already talented composers. Ankit Tiwari’s singing and that guitar usage stand out in the song.

Have Tase – Photo-Prem (Kaushal Inamdar) – Marathi: Marathi blues! Kaushal pulls it off in superb style, thanks to Shalmali Kholgade’s spellbinding vocals.

Rivers of India – Kanniks Kannikeswaran (Indipop): The song is an ambitiously thematic attempt to create awareness about the rivers of India (the song features 51 rivers) and water conservation. Kanniks (I had written about his fantastic album, Vismaya, back in 2009!) composes the song in Yamuna Kalyani and Kiravani raagas and the flow of song goes beyond simply listing the 51 rivers they have identified as lyrics. The most interesting part is the choice of singers – 2 sets of mother and son: Bombay Jayashri with her son Amrit Ramnath, and Kaushiki Chakraborty with her son Rishith Desikan.

Englishman/African In New York – Sting, Shirazee (English): I remember seeing Sting’s new album called ‘Duets’ back in 2020, but I don’t remember seeing this duet in that album! It looks like this is a new single that was also a duet but made away from that album. As a huge fan of the original song, I thought this new version, both musically and thematically, was very well produced!

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