India’s Bollywood playback singing culture is renowned globally. India’s Bollywood playback singing culture is renowned globally. The 2000s, however, saw the rise of pop, jazz, and indie artists across the country.
Hindi pop grew famous with artists like Remo Fernandes, Usha Uthup, Alisha Chinnai, and Lucky Ali among many others. Releasing independent Indian English album songs was still out of question.
By mid-2000s, bands and artists started coming up with English rock songs, and then slowly shifted to pop other modern genres of music. As of today, there are many individual acts and bands across the country giving us some of the best English singles and albums. Check out the top Indian English album songs and artists –
Best 6 Indian English Album Songs for Your Indie Playlist
1. Portrait of a Time: 2010-2016 – Peter Cat Recording Co.
Formed in 2009, Peter Cat Recording Co. is quite experimental and creative with their music. Their songs are an amazing blend of classic jazz, indie, electro, and rock.
Their album Portrait of a Time: 2010-2016 is a throwback to their journey with music. The 9-track album opens with ‘Hail Piano’, tugging at your heartstrings with its mellow beats. Second on their tracklist, ‘I’m Home’ is a very slow and soft track.
Their third track ‘Portrait of a Time’ is probably one of the best Indian English album songs one can ever come across. This beautiful jazz number with vintage vocals would make you want to listen to it while taking a stroll somewhere in Paris. ‘Bebe de Vyah’ is an instrumental, with ‘Clown on the 22nd Floor’ taking us on a nostalgic ride. ‘Copulations,’ ‘Happiness’, and ‘Love Demons’ add to the lyrical beauty of the album.
A perfect mix of jazz and old-school rock, Portrait of a Time: 2010-2016 has some of the best Indian English album songs I’ve heard to date.
2. Songs from a Matchbox – Raghav Meattle
Raghav Meattle is dubbed one of the top rising indie artists in India. He was a semi-finalist in The Stage, which gave him a platform and helped him rise to fame. A singer-songwriter and musician, Raghav dropped his debut album Songs From A Matchbox in 2018.
Raghav, in his interview with Rolling Stone India, talked about individual tracks from his album, what they conveyed, and the inspiration behind each. In his opening song ‘Bar Talk,’ he talks about his experiences when performing at clubs and bars – the continuous chatter, people, and how they never cared about the songs being played. ‘Two Left Feet’ brings in a soulful blend of progressive metal, subtly hinting at his prog roots as a teen.
His tracks ‘I’m Always Right’ and ‘One-Sided Stories’ are rather assertive, where he questions societal norms, authority, and the media. ‘She Can’ is another beautiful track satisfying our coming-of-age feels. Hinting at the online dating culture stands Meattle’s next track ‘Stood Up & Fried.’ His final two tracks ‘Better Than It All,’ and ‘Please Come Back To Me,’ are heart-warming, as the lyrics talk about his journey, struggles, love, and life.
Meattle’s album is an emotional rollercoaster, as it takes you through happiness, angst, and desperation. A mixture of pure, raw vocals and melodious instrumentals, Songs From A Matchbox would top my list of favorite Indian English album songs.
3. A World Gone Mad – Thermal and a Quarter
Bengaluru rock band Thermal and a Quarter never disappoints when it comes to experimental music and a dive into a completely parallel world of music. Their 8th studio album A World Gone Mad depicts exactly what the title says – we are in the middle of nowhere, things are happening around us, the world is burning, there is plague all around, and we still strive to exist.
Their 10-track album covers every little thing we might have felt all these days – there is loneliness, anger, disappointment, resentment, and confusion. At the end of the day, we all yearn for love and happiness. We work hard and push ourselves to reach our goals. There is hope, and there is a future we believe in.
The album is soft, with occasional elements of grunge that go perfectly with your mood. Each song is different, both lyrically – the issues it brings up, and the style of arrangement. I would personally dub this album at the top of the list of best Indian English album songs. You do not want to miss out on this masterpiece of a collective.
4. Cold/Mess – Prateek Kuhad
Prateek Kuhad has been active in the Indian indie scene since 2011. Born in Jaipur, the independent artist started gaining international recognition from 2015 with his debut album In Token and Charms. Prateek is undeniably the best when it comes to switching between and balancing his Hindi and English compositions. He tops the list of artists releasing Indian English album songs.
His new album ‘cold/mess’ came out in 2018 and topped Indian iTunes charts. This album is quite special in a way it pleases the listeners with visuals and vocals. All six tracks in his album hold significance, as they shift from one scene to another, expressing a completely different set of emotions based on the same theme. The mood varies with each song, as Prateek Kuhad experiments with his raw vocals and brings life and color to each one of them.
