Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 107: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
10 songs this week. 9 each in YouTube and JioSaavn, but not the same 9 πŸ™‚ YouTube is missing the song from Shivaji Surthkal, while JioSaavn is missing the song from Varane Avashyamund.

Bhankas – Baaghi 3 (Bappi Lahiri and Tanishk Bagchi) – Hindi: Tanishk does what he does best and what is expected of him these days – recreate yet another song from another era and makes people go that song’s video and comment under it, ‘Who is here after Baaghi 3?’. As usual, he also cranks up the shoosha significantly to outdo the original’s spunk. It’s all solid fun and immensely catchy.

Tum Na Ho – M Ajay Vaas, Ft. Arjun Kanungo and Prakriti Kakar (Hindi/Indipop): Ajay’s tune is what made this song for me, more than the star singers and the fancy music video. Of course, Arjun and Prakriti do their job darn well, but the main tune and the music elevates this song pretty well.

Cycle Gap – Shakthisree Gopalan (Tamil/Indipop): Written, composed and sung by Shakthisree herself, this is a simple and cute song for Valentine’s Day 2020. The lyrics are pedestrian including using a dialog from Alai Paayuthey and Pepsi’s ad slogan, but it’s all good, harmless fun within the theme of the song. What is truly interesting is that it allows for the feminine expression of being in love, without showing the object of affection (which is usually the case in film songs’ equivalents). And the music video could easily be confused as a Lenskart advertisement with Shakthisree as their brand ambassador.

Neela Vaan (Lovers’ Lullaby) – Staccato (Tamil/Indipop): Wonderfully serene music to look back with fondness and nostalgia, and wanting to go back to that time. Lines like ‘Naam tholaitha naangu vasantham meetteduppoma’, expressively sung by Gowtham Bharadwaj and Niranjana Ramanan make this pleasant melody thoroughly enjoyable.

Jaalame & Mathayichan – Trance (Jackson Vijayan) – Malayalam: Jaalame builds very impressively on top of a hymnal/religious prayer like sound. The choir (Asima Ensemble Malayalam Men Choir Group) in the song is expansively utilized and the music has a haunting quality too. Mathayichan is a punchy rap led by Blaaze and Soubin Shahir. The repetitive sounds and the occasional dialogs in between keep it interesting.

Muthunne Kannukalil – Varane Avashyamund (Alphons Joseph) – Malayalam: Alphons continues with the semi-classical sound he so astutely used in Nee Vaa En Aarumukha, in this song. The singers, Swetha Mohan and Swetha Somasundaran, truly bring out the joyous outburst of an emotion in the song.

Smaranakal Kaadayi – Bhoomiyile Manohara Swakaryam (Sachin Balu) – Malayalam: This is a warm throwback to a different era of Malayalam film music. There’s also an Ilayaraja’esque touch in the interludes and the anupallavi. Wonderfully sung by Shabazz Amman and Sithara Krishnakumar; particularly Shabazz in the anupallavi as it turns into a gorgeous ghazal-like sound.

Aparichita – Shivaji Surathkal: The Case Of Ranagiri Rahasya (Judah Sandhy) – Kannada: A short 4-song soundtrack from Judah, mainly at the service of the film, from the sound of it. The one song that did stand out for me is this, sung beautifully by Shreya Sundar Iyer. Judah’s melody is low-key and very mellifluous, with a mild retro-touch.

Best Friend – Shan Vincent de Paul & Yanchan (Rap) – Yanchan’s mridangam mix doesn’t play up at all in this song, but this one also samples A.R.Rahman’s Mustafa Mustafa to an alluring effect. The whole song is built on that sample and Shan’s rap is layered into it really well.

If you’d like to sample the real mridangam rap mix, here’s a track!

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 106: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
Fully loaded musical week! 21 songs this week. JioSaavn has 19 songs and is missing Varane Avashyamund’s single (which has been released only via Dulquer’s own YouTube channel) and the theme song from Kannada film Dia (Soul of Dia). The latter is a particularly fantastic song that deserves to be up on more streaming platforms. YouTube has 20 songs and is missing only Chhavi Sodhani’s Banne Re (a JioSaavn Artists Original that may get a music video soon).

Rahogi Meri, Aur Tanha, Yeh Dooriyan, Shayad (Reprise), Parmeshwara, Dhak Dhak & Haan Tum Ho – Love Aaj Kal (Pritam) – Hindi: Pritam had already produced a masterpiece of a soundtrack for the earlier film with the title. That he produces a monster of a soundtrack for another film with the same title, for the same director, speaks volumes about the composer’s evolution and imagination! I have already written about the earlier 3 songs – Shayad, Haan Main Galat and Mehrama. There are 8 more songs and together, this is one heck of a soundtrack, on the lines of Pritam’s Jab Harry Met Sejal!

Rahogi Meri puts Pritam in Coldplay territory once again, and in Arijit’s searing vocals, this is an effortless winner. Aur Tanha has KK and need I say anything more? This one goes back to Pritam’s rock-band days of Life in a Metro, with a smattering of African-style chorus in the background! Yeh Dooriyan’s sweet tune is accentuated significantly by MOhit Chauhan dependable singing, while Haan Tum Ho is the only song that seems to be overdoing the whiny sound. But then, it gets Shilpa Rao to join Arijit Singh and that redeems the sound almost immediately.

The 2 songs that do not fit into the rest of the soundtrack’s sound (along with Haan Main Galat) are Parmeshwara and Dhak Dhak. Both are absolutely enjoyable, though. Parmeshwara is a rap-style ode to Lord Shiva led by Raftaar, with a hilarious hymn-style phrase! Dhak Dhak is the oddest one out in the soundtrack, with a Calypso/Carribean touch! As Nikita Gandhi and Akasa go Dhak Dhak, the song picks up pace and becomes a head-shaking indulgence!

Arey Pyaar Kar Le – Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan (Bappi Lahiri/Tanishk Bagchi) – Hindi: Tanishk Bagchi adds a phenomenal spunk to the already super funky Disco classic by Bappi Lahiri and the result is one massive floor-banger. The original was alluding to yaar in the opposite sex while the recreation upends that notion in service of the film’s theme, much like how people started seeing new meaning into George Michael’s earlier songs after he announced that he was gay. Full marks to a A-list star like Ayushmann Khurrana for headlining and carrying this evolution!

Channa Ve – Bhoot – Part One: The Haunted Ship (Akhil Sachdeva) – Hindi: Akhil, Nasha band’s vocalist made his Bollywood composing debut with Humsafar from Badrinath Ki Dulhania. That was strictly functional, but he does far, far better here, both in terms of the tune and the singing, where he is joined by Mansheel Gujral. In fact, it’s their singing and the energetic background sound that keeps the song steadily likeable.

Firse Machayenge – Emiway Bantai/Tony James (Hindi): Pulsating rap with hilarious lyrics that are apt for Valentine’s Day πŸ™‚ Tony James’ music traverses through the usual repetitive framing of sounds and phrases, but that goes well with Emiway’s edgy rap style.

Banna Re – Chhavi Sodhani (Indipop/Hindi): Composed by Chhavi Sodhani, and sung by Chhavi and Bawa Sahni, this one’s a catchy song with a Rajasthani tinge. The composition reminded me of Sachin-Jigar’s musical style, as also Maatibaani’s music. That’s definitely a complement!

Aasai Thathumbucha – Justin Prabhakaran (Indipop/Tamil): A surprise non-film single from Justin, for Valentine’s Day 2020, directed by Nelson Venkatesan of Oru Naal Koothu fame. Justin keeps the tune low-key and tantalizingly low-key, with wailing violins for company. Teejay Arunasalam, the lead singer and star in the video, holds the brief rather well in terms of the vocals.

Kadhal Kozhappudhey – Oh My Kadavule (Leon James) – Tamil: What started an average soundtrack gets a fantastic closure with the 3rd good song by Leon James. Leon ropes in rocker Sanjeev Thomas (who himself has been doing incredibly well in Malayalam film music with soundtracks like Manoharam) for punchy rock number on the lines of The Doors.

Veyyon Silli – Soorarai Pottru (G.V.Prakash Kumar) – Tamil: GVP gets many things perfectly right in the song. His own captivating tune and the jaunty rhythms is one. Vivek’s lyrics, full of interesting wordplay is another. The best part is the choice of Agam’s lead singer, Harish Sivaramakrishnan. Harish is stunningly good in his rendition of this high-pitched melody.

Kutti Story – Master (Anirudh) – Tamil/English: Anirudh returns to his Kolaveri template, in an obvious nod to that global chartbuster. Just like that song, there is a generous sprinkling of Tanglish mix, and has the lead actor singing it too. And cheekily, it uses a dialog that Vijay Sethupathi is known for (from Vikram Vedhaa) as the opening for a Vijay song, though both are featured in the film. It’s all very, very catchy and enjoyable. A special mention for the music video animation by Realworks Studios, Coimbatore.

Raletti – World Famous Lover (Gopi Sundar) – Telugu: A very, very charming tune that, sung beautifully by Divya S Menon. If only the tune and sound didn’t sound so similar to Manikanth Kadri’s 2018 Kannada song, Shaakuntle Sikkalu from the film, Naduve Antaravirali.

