Sunday February 3, 2013

Top recent listens (January 2013)

Posted by Karthik

Manjha, Shubhaarambh & Meethi boliyaan – Kai Po Che (Hindi – Amit Trivedi)
Kai Po Che is only the 2nd time (or is it the 3rd) that I’m adding a soundtrack in the Top Recent Listens list of a previous month even though its Milliblog review was in the subsequent month (though, in the first 3 days of the subsequent month). This is that kind of a soundtrack that loses a 200 worder because of the limited number of songs. The music is consistently Amit – layered, uses wonderful instruments aptly (Esraj, Shehnai, Bagpipes, Continuum…) and all coming together with fabulous tunes! Here’s to the most exciting composer in Indian cinema today (sorry, Rahman fans…and going by recent outbursts, Ilayaraja fans!).

I still have you, Whisper & Ooh wee – Love, Charlie (Charlie Wilson)
After fighting addiction and prostate cancer, the former lead vocalist of The Gap Band makes a comeback with the solo album Love, Charlie. The result is a charming collection powered entirely by the man, despite his recent collaborations with current faves like R.Kelly, Justin Timberlake and Snoop Dogg, that do not feature in the album. The singing and style is firmly old world and that lends a lot of charm!

Pothi vecha & Nariga uranga – Annakodiyum Kodiveeranum (Tamil – GV Prakash Kumar)
This film is the 2nd of GV Prakash Kumar’s Big 3, this year – if you add Bala’s Paradesi and Vijay’s Thalaiva in the list. Like Paradesi, the result is low-key – functionally apt, but not something that stands out. Nariga uranga is a personal favorite, for the music and Vairamuthu’s lyrics.

Krishnudi varasulantha, Adi enti okkasari, Edu vaadu evado ledu & Life ante – Swamy Ra Ra (Telugu – Sunny M.R)
Swamy Ra Ra is the one of the best debut efforts I have heard in some time. Everything about the soundtrack poised and confident; besides the tunes, even the sound quality is impeccable. The composer offers 3 songs to Arijit, and though language purists may find fault with his diction (that I cannot understand given my limited Telugu knowledge), purely as a singer, he is amazing – with 3 dramatically different songs.

Bezubaan & Man basiyo saawariyo – ABCD Any Body Can Dance (Hindi – Sachin Jigar)
For a Dance-based film, it is heartening to see the makers and composers not loading the soundtrack with music that is suited only to dance; instead they opt for a wider range of songs and perhaps are looking to add a diverse variety of dances. That’s clever strategy, actually, since the focus seems to be not on dance, per se, but on overall choreography. From that perspective, more than the obviously dancy tracks, my favorites are Bezubaan and Man basiyo saawariyo!

Ali ali, Roya & Main tere paas hun – Press Play (Indipop – Adnan Sami)
Adnan’s comeback album is a mighty competent effort. The punchy prayer in Ali ali is a great listen, while Roya and Main tere paas are the kind of tracks that would do enormously well if shot as videos with a leading heroine in each… a strategy that worked very well for Adnan earlier.

Lat lag layee – Race 2 (Hindi – Pritam)
This is one of my favorite recent songs by Pritam. His choice of Shalmali Kholgade is bang-on target and the way she croons the Aa aa aaye after Lat lag layee is particularly enticing, almost as if she was ad-libbing with an accent!

Arere arere & Allah allah – Jabardasth (Telugu – Thaman S)
Actress Nithya Menen competely rocks the very-Pritam’esque Arere arere – she sings it like a pro! The other song that works big time in the soundtrack is the hyper catchy Allah allah that is Shreya Ghoshal’s superb show!

Tujh sang lagee & Kaun mera – Special 26 (Hindi – M.M.Kreem)
Everytime some Bollywood director brings back M M Kreem aka Keeravani (Telugu) aka Maragadhamani (Tamil), I’m astounded at the fact the man is so less heard in Hindi. The strange thing is that is Hindi music sounds diametrically different from his Telugu staple! However, as Uday K Panthagai points out in the review’s comments, Keeravani seems to have used the base of his lovely Telugu song Poothavesini (from the film Sangamam) to create Kaun Mera… though the result is decidedly Bollywood!

