Thursday, 31 December 2015

Top 10 Tamil Albums of 2015

***********This list includes only the movies that were released in 2015, even though some of the albums were released in 2014**********




Musically, the year 2015 was an incredible year for all music directors. While top notch musicians like A.R.Rahman, Harris Jayaraj and Anirudh rocked the charts with their soundtracks, a bunch of new and promising composers like Santhosh Kumar Dhayanidhi, Ron Ethan Yohan, Leon James, Hiphop Tamizha and Sean Roldan too dominated the music scenario with their innovative albums. Here is the list of top ten albums that made the year musically rich:

10.Thanga Magan-Anirudh Ravichander


This was a short and sweet soundtrack from Anirudh. Melodious numbers like Oh Oh and Enna Solla turned out to be chartbusters, while the song Tak Bak catered to urban youngsters.

9.Urumeen-Achu Rajamani


Composer Achu Rajamani hit the bull's eye with this album which contained scintillating numbers like Hey Umayaal and Siru Nadai. The surprise factor of the album was, even the reprise versions of these tracks were a runaway hit.

8.Romeo Juliet-D.Imman


Though Imman had lots of releases in 2015, only one could make it to the list of top ten. The single scorching number Dandanakka sung by Anirudh elevated this album to a chartbuster status. The album was also a hit for its innovative number Idharkudhaane Aasai Pattai sung by Vaikom Vijayalakshmi and the melodious number Thoovaanam sung by Vishal Dadlani.

7.Anegan-Harris Jayaraj


After a long time, Harris Jayaraj had brought out an album that was enjoyed as a whole. The terrific kuthu anthem of the year Dangamaari Oodhaari found its place in this album, while romantic tracks like Roja Kadale, Aathaadi and Thodu Vaanam were instantly likeable and topped the charts too.

6.Kaaka Muttai-G.V.Prakash Kumar


Though this was a short soundtrack, each and every number was a gem in itself. G.V.Prakash belted out exhilarating numbers like Sel Sel, Karuppu Karuppu and Manjaave Kanjachu which were well received by the listeners.

5.Yennai Arindhaal-Harris Jayaraj


Once again Harris Jayaraj struck with this exuberant album which was home to the chartbuster dance number Adhaaru Adhaaru. The immensely popular Mazhai Vara Poguthe and the melodies Unakenna Venum Sollu and Idhayathai Yedho Ondru lingered in the minds of the listeners for a long time.

4.Uttama Villain-M.Ghibran


This was such a classic album from M.Ghibran that it has achieved a cult status over the months. Right from the peppy Loveaa Loveaa to the classical Kadhalaam Kadavul Mun to the Rahmani-sh Saagavaram to the traditional play Iraniyan Nadagam to the excellent pieces of instrumentals, Ghibran came out with a sureshot winner.

3.Naanum Rowdy Dhaan-Anirudh Ravichander


This was an unexpected album from Anirudh which was melodious, innovative and pleasing to the ears. Numbers like the jazzy Thangamey, breezy Neeyum Naanum, Yennai Maatrum Kadhale and Kannaana Kanne were heartwarming and stayed on the charts for a long time.

2.I (Ai)-A.R.Rahman


'Ai' turned out to be a blockbuster album of 2015. The A.R.Rahman-Shankar combo worked wonders through songs like the quirky Mersalaayitten, the melodious Pookkale Satru Oyivedungal & Ennodu Nee Irundhaal and the rocking Aila Aila & Ladio. The songs were runaway hits and rocked the entire music industry.

1.OK Kanmani-A.R.Rahman


And there came the most endearing album of the year in the form of OK Kanmani. This soundtrack proved that there is no one to beat the A.R.Rahman-Mani Ratnam combo ever. The album contained every genre of songs and catered to every mood of the listeners. Some of the chartbusters were Mental Manadhil, Kaara Aattakkaara, Aye Sinamika and Parandhu Sella Va, while numbers like Malargal Kaettaen, Naane Varugiren and Theera Ulaa were critically acclaimed.

