Music Briefs: Action, Bala, Happy Sardar, Helen, Jack & Daniel, Marjaavaan, Miga Miga Avasaram, Motichoor Chaknachoor, Nalppathiyonnu, Pranaya Meenukalude Kadal, Satellite Shankar, Thelivu, Thipparaa Meesam & Underworld

Is it only me, or the overall quality of Indian film music has drastically come down this year? I can hardly think of a memorable album in recent months. Either they're overrun with remixes or so fleetingly engaging, everything seems lost in translation. Anyway, here's a wrap up of new music from Sachin-Jigar, Mithoon, Gopi Sundar, Shaan Rahman, and more...

Thelivu - Kallara Gopan crafts a simple yet enchanting melody in Engum Chandanagandham which also sees him double up as a singer, while Etho Rappoovil brings P. Jayachandran and Mridula Warrier for what's a haunting melodic piece.

Bala - Sachin-Jigar's breezy acoustic melody Zindagi gets a boost from Papon's heartfelt rendition, who takes the melody to a nice new, energetic high. But for that melody, Bala Hits a few notes but doesn't strike a chord.

Satellite Shankar - Mithoon ropes in Arijit Singh for Tere Sang, a soaring piece that's a perfect mix of subtle percussion and serene, twinkling sounds.

Underworld - Arike Naam finds actor Remya Nambeesan and singer-composer Sachin Warrier doing an ace job of singing the layered dubstep fusion, even as the composer duo Neha S. Nair and Yakzan Gary Pereira hit it out of the park with their enthralling arrangements.

Nalppathiyonnu - Bijibal is back with a vengeance, almost as if making up for lost time last year, and Mele Meghakkombil is an easy like, accentuated by a lilting ghatam-laden orchestration and Shreya Ghoshal's honeyed vocals.

Happy Sardar - Meri Meri Dilruba is signature Gopi Sundar, but Naresh Iyer some how makes the guitar'y melody work to a great extent. Sundar, however, has a winner on his hands with Njanakum Poovin, a captivating semi-classical melody aided spectacularly by Sithara Krishnakumar on the vocals.

Pranaya Meenukalude Kadal - Shaan Rahman's latest outing is an incredibly pleasant listen, in his trademark style, though marred by a familiarity that seeps into the work more often than not. Still, Kavarathi is an undeniably ethereal listen, as is the retro-styled Neelime, that sees Shweta Mohan and Najim Arshad handling the singing and really well at that. Mera Maula goes the qawwali route (almost like A. R. Rahman's Kun Faaya Kun), with frequent partner in crime Hesham Abdul Wahab turning a winsome rendition of the melody.

Miga Miga Avasaram - Trivandrum-based composer Ishaan Dev crafts an invigorating woman anthem in Pennirkor Theemai Seythom, with director Cheran's heartfelt lyrics for company.

Action - At this point, anything Hiphop Thamizha churns out is a pale shadow of his former self. What a pity. The sole exception is Nee Sirichalum, its tedium offset in part thanks to Sadhana Sargam's excellent rendition. Can we get more of her, please!

Marjaavaan - After Kabir Singh, here comes yet another soundtrack that mines the same Bhatt-template of pathos-soaked terrain. The saccharine overdose (Tum Hi Aana, Thodi Jagah) is not for everyone of course, but I will gladly take it over the mindless fillers and remixes that are more aural assaults in the name of music.

Jack & Daniel - Shaan Rahman brings Haricharan and Pavithra Menon together for what's a bouncy Ee Vazhi, complete with easy on the ears tropical flourishes. The rest, alas, is just about as routine as it gets.

Helen - The third Shaan Rahman outing this week, but one where he fares considerably better. Vineeth Sreenivasan hits the bulls eye with his neat rendition of Pon Thaarame and Praanante, but it's Megha Josekutty who spellbinds with her ethereal singing of the dulcet piece Kaanaatheeram.

Motichoor Chaknachoor - Arjuna Harjai's Choti Choti Gal has a lovely lilt to it, but the tune's Dil Diyan Gallan hangover is too hard to shrug off. Siddhart Amit Bhavsar, for his part, conjures a captivating acoustic piece in Aaj Jaage Rehna that gains immensely from Himani Kapoor's vocals.

Thipparaa Meesam - Anurag Kulkarni and Nutana Mohan are perfect foil for the electronic-soaked classical fusion Radha Ramanam, even as composer Suresh Bobbili crafts a classical-soaked stunner in Mouna Hrudaya Raagame, with solid purchase from singer Ranjani.