Title song & Rubaru – Saadi Love Story (Punjabi – Jaidev Kumar)
Jaidev has all that a Bollywood composer needs… his music is increasingly crossing boundaries. It’s time the man makes his Bollywood efforts more pronounced.

Pandagala & Idhedho bagundhe – Mirchi (Telugu – Devi Sri Prasad)
Pandagala stands out for its unique rhythm structure, besides Kailash Kher’s vocals. Idhedho bagundhe, to be honest, uses the standard build-up to a now-familiar hook, but Devi has by now mastered this format that it continues to sound pleasant!

Theeradhu poga poga (Tore matwaare naina), Manamay (Rab di) & Iravinil ulavavaa (Tere mere pyar ki) – David (Hindi/Tamil – Maatibaani, Prashant Pillai)
David’s soundtrack is one of the most eclectic and diverse in recent times. The sheer range of artists assembled by Bejoy Nambiar is baffling, but the result is a superb amalgamation breaking the ‘too many cooks…’ adage. But yes, besides Maatibaani’s brilliant Tamil/Hindi-French mix in Theeradhu poga poga (Tore matwaare naina), my favorites remain Prashant Pillai’s compositions.

Quizàs Quizàs Quizàs – Passione (Andrea Bocelli)
Andrea Bocelli’s new album is largely disappointing, given the Italian tenor opting to rehash some well known Mediterranean and Latin American cult faves. The only thing that stands out for me is his duet with Jennifer Lopez, Quizàs Quizàs Quizàs (Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps).

Jhalkiyan – Kaafiron Ki Namaaz (Hindi – Advait Nemlekar)
The soundtrack itself was largely pensive, perhaps owing to the film’s theme and what stood out for me in debutant Advait Nemlekar’s music is Jhalkiyan, a song that reminds you of Rahman’s Yeh rishta kya from Meenaxi (in terms of the basic backgrounds), but holds it own going by its tune.

  • http://www.facebook.com/vivek.pulickal Vivek Mathew Pulickal

    After Rahman…yeah…most exciting…:)

  • http://twitter.com/kinngsarkar Imon Sarkar

    Don’t want to be too critical,Amit Trivedi is a great composer,very innovative,very unconventional.But considering him the most exciting composer of Indian cinema today is a bit too much.He has a long way to go.Look at Rahman-an album like Kadal comes once in a blue moon.He reinvents himself with almost every soundtrack.He is constantly trying to do something different,whatever the result may be.Then there is Vishal Bhardwaj,always coming up with new ideas in his movie soundtracks.I feel both of them are a mile ahead when it comes to innovation and trying to do something off-beat.
    I like Amit Trivedi a lot but also at times a kind of monotony creeps in.I loved Aamir,Dev D,Iktara(Wake up Sid),Udaan,Ishaqzaade,Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana and now Kai Po Che but also in soundtracks like Ek Main aur Ekk Tu and English Vinglish he seems to be repeating himself.But still he is a brilliant talent and its only fair to give him some more time and then compare him with the legends.

    However I wish to say this is what I feel and I fully respect your view.
    Jai Ho! ;-)

  • http://twitter.com/gopicm Gopi Chand

    Arjith telugu diction is OK . Better than Neevena neevena (Kedi )

  • http://twitter.com/SahierHussain Sahier Hussain

    Mr.Karthik, I have lost all respect for your reviews. We get it that you like Amit Trivedi or you get a cut to promote him like crazy on your blog. I don’t know whats the deal.

    Your bias against Himesh is well documented and i don’t want to kick up the same dirt and ash again. But to not have Hookah bar in the top recent listens is just delusional. It is been a chart topper. I understand that music is personal. But, a chart topping song not even making it to the top recent listens is just ludicrous. You have lost all your credibility. You have proved, you are just another one of those south indian fan boy’s.

    • milliblog

      While I cannot comment on your overall opinion above, I do find the last line a bit odd, like Paddy Raghee’s comment below. If I was promoting Amit Trivedi – a non-South Indian – that last line doesn’t make much sense.

      • http://twitter.com/SahierHussain Sahier Hussain

        This is what you wrote about a Amit Trivedi techno song.

        “Badla nazara, beyond the frivolous techno sound, carries enough nuances – like quirky wordplay and the squeaky title hook – to hold one’s attention.”