Mathi Kanna Ullathu Chollan (Unnikrishnan Song) – Varane Avashyamund (Alphons Joseph) – Malayalam: A solid ‘fun’ song πŸ™‚ The tune’s tone shifts often, including a rap portion and a joyous outburst. But Alphons keeps all tightly knit within his grasp, in a thoroughly enjoyable package! The video is a lovely watch too!

Vazhkaiyin Payanam – Sunadhshankar (Indipop/Malayalam): Even though it takes almost 2 minutes in the music video to get to the song (with the lengthy dialog prelude even alluding to the lead actress as ‘Gautham Menon film heroine’), it does pay off! Sunadhshankar has a really involving tune with a strong Middle Eastern undercurrent. The interlude sounds and instruments are pretty inventive, and San Jaimt’s rap too works very well in the flow. Singer Harisankar KS spectacularly holds everything together.

Soul of Dia (Theme Song) – Dia (Ajaneesh Loknath) – Kannada: Oh boy, what a mesmerizing melody! Ajaneesh hits it out of the park with a brilliantly lush melody and layering it inside that lilting rhythm! And then the singers – Ajaneesh gets Chinmayi and Sanjith Hegde for the duet and that choice works absolute wonders!!

Joru Joraagi – Thurthu Nirgamana (Dossmode) – Kannada: I wasn’t that impressed with the film’s first single, Somberi (The Lazy Song). But Dheerendra Doss a.k.a Dossmode gets this one right. IN what sounds almost like a companion piece to Justin’s Aasai Thathumbucha, tune-wise, this one is warm and serene, getting the best out of Suneel Rao and Varijashree Venugopal’s singing.

Whispering Hues – Varun Sunil, ft. Rajhesh Vaidhya (Indipop/Instrumental): Even as Masala Coffee’s lead vocalist Sooraj Santhosh has gone in his own way, here’s the band’s other vocalist going solo while remaining in the band! Varun’s composition is largely instrumental barring Malavika Rajhesh’s background humming. The star of the song is obviously Rajhesh Vaidya and his magical veena! The overall sound Varun puts together is ambient and very new-age, and the veena brings a fantastic Indian angle to it.

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 105: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
12 songs this week. JioSaavn has all the songs, while YouTube is missing just one (since it is inside a jukebox – embedded below) – Marali Manasaagide, from the Kannada film Gentleman.

Mehrama – Love Aaj Kal (Pritam) – Hindi: Pritam is on his way producing an encore for the film of the same title, a decade later. In Darshan Raval and Antara Mitra’s highly expressive vocals, his music booms through the sedate melody with an extra punch in the background rhythm.

Rab Raakha – The Yellow Diary (Indipop/Punjabi): The Yellow Diary had a prolific run in 2018, with both Marz and Izafa, two 3-song albums. They are back after drawing a blank in 2019, but the form is intact. Rajan Batra, the lead vocalist, continues to remind me of Rekha Bhardwaj (male version of Rekha Bhardwaj, that is), and that is a mighty engaging vocal style! The band’s tune continues to be thoroughly interesting.

Mar Jaayein Hum, Ghar Bhara Sa Lage & Shukrana Gul Khile – Shikara (Sandesh Shandilya & Abhay Rustom Sopori) – Hindi: Sandesh Shandilya can always be trusted to produce an elegant soundtrack and with his long-time collaborator, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, all the more so. Mar Jaayein Hum is the soundtrack’s best, literally flowing oh-so-beautifully t the sound of water! Papon and Shradha Mishra are absolutely fantastic! Papon and Shreya Ghoshal handle Irshad Kamil’s lived-in experiences in the lines of Ghar Bhara Sa Lage, with the tune harking back to an older period in time. Santoor exponent Abhay Rustum Sopori’s Shukrana Gul Khile is all-Kashmir… the sound we associate most with Kashmir, with a haunting, foot-tapping Central-Asian sound.

Sila Naal – Titanic (Nivas K Prasanna) – Tamil: Yaazhini, from the film was first released as a short promo in 2018, and then the full song was released in 2019! In between, another song was released as Promo song, Kaalamum Kettu Pochu, in 2018! At last, it looks like the film is actually being released, given that the full soundtrack is now out. If you go past the lovely Yaazhini (about which I wrote in February 2019 http://bit.ly/FEB03-2019), and the corny faux-Carnatic music’ness of Kaalamum, the only other song that stands out is Sila Naal, that rides heavily on Abhay Jodhpurkar’s extraordinary singing. The tune reminded me of A.R.Rahman’s music for K.Balanchander in Paarthaale Paravasam… not any single song, but the overall ethos of that soundtrack.

Gaandu Kannamma – Vivek-Mervin (IndiPop/Tamil): Let me begin with clearing the fact that the first word in the title is not the abuse in Hindi, but in Tamil (!), which means ‘getting annoyed/angry’. Having said that, this is a gently lilting and catchy song, even as the duo is known for far more energetic numbers. But this one’s good too, in a different way – I’m glad that they are exploring music beyond films!

Hey Konjum Maaya – Oththaikku Oththa (Justin Prabhakaran) – Tamil: The first single from the film was an unabashed throwback to another era, almost as if the song leapt out from R.Parthiban’s Sarigamapadani. Thankfully, Justin does far better in the 2nd single! The slow Latino dance sound works very well for Nikhita Gandhi and Gowtham Bharadwaj’s singing.

Nee Parichayamutho & Venakane Unna – Choosi Choodangaane (Gopi Sundar) – Telugu: Even as Gopi is recycling his Malayalam material successfully in World Famous Lover, he comes up with a gem of a little soundtrack for Choosi Choodangaane. Probably owing to Madhura Audio’s relatively poorer distribution, I stumbled on it only when someone pointed it out and I found that some singles have been available since late last year! Sid Sriram-led Nee Parichayamutho is a delightful listen even if it is so, so Gopi’ish, with very familiar sounds from his repertoire. Venakane Unna too has many shades of Gopi’s standard sound, particularly in the anupallavi, but it is a gorgeous tune made even better by Chinmayi’s singing. There’s a lot of vocalizing in both interludes (the 2nd one, featuring thavil is particularly lovely) that I feel is by Gopi himself, going by the voice.

Marali Manasaagide – Gentleman (Ajaneesh Loknath) – Kannada: Ajaneesh’s use of the rhythm easily makes this song hugely interesting! The beats are wonderfully inventive, and they delightfully change track in the anupallavi, before getting back to the original one. To some extent, Sanjith Hegde and C.R.Bobby take a backseat in front of such a flashy use of the beats!

No Shame – 5 Seconds of Summer: A new single (the 3rd) from the band’s upcoming album, CALM. The video sees lead vocalist Luke Hemmings fake his own death… and other things people do for the sake of social media posturing! The sound, with a steady thumping, is a catchy affair.

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 104: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
19 songs this week. YouTube has all the songs, while JioSaavn is missing 3 songs – Vellai Yaanai’s Aara Thedum, Bheeshma’s Whattey Beauty and Ayyappanum Koshiyum’s Kalakkatha.

Haan Main Galat – Love Aaj Kal (Pritam) – Hindi: Hemant Kumar’s sapera-been interlude from Nagin (part of Man Dole) takes on another life, after being used in the 2009 Love Aaj Kal. Pritam adds extra zing in the tune and it works effortlessly once more!

Maragadha Maalai – Takkar (Nivas K Prasanna) – Tamil: Unlike last week’s single from the film, Nivas gets his singers incredibly right in this one – composer Pradeep Kumar (who gets credited as Pradeep Vijay, for some reason!) and Chinmayi. And Nivas employs a mighty racy background rhythm for an otherwise melodious tune. That contrast works really well, as also the completely unusual structure of the tune and Navin Iyer’s flute. And then there’s Vijay Yesudas too, in the song. It always confounds me when a 3rd voice appears in what is otherwise supposedly a duet and a film that has only one male star. I wonder if there’s another male actor in the film who may get this other voice, or both voices may be used in the same song for Siddharth!

Aara Thedum – Vellai Yaanai (Santhosh Narayanan) – Tamil: After last week’s Vennila from the same film, Santhosh impresses again, with Aara Thedum. The sound, once again, is minimal and evoking a different period in time. Santhosh takes on the singing duty himself and the sparse, haunting melody suits his vocal style pretty well. Rajumurugan’s lyric deserve a special mention.

Ennada Life Idhu – Oh My Kadavule (Leon James) – Tamil: I was looking for more spark from the film after Kadhaippoma, and thankfully Leon delivers again. The song is a cool and funky, and in Santhosh Narayanan’s singing, it sounds very catchy!

Yedho Maayam – Dagaalty (Vijaynarain) – Tamil: A very Santhosh Narayanan’ish song from Vijay, or it’s perhaps Dhee’s voice and singing that brings that familiarity. Lovely tune, though, with a surprising Begada-raaga based interlude (a mentioned by the composer on Twitter).

Whattey Beauty – Bheeshma (Mahati Swara Sagar) – Telugu: Mani Sharma’s son has been trying his hand in music and has done some decent-enough work too (like Jadoogadu). But I have a feeling he may hit the big time after this song/film. This song is almost like a rite-of-passage – the quintessential Telugu masala song, and delivered so darn well! Even the voices, Dhanunjay and Amala Chebolu, seem very fresh.

