Milliblog Weeklies, Week 244 – April 7, 2024

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 244: YouTube | Spotify

15 songs this week. Two songs from the Telugu soundtrack, Om Bheem Bush are inside a YouTube jukebox and are available as singles only via YouTube Music/Premium. So, they are not part of the YouTube playlist but are present in the Spotify playlist.

Ranga Ranga – Maidaan (A R Rahman) – Hindi/Telugu: Rahman seems to be having a really good time with this film’s soundtrack! After the first 2 songs, this one stands out too, with its vibrant, pulsating tune that Vaishali Samant handles brilliantly. But what makes the song more than just catchy is the whiff of some other older songs that seem to creep in, either intentionally or unintentionally! There is Shankar-Jaikishan’s Shree 420 classic Ramaiya Vastavaiya, for starters. Then the music that starts just after Vaishali finishes her opening prelude took me to Ilayaraja’s cult classic from Nayakan, ‘Nila Adhu Vaanathumele’! I’m sure there’s more that you can dig in.

Tu Hai Kahaan – Do Aur Do Pyaar (The Local Train) – Hindi: After the first single by Lost Stories, and now the next one by The Local Train, the film’s musical approach almost seems like something picked up from the Bejoy Nambiar school of film soundtracks! This song works effortlessly, thanks to Lucky Ali’s singing, and the soft melody hinting at many of Lucky’s earlier songs for added nostalgic effect.

Aanjee Aanjee – Uyir Thamizhukku (Vidyasagar) – Tamil: There was a period in Tamil cinema in the early 2000s when Vidyasagar was the composer with the golden touch. This song easily fits that period… just that it comes in 2024. The jaunty, note-worthy rhythm is the man’s trademark.

Sollu – Vivek-Mervin, ft. Nithyashree (Tamil/Indipop): Vivek-Mervin’s dependably catchy tune-making strikes again. The hook (Sollu) lands smoothly at the one-minute mark after a gorgeous build-up, and the thavil-nadaswaram (Krishna Kishor and Bala, respectively) combo rocks the backgrounds. Nithyashree’s singing holds the melody better than Vivek’s functional singing, particularly in the middle of the song where the composing duo opt for a surprisingly minimal-music phase led only by the thavil and Nithyashree’s vocals!

OCB – Shiv Paul, ft. Paal Dabba (Tamil/Indipop): While I’m generally not a fan of rap as a musical style, this one transcencds that preference by being a much more accessible sound, akin to what Rahman did with ‘Petta Rap’ in Kaadhalan. Right from the Hindi + nonsense lyrics prelude, Paal Dabba’s rapid-fire singing has captivating underlying melody. And when the music kicks in timed with the OCB hook, things get even more interesting!

Ennammaa – Pon Ondru Kanden (Yuvan Shankar Raja) – Tamil: I’d add this song to the very long list of songs that Yuvan composes and should have handed it over to some other singer instead of opting to sing it himself. It’s a bewitching tune but one that deserved a more proficient singer who doesn’t sing it in the fangled way Yuvan does.

Thaalajaalane, Anuvanuvuu, The Wedding Song, Oka Kalalaa – Om Bheem Bush (Sunny M. R.) – Telugu: A 11-song film soundtrack is a rarity these days in any Indian language, and if you include the Malayalam versions (owing to a Kerala ghost in the film, much like how a Tamil ghost led to Tamil songs in Manichitrathazhu or how a Telugu ghost led to ‘Ra Ra’ in Manichitrathazhu’s Tamil remake, Chandramukhi) of the 3 songs in this film, the total goes up to 14! While Sunny’s music is overall listenable, I found only four going beyond just listenable. Thaalajaalane (and its Malayalam version, Thaaraveedhiyil) stick to the slightly retro’ish template that such genre of songs demand (of a song denoting/referring to a ghost from another era). Harjot Kaur’s singing lifts the tunes adequately. Sunny ropes in Arijit Singh for Anuvanuvuu, and the already Pritam’ish tune gets a lovely jolt. Similarly, Kapil Kapilan rocks The Wedding Song, particularly when the tune picks up pace and just before the raucous vocal chorus kicks in leading to Hamsadhwani-styled violin interlude. Oka Kalalaa, sung by Sunny himself, could easily be mistaken for a song from any recent Pritam soundtrack. But considering Sunny’s body of work with Pritam, this is expected. It sounds fantastic though, with the profusion of music doing its best to mask Sunny’s fairly poor singing at places.

Hey Padha!, Zindagi – Jayamundhi Bhayamela Manasaa (Kalyan Nayak) – Telugu: After ‘Nammalani Undi’ from this film (that I had included in my March 3rd Weeklies), the full soundtrack is out, and the composer doesn’t disappoint, generally. Two more songs that stood out for me: Hey Padha! has catchy ending to its Pallavi and along with the vocal interludes and spritely music, it is adequately listenable; Zindagi is overall pretty zany, but that techno-Irish music that kicks in at the one-minute mark spikes the song pretty well! Both songs sounded a lot like how I think of Vivek Sagar’s music, but I’d keep a lookout for Kalyan’s films in the future.

Illuminati – Aavesham (Sushin Shyam) – Malayalam: Sushin produces a rip-roaring dance track that Dabzee delivers with superb verve. When the ‘Illuminati’ hook arrives, it is impossible not to sway with the captivating vibe. However, after a few listens and getting a nagging feeling that the hook sounded familiar, I traced it back to Hassan Jahangir’s legendary ‘Hawa Hawa’, particularly the lines, ‘Yaar mila de… dildaar mila de’ 🙂

Pirakilaro – Pavi Caretaker (Midhun Mukundan) – Malayalam: Midhun’s melody is tantalizingly good, and Kapil Kapilan’s singing accentuates it wonderfully. The music’s direction almost seems like a counterpoint to the main melody and that contrast works really well.

Talent – Ninja (Punjabi/Indipop): While Ninja’s high-pitched, spirited singing is standard-issue Punjabi style, there’s something curiously interesting happening in the background, courtesy Deep Jandu’s music! The harmonious rhythm seems a bit more eager than usual to call attention to itself over and above the voice! Not just that – at the one-minute mark there’s even what sounded to me like Nadaswaram playing as an interlude, that too, notes that sounded very ‘South Indian’! That’s a surprising fusion!