Milliblog Weeklies, Week 235 – January 7, 2024

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 235: YouTube | Spotify

Back to the grind – another year, another Weeklies playlist! Considering the last Weeklies was on November 26th and there were very few songs all through December (not worth making a half-decent playlist of about 8-10 odd songs), there was some backlog from late November and December 2023. I did consider most of them while making my 2023 annual round-up barring ones that came after mid-December. In this Weeklies, all the songs are available on YouTube, while the Spotify playlist is missing one song – the Malayalam song, Thozhilurapp, from Kundannoorile Kulsitha Lahala.

Nazar Teri Toofan – Merry Christmas (Pritam) – Hindi: It’s good to see Pritam going back to his Jagga Jaasoos/Barfi form. Nazar Teri Toofan, thanks to the music, and the lyrics by Varun Grover, is absolutely gorgeous. A generous part of that is Papon’s stupendous singing – the texture in his voice is mighty unique and that lifts the melody significantly. The orchestral flourish towards the end felt more like director Sriram Raghavan than Pritam, though 🙂

Ishq Jaisa Kuch – Fighter (Vishal-Sheykhar) – Hindi: The first song from the film, Sher Khul Gaye, was a massive let-down. It felt like the click-bait equivalent of a Hindi film song – it had everything going for it, and just had one thing left to do: to land the hook. And that was such a terrible landing (no relation to the fighter jets in the film). Thankfully, Ishq Jaisa Kuch gets its moorings right. Effortlessly catchy and groovy, very well sung (by Vishal and Shilpa Rao, mainly).

I Wanna See You Dance – Kho Gaye Hum Kahan (Sachin-Jigar) – Hindi: Even as the composing duo get the 80s funk vibe perfectly right, with a superb bass, it is Saba Azad’s vocals that truly power this catchy song. She adds generous dollops of faux-oomph that elevates the song wonderfully.

Yaarum Kaanadha – Fight Club (Govind Vasantha) – Tamil: That typical Govind Vasantha template – the kind where you can guess the composer’s name as the song starts 🙂 But even here, he adds some stupendous flourishes that made me realize how imaginative his tunes are. Like that ‘Paadhai, inimel theeradhey’ followed by ‘Kaadhal… perdunthuNai ena varuthey’ lift in the melody! This felt like a Pradeep Kumar song, but Kapil Kapilan does a fantastic job, and so does Keerthana Vaidyanaathan!

Kaakarattan – Coke Studio Tamil (GV Prakash Kumar, ft. Rajalakshmi, Vidya Vox) – Tamil/Indipop: Thankfully, unlike last year’s Coke Studio Tamil template where one of the 2 stars was used as a glorified filler, this year’s first song starts on a great note with Kaakarattan! GV Prakash’s tune harks back to his Veyil form and has a lovely lilt, aided by the ‘Aisa’ callout. The split between Rajalakshmi and Vidya Vox is very neat, with the former opening the song and the latter closing it.

Lovendra Cassandra – Marshall Robinson (Marshall Robinson) – Tamil/Indipop: Marshall Robinson’s melody felt a bit like Sean Roldan’s but the composition gets considerably more original and interesting as it progresses! The tune felt like Darbari Kanada raaga to me, and it was good to see Marshall retain that quasi-carnatic flavor all through the song, wonderfully aided by the singers, Sathyaprakash and Shilvi Sharon.

Challa Gali – Prabuthwa Junior Kalashala (Karthik Rodriguez) – Telugu: This is one of those rare recent songs that consciously amps down the pace to a monumental degree! In a way, this is the extreme opposite of the first song from the film – the hyper-ebullient Dudum Dukkudum, sung by Mangli (who else, for a song like that, these days!). It was nice in a generic way, but Challa Gali has an ace as well – for a song that is sung so slowly and expressively, Chinmayi is a brilliant choice! Along with Chaitu Satsangi, who does a great job too), the vocals work the effect of slow cooking, letting the calm melody seep in deeply!

Odiyamma – Hi Nanna (Hesham Abdul Wahab) – Telugu: Two songs from Hi Nanna were already in my 2023 top 15 Telugu songs, and while I wouldn’t place this song in that list of (only 15 songs; this was in the long list), this is a great listen nonetheless. That Hesham got Dhruv Vikram to sing the song was a pleasant surprise, even as he did a terrific job, along with Chinmayi and Shruti Haasan.

Kutty Kudiye – Premalu (Vishnu Vijay) – Malayalam: Sanjith Hegde’s Malayalm debut? The man seems to be everywhere these days, deservedly so! Vishnu Vijay, coming off an excellent 2023, does pretty well again! This is almost a language-agnostic catchy tune that starts sounding like a standard-issue T-series/Guru Randhawa song but Vishnu interjects with his song soon enough to shift the focus 🙂

Mele Vaanam – Palayam PC (Sadique Pandallur) – Malayalam: A pleasant throwback to a different era of tunes – waltzy and dreamy. Besides the tune, it is Shahabaz Aman’s (Sruthy Sivadas) singing that stands out in the song. Much like Papon in the Merry Christmas song above, Shahabaz’s vocal texture does much of the heavy lifting in this song.

Ko Ko – Arun Muraleedharan (Malayalam/Indipop): Much like Sanjith, Kapil Kapilan seems to be everywhere too, once again, deservedly so, given his fantastic range! Arun’s composition is easy on the ear, with some nifty musical flourishes along the ‘Oh peNNe’ hook.

Thozhilurapp – Kundannoorile Kulsitha Lahala (Melvin Michael) – Malayalam: A banger from Melvin Michael, led by Vaikom Vijayalakshmi’s lively vocals! The nadaswaram-thavil(‘ish) sound that opens the song soon makes way for a banging techno sound and the shift is very smooth!

Usire – Sapta Sagaradaache Ello-Side B (Charan Raj) – Kannada: Musically, Usire felt like the soul-twin of the title song of Sapta Sagaradaache Ello (Side A; which was part of the top 15 Kannada songs of 2023). Even as that was sung by Kapil Kapilan and this one by Sanjith Hegde, the synth-based sound seemed connected at the hip, though demarcated by the feelings they evoke – the former was optimistic, while this one feels utterly desolate! But Sanjith’s voice infuses the feeling beautifully as much as Charan’s expressive music.