Solving the ‘What music should I listen to?’ question since 2005

I have always been in love with music. I’m sure most of us are. But my interest in music is not just in the listening part but also the ‘talking about it’ part. There is a reason for that.

Music, given that there’s a lot of it around us, always comes with the discoverability problem. ‘What should I listen to?’ is one of the biggest problems plaguing all of us. We trust our friends, peers, siblings, parents, and music reviews to decide what to listen.

When my friends in school were all listening to Western pop and rock, I did listen to them too, but I was even more interested in Indian film music. It was unique because it didn’t stick to any particular genre, included a myriad set of languages and had a lot of good music year after year! And the discovery problem was massive in Indian film music because of the sheer variety, if you include the major film music producing languages (Southern states, Hindi, Marathi, Punjabi, Bengali, primarily).

So I started writing reviews as a way to help myself and others to solve the discoverability problem. My first effort was in a Bangalore-based online magazine called The Music Magazine, when I started working in Delhi in 1999. I moved to Bangalore soon and started my own website to track music plagiarism, called ItwoFS (see http://www.itwofs.com and http://bit.ly/FC-CC).

In 2005, I started my own music review website (Milliblog) with a simple objective – I don’t have time to write long reviews and there is so much to listen to. So, how can I can quickly know what to listen to, week after week? The result was 100 word music reviews. I started reviewing film music soundtracks in just 100 words. If something really stood out for me, then 200 or 300 words. Think of it like an alternative to the stars-rating that most reviewers use (5 stars for best, 1 star for bad etc.), but my rating was built in the format itself.

There’s a story behind the name of the blog too. Like this blog is called Beast Of Traal (a character from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), Milliblog is modelled on Milliways, the restaurant at the end of the universe, from the book.

Since 2005, I have done a LOT of music reviews. And the blog has given me the opportunity to write in publications like The New Indian Express, Bangalore Mirror, The Hindu and now Filmcompanion.

As part of the discoverability-problem solving goal, I also started doing annual music round-ups – summary of the state of film music in multiple languages and top 10/20/30 songs in each language. I started this in 2008 and this year is my 11th year of making annual year-end summaries.

Since I’m sure all of you like music and film music—language no bar—is perhaps one of the kinds of music you listen to, here’s the 2018 Milliblog Annual Music round-up.

In it, you will find my picks for the top 30 songs in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and Indipop, and my pick for the top 10 Marathi songs. That’s 190 songs, in total. Plus, a commentary on the trends in film music, all written from the point of view of music composers. Music composers is my framing device to talk about music, like it could be the stars for some people, or the singers for some others.

The songs are also available as playlists (on JioSaavn and YouTube) for easy listening.

Happy listening and a merry Christmas! 🙂

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