Watch: Top Ten Hindi Songs Of 2011
Winding down and looking back at the year's soundtracks, it seems we're discovering the edge of volume and force in our music, having mastered melody back in the black and white days -- it's like we always had great spin bowlers but are now rearing a benchful of tearaway fast bowlers.
It's an exciting time, albeit not a very eardrum-friendly one. So a lot of my list of the 10 best songs in 2011 is deafening. (Yell hallelujah.) It's also a list constrained by one self-imposed rule: that no film can have more than two songs on the list, else it runs the danger of being too lopsided.
There are three films in this list with two songs apiece, and each of those albums could have justifiably claimed a couple more spots. They are clearly and unsurprisingly the best composers in the business, and they make list-making a hard but very pleasurable process.
Let it also be clearly stated that this is not a greatest hits list: there is no item number (except maybe one, if you think about it) and while I agree impact matters when looking back at a year in music, this is a purely personal ranking of 10 top-notch songs, the year's big winners.
Read and react, but most importantly, listen.
10. Ooh La La -- Dirty Picture
Vishal-Shekhar always have fun with retro, and their revisitation of the eighties is tremendously enjoyable in this gloriously silly ditty sung very, very appropriately by the one and only Bappi Lahiri.
The words wouldn't have been out of place in the 1980s, and it's frightening just how catchy those little "huh-aah" hooks are.
This is going to play at many a New Year's Eve bash.
Image: Ooh La La -- Dirty Picture
9. Aitbaar -- No One Killed Jessica
There's as much nuance as there is angst on display, and lyrically we go from hardcore, metallic aggression to melancholic shairi style poetry. It sinks deeper under the skin on every listen, and stays there.
Image: Aitbaar, No One Killed Jessica
8. Title track (Accapella Version) -- Bbuddah Hoga Tera Baap
There's a dubstep version that's pretty cool as well, and new to our parts, but this accapella version is as purely Amitabh as a song can be: which matches its terrific lyrics, riffing on both Bachchan's legacy and his indefatigable spirit.
Image: Title track, Bbuddah Hoga Tera Baap
7. Bhaag DK Bose -- Delhi Belly
There's an urgency in the song that goes well with the words, and the chorus is so infectious it dares you to not keep singing it. Which may be an inappropriate thing. (Which, in turn, may be the point.)
Image: Bhaag DK Bose, Delhi Belly
6. Sadda Haq -- Rockstar
As Mohit Chauhan gets louder and more impassioned, more raucous with each verse, we realise the very force of rock -- of rocking out harder and more forcefully -- is what is bringing about actual clarity for the singer character.
And that na-na-na-na-na interlude is concert-worthy awesomesauce. A tour de force that needs to be played over and over, as deafeningly as possible.
Image: Sadda Haq, Rockstar
5. Karma is a b***h -- Shor In The City
The lyrics are relentless in their nihilism as various noises of the city flit in and out. It's a tight track -- with a very sexy da-da-da-dum-da-da near the chorus -- and while it might not provide insight, it's a seriously spirited ride.
Image: Karma is a b***c, Shor In The City
4. Bekaraan -- 7 Khoon Maaf
The words are a marvel, and Bhardwaj's molten voice pours them out with such longing that the end result is heartbreakingly immaculate.
Inhalations, exhalations, declarations: what else do we have to breathe for but love?
Image: Bekaraan, 7 Khoon Maaf
3. Dilli -- No One Killed Jessica
This phenomenal song, this stammering masterwork of rollicking complexity and fantastic words, is a fitting ode to a truly impossible city.
Several styles meet and sarcasm runs through the song like an out-of-control autorickshaw, but in true Dilli tradition, there is also flattery. If the city cuts out a piece of you, so can this track. Wow.
Image: Dilli, No One Killed Jessica
2. Kun faya kun -- Rockstar
Ostensibly a quawalli at the dargah, this is a deceptively intricate track, worded with the precise delicacy of a master, and in Irshad Kamil we clearly now have a wordsmith to celebrate.
The brilliance, for example, in the way the line 'jab kahin pe kuch nahin bhi nahin tha...', with the genius of the second 'nahin' giving the line an unforgettable and atypical rhythm. Ah, sublime. A track that takes you away.
Image: Kum faya kun, Rockstar
1. Darrling -- 7 Khoon Maaf
Darrling, built atop Russian folk theme Kalinka, is engineered with such whimsical joy that the musical pieces fall around themselves, fitting as snugly into each other as Tetris blocks.
The words feature Gulzarsaab at his cheekiest, Russia-referencing and setting up characters with such dashing verve that the song can't help but be the public sensation -- the sansani -- it clamours for.
This one's an absolute zinger, well-suited to fatally fickle Tsarinas. It's a delicious, wicked, truly sexy song with an immaculate choice of singers: it comes to us From Rekha Bhardwaj With Love, and reason enough for placing it top of the heap is the return of the one and the only Usha Uthup.
Image: Darrling, 7 Khoon Maaf