Special Mentions:

Papanasam-M.Ghibran

Maya-Ron Ethan Yohan

Inimey Ippadithaan-Santhosh Kumar Dhayanidhi

Indru Netru Naalai-Hiphop Tamizha

Thani Oruvan-Hiphop Tamizha

Isai-S.J.Suryah


Hope the year 2016 will be musically rich as well! :-)












Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Aranmanai 2 Music Review

Movie: Aranmanai 2

Cast: Siddharth,Sundar.C,Trisha,Hansika Motwani,Poonam Bajwa

Director: Sundar.C

Music director: Hiphop Tamizha



1.Party With The Pei-Hiphop Tamizha,Kharesma Ravichandran

The horror film soundtrack kickstarts with a high voltage number. The song is replete with digital sequences, upbeat rhythm, eerie ghost sounds and EDM loops. Topped with the effervescent voices of Hiphop Tamizha and the quirky Kharesma Ravichandran, this one is sure to be a hit with the dance floors.

2.Maya Maya-Kailash Kher,Padmalatha

A light folkish duet is up next. Hiphop Tamizha indulges an innovative blend of orchestration containing rustic sounds as well as modern elements. The number is perfect for a listen on a trip along the roads of a village. Kailash Kher's voice has an earthy tone to it while Padmalatha's sweet voice is soulful. This track might appear as an intro song for one of the female leads. A pleasant number!

3.Poraada Poraada-Hiphop Tamizha

Hiphop Tamizha zooms back to his comfort zone with this cool number. The track progresses on a soothing tone with it's lovely lyrics, EDM sounds, electronic Nadaswaram loops and racy rhythm arrangement. Hiphop Tamizha croons like a lovestruck guy. A simple romantic number that is instantly likeable!

4.Kuchi Mittai-Anthony Daasan

This track is a typical kuthu number that is prevalent in almost all soundtracks of these days. What is surprising is that it doesn't sound like a Hiphop Tamizha number. Anthony Daasan does justice with his rendition while the rhythm is foot-tapping. But there is nothing innovative in this one and it ends up as the weakest track of the album.

5.Amma (Amman Song)-Hiphop Tamizha,Malathi Lakshman,Anthony Daasan

Kollywood has seen lots of Amman songs in the past. But listening to one after a long time is refreshing. It's a challenge for Hiphop Tamizha to compose this number, but it ends up as a good product with the powerful vocals of Malathi Lakshman and some energetic devotional beats. This track may appear towards the end of the climax and might scorch the screens with its visuals.

6.Aranmanai 2 Theme-Instrumental

The theme of Aranmanai 2 begins like a typical horror theme with eerie humming and the haunting sounds of rocking chairs. But soon it veers off into some screeching rock mix and once again falls into the horror category with the ghostly humming. Overall, the theme stays true to the genre of the movie.

Verdict:

Though there is nothing much to experiment in this album, Hiphop Tamizha does a fair job in composing a good genre-specific soundtrack.

Rating: ***

Picks:

Maya Maya,Poraada Poraada

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Gethu Music Review

Movie: Gethu

Cast: Udhayanidhi Stalin,Amy Jackson,Sathyaraj

Director: Thirukumaran

Music director: Harris Jayaraj



1.Thillu Mullu-Naresh Iyer,Ranina Reddy

A peppy and youthy track opens this album by Harris Jayaraj (after a long time!). Right when we expect something out-of-the-box, Harris composes a tune that has already been composed by him thousands of times before in different templates. Comparisons apart, this trendy number is instantly likeable because of its cheesy lyrics, sultry vocals of Naresh Iyer and Ranina Reddy and digital sequencing of rhythm. 

2.Thaen Katru-Haricharan,Shashaa Tirupathi

A remarkable Harris type melody is up next. The tune oozes with melody from all its corners. What is more striking is the laidback progression of the entire arrangement and the trance-like aura that it creates with the tune. The electronic Nadaswaram in the first interlude spices up the beauty of the number while Haricharan and Shashaa Tirupathi croon passionately. Lyrics by Thamarai are romantically heartwarming. Despite all these, the song is overwhelmingly similar to Pookkale Satru Oyivedungal from Ai movie. Nevertheless, it captivates the listener!

