10. ‘Padi Padi Leche’
Padi Padi Leche Manasu
Music director: Vishal Chandrasekhar
Composer Vishal Chandrasekhar seems to have got himself a nicer groove in Telugu, compared to Tamil (despite Jil Jung Juk). The title song of ‘Padi Padi Leche’ is an excellent example, with its soaring melody and superb vocals by Armaan Malik and Sinduri Vishal.
9. ‘Pillaa Raa’
Music director: Chaitan Bharadwaj
RX 100‘s music was earlier credited to ‘Tunemeone’. It turned out to be a studio in Hyderabad and the composer is Chaitan Bharadwaj, making his debut. ‘Pillaa Raa’ is the album’s easy highlight, with its lovely melody made even better by Anurag Kulkarni’s singing. That ‘Pillaa Raa’ hook is a complete earworm.
Music director: Sandeep Chowta
Glad to see Sandeep Chowta getting back to films, after focusing on independent music. Ambika Jois beautifully handles the catchy tune in ‘Saiyaan’ that offers some fantastic guitar work in the anu pallavi and smoothly blends in a sufi soundscape too.
Music director: Tanishk Bagchi
Lover is quite a unique soundtrack for Telugu. The film imports the Bollywoodish approach of multiple composers (a rarity in Telugu film industry). And it also has only one Telugu composer in that multi-composer mix – Sai Kartheek. The other composers are Arko, Rishi Rich, Ankit Tiwari and Tanishk Bagchi. Incidentally, the songs by Ankit and Tanishk are the soundtrack’s best. Tanishk’s ‘Adbhutam’, featuring Jubin Nautiyal and Ranjini Jose has a lovely semi-classical fusion base featuring guitar/mandolin and nadaswaram. The melody is absolutely gorgeous.
6. ‘Inthe Inthena’
Music director: Ajaneesh Loknath
Kannada composer Ajaneesh Loknath made his Telugu debut in 2018 with Nannu Dochukunduvate. It’s a hugely impressive debut, using his excellent form from Kannada music even in Telugu. ‘Inthe Inthenaa’, the pick of the album, is absolutely lovely. Naresh Iyer superbly holds the deeply involving melody with his singing, while Ajaneesh’s musical flourish shows in the orchestration. Maarten Visser’s sax, in particular, is brilliant, and so is the very-Ilayarajaish anu pallavi.
5. ‘Oohalu Oorege Gaalanthaa’
Music director: Vivek Sagar
From Catharsis to Pelli Choopulu, Sheesh Mahal, Yuddham Sharanam, and now Sammohanam – it’s heartwarming to witness the steady, confident progress of a promising composer. Sammohanam is Vivek Sagar’s best this year. ‘Oohalu Oorege Gaalanthaa’ is every bit a Vivek Sagar song, and that’s something given the young composer’s relatively limited repertoire. The gentle jazzy feel is something Vivek does so well. Plus, he has Haricharan’s spellbinding singing (along with Keerthana) to go with it.
4. ‘Gaali Vaaluga’
Music director: Anirudh Ravichander
Agnyaathavaasi was Anirudh’s long overdue Telugu debut. ‘Gaali Vaaluga’ is the pick of the breezy album, with its foot-tapping calypso rhythm, Saroja’s ‘Dilruba’ interludes and splendid guitar by Keba. On top of this, Anirudh’s entire tune has a free-flowing nature that he programmes and sings really well.
3. ‘Rangamma Mangamma’
Music director: Devi Sri Prasad
Devi Sri Prasad hasn’t changed one bit and within his niche, he continues to surprise, looking at newer ways to redo his style of music. Rangasthalam is his best in 2018. He hands MM Manasi a cracker of a catchy song in ‘Rangamma Mangamma’, and she handles it brilliantly. The lilt is infectious.
2. ‘Maate Vinadhuga’
Music director: Jakes Bjoy
Jakes Bejoy made his Telugu debut with Taxiwaala, rather soon after starting out in Malayalam and moving to Tamil. ‘Maate Vinadhuga’ is a mighty impressive melody featuring the current blue-eyed singer of Telugu film industry (Sid Sriram) after the massive success of ‘Inkem Inkem’. The catchy ‘Maate Vinadhuga’ hooks, though Sid sounds his usual self, lending the tune a generous and comforting familiarity.
1. ‘Inkem Inkem Inkem Kaavaale’
Music director: Gopi Sundar
This is Sid Sriram’s astounding show. He is so, so good with the vocals, and literally carries composer Gopi Sundar’s unusual, lush, slow-burn melody. The combination of Sid Sriram’s incredible singing and the Neelambari raaga-based melody works wonders, while Sumesh Parameswar’s minimal guitar background props it beautifully and the choice of veena for the interludes works wonders too.