Thursday, December 31, 2009

Favourites 2

I continue with where I left off the last time; although this time I'll write about my favourite songs of 2009.

Be warned, fellow readers. There's no Lady GaGa or Taylor Swift on this list! (Do I see half of my readers leaving me?)

11. Green Day's 'Before The Lobotomy': Off their latest album, '21st Century Breakdown', Green Day were facing a barrage of expectations after 2004's 'American Idiot' which featured gems like 'Boulevard of Broken Dreams', 'Jesus of Suburbia', 'Wake Me Up When September Ends', etc. Green Day answered back in a way only they could. 'Know Your Enemy' was just a warning and '21 Guns' silenced many, but 'Before The Lobotomy' was a bomb. An amazing tune, wonderful lyrics (a great connection at the end too!) and a very interesting title... After all, not every song title makes you want to reach for the dictionary!

10. Black Eyed Peas' 'I Gotta Feeling': 'Boom Boom Pow' was groundbreaking and it became an instant rage too, but it didn't really connect with me. I, then, happened to listen to 'I Gotta Feeling' which sampled David Guetta's 'Love Is Gone'- a song that I don't like much too. Wonder of wonders! BEP come up with a song so drastically different from 'Love Is Gone' that I felt in instant love with it. This song, too, hit the top of the charts, though it didn't go as big as 'Boom Boom Pow'. Well, no problem at all!

9. Beyonce's 'Halo': When this song released on Beyonce's new album 'I Am... Sasha Fierce', it bore many similarities to Kelly Clarkson's 'Already Gone' which was, too, released this year on her album 'All That I Am', besides having the same writer too: Ryan Tedder, the lead singer of OneRepublic. I am more of a Kelly Clarkson fan and had heard 'Already Gone' but 'Halo' floored me. Completely. From the piano at the start which brings images of a flowing elegant waterfall to the effortless high notes, Beyonce completely lifts this song to another level. Trivia has it that this song was first offered to Leona Lewis and she said no. It would have been nice, Leona Lewis does have a good voice, but maybe this was meant to be Beyonce's!

8. 'Muse's 'United States of Eurasia/Collateral Damage': I first heard Muse in 2006 when I listened to 'Supermassive Black Hole' and 'Knights of Cydonia' on the radio but I never really took an interest in them. This year, thanks to my friend Zena's coaxing I started listening to their songs. 'United States of Eurasia/Collateral Damage' is off their new album 'The Resistance'. It is a song that has been compared to Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody' in structure and style. Well that may be taking it a bit too far, but there's no doubt whatsoever that this is a very powerful song. As with recent Muse songs, the lyrics here are political. But that's not all. The hooks, the piano and the piano instrumental, i.e. 'Collateral Damage' really holds me to the end.

7. Jordin Sparks' 'Battlefield': Partly written by Ryan Tedder! (What's with that guy? Last year, he'd written Leona Lewis' 'Bleeding Love') I didn't like 'No Air', but this was super! She has a powerful voice, which along with the piano and the drums make for an amazing song. It would have been a good contender for 'Song of the Year' at the Grammys. Surprisingly it wasn't chosen! Perhaps they felt that Taylor Swift was better! (Yes! I do have an animosity towards her!)

6. Seether's 'Careless Whispers': Who'd have guessed that a cover of an already superb song would be this good? If George Michael's original had swept the entire world, Seether's version rocked the world. The saxophone riff was exchanged by the guitar. And did it sound good! Very few covers sound better than (or as good as) the original. Pearl Jam's 'Last Kiss' is one case. I just added another to this list.

5. Mika’s ‘Blame It On The Girls’: Mika was compared to Freddie Mercury, Robbie Williams, Prince, David Bowie, Scissor Sisters & George Michael after his first album ‘Life In Cartoon Motion’ which contained the insane ‘Love Today’ & the smart yet subtle ‘Grace Kelly’. Mika’s sophomore album ‘The Boy Who Knew Too Much’ had ‘We Are Golden’ as the first single. But it was ‘Blame It On The Girls’ that had me swooning. Tap beats, funky piano, that falsetto voice and ‘did-you-just-say-that?’ lyrics all make this song a must listen.

4. Dave Matthews Band ‘Funny The Way It Is’: I was not much into DMB, although they are one of the most intelligent and creative bands around. The only song that I liked before this was ‘So Much To Say’. ‘Funny The Way It Is’ was their first single off their new album ‘Big Whisky & The Groogrux King’ which was also their first after the accidental demise of their saxophonist and founding member LeRoi Moore. Not much of that is reflected in this song though. ‘Funny The Way It Is’ has a terrific guitar riff and contains the reflective lyrics that DMB have come to be recognised by. I still am not a fan, but this song remains up there.

3. U2’s ‘I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight’: U2’s 2009 album ‘No Line On The Horizon’ sounded nothing like their previous 2004 groundbeaking album ‘How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb’. That Album had songs like ‘Vertigo’, ‘Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own’ & ‘City Of Blinding Lights’. And what did this album have? ‘Get On Your Boots’ & ‘Magnificent’??? They were like dust in front of the formerly mentioned songs. Then came along a Grammy nomination for ‘I’ll Go Crazy...’ and so I happened to give it a listen too. Thankfully the Grammys haven’t lost their sense of good music. This song totally deserves the nomination but I can’t say whether it’ll win, because both the categories it has been nominated in has Kings Of Leon’s ‘Use Somebody’ (which is also a good song) and one of my other favourites from this list (No, it hasn’t come up yet in this list)

2. ‘Iktara’ sung by Kavita Seth & Amitabh Bhattacharya, composed by Amit Trivedi and written by Amitabh Bhattacharya from the film ‘Wake Up Sid’: I never said I’m leaving out Hindi songs, it’s just that very few Hindi songs make my favourites list. This was one of them. A breath of fresh air in the movie, I was totally taken aback when I first heard this song. The guitar strumming, sounding like an international hit and then Kavita Seth’s totally rustic, unconventional voice hits out. Wow! What was that???!!! And then along with the drums comes the rousing chorus and Amitabh Bhattacharya’s voice. Well you know the rest. You all have also been probably humming this song.