3.Yevanda Ivan-MC Vickey,Sharmila

This number has a global touch to it with it's screeching electric guitar sections, digital sequencing and spruced up rhythm. The overloaded segment of Rap by MC Vickey & Sharmila and the ebullient chorus do little to save the song from being a boring one. There is nothing new in the tune or the orchestration. Might do well with the visuals.

4.Adiye Adiye-Karthik,Shalini

Though this number has an abundant heard before feel, it stands out due to the exuberant vocals of Karthik. It is refreshing to listen to the sweet Shalini after a long time. The entire peppiness of the number lies in the racy rhythm, bass sections and guitar strums which elevate the happy mood of the song.

5.Mutta Bajji-Gana Vinoth,Anthony Dassan,Marana Gana Viji,Ebisa

When will Harris learn to compose innovative tunes? Let it be that stereotyped folk number of every album these days, it must have some amount of experimentation to it. This kuthu number falls flat, despite an ensemble choice of Gana singers. Nothing is worthy to tell about this track. A huge disappointment!

Verdict:

Though Harris Jayaraj has composed after a long time, his old-wine-in-a-new-bottle attitude has never left him. All we get to listen is a banal soundtrack, devoid of tunes worthy to brag about.

Rating: **

Picks:

Thaen Katru


Tharai Thappatai Music Review

Movie: Tharai Thappatai

Cast: M.Sasikumar,Varalaxmi Sarathkumar

Director: Bala

Music director: Ilaiyaraaja



1.Hero Intro Theme-Instrumental

When the Nadaswaram begins in the prelude, Ilaiyaraaja captivates us right at that moment. This theme is no ordinary one. It has all the elements to scorch the screens. The essence of karakattam is brought out in this theme by the phenomenal usage of Nadaswaram and Thavil. 

2.Vathana Vathana Vadivelan-Kavitha Gopi,Priyadarshini

This gem of a folk song from Ilaiyaraaja is sure to take you back to the 80s. He composes a simple tune within his folk template that is all the way endearing. Especially the powerhouse singing by Kavitha Gopi and Priyadarshini, backed by equally energetic vocals makes it a sureshot winner instantly. 

3.Paruruvaaya-Sathya Prakash,Surmukhi

Thiruvasagam cannot get better than this. Ilaiyaraaja churns out a true classic with this heartmelting soulful composition. Carnatic music is at its purest form here with the scintillating Veena sections and the laidback rhythm. Both Surmukhi and Sathya Prakash elevate the pathos mood of the song with their pitch perfect gamaka-filled rendition. It is rare to find such heartrending classical songs in this era, but it's Ilaiyaraaja, hence it's a masterpiece!

4.Idarinum-Sharreth

Here comes yet another classical song that is done to perfection by the Maestro. This number is sure to bring tears to your eyes if you allow yourself to close your eyes, plug on the headphones and get drenched in the essence of the tune. Sharreth's heartwrenching rendition with his evergreen gamakas is sure to move your soul. Ilaiyaraaja indulges the Sarangi, Tambura and Tabla elegantly which makes it a gem!

5.Aattakkari Maman Ponnu-Prasanna,MM Manasi

A carefree song from Ilaiyaraaja takes you back to the 80s, when such lovely songs ruled the charts. Once again the vintage orchestration by the Maestro plays a major role in the tune progression. Prasanna's voice is playful while MM Manasi's bold rendition deserves an applause. The topping of this track is it's thisra nadai rhythm which is addictive. Simple yet elegant!

6.Tharai Thappatai Theme-Instrumental

If you want to feel fresh and energetic, then I recommend you pick up this theme music and listen to it. The soul of the movie lies in this theme which is filled with live orchestration, Chenda melam, Nadaswaram, Thavil, Conch sounds, Tharai thappatai, Urumi and Udukkai. Even after the track ends, it is sure to leave a lingering taste in your ear drums!

7.Aarambam Aavathu-Ananthu

Ilaiyaraaja rehashes the ethereal number Aarambam Aavadhu from the movie Thanga Padhumai, originally composed by Vishwanathan Ramamoorthy. Maestro retains the soul of the song intact, but it seems out of track in the otherwise epic album. Ananthu's modulated singing and the dialogues in between too fail to impress.

