49 days into 2009, a 'very best of 2009' should be the last thing on everyone's mind but with sundry radio channels giving away awards to really bad songs by calling them Listeners' Choice, I needed to quickly convince myself that 2009 was actually one of the best years for music in recent times.
Mann ka radio notwithstanding.
My top 10 songs of last year. Feel free to disagree.
Arziyaan - Delhi 6
One of the most potent musical combinations of the times - Prasoon Joshi and AR Rehman - come together to create a song so helplessly beautiful that its almost incredible. A picture of a petitioner standing in front of a dargah and the innocence of his faith are brought out vividly. Daaarein daraarein maathe pe maula, marammat muqaddar ki kar do maula.
And we only remember Mohit Chauhan's Masakkali. Well, that deserves to be remembered too...
Iktara - Wake Up Sid
Dazzled by Ranbir Kapoor's multi-coloured socks, Konkona's performance almost gets forgotten in Wake Up Sid. (She did another lovely number in Luck By Chance, where Farhan Akhtar's lisp took centrestage.)
To come back to this song, a new lyricist and composer (Amit Trivedi) evoked some beautiful images of dripping dreams off closed eyelids (jo barse sapne boond boond, nainon ko moond moond). A new singer - Kavita Seth - added to the rough-edged beauty.
Don't miss the male version either (by another new voice, Amitabh Bhattacharya).
Aaj din chadheya - Love Aaj Kal
To my mind, this is the Song of the Year and Raahat Fateh Ali Khan single-handedly justified the brouhaha called Aman Ki Asha with this song. And Pritam wiped off his 'copy-cat' image with this album.
To Irshad Kamil's simple lyrics about a day blossoming like no other, a Sikh couple romanced each other. And the only thing beautiful than the song was the Calcutta of 1950s, where it is set!
Shukran Allah - Kurbaan
Any song shot in Delhi using soft focus gets an added fillip on the video. This song hardly needed that.
Prasoon Joshi wrote surprisingly cliched words - by his standards - as he talked about baahon mein jism khil gaya and saanson mein chain mil gaya but that did not take away from the soothing melody by Salim Suleiman.
Prem ki naiyya - Ajab Prem ki Ghazab KahaniUnlike the previous entrant from his film, this song had a lot of contribution from Ranbir Kapoor as his boatman-step became the rage at all the sangeet parties of Delhi! I should know. My wife did it herself.
Pritam came up with another hit soundtrack as all the songs of the film were eminently hummable. This faux-Bhojpuri ditty (hum pe giraike bijuriya... apni naiya paar tu lagaile) was the best of the lot.
Mere sang tu chal zaraa - New YorkWhen you hear Sunidhi Chauhan's voice coming from Katrina Kaif's body, you realise this is as close to female perfection you will ever get (with the sole exception of Asha Bhonsle's voice coming from Parveen Babi's body)! And that aare aare aare chorus in the remix version was just fantastic...
Who composed? Surprise, surprise - Pritam again, who should be given a Composer of the Year ahead of Oscar Rehman, just to ensure that he does not lift tunes in the future if not for anything else!
Ranaji - Gulaal
A mujra invoking 9/11, the US invasion of Iraq and mineral water (jaise Bisleri ki botal peeke ban gaye Englishman... WTF!) would be laughable at the best of times. But then, Piyush Mishra is no ordinary composer. Or lyricist. Or actor. A strange energy permeates this song. As a strange originality takes over this reprise of an iconic song from Pyaasa and this 'spoof' of an anthem from the freedom struggle.
Emosanal Atyachar - Dev D
Many people would have credited Iktara to Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy because they were the lead composers of the film and one of India's most famous composers. But the composer of Iktara - Amit Trivedi - churned out Dev D, a very inventive score going from a band-baaja-wala wedding song to a sort of a techno number.
And Emosanal Atyachar ruled the discos and even spawned a TV show at last count. Add to that an energetic dance by Mahi Gill and you have smoking smoking nikle re dhuan!
Dhan Te Nan - Kaminey
If there is one song which beat all others at the DJ consoles, it was the ultimate Bollywood sound effect resurrected by Gulzar and Vishal Bhardwaj and sung maniacally by Sukhwinder and Vishal Dadlani.
So, it 3 AM and the last song is coming up. You do a bottoms up of your Old Monk and ask that woman in the little black dress for a dance. Aaja ki one way hain yeh zindagi ki galli, aage ek hi chance hain. Aage hawa hi hawa hain, saans hain to romance hain...
Give me some sunshine - 3 Idiots
2009 was the year of the off-beat singer. And nothing better to demonstrate that than this song which is going to be the biggest college anthem for some time to come.
Suraj Jaggan, lead singer of rock band Chakraview, sang this simple song (almost like a ballad) written beautifully by Swanand Kirkire and sums the film wonderfully in its 4 minute span. Awesome.
Trivia: Suraj Jaggan not only sang the Zehreelay song in Rock On! last year, he was the on-screen performer as well. Yup, he's the guy who played the tattooed head honcho of Channel V in the film.
Trivia. Links to great music. My two-pennies. Happy? Now, go to sleep.