There is depth in his tracks, but you can sense freedom. The album opens with ‘with you/for you,’ encapsulating the fragrance of new love, a new romance. With his second track ‘did you/fall apart,’ he sings about how their little box of happiness eventually fell apart. He is sad and crossed in love.
The title track ‘cold/mess,’ brings beauty to the album. You can hear as drums and acoustics take the spotlight. Prateek sounds desperate and sad, finding a way out of his agony. He is a mess, feeling cold and vulnerable.
The mood shifts to a lighter tone with his fourth track ‘for your time.’ The heavy aura starts fading away. Prateek’s vocals do their magic. He tries to find hope and light in his fifth track ‘fighter.’ The last track ‘100 words,’ has yellow visuals. He sings about how he will continue writing songs with the hope that their love will rekindle again.
No list of Indian English album songs would do justice to the emotions Prateek Kuhad conveys with this album.
5. Triggerpunkte – The F16s
The F16s are a Chennai-based alternative/indie band, expanding their horizons towards pop and electric rock. Their music is soft, experimental, and unique – it makes you feel fuzzy, go on a long car drive, and enjoy the essence of busy streets. In short, The F16s give a new meaning to life. The list incomplete without The F16s considering how their entire discography contains Indian English album songs.
‘Triggerpunkte,’ released in 2016 is one of my personal favorites from the range of good music The F16s have put out. The word Triggerpunkte is German for different trigger points of the body. The album has 9 tracks, each with its blend of rock, alternative, and indie.
The F16s explained the meaning of their tracks in conversation with Redbull. The album opens with ‘Palladian Park,’ a place where people dream about everything they would want to do together – a home for vagabonds, wanderers, and their loved ones.
‘Cannibal Life’ is quite metaphorical in a way it talks about desire and cannibalism. Throwing light on a marital bond that wasn’t faring well is ‘Luna Zep.’ The instrumentals feel strong yet serene. A beautiful composition, Luna Zep ends with a not-so-happy ending to it. ‘Digital Dead’ calls out the hostile culture back at their hometown.
Coming to tad-bit lighthearted tracks, ‘Summer in My Lungs’ is an accurate description of any other day in Chennai. It talks about their hometown, a wonderful place to be in and enjoy nature, and the sense of freedom they experiences.
Moon Child’ would be my top pick from the album. With soft vocals, faint instruments, and a perfect hook, the song is like the perfect lullaby for the lovelorn ones, as they pat themselves to sleep.
‘You Could Use Me As a Weapon’ asks people to take to self-actualization and move towards it, overcoming the burden of fear, validation, and irrelevancy. ‘Cadillac Romance’ is somewhat similar, as it talks about conformation and the choices you make for yourself. Both convey a strong message to the listeners. Their last track, ‘Plastik Like Skin’ is an impromptu track they came up with, flexing their lyrical expertise, vocals, and talent.
If you are in search of Indian English album songs, make sure you check out all their albums – The F16s are totally worth it.
6. 30th of February – Akshit Dhall
Pune-based solo act Akshit Dhall had very recently embarked on his journey as an indie artist. His deep, caramel vocals and beautifully weaved lyrics hit you right where they need to.
Check out his beautiful music video of 30th of February –
His album 30th of February opens with ‘The Night,’ a lovely track hinting on the little sparks we feel when we meet someone we love. Dhall’s soft vocals go well with the vibe of the song. ‘Coffee,’ is a soft track with acoustics and faint percussions. You can feel the song as he yearns for someone to sit by him on a wintry morning and enjoy a warm cup of coffee. Akshit’s baritone is enough to make you feel warm in the insides – oh, especially the hook of the song!
On to the title track, ‘30th of February’ is a beautiful composition. The lyrics are warm and talk about young, innocent high school love. ‘Heartbeat’ is my personal favorite – the song is an emotional ride as we hear silent pleas and cries of someone who feels trapped, unable to find a way out.
‘Apart’ comparatively has more energetic beats and follows the main vibe of the album. The last track of his album ‘I’ll Be Famous One Day,’ is strong, and hints at a positive future; one where he fulfills all his dreams – a song that completes and wraps the album beautifully.
Though Akshit Dhall is comparatively newer to the Indian English album songs segment, his debut EP alone would make you crave for more of his honey vocals.
We mentioned quite a few rock bands up there, If you are a fan, you will probably relate to things only rock and metal fans would understand.
There are so many underrated gems in the Indian indie music industry. several artists who come up with, and are known for their Indian English album songs. Listing a few independent acts you need to check out – Easy Wanderings, Menwhopause, When Chai Met Toast, The Koniac Net, Short Round, Indus Creed, Sky Rabbit, the list is endless.
Make sure you support your local artists, especially those who put out Indian English album songs and help them grow internationally.
Discovering life through music.