Verdict:

Here comes yet another masterpiece from Ilaiyaraaja who brings out the cultural tradition of Tamilnadu via his mindblowing tunes. The album is classically rich, mellifluous, heartwarming and thought-provoking at the same time!

Rating: ***3/4

Picks:

Paruruvaaya,Idarinum,Aattakkari Maman Ponnu,Tharai Thappatai Theme



Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Abbayitho Ammayi Music Review

Movie: Abbayitho Ammayi

Cast: Naga Shourya,Palak Lalwani

Director: Ramesh Varma

Music director: Ilaiyaraaja



1.Reena Mecareena-Piyush Kapoor

The album begins with an energetic groovy track. The song is high on energy with its foot-tapping techno beats and rock progression. Ilaiyaraaja indulges his trademark bass section in this number too. Piyush Kapoor's powerhouse vocals are an added advantage. But the track is surprising, unlike an Ilaiyaraaja one. Nevertheless it is youth-friendly and enjoyable.

2.Edhuru Choosthunna-Vibhavari

A raw and unadulterated melody is up next in the album. This melodious track has Ilaiyaraaja's stamp all over it, with his exhilarating guitar sections and symphony arrangement. Also the bass work and slight harp accompaniment create an exquisite aura for this heartrending song. Vibhavari's rendition is soul-stirring. Her sweet innocent voice is sure to blow away the minds of listeners. Soothing one this is!

3.Tholi Paruvam-Sathya Prakash,Vibhavari

This is such a number which wouldn't strike you much on the first listen. But it will grow on you as you listen to it repeatedly. Ilaiyaraaja introduces modern upbeats amidst a melodious tune and laidback singing by two brilliant voices Sathya Prakash and Vibhavari. Despite the minor glitches in the arrangement and the abrupt ending, this one still manages to make a way to the listeners heart.

4.Maatallo Cheppaleni-Karthik

Here comes a mellifluous solo that will surely tug at your heartstrings. Ilaiyaraaja weaves a simple tune and decorates it with dollops of guitar strums, harp loops and foot-tapping beats. The most remarkable feature of this song is its carefree tone. Karthik's voice effuses happiness and romance in the air. Perfect for a beautiful listen on a sunny day!

5.Kanulu Kalanu Piliche-Haricharan,Chinmayi Sripada

Yet another breathtaking melody is up on Ilaiyaraaja's sleeves. He composes a honey-dipping tune and tops it with mellowed beats, ebullient chord progression and amazing violin solo in the first interlude. Haricharan's passionate voice coupled with Chinmayi's soulful rendition takes the listeners back to 80s when pure melodies of Ilaiyaraaja dominated the music charts. Soul-stirring!

6.Okasaari O Vayyari-Yazin Nizar,Rita

The unmistakable bass section of Ilaiyaraaja is evident throughout this funky song. His usage of harp, hard rock guitars, urban beats and jazz arrangement is easy on the ears, despite the digital sequencing. Yazin Nizar and Rita put up a fantastic show with their modulated sultry vocals. Highly entertaining!

7.Saradale-Manasi,Ramya,Rita,Reena Reddy

This happy number sounds like Ilaiyaraaja's compositions from the early 2000s. Nevertheless, this track is a relaxed melody that might appear on the screen as an introduction song for the female lead and her friends. The ensemble of female singers do a commendable job with their respective rendition. Ilaiyaraaja's mellowed piano notes in the second interlude is something to watch out for.

8.Abbayitho Ammayi (Male)-Piyush Kapoor

Amidst modern arrangements, this title track retains the melodious undercurrent of the soundtrack. Though it is short, Piyush Kapoor leaves an impact with the listeners by crooning with all his heart.

9.Abbayitho Ammayi (Female)-Aparna

This is the female version of the title track. This one has a haunting undercurrent due to Aparna's eerie rendition.

Verdict:

Ilaiyaaraja composes a gem of an album which has the right mix of melody and western numbers. The soundtrack will surely cater to all kinds of listeners.

