2015 saw a plethora of music albums getting released. Newbies like Leon James & Hiphop Thamizha made us take notice while veterans like Ilayaraja & AR Rahman were still in top of their game. Harris Jayaraj,GV Prakash & Yuvan Shankar made a comeback of sorts while Ghibran went all out experimental this year. Anirudh had plenty of releases and some indeed stood out while Santhosh Narayanan (who was our composer of the year in 2014) had a quiet year. Let us look into the albums that stood out in 2015 (In no particular order):
Ghibran grew leaps and bounds with this album and delivered his career best. All the songs seemed majestic with the arrangements being on par with the likes of James Horner, John Williams. Ghibran didn’t make any compromises with the setting of the album and used the symphony capaciously. With a fusion of Theyyam & Villu Paatu, ‘Uttama Villain’ was an album to be cherished by film buffs and not for the typical frontbenchers. The effort & experimentation was just ambitious and rare to be tried on Tamil cinema level. ‘Saagavaram’ was goosebumpy while ‘Lovea Lovea’ would go down as one of Kamal’s best rendition in recent times. Tracks like ‘Uthaman Kadhai’ & ‘Uthaman Introduction’ also brought out a new leaf and the instrumental OST’s that came along with the audio cd are the stuff of a genius.
Naanum Rowdy Thaan
Composer: Anirudh Ravichander
After a flashy, local album in ‘Maari’, Anirudh delivered a complete romantic peppy fest in ‘Naanum Rowdy Thaan’. Consisting of tracks that got released one by one, the fans lapped all of them and the entire soundtrack turned into a chartbuster album. Tracks like ‘Thangamey’ & ‘Kannaana Kanne’ saw Anirudh reinvent himself while ‘Yenai Maatrum Kaadhale’ was soulful on the ears. ‘Neeyum Naanum’ worked too along with the help of brilliant cinematography.
Composer: AR Rahman
‘OK Kanmani’ was an album that had tracks that didn’t amalgamate in our imaginations. Being a return to roots romance movie for Mani Ratnam, the songs were expected to be simple. But ARR delivered some of the most complex tracks in recent times and relieved himself out of his recent debacles. Although nowhere near the combo’s previous movies, the songs indeed sounded fresh and had an aura around them. One must say the recall value of the songs improved after the fabulous visuals. It is not Rahman’s best but even a half blazing ARR is miles ahead of the rest. ‘Mental Mandhil’ & ‘Kaara Aatakaara’ ruled the FM’s while ‘Sinamika’ & ‘Theera Ula’ gave a quenching effect during the movie. ARR was also at his naughty best in ‘Parandhu Sella Vaa’ & ‘Naane Varugiren’ is bound to go down as one of his complex compostions ever.
Composer: Hiphop Thamizha
‘Thani Oruvan’ was an album that oozed style & texture unlike many staple commercial albums these days. The soundtrack was entirely script oriented & it was good to see Hiphop Thamizha venturing out showing his versatility. The re-recording became a rage once the movie got released and the score when Arvind Swamy makes a swag entry was a scream! The album also had tracks like ‘Kannaala’ & ‘Kadhal Cricket’ which were chartbusters but the cake was taken by ‘Theemai Dhaan Vellum’.
Composer: Harris Jayaraj
‘Yennai Arindhaal’ was a solid album that had tracks in a variety of genres like dubstep, melody, western, fusion, folk, etc. Most of the songs worked instantly and added great value to the movie. Harris Jayaraj-Gautham Menon’s combination proved once again to be fruitful and showed how Harris can deliver when he works with his favorite director. While Harris was at his romantic best in ‘Mazhai Vara Pogudhey’ & ‘Yennai Arindhaal’ catered to the most explosive hero song in recent times, ‘Unakenna Venum Sollu’ created a own niche for itself. Without any second thoughts, Yennai Arindhaal is amongst Harris Jayaraj’s better work in recent times.