Oohale, The Life of Ram, Naa Kale Kalai and Inthena – Jaanu (Govind Vasantha) – Telugu: Oohale is the Kaadhale equivalent, retaining the soul and essence of the original. And a Hindi/Hindustani ‘Piya Mora Baalam Mora’ twist to what was essentially Tamil in 96! But oddly, this song is not even featured in the official soundtrack/jukebox? Something to do with the copyrights between Think Music and Aditya Music, I presume, since Oohale was released by Think Music, and the 4-song jukebox is on Aditya.

And as if on cue, the jukebox has a completely new set of 4 songs, with only minor traces of the Tamil soundtrack. Life of Ram, once again, is Pradeep Kumar’s show, but Govind closes the song with the Tamil’s memorable ‘Thaane’ hook! Naa Kale Kalai and Inthena, sung by Brinda and Chinmayi, respectively, are perhaps the equivalents of Yean and Vasantha Kaalangal. That brings us to the missing equivalents of Iravingu Theevaai and Thaabangale. But, even if you do not do the comparison (which is rather difficult given the iconic status of the original), the Telugu soundtrack does stand up on its own, impressively.

Neeli Neeli Aakasam – 30 Rojullo Preminchadam Ela (Anup Rubens) – Telugu: It’s a simple enough tune, and the backgrounds too are extremely familiar and simple. This is all Anup’s signature style, of course, but he also does something mildly unusual by roping in Sid Sriram for the male vocals. That makes a big difference, layering Sid’s unique tone on Anup’s template – it works because this is the first time it is being tried.

Theera Kadha, Bang Bang & Ud Chala – Gauthamante Radham (Ankit Menon) – Malayalam: Much like Santhosh Narayanan and Vellai Yaanai, Ankit Menon had Uyire last week from Gauthamante Radham and has Theera Kadha this week. And much like the Tamil song, here too, the composer sings it himself. Preetha Madhu Menon joins him after the 3-minute mark in a wonderful high for the otherwise-serene melody. The video, offering a road trip from Kerala to Rameswaram on a Tata Nano, is a lovely watch! Bang Bang is a complete contrast from these 2 songs! Sayonara owns the overall song with her usual flair, and since it is her song all the way, but the surprise element is Neeraj Madhav’s rap in between! Ud Chala is interesting given that it is an entirely Hindi song! It’s wonderfully calming and demonstrates debutant Ankit Menon’s confidence.

Noolupoya – Trance (Jackson Vijayan) – Malayalam: This is Pradeep Kumar’s 3rd song of the week in the 3rd language (though no credited as ‘Pradeep Vijay)! Jackson Vijayan scores phenomenally in the 2nd single as well, with a haunting sound that manifests itself in a trance in the interludes! The video makes for a riveting watch too!

Aadiyilalo – Masala Coffee (Indipop/Malayalam): After the heart-breaking announcement of Sooraj Santhosh exiting the band, Masala Coffee moves on with a new single. It is energetic, very wonderfully folksy in their unique style, with excellent singing by both Crishna and Varun Sunil.

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Kalakkatha – Ayyappanum Koshiyum (Attapadi Musicians/Jakes Bejoy) – Malayalam: For the first single from the new Prithviraj-starrer, Jakes Bejoy uses a folk song by the tribal musicians of Attapadi, near Palakkad. He retains the ethos and soul of their song, and the singers and background music too, and layers it in his arrangement. It’s deftly done, and sounds very, very rhythmic. The lead singer Nanjamma is phenomenal.

Dheera Sammohagaara – Bicchugatthi Chapter 1 (Nakul Abhyankar) – Kannada: I was so looking forward to hear Hamsalekha’s music (given the historical sweep of the film, with the plot adapted from Dr.B.L Venu’s novel based on the Palegaras of Chitradurga, I thought his music may lend itself well, almost like how M.M.Keeravani’s music did to a Baahubali in Telugu) after quite some time, but surprisingly the first single is composed by Nakul Abhyankar!! It’s a lovely melody, handled brilliantly by Anuradha Bhat.

Yeddelo Bharathiya – Gentleman (B.Ajaneesh Loknath) – Kannada: Ajaneesh, in tow with Anthony Daasan, delivers a rocking, rhythmic number with a heady brass band’ish sound! I was reminded of Sam C.S’s music, but this is right within Ajaneesh’s domain as well.

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 103: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
17 songs, this week. YouTube has all the songs, while JioSaavn is missing 3 – the 2 songs from Varane Avashyamund (that have been released by Dulquer himself, through his YouTube page!) and the song from Vellai Yaanai.

Jugnu – Panga (Shankar Ehsaan Loy) – Hindi: I wasn’t that taken to both Wahi Hain Raste and Bibby Song, though I think both may be perfect to watch in the film, contextually. But Jugnu transcends the need to watch it in-film and sounds fantastic, with its lovely lilt for the Jugnu hook. And of course the winsome singing combo of Sunny and Shankar Mahadevan.

Ole Ole 2.0 – Jawaani Jaaneman (Dilip Sen-Sameer Sen and Tanishk Bagchi) – Hindi: Tanishk does his usual realignment of the catchy original by treating it as smaller blocks, throws the many blocks on the ground and picks one at random to build it all over again. And it works, particularly with the same leading man dancing to the new version too!

Shayad – Love Aaj Kal (Pritam) – Hindi: This is good old Pritam magic all over again! And Irshad Kamil. And Arijit! This is a package that cannot go wrong at all and it doesn’t, yet again! Superbly breezy melody with only Kartik Aryan excessive hand gestures/dance that mar the experience in the video πŸ™‚

Chanda – The Forgotten Army (Pritam) – Hindi: Much of the TV Series’ soundtrack is at the service of the on-screen proceedings and is perhaps less interesting as a standalone soundtrack. Chanda stands out, though, for its Barfi’ish sound! Both versions (by Shaan and Sreeramachandra) are very good!

Rainbow Thiralil – Takkar (Nivas K Prasanna) – Tamil: Arivarasan’s lyrics hark back to a terrible phase in Tamil film music when there was a severe and absurd overdose of English words (was a feature in many of A.R.Rahman’s early soundtracks). But Nivas’ tune is upbeat, with a lovely funky sound and an addictive ‘Thatthi thaavuda’ chorus. While Andrea is her usual confident self, Silambarasan struggles audibly to manage his part. This is a kind of song that deserved someone like Suresh Peters or Benny Dayal!

Thinam Thinam – Vaanam Kottattum (Sid Sriram) – Tamil: After Kannu Thangom, I did expect a lot from Sid as a composer, but the overall impression of the full album falls short of my expectations. I wanted to like Poova Thalaiyaa, but it goes into a direction away from the initial burst and seems less than interesting. En Uyri Kaatre and Mannava too didn’t appeal to me as much as Kannu Thangom. But he closes the soundtrack with a thoroughly unique sounding Thinam Thinam. The sound and tune is very new and fresh, and his singing carries it further.

Vennila – Vellai Yaanai (Santhosh Narayanan) – Tamil: A surprisingly simple and earthy song from Santhosh, the kind that harks back to the older times of simpler tunes, with apt singing by Vijaynarain and Sangeetha Karuppiah. Santhosh’s unique trademark makes its presence felt at ‘Pinju mozhiyaala’ and ‘Kathul kadal pola’ in the anupallavi/charanam when the tune takes what I identify as a turn that Santhosh is known for.

Praanam – Jaanu (Govind Vasantha) – Telugu: I had assumed that Govind would reuse his Tamil tunes from 96 for the Telugu remake! So, this new tune is a surprise. But the tune is so, so perfectly fitting the overall style and ethos of the Tamil soundtrack, almost like it was composed for that movie and dropped, and used here! Outstanding singing by Chinmayi Sripada and Gowtham Bharadwaj.

Freak Out – Disco Raja (Thaman S) – Telugu: This is Thaman unleashing his best self, without being constrained by lyrics. The primarily-instrumental track (with only a smattering of dialogs) is a celebration of the disco-funk, crafted within a film-music idiom. Incredibly catchy!

My Love – World Famous Lover (Gopi Sundar) – Telugu: Gopi Sundar had composed this tune originally for the 2013 Malayalam film, ABCD: American-Born Confused Desi, sung by himself and Anna Katharina Valayil. He reuses the tune to create My Love here – the tune remains the same, with the same interludes. It’s a lovely, warm and softly low-key tune that gets into your system as it progresses. Srikrishna and Ramya Behera sing this Telugu version.

Chusthundhi Pilla – Varun Sunil (Telugu Pop): Terrific fun pop, with a zingy nadaswaram and thavil layer. Varun Sunil does a lot here – compose, sing, percussion and act – good effort!

Nee Vaa En Aarumukha & Mullapoove – Varane Avashyamund (Alphons Joseph) – Malayalam/Tamil: Songs like Nee Vaa En Aarumukha are a rarity these days in films! The genre was called classical/semi-classical at one point but has become defunct even with films not having situations to place them anymore. Alphons’ melody is austere in a way that it is more classical and less filmy, with excellent singing by Karthik and Chithra. Mullapoove, on the other hand, is conventional filmy sound, but with a lovely lilt that Alphons uses to great effect along with that beautiful chorus portion!