Rating: ***3/4

Picks:

Edhuru Choosthunna,Maatallo Cheppaleni,Kanulu Kalanu Piliche,Okasaari O Vayyari





Monday, 7 December 2015

Dilwale Music Review

Movie: Dilwale

Cast: Shah Rukh Khan,Kajol,Varun Dhawan,Kriti Sanon

Director: Rohit Shetty

Music director: Pritam Chakraborty



1.Gerua-Arijit Singh,Antara Mitra

Beginning with interspersed pan flute sections, this simple and sweet melody will blow your mind away right from the beginning. It will make you imagine of picturesque locations, just like shown in the video of the song starring the ultimate reel lovebirds Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol. Arijit Singh's soprano singing will melt your heart while Antara Mitra's honey-dipping rendition will make you want more. Pritam makes the song even more scintillating by weaving heartwarming interludes. Indeed a love anthem!

2.Manma Emotion Jaage-Amit Mishra,Anushka Manchanda,Antara Mitra

Pritam comes up with a party number for the younger pair Varun Dhawan and Kriti Sanon. Though the song has a cool and contemporary tone to it, it falls flat when it comes to being instantly addictive. And Pritam tries to make it interesting by adding the occasional electronic flute loops. It's Amit Mishra's show all the way while the ladies have very less to croon here. This track might do well with the visuals.

3.Janam Janam-Arijit Singh,Antara Mitra

Brilliant symphonic violin arrangement welcomes the listeners to this dreamy 90s-like melody. The melodious tune is haunting while the rhythm is sure to instantly strike a chord. And once again, Arijit Singh renders with elan, delivering the emotions of love in a melancholic manner. Antara Mitra's mellifluously husky voice is pleasant on the ears and adds to the serene mood of the track. A chartbuster love ballad from Pritam!

4.Tukur Tukur-Arijit Singh

For those who love funny and cheesy tracks, this one is sure to stay in your playlists for a long time. The song is completely foot-tapping with the addictive 'tukur tukur' chant and the Goan style beats. The hero of the soundtrack Arijit Singh excels with his quirky rendition, amply supported by chirpy chorus and dulcet guitar strums. When there were melodies all the way, this song adds color to the album.

5.Daayre-Arijit Singh

Once again Pritam strikes with a heartrending melody. This song would be played during a few bittersweet moments of the lead pair. The breezy tune in addition to the soulful rendition by Arijit Singh and the tranquil modernized beats makes this song a gem in the album. This number is sure to grow on the listeners with each listen. Scintillating one this is!

6.Premika-Benny Dayal,Kanika Kapoor

When you see names like Benny Dayal and Kanika Kapoor, you would know that you're in for a treat. Yes, this number is the ultimate party track that is found in almost all Bollywood albums of these days. With racing tempo, housemix beats, engaging 'premika' phrase, pepped up rendition by the lead singers, this song is already a chartbuster in itself. Get on the dance floor!

7.Theme of Dilwale (DJ Chetas Mix)-Arijit Singh

There is nothing much to brag about here. It's a mashup of all the above mentioned songs with Arijit Singh's voice occasionally quipping in. DJ Chetas does a commendable job in indulging the housemix techno rhythm for all the songs. Maybe played during the end credits.

Verdict:

Though predominantly melodious, Dilwale is a mixed bag from Pritam. He does justice to this much awaited Rohit Shetty film by delivering an engaging soundtrack.

Rating: ***3/4

Picks:

Gerua,Janam Janam,Daayre,Premika

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Bajirao Mastani Music Review

Movie: Bajirao Mastani

Cast: Ranveer Singh,Deepika Padukone,Priyanka Chopra

Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Music director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali



1.Deewani Mastani-Shreya Ghoshal,Ganesh Chandanshive,Mujtaba Aziz Naza,Shahdab Faridi,Altamush Faridi,Farhan Sabri

Opening with an ebullient powada (Marathi folk poem) about the queen Mastani in the versatile vocals of Ganesh Chandanshive and other backing vocals, this song veers into different genres and emotions. When Shreya Ghoshal takes over the melody, it is pure bliss. Accompanied by the pleasant oud/mandolin progression, she croons passionately, with her mellifluous voice melting at the listener's heart. The qawwali like end to the song is a brilliant thought by SLB. Heartrending start!