        “Hookah bar is terrible techno” is all that you had to say about Himesh’s techno song. Now if we do a vote between them two, I wonder which song would prove more popular. Now, popular doesnt necessarliy mean better.

        However, it is generally an important factor to measure any product’s success. And an OST like Aiyyaa, gets 200 words. I wonder how many still remember atleast one song from that soundtrack.

        From my experience, most south indians appreciate technically sound products. Yes, well orchestrated and layered music is brilliant. But if all songs are composed like that, would we not be bored? Variety is the spice of life. And some things might not be your taste.

        Sometimes good melody can make up for sub par orchestration or singing. I am sure you agree Mr.Trivedi is not even close to a decent singer and yet you don’t seem to mind his singing.

        When you write a blog that is meant to be objective, you are expected to be so. Consisitent Himesh bashing just because of personal prejudice just shows your immaturity and inability
        to handle someone’s success that you don’t favour. To give you an analogy, a lot of football fans hate Utd and Sir Alex Fergusson. But most sensible fans in that lot will agree that
        they are a very good team and Sir Alex is one of the best managers.

        Style can be personal and intangible but success is tangible and cannot be written off.

        P.S: I know Amit Trivedi is not south indian, but then you get a cutback for promoting him , don’t ya? :P

        • milliblog

          1. Not all songs that come under the tag ‘techno’ are same. There are many other nuances that one could add to it and make techno + something else.

          2. ‘Popular’ is the point, in your comment. I’m not from the ‘popular’ line of thought – I can only write what I think in my head.

          3. This blog is hardly ever objective – I could say so, but that would be plain untrue. On a broader note, there is no ‘objectivity’ overall – everything is a point of view when it comes to arts.

          4. I wish I get paid to promote Amit. Really.

          • http://twitter.com/SahierHussain Sahier Hussain

            OK. Fine. So I will presume this is a very subjective blog.In that case, maybe you shouldn’t review Himesh soundtracks and waste your precious time. What’s the point? Maybe copy and paste the same words. “Nasal, no orchestration, etc”.

            One last thing.. Do you really think hookah bar is a totally worthless track? Just techno crap? Is that what you really feel? What if it was a Amit Trivedi track? Would that have changed your opinion? Maybe something for you to ponder in your free time.

          • milliblog

            Excellent idea – to not waste precious time and avoid reviewing Himesh’s soundtracks. But one small issue there – this isn’t your blog… so I think I’ll continue doing what I feel is right.

            On Hookah Bar – it’s time that there are at least a few people who do not like the song and who fall outside the purview of ‘popular’. Why is that so difficult for you to accept? Why can’t I be the exception and not like the song? How would that affect Himesh’s popularity if one person and his blog does not like that song, particularly if the song is really so popular with so many listeners? Got it? You should stop assuming that the entire planet likes Himesh – then things will be easier to live with.

            As for not liking an Amit Trivedi soundtrack -

            http://itwofs.com/milliblog/2012/10/10/luv-shuv-tey-chicken-khurana-music-review-hindi-amit-trivedi/

            http://itwofs.com/milliblog/2011/06/15/chillar-party-music-review-hindi-amit-trivedi/

            http://itwofs.com/milliblog/2011/12/27/ek-main-aur-ekk-tu-music-review-hindi-amit-trivedi/

          • http://twitter.com/SahierHussain Sahier Hussain

            Of course, it is not my blog. If it was, I would be commanding, not suggesting, you to stop reviewing Himesh’s tracks. And is it not a bit immature to react to comments with statements like “This is my blog, i can say write I want”? Please remember, readers are the most important aspect for a writer. Antagonizing them is not the smartest move.

            Of course you can be the exception and you are not alone. There will be a million others like you. And I don’t like most of his songs either. But you don’t seem to get the drift. Just because you don’t like it or i don’t like it, doesn’t make it bad. And that is what I was pointing at. Like the analogy I gave in my previous comment. Like it or not, success cannot be written off. That’s the reason I questioned the absence of the song in the top lists.

            However, from your previous comment my presumptions about the blog were cleared. This is not to be treated as a review blog. Just personal ramblings of someone who likes music. Because, reviewers generally atleast TRY and keep their mind open and be as objective as possible. Not work with preset prejudices and preconceived notions.

          • milliblog

            Is it also not equally immature to assume that one blog’s review could make or break Himesh’s success and request that blogger to not review it?

