As much as 2015 was a good year for the debutante directors, the younger musicians rose up to the occasion and made a mark. Flying through the ARRs and the HJs, there were a pack of composers who served some gems. Down below is the list of my twenty favorite songs of the year. Read on, and see if your favorite made the cut.
Before we get onto that, a special mention to two composers in Hip Hop Tamizha (duo) and Ghibran. While the former struck gold with their foot-tapping tunes and swaggy BGM, Ghibran carved out memorable music through three albums for the Ulaganayagan. Out of the trio, Uttama Villain stood out for me. His diversity and levels of experimentation took me by surprise, making it my album of the year. The songs weren’t radio-friendly, but they sure did make heads turn. In return, I haven’t placed any of Uttama Villain’s music in the 20+5, as it is something special beyond all those listed below. I have also kept away from the year-end releases such as Thaara Thappatai, Kathakali and Gethu since I’ll be giving them some more time before taking a final call.
- Thangamey – Naanum Rowdy Dhaan – Anirudh Ravichander
If you’d ask me to pick one song out of the year’s enormously huge list, it would be Thangamey. After taking some stick for his familiarity and youth-centered music, Anirudh bashed all the negativity away with this highly inventive track. Those violin synths along with the extremely peculiar tune made it a song which I still haven’t drawn out of my playlist.
- Unakenna Venum Sollu – Yennai Arindhaal – Harris Jayaraj
Right on the first day of the year, Harris Jayaraj bestowed this absolute beauty upon us. It is not easy to say no to this heartening composition, which also works thanks to Thamarai’s gentle lyrics and Benny Dayal’s wondrous job on the mic.
- Aye Sinamika – OK Kanmani – AR Rahman
If AR Rahman is all about slow poison, Aye Sinamika would be the best example to enlighten that. Though I found it a pedestrian track on first listens, I was unusually dragged to it after watching the film. The way it jogs towards the end still gets me high.
- Donu Donu Donu – Maari – Anirudh Ravichander
Anirudh waving his magic wand again. In the peppiest song of the year, he seamlessly blended together some local lyrics and a heavily addictive techno beat. And Alisha Thomas, she was the icing on the cake.
- Yeya Yen Kotikaara – Papanasam – Ghibran
Truly doesn’t take much time for Ghibran to engulf you with his achingly pleasant melodies. It really jolts me as to how simple he keeps his interludes and rhythms and still belts out lilting, memorable music. This song in particular, inherits the accent and the aura of the film to deliver a soothing product.
- Mora Saiyya – Maalai Nerathu Mayakkam – Amrit
2015 gave us a promising composer in the form of Amrit, whose Maalai Nerathu Mayakkam still stands as a grossly underrated album. In Mora Saiyya, the composer proficiently blends a simple melody with a high point that’s arguably instilling.
- Naanal Poovai – Kirumi – K
K is another unnoticed composer in the Tamil scene. His music might not be as diverse as you want it to be, but he makes sure that he has some gems in his discography. Naanal Poovai is one of those songs where a concoction of randomness ends up impressing totally.
- Eppo Varuvaaro – Oru Naal Koothu – Justin Prabhakaran
When most of the other composers were busy shouting out their rather average soundtracks, Justin Prabhakaran quietly delivered a stunning album in Oru Naal Koothu. Though every song is special here, Eppo Varuvaaro emerges out thanks to the wonderful recreation of one of the most mellifluous devotional songs in history.
- Innum Enna Azhage – Yatchan – Yuvan Shankar Raja
In an album packed with exciting, fast-paced numbers, Yuvan Shankar Raja revisited his olden days with Innum Enna Azhage. The violin bits are what will stay with you, even if you’ve not heard the song since you first listened to it.
- Kannala Kannala – Thani Oruvan – Hip Hop Tamizha
As I said it above, Hip Hop Tamizha are undoubtedly one of the best things to happen to Tamil cinema in 2015. In their most successful soundtrack of the year, they came up with this lovely melody which went places on the charts.
- Vaaya En Veera – Kanchana 2 – Leon James
Though this was one of Leon’s first songs, the fact that it was brought to the limelight is a happy one. Shaktisree Gopalan’s flawless vocals are the USP here, with the minimalistic orchestration giving her maximum space to spread her wings.
- Naane Varugiren – OK Kanmani – AR Rahman
This in my view, is the best female rendition of the year. Shashaa Tirupati proving her worth so early in her career, ably supported by Satyaprakash who almost pushes her off the stage with just a handful of lines.
- Hey Umayaal – Urumeen – Achu
Another one of those instantly likable songs which come forward to prove that all you need is a talented vocalist and one catchy hook.
- Kuiyyo Muiyyo – Eetti – GV Prakash
GVP loves his dubstep. From a small portion in Udhayam NH4 to his elaborate background scores in Gangs of Wasseypur, he has always been experimenting with the transformer noises. In Kuiyyo Muiyyo, he waits for a while and then strikes hard, quite an experimental number this.
- Piravi – Masss – Yuvan Shankar Raja
I really didn’t expect Yuvan to pick Vaikom Vijaylakshmi when I saw the tracklist of Masss. But little did I know he had a track tailor-made for her to come and stamp her class with. Lovable visuals too.
- Neeye Unakku Raja – Thoongavanam – Ghibran
Kamal Haasan and his modulations, just wow. The song might not stay with you for long, but it surely does have its moments and a fun-filled making video.
- Vaada Vaa Machi – Demonte Colony – Keba Jeremiah
This is my party song of the year. Trippy to the core!
- Kannane Kanne – Naanum Rowdy Dhaan – Anirudh Ravichander
That time of the year, where Anirudh did a Santosh Narayanan. Sean Roldan totally owned this track with his unique vocals. Repeat worthy material.
- Ambane – Asurakulam – Sathya C
Sathya C bringing out his classy side to towering results. Sadly in this industry, you have to come out in the open and promote your work to make it visible, even to those who will be interested.
- Kannameya – Eli – Vidyasagar
Vadivelu’s enthusiasm and the meaningful lyrics make this a must-listen, even after the old-fashioned instrumentations.
Justu Missu: Karuppu Nerathazhagi, Unnai Maatrinaal, Ethanai Kavignan, Azhaga Aanazhaga, Neeyum Adi Naanum
PS: Yes, you won’t find a single SaNa song here. I was disappointed with 36 Vayadhinile, but I am expecting big things from him 2016. Fingers crossed.