Milliblog Weeklies, Week 238 – February 4, 2024

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 238: YouTube | Spotify

14 songs this week and all the songs are available on both YouTube and Spotify. There are just 3 film songs out of the 14 and the sheer range of non-film music in this week’s playlist is astounding!

Title song – Teri Baaton Mein Aisa Uljha Jiya (Raghav & Tanishk Bagchi) – Hindi: Tanishk spruces up Canadian-Indian singer Raghav’s 20-year-old song from his debut album ‘Storyteller’ (2004) and concocts a spritely new version, in his signature style. It’s good that they got Raghav to sing the new version considering the very movie is named after the song! What is particularly interesting is that Raghav’s debut album contained a Hindi song, ‘Teri Baaton’, and also the English version of the song, ‘Angel Eyes’ which was considerably more popular. But Tanishk doesn’t seem to have used any cues from the remix, particularly the ‘Oooh oooh Angel Eyes’ phrase!

Ankaha – Main Atal Hoon (Salim Sulaiman) – Hindi: This is the kind of song that makes me wonder where Salim-Sulaiman are in terms of mainstream Hindi film music (I do know they are doing a lot of independent music, beyond films)! The tune is a lovely throwback to a more melodious time, and even the instrumentation is so very intricate and apt! The singing is, of course, the true winner – both Shreya Ghoshal and Armaan Malik are outstanding!

Gulaabo – Sanjith Hegde (Hindi/Indipop): After the Coke Studio song, Geejaga Hakki, and Baadal, last year, Sanjith is back with his own composition again. This time, he works again with Charan Raj as the producer, like the Coke Studio number. Between the 3 songs, Sanjith shows terrific range – if the Coke Studio song was a folk-pop mix, Baadal was a semi-classical pop mix, while Gulaabo is excellent, instantly catchy R&B with expectedly fantastic singing by Sanjith. I see Dhruv Vishwanath as one of the backing vocalists and given my liking for Dhruv’s music, that adds to the song’s appeal.

Hold On – Sunny M.R, ft. Dhvani Bhanushali (Hindi/Indipop): I wish Sunny M.R composed more often than he assisted Pritam, particularly considering his fantastic repertoire in Telugu film music. His tune here is easy on the ear, with a frenetic sitar phrase. Dhvani’s voice seems to have matured and she handles the song’s nuances too pretty well.

Janaabe Jaaniya – Gulraj Singh, Javed Ali (Hindi/Indipop): Gulraj Singh produced an excellent album in Marathi last year and it is great to hear his new tune has the high standard I associate with his music intact! There is a Middle-Eastern twang to the song given the instruments used but the tune remains free of any specific genre and is a lush melody topped with the soaring Janaabe Jaaniya hook. Javed Ali does a great job, particularly in the ‘Tu meri duniya’ closure!

Jaagan Jaago – Hriday Gattani (Hindi/Indipop): What a surprise! This is an almost-Rahman’ish song in terms of the range of sounds and variations within the song! Hriday starts the song on a serene note and builds the layers gradually, peaking at the ‘Sehre Saaz Mein Sargam’ line before moving to what feels like the antara. The ghatam in the background is quite reminiscent of Rahman’s style.

Netru Varai – Siren (G.V. Prakash Kumar) – Tamil: A pleasant melody that has Sid Sriram singing in a far lower pitch than we have usually heard him (and expect him to). That alone makes a big difference to the tune’s likeability since he does a great job, aided by the composer’s calm background score that adds to the charm.

Please Purinjukko – Coke Studio Tamil (Sean Roldan, ft. Aditi Rao Hydari) – Tamil/Indipop: A song where the two singers cannot be more different – Sean, as I always feel, has a voice that reminds me of someone with acute constipation, while Aditi’s voice sounds like dipped in honey! Incidentally, honey is a mild laxative and is supposedly good for constipation 🙂 But what Sean lacks in voice, he more than makes up with the quality of singing and composition – his musical sense is impeccable, and I have come to like his voice more because of that. In this song, what starts off like an ultra-modern version of a classic Thyagaraja Bhagavathar melody (“Pakkathil IruppavaLe, Paathiyil Povadhenna”) beautifully segues into the “KaN Thorakkum Neram” and eventually the incredibly catchy “Please Purinjukko” hook!

Orumaiyudan, Ithu Nalla TharuNam, Arutperum Jothi, VeNNila – Anbenum Peruveli (Sean Roldan, ft. Sanjay Subrahmanyan) – Tamil/Indipop: The entire project—setting modern music to Ramalinga AdigaLaar’s (known as VaLLalaar) timeless verse—is an astounding idea! And Sean Roldan does a stupendous job of bringing his eclectic music sense to infuse music into these pre-written ‘lyrics’, which must be, no doubt, a tough ask! But the imagination he puts into the compositions flow beautifully and presents a dramatically new dimension to verse that I have heard via compositions that felt at best functional or simply read previously. For instance, that extended ‘Vendum Vendum’ phrase fits perfectly in the overall structure of the song. Or the rap-like phrase for ‘Podhunalla Natamvalla PuNNiyare KeLum’ and ‘Madhitha Samaya Madhavazhakkellaam Maaiynthadhu’ in Ithu Nalla TharuNam under a jazz-infused package! Elsewhere, in Arutperum Jothi, I did notice considerable deviations from the actual verse (3652, Aaraam Thirumurai in Thiruvarutpa), and I presume this is done under what would be called ‘poetic licence’. Musically, it sounds phenomenal, though, in Sanjay’s booming vocals! Sean’s musical sensibility is at its best in VeNNila, with a captivating melody modeled on 60s Tamil film music (and sounds mildly like Rahman’s VeNNila VeNNila from Iruvar at least the way it begins)! There is quite a bit of verse-jumble here too (from Irandaam Thirumurai), but the musical effect is top-notch!

It Is What It Is (Madhaniya), Always & Forever (Naal Ve) – Jonita (Punjabi/Indipop): Jonita’s new EP has 4 songs including the collaboration with Ali Sethi, Love Like That, that was released first. Her compositions demonstrate a solid command over music, no doubt absorbed from the many, many composers she has sung for. Madhaniya’s ballad-style tune is gorgeous, more so with the Punjabi verse. Naal Ve is a nice global Punjabi pop with a captivating rhythm powering it. The tunes offer an adequate range for Jonita to showcase her impressive singing.