Milliblog Weeklies, Week 203 – November 20, 2022

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 203: On Spotify | On YouTube
11 songs this week. All the songs are available on both YouTube and Spotify.

Yeh Ek Zindagi – Monica, O My Darling (Achint & Mikey McCleary) – Hindi: I am yet to watch the movie, and I gave the soundtrack another week to sink in, but despite 2 weeks, I’m unable to consider the music of the film as listenable music outside of the film. Now, I understand that this is a clever soundtrack specifically created to evoke the impression of another era in Hindi film music. The selection of singers, the sound, everything is carefully constructed towards that. And yet, they don’t sound like good standalone songs – perhaps that was the intent. This is not the case with other recent songs that have the same approach – evoke another period’s music. For instance, Ponniyin Selvan’s Alai Kadal. Or the 2 songs I wrote about in Weeklies 201 from SonyLIV’s Kaiyum KaLavum. Or even Qala’s Ghodey Pe Sawaar (see below). Those songs carefully try to bridge and mix the period sound with modern sensibilities. It’s quite possible that Achint and Vasan Bala did not want to do that; they perhaps wanted to consciously stay within the movie’s—and the period that they are attempting to evoke—world only without consciously caring about appealing outside that parameter. The result is this one song that worked for me – it sounds like it was constructed out of Don’s Kalyanji Anandji number ‘Yeh mera dil pyaar ka deewana’ with Anupama Chakraborty Shrivastava doing an obvious Asha Bhosle imitation.

Ghodey Pe Sawaar – Qala (Amit Trivedi) – Hindi: Unlike the music of Monica, O My Darling, Amit’s reworking of a different era in Hindi film music doesn’t try to obviously replicate already familiar stretches of melody. Instead, it seems to be using specific snatches of sounds to recreate the period for us, musically, while adding a new layer to appeal to present-day listeners. Sireesha Bhagavatula’s singing is fresh, adding to the song’s appeal.

Jehda Nasha – An Action Hero (Faridkot, Amar Jalal & Tanishk Bagchi) – Punjabi/Hindi: It almost feels like Tanishk’s brief for recreating Faridkot and Amar Jalal’s original was to ‘add enough oomph for Delhi’ites to dance to its during weddings and parties. And his work is absolutely brilliant in the way it enhances the original that had found a second round of fame when it was featured in an ad for Wild Stone deo in February 2022. Sri Lankan singer Yohani is the odd one out in the new version though!

Yaaro Yaaro – Pattathu Arasan (Ghibran) – Tamil: Ghibran’s sound in this song, surprisingly, seems to be going back to his earlier phase of music, like Naiyaandi, for instance. There is a multi-layered sound that I really miss in his newer work, so I was really happy to hear this song! In a way, this sounded like a riff of Naiyaandi’s Ae le le!

Oonjal Manam – Laththi (Yuvan Shankar Raja) – Tamil: This is a Yuvan template all the way – a deeply engaging melody dominating minimal music. Like Unaalathaan from Sindhubaadh, or Paiya’s En Kaadhal Solla, or even Kanda NaaL Mudhal’s Pani Thuli. There are quite a few, anyway. But this continues to work given the effort he puts into constructing the melody, and here it is carried impeccably by Shweta Mohan (and Ranjith Govind).

En Kanavil & Niramizhikal – 4 Years (Sankar Sharma) – Malayalam: En Kanavil seemed to be based on Hamir Kalyani raaga. Sankar’s steadily throbbing backgrounds make the raaga sound even more interesting. The singing is ver good too, by Arun Alat and Sony Mohan. The other song that worked for me, though to a lesser extent than En Kanavil, was Niramizhikal. But even in this song, Sankar brings in that energetic rhythm to add a new color to the song and to Gokul Gopakumar’s singing.

Padarvalli & Kunjeente Amba – Padavettu (Govind Vasantha) – Malayalam: Govind’s music in this film largely resides in the 96 universe and it comes to the fore more obviously in Kunjeente Amba. Even though Anusree’s voice and singing is markedly different from anything heard in 96, the backgrounds and the flute have a strong 96 influence. Padarvalli is a beautiful melody held together by Shahabaz Aman’s (and Bhavana) fantastic singing.