Composer: Leon James
Leon James ought to go down as the ‘find of the year’. The music of KO 2 sounded extremely fresh & urbane with Leon James showing it to the world that he has some serious potential. Apart from delivering a tribute song to the Late APJ, KO 2 had some enormously successful chartbusters like ‘Kohila’ & ‘Kannamma’. The composer also showed his hand by trying out a dubstep number in ‘Vidaadha’.
‘Thara Thapatai’ being a landmark film for Ilayaraja mostly hit the right zones. Ilayaraja stuck to the genre of the movie without any deviations because of the landmark. It was time to celebrate Ilayaraja the composer for delivering 1000 albums than to just talk about his 1000th album alone. This album that got released in the far end of the year is bound to go in the history books for the sheer magnitude of the composer’s achievement. Tracks like ‘Idarinnum’ & ‘Paaruvaaya’ were experimental and heavy while the light ‘Aatakaari’ had the veteran’s trademark.
Composer: GV Prakash Kumar
‘Kaaka Muttai’ was an endearing album where the songs were soulful & soft, striking a neat presentation from GV Prakash. After a crowd pleasing album in Trisha Illaina Nayanthara, GV Prakash showed a clear contrast and propelled the movie forward with simple tunes like ‘Maanjave’ & ‘Karupu Karupu’ in Kaaka Muttai.
Composer: AR Rahman
‘I’ marked the return of the highly successful combination of Shankar-AR Rahman yet another time. The simpler tunes like ‘Ennodu Nee Irundhaal’ and ‘Pookale Satru Oyvedungal’ were here to stay while the peppy ‘Mersalaayiten’ and the Shankar-esque ‘Aila Aila’ got enriched by the visuals. Upon release, ‘I’ was indeed the talk of the town thanks to the grand audio launch which was graced by some big names like Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Composer: Yuvan Shankar Raja
Yuvan was back to his groovy best with ‘Yatchan’ – reminiscing the Yuvan of the old. ‘Yatchan’ kept Yuvan’s sizzling combination with Vishnu intact. The songs were foot tapping bearing the style of Yuvan Shankar Raja. Tracks like ‘Konjalaai’ & ‘Innum Konjam’ were hot favourites on the radios. However, it was sad to see the visuals & the movie failing to do justice to the wonderful tunes.
Composer: Anirudh Ravichander
Anirudh rounds off the list with yet another album of his - ‘Thanga Magan’ . The album was a short & neat attempt with all the songs sticking to the territory of melodies. The entire album was breezy & left the listeners in a feel good space. Tracks like ‘Oh Oh’, ‘Tak Bak’ were lapped up by the youngsters while ‘Jodi Nilavu’ & ‘Enna Solla’ were pleasant to the core.
Notable Mentions: Imman had a fantastic start to the year by delivering ‘Dandanakka’ from ‘Romeo Juliet’ but tapered off by the end of the year. Also, Harris delivered the ultimate local song of the year in ‘Dangamaari’ from ‘Anegan’ but the other songs in the album didn’t quite live up to that. Thoongavanam had a cracking glitch metal track in ‘Neeye Unaku Raaja’ while Vijay Sethupathy’s ‘Mellisai’ had a spontaneous melody in ‘Mazhaikulle’. The end of the year also saw ‘Jil Jung Juck’ being released which piqued the listener’s interest for its unique presentation & a jazzy soundtrack. ‘Aambala’ had some commercial tunes that did well on the radios while Papanasam’s ‘Yen Ya Yen Kotikaara’ became a favourite among elder crowds. Santhosh Narayanan had a decent outing in Jothika’s comeback vehicle ’36 Vayadhiniley’ while debutant Santhosh Dayanidhi started well in ‘Inime Ippadithaan’. According to market leader Suriyan FM, GV Prakash Kumar's Mutham Kodutha Mayakkari from Trisha Illana Nayanthara is the most played song of 2015 in their channel.