The Silly One

Paul is a core romantic, thats a fact well documented in any annal of rock music history. But there is a dimension in Macca’s romance that I haven’t seen much elsewhere . So many times Macca seems an outcast in the world of Beatles and the contemporary rock scene in general. While Stones were giving us Sister Morphine, Lennon gave us Revolution and Harrison gave While My Guitar Gently Weeps Macca at similar times was chugging out Yesterday and When I’m Sixty Four (admittedly an old composition).

Two of the more prevalant trends in Rock music can be seen as,
a) Poring into the darker side or express change/angst/anger/rebelion or else
b) going into the real world things bringing them to life and music instead of the more abstract relations and feelings. [Time, Money, Car, Sea, Guitar, Drugs etc] {This obviously is among the oldest concept in poetry writing}
Paul thus comes from such a background which valued material things and the changing times more than the usual old concepts of love and romance.

True to the soul of rock music, Paul also presented a counter. But his counter was of a different breed than most rock artists around. An analysis of some of his lyrics presents a counter but with love and happiness against negativity/sadness or such feelings. By the virtue of him written on so many topics, it can be a crime to brand him or his songs belonging to a particular line of thought. For my analysis thus, I will chose few of his songs which stay true to my hypothesis. His stories so often start with a sad thought or a heartbreaking event.

At the end of the end – The End of the End
The grand old painter died last night – Picasso’s last Words
When I get older losing my hair many years from now – When I’m sixty four
They say that people have had enough of silly love songs – Silly Love Songs

Paul! Perhaps more than the experimental Beatle,was and to date remains a Pop star, a fact brought forth much better on listening to his solo work or the albums with Wings.

The lyrics mentioned above clearly don’t present the loving rosy picture as would be expected from a pop artist. Instead they have all the makings of a rock song beginning, the ideal platform to burst into tirade accompanied by a solo or two and some ingenuous drumming.

And thence comes perhaps the most beautiful part of Paul’s song writing. The light seems more enriching and enticing when its coming from the end of a dark tunnel and that’s where Sir James Paul McCartney brings a different life to his songs. The depressing situation created, shall be rebelled against, with hope shining out of the travesty.

Thus come the later lines of the songs I’ve mentioned in the first place which show the light coming after the darkness of the first line of his songs

Is the start of a journey to a much better place… On the day that I die, I’d like jokes to be told – The End of The End
Drink to me, drink to my health, you know I can’t drink anymore – Picasso’s last Words
I could be handy, mending a fuse… Every summer we can rent a cottage in the Isle of Wight – When I’m sixty four
Some people want to fill the world with silly love songs….
‘Cause here I go again – I love you, I love you – Silly Love Songs

Of these songs, the one that has inspired me most is the one called “Silly Love Songs”. It can be quite obviously seen that the rock fraternity at the time was against the Pop artists and the trend of writing Silly love songs as a rockhead would term them. And yet here comes Paul, supposedly one of the Messiahs of Rockheads daringly rubbishing any thoughts harboured by the people and fans of his ilk (rock world). This song, thus, presents Paul as a rebel, rebelling against the original rebels (rock musicians) presenting the ideas of equality, universal acceptance as against the high handedness of the people. A clever retort whose point is well taken by Rolling Stones (magazine).

He mourns the death of the greatest painter of the age, he talks of his very own end, the senility and disabillty of the old age is pondered upon or he just gives a big fuck you to the rockheads. And yet the most inspiring thing is, all this, still comes in the sweetest of wordings and the nicest ‘pop’ular music full of love, laughter . 🙂

Favourite Albums Deux

As soon as I conceived the idea of having album covers compilation, I had two things fixed, the no of albums would be 16 and each thumbnail 300×300 which would give me a collage of the size 1200×1200, a very comfortable size. My first list comprised 28 albums which condensed to 20 with only a little heartbreak. But the transformation from 20 to 16 was so heartbreaking and guilt inducing that I was quite tempted to have a 1600×1200 collage to have 20 albums. Finally decided against it, but the guilt, since then hasnt let me live in peace and thats why I am here with a list of 6 more albums, would have ahd 5 but difficult to have such a lopsided collage.

