Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Best New Bollywood Music - 6

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
Movie: Aladin
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
Composer: Pritam
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!

Barson Yaaron
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
Composers: Sajid-Wajid
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.

Ji Jala
Movie: Pankh
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.

Khatti Meethi
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
Movie: 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!

Sau Janam
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!

Love Flashback
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!"

Maula (Unplugged)
Movie: Baabarr
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.


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anand said...

Don't you think that during second part of Mann ka Radio Himesh returns to his cringe inducing nasality. BTW here is someone saying that parts of the song & the video are ripoffs, have a look

Unknown said...

anand, that's his trademark. Its hard for him to leave it out of a signature song on any of his movies. Given how delicate his career is at the moment, he has to make enough changes to his personae/singing and still leave enough recognition value to tap into his core audience. You may not like it - but its there.

Did see and listen to the link you provided. You are right about the vid and the beat. But my ideas of what is 'copied' and what is 'allowable inspiration' are very lenient and not in line with the mainstream Bollywood audience's ideas of what constitutes copying.

musical said...

Barson yaron and ji jala are on my fav list too! I haven't heard the full version of "Mann ka radio", it sounded nice in the bits i found on youtube a while ago. His new style did have a tinge of vocal stress, he didn't sound too comfortable (or is it just me imagining, knowing that this is Him bhaiyya?).

Unknown said...

musical I don't know but I think its pretty funny how it might well be that he got a nose job done and people thought he was fixing his nasal voice. Even the controversies surrounding brother Himesh are so much more fun.

musical said...

He got a nose job done? I vaguely remember reading something akin to what you said next.

Wow! I mean, just wow! People actually think he did this to fix his voice?? I always thought he was super passionate about his vocal style!

joules said...

I thought singers generally stayed away from nose jobs.

I had been looking for some new bolly music and this list is keeping me busy. Thanks Aspi.

Himesh said...

For the last time people - I am an ACTOR not a singer!! What is it going to take for everyone to understand that!

KJo said...

Funniest thing I've heard since I saw Dostana last year.

Amrita said...

I think the standout track on the Radio album is the one with Rekha Bhardwaj. That woman can do no wrong.

Btw, didnt you have a little crush on Shenaz Treasurywala or am I imagining things? Because if so, Radio is your bundle of joy :D

Unknown said...

I so totally do - you have the memory of an elephant. But that woman is hard to get a hold of. Instead I think I can get Sonal to stop by and talk about Radio because I can't ignore that movie on the Drift.

pri said...

love the last song. no love for wake up sid?

Unknown said...

pri, I missed a bunch of songs because the post was getting too long. Personally really liked the mood and theme of Wake Up Sid. Great jangly, Indian pop music.