1. (Yes, this is the song I mentioned in no. 3 and in no. 11 too [Yes I lied, it was mentioned before, though just in passing]) ::drumroll:: Green Day’s ’21 Guns’ – the silencer in the album, where you had to sit up and listen. ‘21st Century Breakdown’ was the most eagerly awaited album of the year. And why not? ‘American Idiot’ was a blast of freshness. Green Day did not disappoint. ‘21 Guns’ did for this album what ‘Boulevard Of Broken Dreams’ did for the previous one. (Coincidentally, they also have the same chord progression) The song featured the political lyrics that Billie Joe Armstrong prefers writing now but more than that it has become an anthem for peace, the world over, telling us to “lay down your arms, give up the fight” Again, a strong contender at the Grammys facing opposition only from Kings Of Leon & U2.

Well these were my favourites for the year 2009, although I’d like to add a few special mentions.
1. 'Pehli Baar Mohabbat' sung by Mohit Chauhan, composed by Vishal Bhardwaj and written by Gulzar from the film 'Kaminey'
2. Owl City’s ‘Fireflies’
3. Eminem’s ‘Beautiful’
4. Rihanna’s ‘Russian Roulette’
5. Sean Kingston’s ‘Fire Burning’
6. Kings Of Leon’s ‘Use Somebody’

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Favourites 1

It's almost the end of the year and every website, magazine and person is busy with compiling their 'Best of 2009' lists. Well I'm not going to stay behind. But since I am not exactly a critic (and also because I've not heard all songs or seen every film out this year) I will write a 'My Favourites of 2009' list. So here goes nothing!

My favourite films of 2009.
Well over here take into consideration that there are still around 12 days for the year to end in which 2 films that I eagerly want to watch are releasing: 3 Idiots & Sherlock Holmes. Besides I haven't watched a few biggies this year like 2012, Avatar, etc. I want to watch Rocket Singh, Up, District 9 and Inglourious Basterds but haven't got the chance yet. So with this in mind here is my list of my favourite films of 2009. This is a very BIASED list and I'm warning you now itself!!!

5. Wake Up Sid: One of the refreshing films of this year, it may have not set the cash registers ringing, but this film about realisation and change struck a chord with the hearts of many young people. A good script (though predictable ending), brilliant cinematography (I loved the office space where Ranbir & Konkona work), superlative performances and rich music make this film a must watch.

4. Kaminey: Vishal Bharadwaj earned the tag of 'Quentin Tarantino-Guy Ritchie of Bollywood' Well he thoroughly deserves it. This film glorifies violence like no other Hindi film has done before (maybe with the exception of Ghajini last year.) Snappy dialogues (Main fa ko fa bolta hoon), wacky characters, intelligent scripting (for once the audience had to guess stuff!), lilting music (Dhan Te Nan may still be on everyone's mind, but it's Pehli Baar Mohabbat for me!) and an amazing double-role-with-lisp-and-stammer performance by Shahid Kapoor (he deserves an Oscar for this!) makes this film a trippy one!

3. Dev.D: I haven't watched Black Friday but I think it's high time I watch it. Sheer brilliance, Anurag Kashyap turned Devdas on its head! It was also the first hit of 2009 in Bollywood. An unconventional Devdas in Abhay Deol, restrained performances by Mahie Gill and Kalki Koechlin, a technically terrific script with stunning visuals and cinematography, novel camera techniques (well, we're studying film in Paper 9, in which we're also studying Dev.D) make this an enjoyable watch.

2. The Hangover: The first English film in this list (and the only one for that matter. Now keep guessing which Hindi flick is on no. 1!) is also one of the highest grossing Hollywood films in India. One of the best adult comedies, this was a sleeper hit which got promoted solely due to word-of-mouth publicity. A very funny situation, some awesome dialogues, this comedy was not ike other silly ones, but one of the smartest comedies ever written. Hangover 2 is in the scripting stage right now, I'm eagerly awaiting that one!

1. Luck By Chance: You may not agree with me, but for me this was THE best film of this year. Zoya Akhtar definitely inherited her father Javed Akhtar's genes (maybe it would have been even better had she not have to share it with Farhan Akhtar) An insider's glimpse into the workings of the Hindi film industry, Luck By Chance threw open the cosets of Bollywood. From a startling beginning to the film to popped eyes in the end, Luck By Chance did not cease to shock. And mind you, it wasn't luck-by-chance that the film was great, Zoya Akhtar wrote a ovely script, paying attention to minute details. Farhan just continued from where he left in Rock On!! and went even ahead. He's an actor to watch out for. Even the supporting actors were cast bang on! Plus the guest appearances (Shah Rukh Khan got such an amazing line!!!) The music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy complimented the film greatly too. And Zoya's vision was just too scenic. Just have a look at the picturisation of the first song of the film - Yeh Zindagi Bhi.

I wanted to write about my favourite songs too, but I have to wake up in the morning. So for now I'll leave you with this. The list of my favourite songs will be out tomorrow and trust me it won't be as biased as today.