Of the movies that missed out in the first list, 2 have been the oldest surviving albums in my library, one is the sweetest music ever and me the proverbial good/sweet guy couldn’t be rude to that movie, another album, just one song of it was continuously on my play list all(most) all 24 hours during my UPSC Mains exam (comes out to be around 9 days), an amazing piece fo music, another is a cult classic with so many of my favourite songs missing out coz of its genre while the other was perhaps more of everything that Dev D was yet a few shades dark. So here I present albums list -2

Lakeer – If Saathiya is the oldest album in list, this one isnt much too new. Wiki describes the movie as “biggest disaster of the year at the box office” but A.R. Rahman, the magician is the only reason that this name hasnt ever slipped out of my radar. Offho Jalta hai in Asha’s voice is just sensual, Rozana by Viva is perhaps the only cheer leading song in Hindi and its as peppy as you would want it to be, Shehzaade in Kunal Ganjwala’s voice gives a magical feeling, nachley has Daler Mehndi at full pomp while the two soft songs Sadiyaan and Paighaam are exactly to my liking.
Fav Song : Sadiyaan

MTV Unplugged in New York – Everyone Nirvana story starts with Rape Me and Smells like Teen Spirit and then once you’re done with them, you explore some more of Nirvana. I too went on the similar lines and the first ‘other’ song of Nirvana I liked was Come as You are which was followed by Lake of Fire then came Plateau followed by Pennyroyal tea, Plateau, Jesus dont want me for a Sunbeam, the man who sold the world. Every song in this album is a grunge classic and I havent even mentioned Dumb, Polly, Where did you sleep last night. The one reason I didnt include it in the first list beside the scarcity of places was that I have hardly ever listened the album on a go but weighed on song to song, this is as good as an album can get.
Fav Song : The Man who sold the world

Raanjhanaa – I had fallen in love with the title track and never came out, I loved Tum tak and didn’t get bored, I was just amazed by Tu Mun Shudi, I had just absolutely adored the Rahman croon, Aise Na Dekho, Piya Mileneg was the perfect soul searcher, I thought I had enough of the album and then I discovered the song Banarasiya in December and it was magic unfolding, it couldnt figure out how I had missed out on this jewel. An album whose 3rd-4th ladder song could keep me captivated and calm enough during UPSC mains exam certainly deserves lots of kudos and definitely a mention in an all time list.
Fav Song : Raanjhanaa/Banarasiya

Saathiya – The first album to break into my albums compilation and since, has never had any scare of being pushed off the pedestal, the last movie kicked out of the last 16 list mainly because of being another Rahman movie in the list and losing out on a song to song basis to some heavyweights. The album has all that a Rahman album has, the soul-searching rahman crooning number, the different in every way songs, some great music and an absolutely magical song. The album came in our school time and I dont think many guys would have not imagined themselves riding an Enticer as Vivek does with the song O Humdum Suniyo Re playing on the earphones. Alas we were kids and all we got was cycles and scooties but the dream remained and so did the album in my play list.
This album was the sole reason behind putting up another list, my heart just wouldn’t forgive me for leaving out THIS movie.
Fav Song : Saathiya/O Humdum Suniyo Re/Chupke Se/Banjar/Aye Udi udi – just can’t pick up one

Wake Up Sid – Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy have given us a lot of great pop music, they’ve given us DCH,KHNH to name the least but the thing with pop music is (unless its Paul-the-love-sage-Mccartney) is that it doesnt have too long a shelf life in my library. The pop albums will rule my charts when they come but their magic wanes off until I only listen to selected songs. Wake up Sid doesnt have too many songs just 6 to savour but the gamut that S-E-L have put up, has a lot of soul, lot of softness and lots of feelings to just win me over for an eternity. Once you have seen the movie, it’s just impossible to not swoon over the songs which convey the same cool, loving and happy feel which the movie also conveys but even without that, there are some gems which stand on their own.
Fav Song : Iktara

Welcome to Sajjanpur – Amrita Rao is cuteness personified, Shreyas Talpade is the definition of a nice guy and they both meet to bring out an amazingly good and cute movie. The movie direceted by Shyam Benegal had intense message in the lightest possible way and the music by Shantanu Moitra does exactly that, when he talks of the message, it is done in a very rustic earthy style, when he talks of love its the sweetest ill you can imagine. I am yet to find an album with such rustic soul to appeal to such a metropolitan me. Sweet, simple and earthy just the perfect concoction for my top of tops
Fav Song : Ek Meetha Marz

And with this I shall finally conclude my album list although with an aim to remove any chances of guilt arising again, shall mention the other 6 movies that failed to make the cut even this time just for my sake more than any reading pleasure. The albums, as always in alphabetic order would be

Filhaal – A soft soulful compilation
Gangs of Wasseypur – At times feel the quality got diluted a bit over two albums but still part 1 is a path breaker, kudos to Sneha Kanwalkar
Gulaal – Only suffers a bit in terms of movie and album liking-hood due to the amazingness of Dev D released at a similar time. Another cult classic
Jaane Tu ya Jaane Na – Another Rahman album, another classic
Love Aaj Kal – Twist might perhaps be the only hep song played for my hearing repeatedly
Rock On – Sui generis in Indian cinema another memorable album by S-E-L