Uyire – Gauthamante Radham (Ankit Menon) – Malayalam: Sid Sriram can make a song sound familiar given his mighty unique voice and singing style (that is, the style unique within the Indian film music constructs). That familiarity can be both a curse or a blessing. At times, that can also lift an otherwise decent-enough tune to a slightly better plane. This is one such song – any other singer, I would have liked it lesser, but in Sid’s voice it sounds a lot better!

Raat – Trance (Jackson Vijayan) – Malayalam/Hindi: Rex Vijayan’s (Avial-fame) brother Jackson debuts as a composer. True to the film’s title, the first song is a frenetic affair, relentlessly hitting on the pulsating rhythm, amidst interesting vocal choices – composer Sneha Khanwalkar for the Hindi parts and another composer/singer Neha Nair for the Malayalam parts!

Kannada Kali – India Vs England (Arjun Janya) – Kannada: While the soundtrack is strictly middling, this one song stands out thanks to Indu Nagaraj’s enthusiastic singing and Arjun’s simple and catchy sound. The use of the children’s chorus and the contrasting background vocals add to the charm.

Laagena – Makeup (AV Prafullachandra) – Marathi: The first single, Julali Gaath Ga, was a bit all over the place for my comfort. But AV Prafullachandra gets it perfectly with the second single and it is every bit his style. The sound is, in fact, a bit Amit Trivedi’ish too! That antara (Pa pa pa pa) is wonderfully inventive! Singer Sahil Kulkarni plays along so wonderfully to that impromptu style!

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 102: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
13 songs, this week. 12 on JioSaavn – is missing only the song from Dagaalty. It looks like Star Music sends their tracks very late to JioSaavn/streaming sites. YouTube has all, though I have added the full jukebox of Elay since individually, the 4 tracks I have selected aren’t available.

Dil Ne Kaha – Panga (Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy) – Hindi: This is the trio’s way of saying, ‘Move along kids… make way for the adults’! The song’s flow has a lovely, unusual pattern that has Shahid Mallya and Asees Kaur (and Jassie Gill himself in the reprise) taking turns singing a r-e-a-l-l-y long mukhda each! It’s also unusual that they chose ‘Dil ne kaha’ as the songs title – a phrase that doesn’t open the song (Pehle Pehal) or is not the song’s hook (Dekho dheere dheere baaton baaton mein). This is the kind of song that perk up your ears and makes you concentrate… and once you do, you get addicted!

Khulne Do – Chhapaak (Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy) – Hindi: The trio hand Arijit Singh a whopper of a melody that he handles with phenomenal ease and makes it his own. There is an interesting contrast between the tune and the lyrics – the former seems relatively sadder (soaring towards positivity only towards the end), while the lyrics are full of hope!

Gallan Kardi – Jawaani Jaaneman (Sukshinder Shinda/Prem & Hardeep) – Hindi/Punjabi: Sukshinder Shinda’s original (Dil Luteya) gets a spiffy new version as producer Jackky Bhagnani seems to be proving that he is better off in music curation than acting.

Kotha Kothudhu Bodhai – Dagaalty (Vijaynarain) – Tamil: Vijaynarain proves that Paaren Paaren was no flash in the pan with this follow-up in his debut as composer. The first unusual angle is that this is a duet, featuring 2 other composers – Santhosh Narayanan, Govind Vasantha! The tune itself, starting at an interesting higher pitch, remains consistently enjoyable, even as it moves into Santhosh-Narayanan style gaana midway.

Rum Pum bum – Disco Raja (Thaman S) – Telugu: What Thaman started with Nuvvu Naatho Emannavo in this soundtrack, and ignored for the next single Dilli Waala, he continues with Rum Pum bum! That’s the Raja-style sound, with a new-age twist. The opening music takes you instantly to ‘To to-do to-do to-do something…’ from Anjali, though Thaman turns things almost as soon as he indulges in that sound. That sound is only an undercurrent upon which he builds his catchy new song that brims with the Ilayaraja-swag and a smattering of R.D.Burman too.

Maadeva – Popcorn Monkey Tiger (Charan Raj) – Kannada: Even by Charan Raj’s eclectic standards, this song defies categories! Sung by Sanjith Hegde, HanuMankind and Charan Raj, the short song traverses multiple genres and sounds, and still manages to be alluring!

Arare Shuruvayitu Hege – Gentleman (B.Ajaneesh Loknath) – Kannada: The first single from the film, Nadugutide, was middling, to put it mildly. But Ajaneesh picks up his impressive form with this song! Backed by the always dependably Vijay Prakash, the song is a very, very Ajaneesh as the first interlude starts, and even plays peekaboo with A R Rahman’s Vennilave Vennilave from Minsara Kanavu in more ways than one!

Love You Chinna – Love Mocktail (Raghu Dixit) – Kannada: An oddly tepid soundtrack from the otherwise-dependable Raghu Dixit! (On that note, this seems to be the season of tepid work from otherwise-dependable composers – another example: Manikanth Kadri and his entire soundtrack for Srii Bharatha Baahubali, and the single from Sagutha Doora Doora). Love You Chinna is the only song that passes some muster, with a vaudevillian sound and melody.

Kaun Hain Hum – Prawaas (Salim-Sulaiman) – Marathi/Hindi: Well, that’s a surprise – Salim-Sulaiman, the Hindi film music duo resurface away from their singles journey into a Marathi film soundtrack! While the 3-song (with a reprise of the title song) is very listenable in the duo’s familiar style, the one song that stood out for me is this ghazal sung by Hariharan. Barring that mildly annoying piano track in the background, that seems well-intended, but is honestly incongruent, this is a lush melody with the singer is his usually fantastic form.

Elay, Nee Maatale, Tholakari & Nee Daya Radha – Elay (Staccato) – Indipop: The whole album (Elay) is a very pleasant surprise. There is classical music with a twist, there is early-Rahman-style music, there is multi-lingual music, there is phenomenal singing (by both Gowtham Bharadwaj and Niranjana Ramanan)… and there’s so much to like! My favorites start with the title song, Elay, that comes alive with Manoj Kumar’s thoughtful and poignant lyrics. The music, particularly the keyboard, harks back to early days of Rahman! Tholakari is a catchy Telugu folk-style song that has an addictive ‘Thaananna’ hook. The album’s easy highlights are the 2 classical songs that are presented with a superb modern twist. The first is Nee Daya Radha, the Vasantha Bhairavi-raaga based Thyagaraja composition. The melody is, in itself, hauntingly beautiful, but the band’s splendid music accentuates that feel significantly, along with Niranjana Ramanan’s confident singing. My favorite is the Poorvi Kalyani-raaga based javali by Pattabhiramayya, Nee Matale Maayanura. The band’s interpretation keeps the sanctity of the original intact, but layer their imagination beautifully on top, adding a wonderfully quirky edge to the already delightful melody.

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 101: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
16 songs this week. Back on JioSaavn since they helped sort the problem, unlike Apple Music who didn’t even bother to respond when I did have a huge problem of vanishing playlists. Saavn has all 16 songs, while YouTube is missing only the title song of Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo.

Panga (title song) – Panga (Shankar Ehsaan Loy) – Hindi: If the trio reinterpret Pritam’s reinterpretation of South Indian kuthu music, this is what you may get! (Phew!) That ‘Le le Panga’ call out is such a heady South kuthu touch, but with a uniqueness that the trio always bring to their music. The lyrics too, by Javed Akhtar, are blisteringly good, as is the singing, featuring Harshdeep Kaur, Divya Kumar & Siddharth Mahadevan.

Dua Karo – Street Dancer 3D (Sachin-Jigar) – Hindi: The composing duo use a familiar Pakistani-pop template and amp it up significantly with Kalyan Baruah’s superb guitar work. Lead singer Arijit Singh and the rap by Bohemia work perfectly in tandem. The ‘dua karo’ hook stands out as an addictive phrase.

Kehndi Haan Kehndi Naa (Composed by Sukriti Kakar, Prakriti Kakar, music by Rishabh Kant) – Indipop: Rishab’s music (arranged by him, I presume) and the sisters’ composition are enticingly good. The singing by the sisters too is equally good. Catchy, bubblegum Punjabi pop!

Neenga Mudiyuma – Psycho (Ilayaraja) – Tamil: Oh boy! The Maestro in full flow, unleashing his music in all its glory! That this is already his 3rd song with Sid Sriram says a lot about how much Raja has taken to the singer’s voice! But more than Sid’s splendid singing, its those sprawling violins in the background that take you to a completely different plane! This is goosebumps-inducingly beautiful!

Samajavaragamana – Female, Buttabomma & Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo – Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo (Thaman S) – Telugu: The male version of Samajavaragamana, sung by Sid Sriram, was already the No.2 best Telugu film song of 2019, in my list. Here comes a beautiful female version and who better than Shreya Ghoshal to give it a shot! Shreya brings a scintillating feminine touch to the already fantastic tune, even as Thaman’s backgrounds offer a new flavor that enhances this new version significantly. Buttabomma is standard-issue Telugu masala, but there’s no doubt about how catchy and foot-tapping the whole package is. The choice of Armaan Malik works wonders too. The title song is a stunning surprise! I had first noticed the title call-out in the trailer/teaser and thought it sounded fantastic. Thaman goes several steps beyond that call-out and carves a brilliant track that starts with Priya Sisters’ prayer-like prelude. And then he drops Sri Krishna’s part amidst blazing guitar, topped by the superb title call-out!