2.Aayat-Arijit Singh,Mujtaba Aziz Naza,Shahdab Faridi

There is only one word that can describe this song- Marvelous! SLB proves that he is the one to approach, if anybody wants to listen to a soothing classical number. This romantic track oozes with melody from each and every nook. Especially Arijit Singh's soprano singing makes it an amazing listen, along with the qawwali part by Mujtaba Aziz Naza and Shahdab Faridi. Heavenly!

3.Malhari-Vishal Dadlani

Here comes a celebratory track which is colorful right from the beginning. The screeching trumpets in the prelude reminds you of Tattad Tattad song from Ramleela movie. Comparison apart, this number is utterly enjoyable with its upbeat rhythm and Vishal Dadlani's powerhouse singing. Sure to scorch the screens.

4.Mohe Rang Do Laal-Pandit Birju Maharaj,Shreya Ghoshal

Shreya Ghoshal returns in her melodious avatar in this yet another pure classical number. This sweet ghazal has been composed by SLB with utmost excellence. The haunting flute sections and Pandit Birju Maharaj's kathak chants in the interlude prove SLB's versatility. Though this song might not appeal to all types of listeners, it will surely attract all true music lovers. Mellifluous!

5.Albela Sajan-Shashi Suman,Kunal Pandit,Prithvi Gandharva

SLB recreated Ustad Ali Khan's classical song Albela Sajan in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam by roping in Ismail Darbar. Once again, he recreates the magic after sixteen years by rehashing the track by himself. This version is more grandeur in terms of the rhythm arrangement and the group rendition by Shashi Suman, Kunal Pandit and Prithvi Gandharva. However, it falls a notch below the HDDCS version. Yet, it strikes with its uniqueness!

6.Ab Tohe Jane Na Doongi-Payal Dev,Shreyas Puranik

This romantic track is sweet and soothing on the ears on the very first listen. SLB indulges mild dhol beats and a Laal Ishq like arrangement to take this tune further. The new find Payal Dev sounds like Harshdeep Kaur and her voice is honey-dipping. Her melodious vocals are complemented well by Shreyas Puranik who reminds a few of 90s ghazal singers.  A slow poison!

7.Pinga-Shreya Ghoshal,Vaishali Mhade

A girlie dance track is up next in this fabulous album. SLB composes the tune with dollops of Marathi elements. The rhythm also sounds similar to hundreds of Marathi dance songs. But this number is highly engaging in its own terms. Especially there is Shreya Ghoshal behind the mike to keep the listeners in awe, amply supported by the Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge 2009 winner Vaishali Mhade. The latter too does a commendable job with her fruity vocals. Chartbuster!

8.Aaj Ibaadat-Javed Bashir,Shahdab Faridi,Altamush Faridi

On the very first listen, this song is remarkably similar to Laal Ishq from Ramleela. But when keenly listened to, one can find an unique serene aura to this scintillating classical number. Javed Bashir excels with his Hindustani rich vocals, getting his gamakas right in all the places. He is artistically supported by Shahdab Faridi and Altamush Faridi with their Sufi-like rendition. The Sitar plays a major part in this lilting melody. Plug your headphones and get drenched!

9.Fitoori-Vaishali Mhade,Ganesh Chandanshive

Vaishali Mhade gets to expose her versatile crooning skills with this seductive slow dance number. Ganesh's powada chant in the prelude and the radiant chorus in the interlude try to pep up the track, which has otherwise got an ordinary tune. However, the folksy beats and Vaishali's vocals will make you return to this track.

10.Gajanana-Sukhwinder Singh

Once again, the screeching trumpets begin this devotional track. It sounds like a Ganesha chant in the prelude. But Prashant Ingole's heartrending spiritual lyrics and Sukhwinder Singh's powerful rendition make this track not to be missed. If you listen to this energetic song on a lazy morning, your day would be radiant and cheerful. Vibrant ending!

Verdict:

Sanjay Leela Bhansali is another composer who would surely have other music composers make a run for their money. His compositions are not just musically rich, they are purely divine! It is hard to find soundtracks like Bajirao Mastani in this urban generation. SLB is a whiff of fragrance in the hoard of modern quirky composers. Take a bow SLB!

Rating: ****1/2

Picks:

Everything except Malhari and Fitoori.