Aathi is a cracker of a mix – Vishal Dadlani and Anirudh bring the house down in style! Pakkam vanthu too is instantly likeable, amplifying its hook for maximum impact. Selfie pulla sees Madhan Karky officially mainstreaming every common digital term and it comes together in an infectious concoction. Paalam is cringe-worthy, however, with its loud, 80s style cheesiness. Even Yaar petra magano, beyond the nifty touches by Anirudh in the background, is awkward and templatized. The Kaththi theme, with its pulsating tune, easily beats Bad eyes, barring the bizarre ‘kaakkaa kaththi’ humming! Anirudh’s formula continues to work; digressions don’t.

Keywords: Kaththi, Anirudh, Anirudh Ravichander, Kathi

Ra ra rowdy‘s sound is mighty interesting – the catchy hook enveloped by pulsating guitar, with Arijit and Aditi’s towering vocals! Yedo has perfect rock singalong’ness – breezy melody, and winsome vocals by Armaan Malik and Harshika Gudi. That nuanced rock sound extends to Aa seetadevi too, with Arijit’s expert handling of the mellow tune. Yentha vaaru is a Mikey McCleary-style reimagining of Baar baar dekho, with superb vocal interplay between Nakash Aziz and Natasha Pinto! Red & Yellow‘s tune doesn’t quite work, but Call of the rowdy ends things in funky style! Sunny’s style continues to be uniquely engaging!

Keywords: Rowdy Fellow, Sunny M R, Sunny MR

The title song is passable, at best, with Ranjith trying to infuse life into it, while Manoj barely pulls of his drunk-singing act in Pothe ponee, thanks largely to Achu’s foot-tapping mix. Ammay nadumu and Yerraa yerra both pass by with no impact, despite the techno-kuthu layer in the latter. Karthik is fabulous in his two melodies, the bordering-on-Charukesi Pilla and the short, mellow Kallalo. The soundtrack’s highlight is Padahaarellainaa, which exploits Chinmayi’s fantastic vocals to great effect and layers many interesting sounds onto a dreamy, waltz’y melody! Barring these, this soundtrack is a step down from Achu’s recent form.

Keywords: Current Theega, Achu, Achu Rajamani

Meherbaan‘s structure – the softer parts alternating with bouncy Punjabi’ness and a guitar-laden vocal choir – is mighty neat! Shilpa Rao and Ash King, are, as always, highly effective! The song’s unplugged reprise is a great listen too! Tu meri‘s boy-band sound is punchy and wonderfully catchy. Uff has that kind of rhythm and lyrics that instantly brings a smile – good singing by Harshdeep and Benny. Benny, along with Neeti Mohan handles the title song too well, though the retro-disco sound is the clear winner! Vishal Shekhar more than make up for Happy New Year’s tedium in Bang Bang!

Keywords: Bang Bang, Vishal-Shekhar

India Wale is standard-issue Farah Khan chorus song, with carefully thought-through lyrics to evoke maximum jingoism. Manwa laage is earthy and highly rhythmic, while Satakli’s one-hook is adequately repeated to make some impact. Nonsense ki night‘s utterly corny lyrics helps the mish-mash, while Dance like a chammiya has an addictive ring to it. Sharabi sounds like something Manj Musik would have composed – typical techno-punju-pop. World Dance Medley makes an avial of everything above! Dr.Zeus’ lone track, Lovely (and its variant, Kamlee) coat a nice Punjabi folk tune with techno-wizardry and rap. Less Vishal-Shekhar, lot more Farah Khan, this soundtrack.

Keywords: Vishal-Shekhar, Happy New Year

Hariharan aces the slow, likeable melody of Neeli rangu, with Yuvan playing the folk rhythm to very good effect. Javed Ali’s Gulabi is a lovely slow-burner! Yuvan hands him a tune that has really long phrases that Javed handles confidently, to make the tune thoroughly endearing. Ra rakumara seems to be making good use of Dharmavathi raaga, and in Chinmayi’s trust-worthy singing, it only gets better. Bangaari bava and Ko ko kodi depend on Yuvan’s predictable rhythms and end up rather templatized. Prathi chota‘s retro-pop sound is pretty imagaintive and catchy! Good stuff by Yuvan, overall, on his Telugu comeback!

Keywords: Govindudu Andarivadele, Yuvan Shankar Raja

Monday September 15, 2014

I (Music review), Tamil – A R Rahman

Mersalaayitten seems tailor-made for Anirudh’s digitally-enhanced vocals; even sounds techno-enough like his own music, barring that very-Rahman’ish violin interlude. Ennodu nee‘s reprise works better than the original’s soul gospel choir where Sid Sriram laboriously force-fits Tamil; worked in Adiye, not here. Aila‘s experimentation works, though – an accessible melange that mixes techno-pop, classical opera and a surreal Hindi choir with ease! Nikita Gandhi’s new form of Tamil fits the zany, but flippant techno-mix in Ladyo. Finally, it’s Pookkalae that wins the soundtrack, with its beautifully simple and hummable melody. Despite its personal pronoun title, this is a rather modest soundtrack!