Veezhumee – Chethi Mandharam Thulasi (Govind Vasantha) – Malayalam: Whoa, Govind, who released Thaikkudam Bridge’s album Namah in December has already released a new pop song after that (that I wrote about in last week’s Weeklies). And here’s his new film song! There’s a nice, energetic sound that kicks in after a full minute of Vipin’s wonderful singing. It’s an interesting song, and even more interestingly, the song running almost 3 minutes is called a ‘teaser’! I wonder who releases that long a teaser in these days when even a full song is that length!

Suri Anna – Salaga (Charan Raj) – Kannada: Charan Raj’s handling of the adequately ‘spirited’ song is on the lines of Sam CS’s Tasakku from Vikram Vedha. Not tune-wise, but in terms of the overall style of using the chorus. Anthony Daasan is perfect for delivering this kind of a song and the older song reference at 2:27 that made me burst out laughing, since that song also has a drunk man dancing atop a well πŸ™‚

Radha & Mon Janona – Asur (Bickram Ghosh) – Bangla: Tabla player/percussionist Bickram Ghosh has been associated with solid music in the recent past. His collaboration with Sonu Nigam for The Music Room is my favorite. The sound in the 2 songs in this new Bangla film is, expectedly, very creative and vibrant. The tunes are less interesting, in comparison, but are not bad either. They are just a bit familiar/predictable, though the singers, Iman Chakraborty and Shovan Ganguly in Radha, and Ujjaini Mukherjee and Shovan Ganguly in Mon Janona, elevate the song confidently.

Rare, Dance Again, Let Me Get Me, Ring, A Sweeter Place – Rare (Selena Gomez): Selena Gomez’s brand new album is a surprisingly enjoyable affair. The whole album is very well produced and there is enough range of tunes to enjoy!

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 100: On Apple Music | On YouTube
100 weeks of Weeklies!! Wow!
15 songs this week. YouTube has all the songs (with an extra song from the Marathi soundtrack of Dhurala since it is a full album jukebox)! JioSaavn is been giving me a lot of trouble – despite having a pro account, the login doesn’t hold and keeps logging me off. So, I’m giving Apple Music another chance. It has 14 songs and is missing only Dagaalty’s Paaren Paaren. Star Music, that owns the rights seems to have shared the song only on YouTube and not Apple Music or JioSaavn!

Muqabla – Street Dancer 3D (A.R.Rahman and Tanishk Bagchi) – Hindi: I loved this new-age recreation of an iconic song that I hold very close. What Tanishk has done is akin to what happens to a full-page article on Twitter: he picks up a line from the antara to open the song, and then the 3rd line from the mukhda… and then the memorable opening line. It’s a wonderful mish-mash of the original, almost as if Tanishk visualized each part of the original in Lego blocks, scattered them throughout his studio and picked piece by piece to reconstruct a new variant that at once sounds like the original and doesn’t too. It’s a pulsating recreation, no doubt!

Here’s the original, for nostalgia’s sake πŸ™‚

Ghamand Kar – Tanhaji The Unsung Warrior (Sachet-Parampara) – Hindi: Ajay-Atul’s output so far in the film seemed very templatized and in their usual style. Surprisingly, the composing duo of Sachet and Parampara not only use that very template, but go one up on the Marathi-music duo in their home territory! That ‘tara rara’ chorus around which the song is built, is incredibly haunting and addictive.

Nok Jhok – Chhapaak (Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy) – Hindi: The ‘Nok jhok’ hook reminded me of some other song by the trio (that I’m not able to place immediately), but the generally amiable and warm tune makes is a lovely listen. Siddharth Mahadevan is superb, as usual… truly a chip off the old block.

Kadhaippoma – Oh My Kadavule (Leon James) – Tamil: I have been mildly disappointed with the music of this film so far, and Leon’s middling form in recent times (including a terrible Telugu debut in Next Enti. Thankfully, comes this song! Much of the charm lies in Ko Shesha’s lovely lyrics that I first thought was by Madhan Karky, given the penchant for purer/bygone Tamil! And then there’s Sid Sriram, who carries the melody so beautifully.

Azhagu – All About Love Series (Ghibran) – Tamil/Indipop: Ghibran, who debuted with a bang in Vaagai Sooda Vaa and went on to produce some phenomenal music has lately been stuck in the same trend as Rahman. Both started with incredibly layered music, but lately, their music seems much simpler, removed of all the layers and complexity that defined the earlier style of music. This new song, a non-film song at that, fits the newer pattern, no doubt, but is also charmingly pleasant. It’s the song’s and the background music’s simplicity that carries it through, ironically.

Paaren Paaren – Dagaalty (Vijaynarain) – Tamil: Singer Vijaynarain makes his debut as a composer and his first song seems to doff a hat at the composer he has sung for often, Santhosh Narayanan. Subu’s lyrics make you sit up, particularly that ‘Parakka thaan’ chorus line that Vijay employs to great repetitive effect. The overall orchestration (led by the guitar) demonstrates excellent music sense and I really look forward to Vijay’s other songs in the film. Also, this is perhaps the most un-Santhanam song that you may expect for a film featuring him! And that is a compliment.

Yaavum Yaavumey & Paakkurappo Paakkurappo – Thamezharasan (Ilayaraja) – Tamil: First off, it is a surprise that Vijay Antony stars in a film that doesn’t have music by him! I thought he was like a package deal, acts and composes music, like GV Prakash Kumar. Recently, he has been letting others compose too, like Simon K King for Kolaigaran.

Musically, Thamizhanoda Veeramellaam made my jaw drop and I couldn’t catch it for a long time. It has Raja regurgitating his 90s template ‘folk’ song and Sid Sriram sounds so incredibly awkward singing it! It reminded me of Riya Sen playing ‘Machakanni’ from Sengulam village in Bharathiraja’s Taj Mahal. The whole soundtrack feels like a time warp, with K.J.Yesudas and S.P.Balasubrahmanyam singing tunes that befit some other era. Yaavum Yaavumey is one of the better tunes, vintage Raja style that Raja modernizes aptly without dropping it as-is. It does suffer from relatively poorer singing by Vibhavari Apte-Joshi. That singer choice harms the otherwise enchanting tune of Paakkurappo Paakkurappo too. Raja chooses to sing what was essentially called as ‘matter song’ in the 80s and 90s, a genre the composer absolutely excelled in, with class. Still, the song’s innate melody carries it despite the man’s weathered singing.

Kamini – Anugraheethan Antony (Arun Muraleedharan) – Malayalam: Composer Arun Muraleedharan was impressive in earlier works like Adventures of Omanakuttan and Kakshi: Amminippilla. His sweeping melody with a smattering of classical music gets a massive fillip from singer Harisankar KS, who completely owns the delivery. Rithu Vysakh’s violin solo and the addictive ‘Mulle mulle’ hook are fantastic.

Tehqeek – Govind Vasantha (Indipop) – Malayalam: Honestly, this is not up to Govind’s current lofty standards. But given his standards are quite high, this is not bad either. Sreeranjini Kodampally’s powerful singing keeps the song together. An interesting irony in the video is the casting of Neeraj Madhav as the male lead… someone the Police is looking for, because of his alleged terrorist activities. If someone had seen the Prime Video series, The Family Man, Neeraj played a deadly and ruthless terrorist, Moosa, in that show πŸ™‚

Rada Dhurala, Jalmachi Vaari, Baari Baari & Kaakana Kinkin – Dhurala (AV Prafullachandra) – Marathi: After last year’s outstanding work in Kaagar, AV Prafullachandra strikes rich again! The film has 5 songs of which only one is composed by Utkarsh Anand Shinde (Naad Kara), and that is also the soundtrack’s weakest. Rada Dhurala, Jalmachi Vaari and Baari Baari, all three songs feature fantastic vocal layering for their highly rhythmic structures. That alone makes these songs so listenable. Kaakana Kinkin is the soundtrack’s sole softer melody, sung beautifully by Aanandi Joshi and Abhay Jodhpurkar, that soars impressively as Prafullachandra mounts the ending on a grand scale!

Liggi – Ritviz (Indipop): A curiously catchy song πŸ™‚ Ritviz’s singing style weirdly zoned out, but with this tune and the dropping beat, even that Badshah-style monotony in singing sounds good! But this is a song that must be seen with the video given the smashing performance by Vedika Pinto with her uninhibited shenanigans! Also worth noting: Ritvik’s song from last year, Sage, too had the same grandpa who dances drunk πŸ™‚

Saturday December 21, 2019

Milliblog Annual Music round-up 2019

This is the 12th year of my annual music round-ups. In case you are curious, here are the previous editions: 
2018 |2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008

2019, being the last in the 2010s decade, has had a lasting impact on how we think of film music. This was the decade when multi-composers became a norm and the notions of a ‘soundtrack’ died, was buried and grass has started growing on top of it now.