            And, “Just because you don’t like it or i don’t like it, doesn’t make it bad”? Bad, in which perspective? If I say bad, in my blog, it means bad, in my personal opinion. That’s not universal truth and I never claimed it to be.

            If I don’t include his top-selling, mega-successful songs in my list, it means I, as an individual, do not like it.

            And reviewers’ objectivity lives on till that reviewer does not like something you like. Then, your perception about him/her will change. That’s the bloody beauty of the human mind – everybody has opinions. The fact that you think I work with preset prejudices and preconceived notions is an opinion – yours. I’d never dare question it like the way you question my dislike for Himesh’s top songs. Reason? Simple: you have every right to hold that opinion – all I can do is a polite, ‘Sorry, I disagree’, and move on with my life.

          • http://twitter.com/SahierHussain Sahier Hussain

            I am not sure why you are tying Himesh’s success to your blog. I never said that. His or for that matter anyone’s compositions will hit jackpot or not, irrespective of any reviews, End of the day, jantaa is maalik.

            All I said was about your consistent Himesh bashing. Even his decent songs do not make it to your lists? Now again, you would say what’s decent good for you is not good for me etc etc. Hence, i mentioned success, because that is more tangible than like dislike.

            I cannot speak for others, however as a reader it’s fairly easy to make out or at least get a feel of a writers objectivity, Yes, this cannot be done reading a single article. But over a period of time, reading multiple articles, you generally get a drift. Most people who have followed your blog for a while, will agree that your reviews of Himesh’s soundtracks are harsh, to put it mildly. You did quote a few examples of your Amit trivedi negative reviews. But please compare that to your Himesh one’s, even the tone and words used are vastly different.

            You might be thinking I am the biggest fan of Himesh’s. I am not. I like music. i like some of his songs just like anyone else’s. I don’t have any favorite singerscomposers, just songs i like and others I don’t. it really doesn’t matter if it’s AR rahman or SEL or AT.

            Yes, we can disagree and move on. That seems the best option. Like I said, some presumptions of mine about this blog have been cleared in the course of this discussion. And if i knew it before, I wouldn’t have commented in the first place..

            Cheers to good music..

          • http://twitter.com/SahierHussain Sahier Hussain

            Also, please don’t take this as a rebuttal. I will still follow your blog as I find this as a good source to new music. So even, if we disagree on some bits, I still admire your commitment to doing reviews for so many languages and soundtracks.

          • Abhinendra Singh

            Itna pain hai to matt follow karo aur jaake unka blog dekho jo Himesh ke baare mein achcha likhein

      • suhas shetty

        Karthik, dont be intimidated by such foolish comments. Ur reviews r bang-on. I mean look at this guy. he s arguing bout hokaah bar not being on ur list. need we say more. Dear Mister sahier hussain, GET A LIFE

  • http://www.facebook.com/raghee Paddy Raghee

    Mr. Shaheer I agree to most part of your view towards Karthik. But what is that ‘south Indian fan boys’?. Crazy fans are same, be it north or south. Pls, do not create verbal wars ;)

  • Rohan Sharma

    Kafiron ki Namaaz is an excellent movie album. I wonder why u haven’t reviewd it. Jhalkiyan is my fav as u pointed out in the post. Yeh raat monalisa is fun too…usha uthup like never before!!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/balas.prakash Prakash Bala

    Exactly, Amit Trivedi is the face of d new brave Indian music. I reckon Aamir is the #1 album of the last decade. Aamir is a timeless album. Dev-d changed the way the music is defined in Indian cinema. Dev-d is the first post-modern musical album in Indian music. Its not easy for any AR fans to accept this fact. But it happens as it happened to MSV then to IR.

  • Jaydeep

    I agree completely. AT’s music is fresh and approach to subjects he attempts very unique. Only beef I have with him is, him singing too many songs. IMO his voice is not expressive at all and delivers only one abstract expression all the time. Be it Baari Baari or Ayesha title song or Manjha.

    About Jaydev Kumar, again I agree, dude is long overdue for a big bollywood ticket. His compositions and sound design are at par with any mainstream bollywood composer.

    Lastly agree again with Shalmali shines in lat lag gayee. IMO Shalmali is undoubtedly the best thing happened to bollywood music in recent times.

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