Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 220: On Spotify | On YouTube
Back after another week’s break, courtesy of my travel! All the songs are available on YouTube, but Spotify is missing Jaane Bekhabar from Badtameez Dil because it belongs to Zee Music and the label and the streaming giant don’t see eye-to-eye.
Yeh Nazar – I Love You (Shor Police: Clinton Cerejo & Bianca Gomes) – Hindi: There’s something distinctly retro about the tune, and even the way Adnan Sami sings the melody seems to accentuate that feeling. But the orchestration moves between that retro style and a more modern sound, and that makes the song definitely interesting. Captivating song, well produced and well sung!
Jee Karda (Title Track) – Jee Karda (Sachin-Jigar) – Hindi/Punjabi: If this album had released a decade ago, I may have liked more songs, but in 2023, after having gotten really, really used to Sachin-Jigar’s sound, only the title song stood out for me. And much of the song’s charm is because of Rashmeet Kaur’s singing – her detached, edgy vocals lend the song a unique feel.
Jaane Bekhabar – Badtameez Dil (Sandman) – Hindi: The ‘Jaane na Jaane na Jaane na kyun’ phrase quite literally saves this otherwise basic song. Sandman’s tune is largely functional till that line and the composer uses it to great advantage all through the song. Rahul Jain’s vocals, along with Shubhangi Joshi, help a lot too.
Ponniyamma – Harkara (Ramshanker) – Tamil: The song, by debutant composer Ramshanker, did sound like early-day Rahman (that’s a compliment), and the start seemed a bit too simplistic. But Ramshanker makes up for it in places, particularly the way he chooses to end the pallavi, with the really charming violin musical piece (Rangappriya Sankaranarayanan). The overall ethos of the song too is charming, using native instruments, and excellent singing by Pradeep Kumar and Sinduri Vishal.
Vannarapettayila – Maaveeran (Bharath Sankar) – Tamil: None of the songs from Maaveeran (released so far) have worked for me. Vannarapettayila, thankfully, is an exception. The bouncy rhythm and catchy tune have instant appeal. Yugabharathi’s lyrics, turning a bat into a lovebird because it fell in love, adds to the fun. The surprise is the choice of singers (imagined, for fun, as Sid Sriram and Shreya Ghoshal in the promo of the song!) – both Aditi Shankar and Sivakarthikeyan (the film’s leads) do a very good job to add their unique voices to the tune’s advantage; Aditi, in particular.
Salana – LGM-Let’s Get Married (Ramesh Thamilmani) – Tamil: I was disappointed the song was not about biryani and salna, but jokes apart, the song’s appeal felt very similar to Harkara’s Ponniyamma in terms of how it is structured (and not the sound). The start felt middling, but the melodies get better as the song progresses in both songs. Singing-wise, Adithya RK does a fantastic job.
Na Na Na Na – Vivek Mervin (Indipop/Tamil): The effortlessly catchy Vivek-Mervin son – the duo has made it almost a kinda habit 🙂 That 2-liner ‘Na na na na nanaivathenadi’ seemed very, very familiar (to some extent, took me back to the first 2 lines of the 4-line set from Suresh Peters’ Mugilena Mazhaiyena’) but overall, this is an easily and instantly likeable song.
Ghan Garjat – Raga Boyz (Indipop): Oh wow, this is Pakistani Coke Studio material! The punchy rhythm and snazzy guitar to adorn the lovely Miya Malhar-raaga-based Bandish works wonderfully well because the singers, sibling trio Wali Hamid Ali Khan, Inam Ali Khan, and Nayab Ali Khan do a terrific job! This comes across particularly well as they end the song on a stupendous high with just their incredible singing!
Geejaga Hakki – Sanjith Hegde x Charan Raj (Coke Studio Bharat) – Indipop/Kannada: Finally, the almost moribund Coke Studio Bharat is showing signs of life! While the Kashmiri song released at the end of May (Kya Karie Korimol) made for an interesting listen, the way they mixed 2 completely disparate parts (the 2nd one featuring Aashima Mahajan) felt totally forced, marring the flow, and diluting the impact of an otherwise fantastic song. Thankfully, the new Kannada song, from the Karavali Yakshagana tradition, fares better – and, what a joy it is to hear Kannada in the Coke Studio stage! Sanjith’s tune, with excellent production from Charaj Raj, has a unified melodic theme, though Prasannakumar Hegde’s part seemed as tacked on as Arifullah Shah Rafaee’s vocals in Urudhi!
If there’s something else that bothered me, it is the fact that quite a few of the vocal elements seemed prerecorded and not being performed live. Consider Prasannakumar Hegde’s multilayered vocals during the first interlude – I mean, he is seen seated right there on the stage, singing the opening lines, and yet, we hear his digitally layered singing! And there’s a children’s chorus at the end of anupallavi, with sounds of children laughing, etc. And there is no trace, on screen, of who is singing those behind Sanjith’s voice! Wasn’t Coke Studio supposed to be a live music show, as an effort?
Sayyāh – Lucky Ali, Mikey McCleary (Indipop/Hindi): Melody-wise, this is perhaps not the best of this duo, but Lucky Ali’s voice, these days, feels like meeting an old friend with whom I have spent a lot of wonderful moments in the past. That alone qualifies this as a listenable song!
The Land Of Spice – Taraana (Indipop/Instrumental): Remember the 4-women string quartet Bond that made waves with its synth-pop music back in early 2000? How can you forget the rousing Victory? Now, Imagine an Indian equivalent, but with 2 violins, led by sisters Ragini and Nandini Shankar, peppered generously with flamenco guitar and mridangam – that’s The Land of Spice. The musical interplay between the violin and other elements (including vocal jadhi) is hugely imaginative, as is the frenetic finale!
Rokto – Alboe, ft. Prajna (Indipop/Bangla): While the entire album by Vedant Chandra aka Alboe (Love Languages) makes for a pulsating listen, the one song that easily stood out for me is the racy Rokto. There’s a throwback in the tune with a disco’ish, 80s-pop flourish, and Prajna’s Bangla lines beautifully gel with the sound.