Saturday November 20, 2021

Milliblog Weeklies, Week 165 – Nov.21, 2021

Posted by Karthik

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 165: On Spotify | On YouTube
A bumper musical fortnight! 24 songs this week. All 24 are, thankfully, available on both Spotify and YouTube playlists 🙂

Tere Siva Jag Mein – Tadap (Pritam) – Hindi: The song took some time to get used to. Pritam layers a very soft melody (that took me back to Deewana’s ‘Miloge humein tum jaanam, kahin na kahin…’) on backgrounds that decidedly sounds like dance-floor material and the contrast works mainly because of the singers, the always-fantastic Shilpa Rao, and Darshan Raval (Shashwat Singh and Charan are also credited!).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NB08FBUqw3Q

Polladha Ulagathiley – Jai Bhim (Sean Roldan) – Tamil: When I hear Sean singing, I feel so very tempted to gently offer him, “Are you feeling ok, why don’t you take a break and sit down and drink some water?”. It’s just that he seems to be genuinely laboring on the higher notes, even though he is completely in tune and sync, unlike a Yuvan who simply goes off-key in similar situations. But much like Yuvan, Sean too makes up spectacularly with his sense of melody. That ‘Vaadi vadhungum ezhaiyai, neeyum vadhaithaal aaguma’, for instance, is an enchanting line in terms of both the tune and lyrics (Yugabharathi)!

Nagarodi – Jail (G.V. Prakash Kumar) – Tamil: G.V. Prakash Kumar brings his A-game, probably because of director Vasanthabalan’s influence (who got monumental music out of him in Veyil). The tune is immediately affecting, the backgrounds are thoughtful and brilliant… and the singing is outstanding, featuring GV himself along with Arivu and Ananya Bhatt, both contributing superbly!

Meenaatchi Meenaatchi – ŠKODA Sonic Roots (Amit Trivedi) – Tamil: A Tamil pop song by Amit Trivedi!! Even though the start of the song seems like a hat-doff to Meenakshi Sundareshwar level Tamil/Tamil Nadu appropriation, things get significantly better when Anthony Daasan enters, and in Madhan Karky’s trustworthy lines. As a whole, this is a great combination of Amit’s catchy kuthu-laced tune and the rootedness brought in by Anthony and Madhan.

Thaalatum Mounam – Kuruthi Aattam (Yuvan Shankar Raja) – Tamil: This is one of those tantalizingly slow melodies, with minimal, but imaginative, background sound, that Yuvan generously conjures from time to time, and thankfully avoid the temptation to sing it himself and reduce the song’s pull as a result. I hope this doesn’t have a male version that he sings – the perspective in the lyrics, by Karthik Netha, seems gender-neutral, so you never know 🙂 Swetha Mohan is, as always, fantastic!

La La Bheemla – Bheemla Nayak (Thaman S) – Telugu: While the song’s promo video clearly seems to take cues from Karnan’s Kanda Vara Sollunga, the song Thaman conjures is tonally different. This one’s ebullient and heady, with a stupendously mounted rhythm section. Arun Kaundinya’s singing is top class, but Thaman seems to have added some digital effects to his voice too to make it sound more than what it actually is.

MBA MCA – Chalo Premiddam (Bheems Ceciroleo) – Telugu: I had a lot of hopes from Bheems early in his career, but somehow he didn’t sustain the initial promise where I thought he could take the place left open by Manisharma. After quite some time, Bheems gets back to his earlier form in this college song that has a brilliantly spiked rhythm that remains consistently unpredictable, and Bheems sings it himself with a captivating folk edge!

Naatu Naatu – RRR (M M Keeravaani) – Telugu: Keeravaani brings his rich experience with an incredibly foot-tapping song that is mounted around the ‘Naatu Naatu’ hook unabashedly. The song has an almost hypnotic sound and you cannot help not be swayed by the manic rhythm!

Thee Minnal – Minnal Murali (Sushin Shyam) – Malayalam: Sushin’s first single from the Malayalam superhero film shines with its retro-synth pop sound. Even within the short song, after the first minute (sung by Marthyan and Sushin Shyam), the rest is a punchy instrumental phase led by a superb brass section!

Paathira Kaalam – Kurup (Sushin Shyam) – Malayalam: After the first single from the movie, the full soundtrack launched too rather soon possibly owing to the film’s release. But while the other songs did not work for me, this one, featuring the Kottayam-born, Nigeria-bred singer Anna Katharina Valayil aka Tribemama Marykali, is a complete stand-out! Sushin’s deeply resonant and haunting melody seems perfect for her stupendous vocals!

Promo Song – Kanakam Kamini Kalaham (Yakzan Gary Pereira & Neha S Nair) – Malayalam: This may be the wackiest song composed by the duo yet – it’s a hoot! 🙂 Using a sound that was in vogue back in the 50s/60s in films, the duo layer Jassie Gift’s vocals on a truly pulsating melody! That ending with an extended ‘Siddique’ reference, in particular, is hilarious!

Hijabi – Meow (Justin Varghese) – Malayalam: What a lovely melody!! Justin’s tune just flows so beautifully, and in Adheef Muhamed’s measured vocals, it attains a new high. The anupallavi is even better than the pallavi, incidentally!

Endo Bareda – Garuda Gamana Vrishabha Vahana (Midhun Mukundan) – Kannada: Midhun’s tune is mellow and pleasant, and Vasuki Vaibhav handles it mostly well, barring the start of the anupallavi where something seems mildly off. But the short anupallavi’s melody makes up for that.

FataFaati – ŠKODA Sonic Roots (Amit Trivedi) – Bangla: Amit’s cross-country musical trip makes a stop in West Bengal too and the lyrics seem almost like a sweeping introduction to the state to an outsider! The tune is gently lilting infused with baul folk sound and the collaborators, Rana Mazumder and Goutam Das Baul, add much to the composition.

Rushing Water, If It’s Love, The Book of Numbers, Harmony Road, The Bells of St. Thomas, Captain Bateman’s Basement & For Her Love – The Bridge (Sting) – English Pop: Rushing Water is very Police… and also Sting! I could easily stop at some point and go, ‘If I ever lose my faith in you…’! The upbeat If It’s Love, despite the brass section throwing me off the scent, takes me back to ‘If you love somebody…’! The Book of Numbers starts slow, but that hook is a fantastic leap! Harmony Road has powerful lyrics that Sting beautifully aces those long sentences along with Dominic Miller’s superb guitar. The Bells of St. Thomas too features Miller’s guitar and is decidedly jazzier (as also the instrumental Captain Bateman’s Basement) and reminded me of George Michael’s Cowboy and Angels, from Listen Without Prejudice, tonally. The background chorus that arrives mid-way in For Her Love brings a warm new layer to an otherwise pensive, soulful melody that Sting handles wonderfully. Sting’s pushing 70 now and doesn’t seem to have run out of steam at all given how thoroughly engaging his new album is and how it only alludes to his earlier work without either repeating or aping them.

Leave The Door Open, Fly As Me & Skate – An Evening With Silk Sonic (Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak and Silk Sonic): Considering both Bruno Mars and Anderson Paak are in their mid-30s, their idea of dipping into 1970s soul is vastly interesting since they do not have lived-in nostalgia of that period. But they do a more than competent job of recreating that period’s music. The duo alternates their vocals in Leave The Door Open where the lines are beautifully stretched out to groovy effect. Anderson brings his James Brown-style swag for the rapping in Fly As Me and the vocal interplay is even better here, with Anderson playing the perfect vocal counterpoint to Mars’. And Skate is perhaps the album’s best, perfectly reimagining a Motown roller-disco vibe!

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