The underrated of 2013, david, sutta kadhai


2013 has been an impressive year in the film music front with all the big guns firing and the celebrated talent having consolidated their positions with a barrage of crowd-pleasing stuff that’s hijacked the airwaves. But there’s been much more, ones which may not have, or rarely at least, received radio airplay or spammed your FB and Twitter feeds.

So here’s a handpicked selection of songs from some of this year’s more subdued releases. The selection features songs that are either high on self-expression, artistry or entertainment or all three.

'Vazhkaiye’ from David (T-series) - I pinned a lot of hope on this album hoping that it would pave the way for more eclectic artists to contribute to the film industry but it seemed like the average listener, mirrored by radio station preferences, migrated towards the more familiar names on this album. This downtempo chillout composition by Bramfatura is not just a collection of quiet chords and calculated beats, there is a great amount of heart and soul too - a really big deal for an electronica tune. The heart rests on the fantastic melody and the soul shines through from every bit of Siddarth Basrur’s singing.

‘Penne’ from Vidiyum Munn (Sa Re Ga Ma) - Don’t be fooled by the sluggish intro or the dormant voice for it best serves as misdirection to the haunting melody that Girrish G weaves next. Susheela Raman’s dazed singing reminds me of Grace Slick, so does her sudden surge of energy that leaves the tune wrapped around your head. The purists may lament over her accent but I think it makes the track sound even more enticing. The way the instruments try to creep up from under Susheela’s vocals is worthy enough to listen to the track over and over again. The stop starts, the layered instruments, the singing, all make up to be one of my personal favorites of the year.

‘Kalvane’ from Megha (Raaja Digital) - Now I can’t tell if the Raja fans will rejoice or go up in arms seeing this entry on the list. But it is undeniable that Ilayaraja has created a cocoon for himself that takes him deeper and further away from the contemporary. Words like ‘dated’ and ‘vintage’ are persistently attached to his music and it’s hard to argue with that if you’ve listened to Nila Soru, his other album release in 2013. Megha too has moments that left people murmuring the same, but a song like ‘Kalvane’ opens you up to Raja’s real agenda and shows you why he’s still the master. The track is so soft and dreamy like it’s made from a pillow of clouds. Only feather touches make for the playing and all the instruments seem to fit comfortably in their frequencies without attempting any sort of one-upmanship. I think this tune is heading towards ‘classic’ status many years down the line.

‘Yele Yele’ from Sutta Kadhai (Sa Re Ga Ma) - Dear Madley Blues, why did you have to subject one of our most beloved senior citizens to this lung exercise? MSV huffs and puffs his way through this lively track and still sounds like dynamite. There’s something about the man’s voice that can light up a room even after all these years and it’s he who fires up the tune. There’s another spirited singer, Harish, on board but MSV clearly steals the show. You could play this on repeat just for MSV but you’ll be quick to notice the stupendous banjo and fiddle work, and then listen to it again!

‘Kalyanam 2.0’ from Kalyana Samayal Sadham (Think Music) - Frankly this is not a song you’d find me playing often and I find the title and the idea a bit corny. But this is not all about me, it’s also about recognizing quality work and this track found its way into the list because it was so tastefully done. Such Modern Kalyanam (sic) ideas can go absolutely awry but Arrora has complete control over the situation giving it a respectable rehash and with the help of a superb female vocalist, Keerthana, and some cheeky lyrical tweaks he makes this an admirable tune.

Honorable mention:

‘Thoongama’ from Nalanum Nadhiniyum (Sa Re Ga Ma) - A first listen may indicate that this sounds like something Imman would come up with and one hopes that the new composer on the block, Ashwath, could blossom just like Imman did with more such tracks. However I do get the impression that Ashwath might have found himself slightly overwhelmed and weighed down by this strong vocal melody because he grossly underplays the interlude instrumentations. He keeps the focus on the melody with the assistance of quality singers but as the saying goes - a good tune is a good tune is a good tune. And this is mighty fine one, commercially viable even!

If you’ve heard these tracks before give yourself a pat on the back. If you haven’t, well give it a shot. Hopefully there will be more such gems to unearth in the coming weeks. Hopefully!

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