Top Tamil songs

Since I like Tamil songs and statistics so much, I did some analysis on the ~1,400 Tamil songs I’d listened to in 2006.

The trends are around the length of a typical film song are interesting. For example:

Songs have gotten longer over time. On average, a song in the 60s was 4 minutes. A song in the 2000s is 5 minutes. Each decade adds about 14 seconds to the length of a song.

Tamil songs have gotten longer over the years

But some of the old movies have pretty long songs. Thiruvilaiyadal and Vanjikkottai Vaaliban have among the longest songs on average, for example.

As a corollary, newer music directors make longer songs. While KV Mahadevan‘s songs lasted 4 minutes, Ilayaraja‘s songs lasted 4.5 minutes, and AR Rahman‘s songs last 5 minutes. Today, Ramesh Vinayagam‘s compositions are 5.5 minutes.

However, Deva seems to make longer songs than usual for a 1990s director (5.5 minutes), while Devi Sri Prasad makes shorter songs for a 200os director (4.3 minutes).


Since I rated the songs, I could also analyse my preferences. I like older songs a bit more.

I have a slight preference for older movies

My top movies list for instance, has only one movie from the 2000s, 2 from the 90s, 5 from the 80s, 1 from the 60s and 1 from the 50s.

My all-time favourite movie (for songs) is Vaidhegi Kaathirundhaal. I didn’t need the analysis to tell me that, though.

My all-time favourite music director is G Ramanathan, thanks to Uthama Puthiran, Ambikapathy, Madurai Veeran, etc. AM Raja follows, and then the great Ilayaraja. It’s interesting that AR Rahman falls below Harris Jayaraj and Deva. He also falls below MS Viswanathan, but that’s not surprising.

For quite a while, I was convinced I liked shorter songs. But surprisingly, it turns out that my preference is quite independent of the length of the song! Anyway, all time favourites short songs include:

Indhiraiyo Kaadhalan 1:02
Muthu Mazhaiye Mazhai 1:21
Yamunai Aatrile Dhalapathi 1:22
Anbana Thaayai Mahanadhi 1:34
En Azhagenna (mp3) Minsara Kanavu 1:47
Manamagale Devar Magan 2:13
Poojaikkaaga Payanangal Mudivadhillai 2:18
Suttum Vizhi Kandukonden Kandukonden 2:18
Brindavanamum Missiamma 2:48
Theerthakaraiyinile Varumaiyin Niram Sigappu 2:49

P.S.: It’s interesting that three of them have Bharathiyar songs in them.


All of this analysis was possible because I recently dumped WinAmp and moved to MediaMonkey, which lets you write your own scripts.

Try this: search for a song and listen online.

  1. hermes says:

    do u know any sites tht allows u to download carnatic numbers

  2. hermes says:

    let me know if the below link is of some mileage to you in your music research

  3. S Anand says:

    Thanks for the link, Hermes. I’m afraid I’m not into carnatic songs… my interest stops at listening to film songs.

  4. Sathya says:

    I was a little surprised that you rated G.Ramanathan and AM Raja ahead of IllayaRaja. But of course taste vary. My fav illayaraja number is “Poomalaye engum iru thol serka vaa” from Pagal Nilavu and one of the underrated song “Sangathil padaatha kavithai” from Auto Raja.

  5. S Anand says:

    Actually, I rated the songs and not the directors. I guess it just so happens that the AM Raja and G Ramanathan songs I have are better, on average, than the huge Ilayaraja collection I have. The entire analysis is completely biased by what songs I have, of course.

  6. Anand Srini says:

    Is there a correlation between the length of a song and its popularity ? Its popularity is measured on the scale of repeated broadcast on FM channels and private use in night clubs.

  7. SNambiar says:

    The statistics would have been more accurate if you consider the length of the composition viz-a-viz the length og the actual song. ar rahmans songs generally tend to have loads of music interludes bewteen actual singing. The ratings have been provided by you is it? Wish there had been a statistic indicating number of times a song has been played over the years. That way when a particular number has been played most can be tracked. Perhaps the period could have something to do with what you have been upto, check if there is any correlation between particular categories in your blog post which you seem to favour during the same time … Ok now am going over board 🙂

  8. S Anand says:

    Anand, I didn’t have any data on popularity I’m afraid. The only thing I have is the number of times I’ve heard the song, and on that, there’s a definite correlation.

  9. S Anand says:

    Sachin, yes, the ratings are mine. I considered using the ratings from raaga.com or musicindiaonline, but I find these are not too good. (They don’t consider fewer votes as a disadvantage). I do track the number of times the song has been played over time, but it’s just on my computer 🙁 and since I have only 1 year worth of data, for just 1 person, it’s nowhere near enough. Hmm… as for the correlation with blog posts… gosh that would be some analysis!