Keywords: I, A R Rahman, Shankar

Vishal Dadlani is the perfect choice for Aao na‘s grunge rock, with the composer playing with captivating guitar hooks! The song’s alternative version is the lone sore note in the soundtrack. Bismil‘s Central European sound is a complete kicker; Sukhwinder Singh and the chorus deliver Gulzar’s storified lyrics beautifully. The song’s other version, Ek aur Bismil, adds an alluring Middle Eastern flavor to the tune. Khul kabhi is as much Gulzar’s magic as it is Vishal’s jazzy goodness… and of course Arijit singing it like a combination of Vishal and Suresh Wadkar. Suresh himself songs the very-mellow Do jahaan, and along with Shraddha’s occasionally wavery vocals, and Gulzar’s phenomenal lines, the whispery melody works wonderfully. Arijit’s other song is a Faiz Ahmed Faiz classic, Gulon mein rang bhare, but Vishal uses the couplets in the most interesting manner, starting with Bara hai dard ka rishta, all in a fabulously reimagined sound! Raaga Puriyadhanashree’s innate allure helps Jhelum flow smoothly, while Rekha ends the soundtrack with a gently handled ghazal-sound, Aaj ke naam, with Gulzar ruling yet again using Faiz’s deeply resonating nazm. Haider is one of those soundtracks, like 7 Khoon Maaf and Kaminey, that has one wondering why Vishal doesn’t become a full-time composer.

Keywords: Vishal Bhardwaj, Haider, 200, #200

Friday September 12, 2014

Jeeva (Music review), Tamil – D.Imman

Ovvondrai thirudugirai may well be a song from Ilayaraja’s Neethaane En Ponvasantham! But, at some point mid-way, it could have easily been a Raja song from his prolific Kannada sojourn in the early 80s! The tune is vintage Raja and even the orchestration Imman assembles so beautifully and thoughtfully is strongly reminiscent of the veteran – this is not so much of a copy but a wonderfully assembled homage! Oru rosa too gets the mix so right – Anthony Dasan’s mock-gaana layered with catchy Latino sounds! Abhay Jodhpurkar and El Fe Choir are superb in Oruthi mele – the tune itself is mesmerizing, but the choir makes it so much more interesting and enjoyable! That ‘Dheena ragajana’ chorus Imman puts forward repetitively in the funnily titled Sangi mangi is a masterstroke – Nivas handles the tune too really well, along with glitzy sound that Imman mixes. Veteran SP Balasubramaniyam makes Enge ponai‘s pathos incredibly heart-felt like only he can, with Imman handing him a Hamsanandhi based tune for maximum impact. The very short Netru naan is a lovely listen too, in Sathya Prakash’s pitch perfect singing. After Oru Oorla Rendu Raja, Imman strikes back again with a fabulously melodious Jeeva!

Keywords: D.Imman, Jeeva, 200, #200

Keba’s electric guitar and bass are instantly alluring in Kutti poochi, adding an almost surreal layer to what is essentially a simple, resonant folk tune. Manicka Vinayagam carries Muthamil’s lyrics beautifully, while Balu’s nadaswaram plays superb jugalbandhi with the rest of the trippy sound. Poo avizhum pozhudhil builds itself into an incredibly likeable melody and there’s so much going into making this song magical – Pradeep Kumar’s mesmerizing vocals, Santhosh’s stunningly intricate tune, Keba’s bass and guitar, not to forget Santhosh’s whistle! Siddharth is surprisingly good with his singing in Prabalamagavey, breathing life into Muthamil’s absorbing lyrics about popularity, set to pulsating retro-induced electro funk sound, headlined by Naveen’s bass, that is catchy and addictive. Leon’s piano is as significant part of Yaar‘s sonorous tune, as is Dhibu Ninan Thomas’ vocals. Endi ippadi is the soundtrack’s wonderfully punchy highlight. The build-up, starting with the video-gamish sound and the stupendously captivating bass, the Indian percussions by 4 Idiots group and above all, fantastic singing of the funky gaana by Santhosh himself that towers above everything else! Santhosh is having a stellar 2014 already. Enakkul Oruvan just established him further as one of the most exciting composers currently, in any Indian language!

Keywords: Santhosh Narayanan, Enakkul Oruvan, 200, #200

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