We have seen these trends in the past too. At some point, someone decided that having the same male and female singer sing all the songs in a film’s soundtrack didn’t make sense from a variety point of view. So, they brought in more singers, even as people were initially wondering if the same hero can sound differently for 2 different songs. This was a common early-days concern when Rajinikanth sang a sad song in K.J.Yesudas’ voice and a happy song in S.P.Balasubramanyam’s voice! When he also started singing a frisky song in Udit Narayan’s voice, all those concerns jumped out of the window and committed suicide.

Similarly, I think one decade was enough to complain about the evolution of multi-composer albums. They are here to stay, for the same reason why multi-singer soundtracks came into existence: variety. Film music is a marketable commodity. Soundtracks have lost their collective utility value and have been unbundled, thanks largely to streaming music that has become the norm now. A single is the new unit of music. And a YouTube video (mostly a lyric video) is the visual equivalent of it since most filmmakers don’t even bother to shoot those songs fully in their films. This is the new normal when it comes to film music. I fully expect the last few holdouts like Pritam and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy to join the multi-composer trend and actually produce very good music within that structure too (since they need to produce less, per film.

T-series has already sealed this trend by calling it ‘Songs’ in the film poster… what was earlier called ‘Music’, for the film Jai Mummy Di.

There is an overdose of remixes in the Hindi film music market right now and this is perhaps largely being driven by YouTube views. I don’t expect it to change in the next few years since these songs end up being extremely popular. Ironically, if you look at the Indipop scene (or at least my list of top 30 Indipop/non-film songs), they are filled with recreations too, not very different from what Tanishk Bagchi does regularly all through the year! So, blaming only film music composers of pandering to the remix/recreation trend and not producing ‘original’ music is unfair.

2019 was largely average, film-music-wise. In fact, I’d say the quality and variety of songs in the non-film music category was a lot more interesting than in the film music category, across the 5 languages I track music (Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and Kannada).

If you wonder how I/we create our own lists and end up liking specific songs among so many, read Milliblog’s Three Laws of Music Appreciation Multiverse.

As always, these lists are in my order of preference, not any random order. And yes, I make these lists primarily for my own listening. They are not meant to pander to some market forces or some star/composer’s whims or fancies – that would be a massive waste of my time. So, these lists are to answer my own question, “There are SO MANY songs to listen to. What should I listen to?“. I’m solving my own music discoverability problem given a profusion of songs throughout the year. The only reason I also share them online is to help others with the same discoverability problem and possibly help some of the lesser-known/heard songs that deserve a listen.

Happy listening!

Hindi

Pritam, who was non-existent last year, made a triumphant comeback this year with films like The Sky is Pink, Kalank and Chhichhore. Shankar Ehsaan Loy had a good soundtrack in Mere Pyare Prime Minister, but in The Zoya Factor, they failed! Amit Trivedi was largely muted, after a stupendous 2018! While Tanishk Bagchi was everywhere, remixing this and that, I have my hopes pinned on 3 composers, based on their 2019 output.

The first is Amartya Bobo Rahut. I had found him promising in 2017’s Tu Hai Mera Sunday, but in 2019, he made a super confident leap in Drive. The second is Karan Kulkarni. His Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota is one heck of an inspired, zany soundtrack. I really hope he gets more interesting projects. The third is a duo – Sachet (Tandon) – Parampara (Thakur). Even as their music for Kabir Singh was extremely popular, I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of their music in Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas.

Hindi Top 30 playlist on YouTube | Saavn

Composer of the year: Pritam

  1. Dil Hi Toh Hai – The Sky is Pink (Pritam)
  2. Apna Time Aayega – Gully Boy (Dub Sharma & DIVINE)
  3. Jugraafiya – Super 30 (Ajay-Atul)
  4. Kalank Title Song – Kalank (Pritam)
  5. Nakhrewaali – Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota (Karan Kulkarni)
  6. Rezgaariyan – Mere Pyare Prime Minister (Shankar Ehsaan Loy)
  7. Naina Yeh – Article 15 (Piyush Shankar)
  8. Jako Rakhe Saiyan – Batla House (Rochak Kohli)
  9. Slow Motion – Bharat (Vishal-Shekhar)
  10. Bekhayali – Kabir Singh (Sachet-Parampara)
  11. Sanu Kehndi – Kesari (Tanishk Bagchi)
  12. Shaitan Ka Saala – Housefull 4 (Sohail Sen)
  13. Ghungroo – War (Vishal-Shekhar)
  14. Choti Choti Gal – Motichoor Chaknachoor (Arjuna Harjai)
  15. Hai Re Farebi – 706 (Anikhet Khandekar)
  16. Ishaq Chaliya – Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas (Sachet-Parampara)
  17. Karma – Drive (Amartya Bobo Rahut)
  18. Kyun Dil Mera – Paharganj (Ajay Singha)
  19. Naah Goriye – Bala (Jaani/B Praak)
  20. Bad Boy – Saaho (Baadshah)
  21. Nadaaniyaan – The Sky Is Pink (Pritam)
  22. Tere Liye – Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota (Karan Kulkarni)
  23. Makhna – Drive (Tanishk Bagchi)
  24. Zara Suno – Malaal (Shail Hada)
  25. Ruan Ruan – Sonchiriya (Vishal Bhardwaj)
  26. Nadh Khula – Malaal (Shreyas Puranik)
  27. Chale Aana – De De Pyaar De (Amaal Mallik)
  28. Channa – Gun Pe Done (Rimi Dhar)
  29. Madaari – The Extraordinary Journey Of The Fakir (Amit Trivedi)
  30. Kaash – The Zoya Factor (Shankar Ehsaan Loy)
Hindi Top 30 playlist on YouTube | JioSaavn

Tamil

It was a mixed bag in Tamil as far as composers go. Almost all composers had their share of good songs with no one person sweeping the year. If Santhosh Narayanan had Ottha Seruppu and Gypsy, Sean Roldan had Mehndi Circus. Sam and Ghibran were all through the year, but their body of work is starting to sound a bit jaded now. Joshua Sridhar made a surprise entry with July Kaatril, but both the soundtrack and film sank without a trace, in true Joshua style, sadly.

Justin Prabhakaran pitched the maximum – he had a multilingual in Dear Comrade, produced some great music in Monster and some middling music in Naadodigal 2. I also quite like Vivek-Mervin’s style of racy music, in songs like Sangathamizhan’s Kamala and Jilebara from Thumbaa. The composer I’m looking forward to producing more, better music is Simon K King. His Kolaigaran theme completely surprised me, while he had good songs in Rajabheema and Marketraja MBBS, both of which went turkey, while starring the same hero (Arav). I don’t think Rajabheema has even released in 2019.

Tamil Top 30 playlist on YouTube | Saavn

Composer of the year: Justin Prabhakaran

  1. Manamengum Maaya Oonjal – Gypsy (Santhosh Narayanan)
  2. Kodi Aruvi – Mehandi Circus (Sean Roldan)
  3. Merkilae Merkilae – July Kaatril (Joshua Sridhar)
  4. Neeyagave – House Owner (Ghibran)
  5. Pularaadha – Dear Comrade (Justin Prabhakaran)
  6. Unna Nenachu – Psycho (Ilayaraja)
  7. Ganesha – Rajabheema (Simon.K.King)
  8. Vaa Vaa Penne – Uriyadi 2 (Govind Vasantha)
  9. Maruvaarthai – Enai Noki Paayum Thota (Darbuka Siva)
  10. Andavane Thunai – Kolaigaran (Simon K King)
  11. Kaatre Kaatre – July Kaatril (Joshua Sridhar)
  12. Naan Varuvean – Dear Comrade (Justin Prabhakaran)
  13. Thandalkaaran – NGK (Yuvan Shankar Raja)
  14. Veyil Mazhayae – Mehandi Circus (Sean Roldan)
  15. Dingu Dongu – Sarvan Thaala Mayam (A.R.Rahman)
  16. Maavuliyo Maavuli – Irandam Ulagaporin Kadaisi Gundu (Tenma)
  17. Kannamma – Ispade Rajavum Idhaya Raniyum (Sam C.S.)
  18. Desaandhiri – Gypsy (Santhosh Narayanan)
  19. Takkaru – Ayngaran (G.V.Prakash Kumar)
  20. Kamala – Sangathamizhan (Vivek-Mervin)
  21. Naan Pizhaippeno – Enai Noki Paayum Thota (Darbuka Siva)
  22. Malto Kithapuleh – Hero (Yuvan Shankar Raja)
  23. Kulirudha Pulla – Oththa Seruppu (Santhosh Narayanan)
  24. Anthimaalai Neram – Monster (Justin Prabhakaran)
  25. Pasappukkalli – Devarattam (Nivas K Prasanna)
  26. Kannale – Market Raja MBBS (Simon K King)
  27. Yaarovai – Angelina (D.Imman)
  28. Karadu Moradu Poove (Joyful Version) – Bakrid (D.Imman)
  29. Uthira Uthira – Pon Manickavel (D.Imman)
  30. Adhuva Adhuva – Naadodigal 2 (Justin Prabhakaran)
Tamil Top 30 playlist on ο»ΏYouTube | Saavn

PS: I have updated the list and playlists given that I had assumed that I had previously added songs from Darbuka Siva’s Enai Nokki Paayum Thotta in the 2017 list! But, I had not! This is one big problem with delayed or staggered song releases. Using film release dates doesn’t seem fair or right either since this film’s songs should have been part of earlier year lists, but this one had other problems as well – that of no knowing who the composer was, for a very long time! So, I have substituted the 2 songs from this film in the older list, with the 2 from earlier years, as they rightly deserve.