  10. Neelan says:

    wow..AR Rahman’s songs’ ratings are quite low than I’d expected 🙁

  11. Adiya says:

    Same Pinch.. even i have a playlist which has short songs.. superb..

  12. Ashish says:

    Hi Anand, I dropped by at your website from Desi Pundit search engine link. It is really interesting what you do with your scripting knowledge applying it in daily situations. I am newly converted MediaMonkey fan but I don’t know how to write JavaScripts. Would you mind sharing your favorite MediaMonkey scripts which you have picked up or written your self? Thanks a lot. And I am loving your statistical analysis of Calvin/Hobbes, Movies, Songs, everything 🙂

  13. wazim says:

    thats crap man..Rahman is the BEST EVER…

  14. swaraj says:

    What jobless idiot. The time spent on doing this could be spent on something useful. Just listen to music and Rahman has give lot of good music also. Illayaraja is all time best and MSV is an icon.

  15. P Kannan says:

    SA, Good work. It is your personal favourites. I have not listened to all the songs. This is a good start. You probably need to come up with a unbiased criteria. Forget about naysayers. There will always be plenty. There has to be intellectual discussions; and this is a start. Work to earn a living is ok but this is passion. I am glad that you have it. P.

  16. Balu says:

    My friend gave me your website link to download songs..I was just going through your other posts and you are crazy, man(In a positive sense of course!!) ..I too am really statistics kind of guy have did little of what you have did like organizing and reorganizing the songs according to different category..finally came up with year the movie released as the criteria to group it ..But anyways love your posts and statistics though it may not match my taste exactly ..I personally Yuvan ahead of Ilayaraja and Rehman even though i live 8Os music a lot..

  17. Kannan says:

    Be honest on Assesing Musica Directors! A.R is the best of all!
    Dont under estimate him just because he is a muslim!
    He is the legend! ACCEPT IT!

  18. Rangan says:

    What about MGR Classic songs from movies like Anbe Vaa, Padakotti, Adimai Pen etc etc. All songs from the above movies are Mega Blockbuster songs. Cine industry people are having thought that when taking account of songs, first will come MGR songs and then only from other actors songs.

  19. Guhaprasath says:

    I should say sir, that it is an Impressive analysis…. and done meticulously well… Such passion in music… Please Keep up the good job… Thank you.

  20. Magesh says:

    Dear Anand, Your ratings were acceptable. Good analysis. I do listen all songs from MGR songs to Yuvan Shankar Raja what i understand is Raja is all time great. however Rehman and Yuvan are good composers. All other composers can be listened at once or few times but only one legend songs can be listened always is nothing but Raja.

  21. nithin says:

    Ar rahman Superb………….

  22. siva says:

    This analysis is limited to anand. I think u interlectually reflected on your taste of music. Rahman fans has no rights to comment on your passion. its a bit suprise that you actually sat down and spent time doing this. but again please recheck you variables and you might come up with diffrent results. also wish u good luck with music and no disrespect for your tast. diffrent approach. I kinda like it.

  23. Satish Babu says:

    Just watch any music and does it ever strike you, do you realise only on music director’s song gets repeated always, now tell me what else evidence do you need to tell Illayaraja is the best.

  24. Matthew says:

    Illayaraja s tons of times better than rahman..no one has ever used flute n tabla lik maestro used..so stop comparing rahman wit raja

  25. Raj says:

    Rahman s d best one

  26. srk says:

    mattew, just listen rahmans enna solla pogirai from kandukonden kandukonden, its better than rajas musiq,if you carefully listen the song you can hear the magics,only if you carefully hear……………….!!!

  27. D. Chandramouli says:

    One of my favorites is “Andha Sivakami Maganidam Seidhi Solladi” from movie Pattinathil Bootham, set to music by Govardhan(?) and soulfully sung by P. Suseela. I urge the readers to listen to that song closing the eyes – it’s an out of the world experience. Of course, I also rate G. Ramanathan as the best – all his songs were carnatic raga based, sweet to the ears. Uthamaputhiran, Ambigapathy etc were classics. The second in rank is of course MSV-Ramamurthy combination (not just MSV), followed by KVM (Kungumam, Padagotti and umpteen others). Certain songs by AM Raja are wonderful – particularly, listen to the background start up music for the song “Oho Andha Baby” from Thenilavu. What a happy and romantic feeling the song creates! Only in Ilaya Raja songs, we can get that “mann vasanai”. Currently, ARR rocks with mesmerizing tunes.

  28. Vishnu says:

    does every one has to have a website?.. Let us move on. The cini music is an evolution like everything is in the world. SO the current directors have learned a lot from earliar ones and mix them with music from all over the world. So A.R is no better than sudhrson or any one else in that era. And mr Kannan where does muslim comes in to picture here. People like you creates bin laddens. mlet us stick to music here.