There is so much cool new music in Bollywood these days, its impossible to review it all. Because so much is good, fascinating, cheesy, rocking - I'll pick specific songs that are the most interesting, talk about why they are of interest and hope that it leads you to discover and explore more.
You May Be
Singers and Composers: Vishal and Shekhar
V-S's superbly produced, swoon-worthy ballad is nearly 6 minutes - but the composers keep it fresh first by giving it superbly integrated percussion (tablas, drums, a pulsing bass) and changes in musical and vocal arrangements with every verse. Even if you aren't a certified Vishal Shekhar chamchaa like me, hearing both of them sing overlapping vocals is a treat. (Thanks for the heads up to Musical)
Haan Mein Jitni Martaba
Movie: All the Best
Singers: KK, Yashita Sharma
Powered by a bass drum and electric guitar trimmings, Martaba is the type of song that has made KK the most played voice in open top convertibles. But of note is that Yashita Sharma - who wowed us with her ability to knock Bollywood songs out of the park on last year's SRGMP - makes her debut here. She sings two verses - parts of it in those low notes that probably cost her the SRGMP crown. Someone give her the lead on a song - soon!
Don't Ever Leave Me
Movie: Do Knot Disturb
Composers: Nadeem Shravan
Singers: Shaan, Shreya Ghoshal
Nadeem Shravan's Do Knot Disturb is full of super-catchy, late 90s charm. The songs remind you of the time Bollywood music was trying to make sense of House and Hip Hop. Shaan's pokey rendition of the lyrics "O-Baby-O" are worth listening to. Shreya Ghoshal negotiates R&B territory (somewhat weakly) and moans around deliciously a bit. Much fun!
Movie: London Dreams
Composers: Shankar Ehsaan Loy
Singers: Vishal Dadlani, Roop Kumar Rathod
SEL has a trademark type of song - something they excel at and no one can quite seem to do it their way. This type alternates cleanly between Rock and Hindustani. Barson Yaron is that type of a song. Vishal Dadlani starts off vocal duties but there are parts where SEL have written vocals (high octave + fast) that would typically be Shankar Mahadevan's to sing. Instead they give it with noteworthy results to Roop Kumar Rathod, one of the most underrated voices in Bollywood.
Don't Say Alvida
Movie: Main Aur Mrs. Khanna
Singers: Sonu Niigaam, Shreya Ghoshal
Sajid-Wajid are the patron saints of dhaasu masala music. Alvida is a gorgeous melody and Sajid-Wajid sensibly keep the production minimal allowing Sonu to take over the song and remind us why he is the greatest male singer since Kishore Kumar to grace Bollywood music.
Composer: Raju Singh
Singer: Sunidhi Chauhan
Composed by Raju Singh and written by Pankh director Sudipto, Ji Jala is a song with highly programmed beats. But an entirely smoky rendition by Sunidhi Chauhan and a mood that walks a fine line between seductive and creepy completely bowled me over.
Movie: Acid Factory
Composer and Singer: Manasi Scott
Sanjay Gupta's cobbled together soundtrack for his upcoming Acid Factory is full of trip hop. But this song by Manasi Scott breaks from that theme. It is a charming, traipsy song that has old world seduction lyrics with lilting, unlayered musical arrangements.
Mann Ka Radio
Composer and Singer: Himesh Reshammiya
Himesh alternates a new baritone voice with a more guarded version of his legendary shriek and sings awesome lyrics like "full 2 attitude de de tu zaraa". Welcome back, King of Soulful Cheese. I missed you!
Movie: What's Your Raashee
Composer: Sohail Sen
Singers: Sohail Sen, Udit Narayan, Madhushree
I had not heard much of composer Sohail Sen before this CD. Alternating between hits and misses, Sohail entirely engrossed me with his work. Sau Janam is an example of a miss that could have been a hit. A gorgeous tune, a rock ballad structure, sweeping musical arrangements and one bad choice for vocals. Sohail, I understand the need to pick timeless voices - but honestly, not the best song for Madhushree to sing. Also dude, you need to get your women to sing your chorus' at a lower pitch. Trust me on this and good luck!
Movie: Aagey Se Right
Composer: Amartya Rahut
Singers: Bappi Lahiri, Suzanne D'mello, Amartya Rahut
Come on now, my phaboreet Bappi makes my list every time! Full of breathy ooh's and aah's in Suzanne's sexy voice, Bappi reclaims his (self awarded) King of Disco title and sings dreadfully romantic lyrics like "Tere bina dil hai jaise joota bina sole!"
Composer and Singer: Anand Raaj Anand
Ever heard a Sufi song laid over Roots Rock? Using two six strings (one acoustic and the other electric) and nothing else but his soulful voice, ARA infuses the standard God-Lament genre with a nifty twist.