Telugu

2019 was Anirudh’s year in Telugu. His Gang Leader and Jersey make me wonder why he isn’t producing such music in Tamil! My favorite underdog, Shravan Bharadwaj had a tepid Manchukurisevelalo, but produced a cracker in Vinara Sodara Veera Kumara! Did the film release? Has anybody heard the songs? Shravan’s luck continues to be terrible! Last year’s star Gopi Sundar had one great outing in Majili, while Justin Prabhakaran pitched his best in Dear Comrade, though my favorites in Telugu and Tamil are very different! Vivek Sagar is really pushing his luck within this zone.

I see promise in 3 composers. One is Chaitan Bharadwaj. He had a great debut in 2018’s RX 100, and followed up with good music this year in 7 and got a big film in Manmadhudu 2 (though Guna 369 was average). The second is Suresh Bobbili, whom I had noticed first in 2017’s Maa Abbayi. In 2019, he had a good run in Thipparaa Meesam, George Reddy and Tholu Bommalata. The third is my favorite so far: Mark K Robin! He didn’t have a full-fledged soundtrack in 2018’s Awe (outstanding movie, by the way!), but he scored darn well in Suryakantam and Mallesham.

Telugu Top 30 playlist on YouTube | Saavn

Composer of the year: Anirudh

  1. Gangu Leader – Gang Leader (Anirudh)
  2. Samajavaragamana – Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo (Thaman S)
  3. Inthena Inthena – Suryakantam (Mark K Robin)
  4. Gira Gira – Dear Comrade (Justin Prabhakaran)
  5. Nuvvu Naatho Emannavo – Disco Raja (Thaman S)
  6. Kanne Kanne – Arjun Suravaram (Sam C.S.)
  7. Priyathama Priyathama – Majili (Gopi Sundar)
  8. Spirit Of Jersey – Jersey (Anirudh)
  9. Yemainado – Mr.Majnu (Thaman S)
  10. Vagalaadi – Brochevarevaru Ra (Vivek Sagar)
  11. Prema Vennela – Chitralahari (Devi Sri Prasad)
  12. Varshinchana – 7 (Chaitan Bharadwaj)
  13. Mella Mellagaa – ABCD (Judah Sandhy)
  14. Thirugude – Vinara Sodara Veera Kumara (Shravan Bharadwaj)
  15. Choti Choti Baatein – Maharshi (Devi Sri Prasad)
  16. Hoyna Hoyna – Gang Leader (Anirudh)
  17. Padhe Padhe – Jersey (Anirudh)
  18. Sampaddhoy Nanne – 7 (Chaitan Bharadwaj)
  19. Naaku Nuvvani – Mallesham (Mark K Robin)
  20. Ninnu Chuse Anandamlo – Gang Leader (Anirudh)
  21. Hey Menina – Manmadhudu 2 (Chaitan Bharadwaj)
  22. Ra Ra: Roar of the Revengers – Gang Leader (Anirudh)
  23. Pilla Picture Perfect – Ranarangam (Sunny M.R)
  24. Yegire Yegire – Madhanam (Ron Ethan Yohann)
  25. Andanike – Burra Katha (Sai Karthik)
  26. Kummeyra – Ranarangam (Karthik Rodriguez)
  27. Canteen – Dear Comrade (Justin Prabhakaran)
  28. Mouna Hrudaya Ragame – Thipparaa Meesam (Suresh Bobbili)
  29. Anandam – Manchukurisevelalo (Shravan Bharadwaj)
  30. Yentha Kottagundi Premalona – Mouname Ishtam (Vivek Maha Deva)
Telugu Top 30 playlist on YouTube | Saavn

Malayalam

Gopi Sundar was his prolific self in 2019 too, and had good music all through. Besides him, and the other regular Shaan Rahman, there are so many composers in Malayalam! 10 songs and 10 composers in the Top 10! 12 more composers in the next 20 songs! I continue to hold a lot of hope on Sooraj S Kurup who had a great soundtrack in LUCA, and Sanjeev Thomas, who was damn good in Manoharam.

Malayalam Top 30 playlist on YouTube | Saavn

Composer of the year: Sooraj S Kurup and Sanjeev Thomas

  1. Parayuvan – Ishq (Jakes Bejoy)
  2. Ponveyilin – Puzhikkadakan (Ranjith Meleppatt)
  3. Uyiril Thodum – Kumbalangi Nights (Sushin Shyam)
  4. Athippoovin – Oronnonnara Pranayakadha (Leela L Girish Kuttan)
  5. Ore Kannal – LUCA (Sooraj S Kurup)
  6. Jaathikkathottam – Thanneer Mathan Dinangal (Justin Varghese)
  7. Aaraadhike – Ambili (Vishnu Vijay)
  8. Munnotithaa – Manoharam (Sanjeev Thomas)
  9. Njaanakum Poovil – Happy Sardar (Gopi Sundar)
  10. Vennilavin Thaliralle – Neermathalam Poothakalam (Sheron Roy Gomez)
  11. Akale – 9 (Shaan Rahman)
  12. Kungumanira Sooryan – Neeyum Njanum (Vinu Thomas)
  13. Neer Kanikayil – Ente Ummante Peru (Gopi Sundar)
  14. Hey Madhuchandrike – Argentina Fans Kaattoorkadavu (Gopi Sundar)
  15. Nee Mukilo – Uyare (Gopi Sundar)
  16. Vanil Chandrika – Luca (Sooraj S Kurup)
  17. Jeevante Jeevanay – Sameer (Sudeep Palanad)
  18. Aganaga – 18am Padi (A.H.Kaashif)
  19. Ennuyire Penkiliye – Margamkali (Gopi Sundar)
  20. Kinavo – Manoharam (Sanjeev Thomas)
  21. Raathein – Love Action Drama (Shaan Rahman)
  22. Shilayude – Android Kunjappan Version 5.25 (Bijibal)
  23. Arike Naam – Underworld (Neha S. Nair & Yakzan Gary Pereira)
  24. Hey Song – Valiyaperunnal (Saju Sreenivas)
  25. Kavarathi – Pranaya Meenukalude Kadal (Shaan Rahman)
  26. Kaattil Veezha – Uyare (Gopi Sundar)
  27. Aarodum Parayuka – Kolambi (Ramesh Narayan)
  28. Pularum Vare – Shibu (Sachin Warrier)
  29. Chenthamara Poovin – Neermathalam Pootha Kaalam (Nahoom Abraham)
  30. Shalabamaayi – Praana (Arunvijay)
Malayalam Top 30 playlist on YouTube | Saavn

Kannada

Ajaneesh Loknath and Charanraj continue to elevate the musical standards in Kannada cinema – thankfully! Ajaneesh’s Padde Huli deserved a lot more praise, incidentally. Judah Sandhy had a less prolific year, and even Arjun Janya, despite scoring a lot of music, is starting to seem tired. The one new composer I’m pinning my hope on is Adil Nadaf. He was terrific in Kapata Nataka Paatradhaari and even the single he scored for Mundina Nildana.

Kannada Top 30 playlist on YouTube | Saavn

Composer of the year: Ajaneesh Loknath

  1. Kalabeda Kolabeda – Paddehuli (Ajaneesh Loknath)
  2. Oye Kamali – Kalbettada Darodekoraru (J. Anoop Seelin)
  3. Yaake Anta Gottilla Kanree – Kapata Nataka Paatradhaari (Adil Nadaf)
  4. Manase Maya – Mundina Nildana (Masala Coffee)
  5. Gamyave – 99 (Arjun Janya)
  6. Mamavathu Sri Saraswathi – Katha Sangama (Nobin Paul)
  7. Ide Dina – Kavaludaari (Charanraj MR)
  8. Baduku Jataka Bandi – Padde Huli (Ajaneesh Loknath)
  9. Neene Modalu Neene Kone – Kiss (Adi Hari)
  10. Bhaavaloka – Nathicharami (Bindhumalini)
  11. Onde Aetige – Amar (Arjun Janya)
  12. Yenda Yedathi – Padde Huli (Ajaneesh Loknath)
  13. Ondanondu Kaaladinda – I Love You (Aria Dakshin)
  14. Abbabba Ninna Kande – Preethi Irabaaradey (Sabu Varghese)
  15. Neenene Neenene – Kapata Nataka Paatradhaari (Adil Nadaf)
  16. Dorassani – Pailwaan (Arjun Janya)
  17. Devare Devare – Sarvajanikarige Suvarnavakaasha (Midhun Mukundan)
  18. Thakita Thakita – Aayushmanbhava (Gurukiran)
  19. Nigooda Nigooda – Kavaludaari (Charanraj M.R)
  20. Thangali Mellage – Bill Gates (Nobin Paul)
  21. Yaariva – Nathicharami (Bindhumalini)
  22. Heli Hogu Kaarana – Padde Huli (B. Ajaneesh Loknath)
  23. Joru Paattu – Amar (Arjun Janya)
  24. Banda Nodu Pailwaan – Pailwaan (Arjun Janya)
  25. Darlingu – Demo Piece (Arjun Ramu)
  26. Anisuthidhe – 99 (Arjun Janya)
  27. Sanchari Hrudaya – Chambal (Judah Sandhy)
  28. Khaali Khaali Aniso – Kavaludaari (Charanraj M.R)
  29. Life is Beautiful – Mundina Nildana (Kaushik Shukla)
  30. Chaaruthanthi – Munirathna Kurukshetra (V.Harikrishna)
Kannada Top 30 playlist on YouTube | Saavn

Indipop

Non-film music was my favorite in 2019, more than film music. The variety, in terms of musical styles and languages, was stupendous. I do understand that mixing multiple language songs seems dizzying, but that’s the only fair thing to do, given that the one common element among all of them is that they were not composed for films, and are singles (not even part of albums)! I also noticed an unusually large number of non-film singles in Tamil – a good sign that the film music grip is mildly slipping.

