Home / Indian Music Chart / CE Year In Review: The 2021 Jukebox, celebrating the music of Tamil cinema
While we lived through 2020 hanker for normality, 2021 reminded us of the futility of making long-run plans. Seeing such a life in terms of music makes sense because, during a menstruation that frequently missed the beats, jumped scales, and was interspersed with long spells of secrecy, we all attempted to find a sense of cycle to the happenings. With such promise, movie theatres were reopened, and once again, we saw films coming out every week, with the first three months of 2021 seeing the screen of rush that has defined its final week. We were dancing to ‘ Vaathi Coming ’ and ‘ Vaathi Raid ’ ; we were moved by Maara ’ s ‘ Yaar Azhaippadhu ’ and ‘ Oh Azhage ’. Both these January releases were musical successes as well and had more than the common five-six soundtracks. The songs of Anirudh and Ghibran burst with an identity, a person, and while there were a number of much-loved albums in 2021, we saw that songs were slowly dying, and these albums served as revival .

How do we not go on to speak about Santhosh Narayanan, who not only gave albums like Jagame Thandhiram, Karnan, Sarpatta and Parris Jayaraj, but besides was the man behind the enjoyable, important single, ‘ Enjoy Enjaami ’. If Maajja ’ s Enjoy Enjaami opened up mainstream Tamil film audiences to the idea of music video as a separate entity, there was besides some controversy over the sideline of the prolific Arivu. however, this could be thought of as his year besides, given that his voice was behind some of the most crucial tracks of 2021. Be it his rap style or the reconditeness of his lyrics, the year saw the rise and surface of Arivu, who kickstarted the class with a Vijay film for which he rapped in Telugu arsenic well. His intensity was tapped in the politically charged lyrics ( Jai Bhim, Tughlaq Durbar, Jail, Maanaadu ) with some fun tracks ( Aranmanai 3, Mandela, Jagame Thandhiram ) besides showing his versatility and accentuating headliner presence ( Master, Annaatthe ).

Over the years, the number of songs in films have been on a decline. This puts fantastic pressure on composers to deliver hits every single time. This is possibly why we saw an inflow of numbers with ‘ trendy ’ lyrics in the way of ‘ Jalabula Jung ’ ( Don ) or ‘ Baahubali killed Kattappa ’ ( Sivakumarin Sabadham ). But what stood out, once again, was the exponent of melodies. What Ghibran began in Maara, Imman—who else—continued with ‘ Marandhaaye ’ or ‘ Iniya Thanimaiye ’ ( Teddy ), ‘ Saara Kaatre ’ (Annaatthe), ‘ Uthira Uthira ’ ( Pon Manickavel ), while Vishal Chandrasekhar besides pitched in with ‘ Bodhai Kaname ’ from Oh Mana Penne .
The music of this year had an important purpose—pardon me for the pun : virality. While this has always been the case with promotional songs, this class possibly saw a tectonic switch. Finding a locate in Instagram reels seemed to take precedence. The pilfer footstep of Eeswaran ’ s ‘ Mangalyam ’ song became a tendency, and the year saw tracks like ‘ Neeye Oli ’ ( Sarpatta ), ‘ Bujji ’ ( Jagame Thandhiram ), ‘ Per Vechaalum ’ ( Dikkiloona ), and ‘ Tum Tum ’ ( Enemy ) gaining traction as ‘instagrammable ‘ numbers. Did it translate to viewership for these films ? possibly the experts can weigh in .

This was besides a year in which the sounds and sights of Tamil Nadu were documented in music. And this was singularly spearheaded by who I think is the composer of this class : Santhosh Narayanan. He gave us a frequent yet profoundly impactful album in Karnan where there was experiment within the confines of the traditional constructs of our folk music music. He besides delivered a true-blue gaana album in Parris Jayaraj, and without skipping a exhaust, gave us one of the most countless albums of this class, Jagame Thandhiram. He then ended the year with Sarpatta Parambarai, in which he experimented with instruments, genres and voices. meanwhile, Anirudh continued from where he left off in Master to give us another electrifying album in Doctor, one in which even a ‘ swara varisai ’ became a ramp. Composers like Sean Roldan ( Jai Bhim ), Aruldev and Kaber Vasuki ( Aelay ), and Darbuka Siva ( Rocky ) gave us soundtracks that were not only fantastic standalone albums but besides elevated the season of the hard-hitting films they belonged to. GV Prakash Kumar, even in a apparently off class, delivered a ‘ Kaathodu Kaathaanen ’ and ‘ Nagarodi ’ ( Jail ), and ‘ Pachigalam Paravaigalam ’ ( Bachelor ), and I can ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate wait to see what he has in memory following year, with some fantastic projects lined up. Another big name who experimented with form was decidedly Yuvan Shankar Raja, whose long-pending film, Nenjam Marappadhillai found its manner to the theatres. He besides provided us with a rousing background score for a template masala actioner in Sulthan, and the celebrated Venkat Prabhu-Yuvan jazz band delivered yet again, but this time with more concentrate on the score than on songs. And so far, for all these top composers of our coevals, it was a remastered adaptation of Ilaiyaraaja ’ s ‘ Per Vechaalum ’ that went most viral. such was 2021. such is Ilaiyaraaja ’ randomness greatness.

We besides saw music video singles on YouTube that rising stars of Tamil film looked to cement their popularity with. social media stars like Ashwin Kumar and Shivangi used it successfully to stay in the public eye, and use it as a stepping stone into film .
interestingly, it was not just the movies of 2021 but even the music that turned out to have pan-Indian aspirations. This tendency gave us the extremely catchy ‘ Vaa Saami ’ ( Pushpa ) sing by Rajalakshmi for Devi Sri Prasad, and of course, Andrea ‘s ‘ Oo Solriya Mama ’ from the same film. Although RRR is gearing to hit screens in 2021, the ‘ Naatu Koothu ’ song became popular not equitable for its tune but besides for its ‘ hook step ’ that went viral on social media. These game-changers were rounded off by AR Rahman, who was separate of Tamil cinema only through the knight versions of his own 99 Songs, the Dhanush-starrer Atrangi Re (Galatta Kalyanam),  and Vera Level Sago, a single from Sivakarthikeyan-starrer, Ayalaan .

Some of the talents from Tamil film confidently staked claim to being worthy of top-tier condition with composers like Vivek-Mervin ( Sulthan ), Bharath Shankar ( Mandela ), Nivas K Prasanna ( Kodiyil Oruvan ), Simon K King ( Kabadadhaari) and Ron Ethan Yohann ( Vanam and Navarasa ) delivered credible soundtracks. While many of these numbers frequently get submerged under all the attention for the actors, the artists behind them frequently get masked under these filters. While the cultivate deserved more love, the artists excessively deserved more attention .

Tamil film seems to be going through a season of flux density, as it seems to be coming to terms with moving into new vistas, while not quite wanting to let go of the traditional way of doing things. traditional melodies exist alongside the pat phenomenon that has taken over our film. interim, though songs go viral, our biggest composers are immediately part of films that don ’ metric ton quite have songs. Spoken poetry found its way into mainstream film through Rocky ’ s ‘ Kaalam Oru Dhrogi ’, but then we besides had Hip-Hop Tamizha ’ s ‘ Sivakumarin Pondaati ’, a sung that was by and large gibberish in nature. The truth is, there are listeners for all kinds of music. With another class coming to an end, we are once again moving to the next with the hope that liveliness might barely get better. And where else do we turn to, if not music, to fuel this hope ?