Indipop Top 30 playlist on YouTube | Saavn

  1. Loka Samasta – Aruna Sairam and the Thayir Sadam Project
  2. Dilruba – Aki Kumar
  3. Kadhakal Neele (Paadhi Raavaagilum) – Kadhakal Neele (Mejjo Joseph)
  4. Azhaikka Vandhaayo – Sanjay
  5. Maravairi Ramani – GrooViDa (not on JioSaavn playlist)
  6. Jeele Jeebhar – Namah (Thaikkudam Bridge)
  7. Mon Ke Bojhai – Sona Mohapatra and Sahil Solanki (Oriplast Originals)
  8. Mullu – Vasu Dixit
  9. Poovey – Funktuation
  10. Dwijavanthi – Marghazhi Reloaded
  11. Bas Mein – Bhuvan Bam
  12. Superheroes Without Capes – Thayir Sadam Project
  13. Chango – Jatayu
  14. Charukesi – Marghazhi Reloaded
  15. Dil Ki Doya Hoyna – The Folk Diaryz ft EPR
  16. Odi Odi – Kimaya (Masala Coffee)
  17. Aajo Cholechi – Papon & Shalmali Kholgade (Oriplast Originals)
  18. Nee Aara – When Chai Met Toast
  19. Thozhane – Kaal Nootraandu Kaadhal (Ashwin Vinayagamoorthy)
  20. Vasantha – Marghazhi Reloaded
  21. Manmohiya – Maati Baani
  22. Vainko – Brodha V ft. Jordindian
  23. Maa Devi – Srikanth Koppula
  24. Karam – Rangle Sardar & When Chai Met Toast (Equals Sessions)
  25. Paayum Oli Kannamma – Ratchakan Sridhar
  26. Dil Mera Dolda – Jazbati (Nooran Sisters, Jaidev Kumar)
  27. Ajnabee – Bhuvan Bam
  28. Dil Aziz – Subhash Kumar, Dheeraj Kumar Gupta ft. The Mellow Turtle, Tre Ess
  29. Avizhaai – Madras Gig Season 2 (Darbuka Siva)
  30. Hey Zara – Ben Human
Indipop Top 30 playlist on YouTube | Saavn

Marathi

I continue to listen to Marathi film music on and off. Given that infrequent hearing, a much shorter list, as always. The trio, Hrishikesh-Saurabh-Jasraj, continue to be outstandingly interesting with their music and Anandi Gopal, was easily one of the best soundtracks of the year, not just in Marathi, but pan-India. The other soundtrack I’d rate very, very high is AV Prafullachandra’s Kaagar. I’d love to hear from him!

Marathi Top 10 playlist on YouTube | Saavn

  1. Lagliya Godi Tujhi – Kaagar (A.V.Prafullachandra)
  2. Ranga Maliyela – Anandi Gopal (Hrishikesh Saurabh Jasraj)
  3. Virala – Khichik (Abhishek-Datta)
  4. Khari – Khari Biscuit (Suraj-Dhiraj)
  5. Mogra Phulaalaa – Mogra Phulaalaa (Rohit Shyam Raut)
  6. Waata Waata – Anandi Gopal (Hrishikesh Saurabh Jasraj)
  7. Tu Ekda Ha Bolna – Aamhi Befikar (Pranay Adhangale)
  8. Hey Man Maze – College Diary (Revaa)
  9. Darval Mavhacha – Kaagar (A.V.Prafullachandra)
  10. Adugula Madgula – Baba (Rohan Rohan)

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 99: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
11 songs this week. Both YouTube and JioSaavn have all the songs!

Saalaikal, Kaadum Malayum, Nee and Jeele Jeebhar – Namah (Thaikkudam Bridge) – Indipop: Namah has been in the making for a long time and I had featured Saalaikal back in February 2018. While the album is a sprawling, ambitious effort with a lot of interesting collaborations, I found it less engaging than the band’s earlier work, Navarasam. The collaborations perhaps forced them to think in a different direction for the album’s overall sound. It is a highly listenable effort, no doubt about that, however. Even in the songs that didn’t entirely work me, there are stupendous highlights that are worth going back to! Like how Tamil envelopes the mid-section Hindi phrase in Saawariya that has Pandit Ram Narayan and his grandson Harsh Narayan on the sarangi, accentuating the song’s inherent melancholy. Avial’s lead singer Anandraj Benjamin Paul keeps Kanne consistently enjoyable, while in Inside My Head, featuring German drummer Marco Minnemann, the shift in the 5-minute mark is fascinating! Kalliyankatt Neeli, featuring Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatton Mohan Veena is the album’s most hypnotic, intense and affecting. The most ambitious song, though is Thekkini, a 9-minutes+ instrumental song featuring 2 renowned percussionists, metal drummer Chris Adler and mridangam virtuoso Umayalpuram K Sivaraman, using the background music (and song) composed for Manichitrathazhu as a base to showcase their incredible talent.

The four songs that worked for me include Saalaikal, the most accessible and catchy in the album, featuring Jordan Rudess on the keyboard, and a scintillating guitar solo. Rakesh Chaurasia on the bansuri owns Kaadum Malayum, and joins a lovely guitar-bansuri jugalbandi in the end. The most engaging melody in the album is in Nee, featuring Niladri Kumar’s sitar, while my favorite in the album is easily Jeele Jeebhar, featuring Hindustani vocalist Ustad Rashid Khan. The pulsating opening, led by Rashid Khan and a fantastic extended prelude with tremendously exciting percussion is worth multiple listens! And surprise – you also hear shades of 96’s Kaathale Kaathale in this song!

Over’a Feel Pannuren – Hero (Yuvan Shankar Raja) – Tamil: Pa.Vijay’s lyrics try to best fit in the current college lingo in Chennai, but go significantly overboard too… annoyingly so. But Yuvan’s music hits all the right notes and his usual disinterested style of singing actually helps this catchy tune.

Theera Theera – Sarbath (Ajesh) – Tamil: Sarbath’s first single was released back in August (Karichaan Kuyile). In the 2nd single released now, Ajesh lives up to the promise he had showcased in that single, though not up to the magnificent promise he demonstrated in Paambu Sattai’s music. Good, listenable song, nonetheless, with excellent singing by Ajesh himself and the underrated Saindhavi.

Thazhvarangal – Valiyaperunnal (Rex Vijayan) – Malayalam: Two songs by Saju Sreenivas and two by Rex? While Labbaikkallah didn’t work for me, Rex is on more solid footing in Thazhvarangal, with its beat dropping to great effect.

Hands Up – Avane Sreemannarayana (Ajaneesh Loknath) – Kannada: This is one film that has both Ajaneesh and Charanraj scoring the music! Ajaneesh opens his account with a superbly orchestrated, flamboyant number. The call-and-response phrases (the Hands Up and the response) hark back to his trademark homage to Hamsalekha’s music. Fantastic music that even sounds visual!

Neelaakasha Kelu – Sarvajanikarige Suvarnavakasha (Midhun Mukundan) – Kannada: Devare was a very good song, and composer Midhun turns this focus away from that tone and offers a very pleasant melody for balance. Haricharan’s singing is, as usual, ace, while Rakshitha Rao offers great support. Midhun’s building the backgrounds is what works perfectly in the song’s favor.

Manase Chooru – Ramarjuna (Anand Rajavikram) – Kannada: With Lee and Relax Satya, Anand has proven to be a capable-enough and interesting composer to watch out for. In Manase Chooru too, he uses Puneet Rajkumar, usually a special-item singer used for star-power, in a mellow turn. The tune and the musical package makes it better, with its mellow thavil and nadaswaram base.

Aa Jaana – Lijo George, Dj Chetas (Indipop): Jackky Bhagnani discovered that he perhaps has a better future being a music curator than trying his hand repeatedly in acting. And when he found pliant working partners in Lijo George and DJ Chetas in Mitron’s Kamariya, he got to work more in that direction. With Darshan Raval and Prakriti Kakar for vocals, the melody and rhythm are reminiscent of Kamariya’s style and are effortlessly catchy.

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