Albums for Eternity

Through all these years, music has been my best and closest constant friends and source of strength. From the days of buying the cassette of DDLJ, first musical buy of my sister and me, times have changed, technology has changed. Individual songs have been many but whole albums which I listen on a loop have also been there. This listla is my collection which has preserved the transition from cassettes to computer to finally mobile devices and a lot of hard disk crashes. A reflection of my tastes, a heartfelt collection…

Aamir – Small men can cast the longest of shadows says Tyrion Lannister. On the similar lines, this is a small movie which casted theA longest of shadow. The movie was definitely top class while the music was bollywood beater to say the least.
Fav Song : Ek lau zindagi ki

Abbey Road – The last composition of Beatles albeit the second last album released. But if there is a concept of, last and the least, Beatles definitely didn’t believe in it. Full of love songs, soulful songs and some stories to tell. Abbey Road would definitely be my favourite Beatles album and thats a lot to say about the album. Definitely a chart topper, most played album of mine.
Fav Song : Here Comes the Sun

Band on the Run – Paul McCartney at his best, typical Paul album, lots of Pop, lots of love, happiness. Paul never gets too philosophical but the music is always top notch. You could observe this trend in the Beatles songs but when he finally got a chance to express himself singly, we get albums of this ilk. This, Flaming Pie and Kisses on the bottom can fill any heart with love and happiness
Fav Song : Band on the Run

Barfi – He might be a copy cat, he might steal the tunes but when Pritam gives the music to an album, so many times its freaking wonderful. The music of Barfi fitted absolutely well with the movie. But even if you listen in isolation, the music is sure to touch more than a few nerves. Absolutel amazing music, the latest album in my list. For one such album and another to come in the list, Pritam can be forgiven any number of music tunes copied.
Fav Song : Sanwali si Raat

Bridge Over Troubled Waters – Simon & Garfunkel are easily my favourite artists after Beatles who compare favourably due to the large catalogue of music. They again suffer out a bit here as my collection have most of their songs in compilations or Best of albums. BOTW is a kinda tribute to my love for S&G as well makes the cut due to its track listing, almost all of which are absolutely “Ek Number”
Fav Song : Bridge over troubled water/Cecilia/El Condor Pasa/Boxer (I just can’t choose)

C.I.D – In old bollywood music, there is only one favourite I have, that is the great S.D.Burman but if any other musician comes close in my ranking that’d be O.P.Nayyar. This album is the amazing combo of OP Nayyar, Dev Anand and Her Magician-ness Geeta Dutt. This star cast is enough to make me spell bound and the album doesn’t fall shy of its billing.
Fav Song : It’s so bloody difficult, almost all songs equally good with all songs in the album being stand out. If still have to choose one, it might be “Aankhon ki Aankhon mein Ishara”

Dev D – THE cult movie of our generation, DCH the earlier cult came while most of my generation were still tiny teenagers. We would be forever grateful to the movie for introducing us to Amit Trivedi. One movie i don’t need to talk much, everyone is more than aware of the awesomeness.
Fav Song : 18 Songs, every one of them a chart buster but I’ll perhaps go for Dev-Chanda Theme 2

Guide – India swears by RD, but there is only one Burman who I like, the one and only S D Burman. Guide, was cinematic excellence, recently its 50 years were celebrated in Cannes and the music by SD is fully fitting. It has hope, it has romance and sure enough melancholy which are the songs I like more in the movie.
Fav Song : Allah Megh de/Wahan Kaun hai both sung by SDB himself.

Let Go – My love of Avril started with my beginning of English music, I wonder who was that great soul who introuduced me to her music. Definitely not my music, Punk for a classic rock, generally soft soulful music lover. Definitely not my age, she’s the only English artist post 1970s that i listen to. But then she, I just cant take out of my library. Everything is punk, everything is mostly soulful and thoughtful and just adorable to me.
Fav Song : Complicated

Let It Be… Naked – There supposedly is a lot of differnce between the 2 versions of this album, this one doesn’t have the Wall of Sound of Phil Spector, is a stripped down version as was originally intended by The Beatles. The project was initiated by none other than Macca and no wonder that I like the music much there’s too much life in the music as compared to general Beatles/Lennon inspired music. For me one vital difference is that the original album (I had) didnt have the song “Get Back” which this one has and is definitely a song to favour. Thus my vote for Naked
Fav Song : Let it Be / Get Back

Life In A.. Metro – Probably the best music to have come out of Bollywood in this millennium. Pritam has again managed to bring out the magic by the virtue of just his music and nothing. Lyrics are decent, there isnt too much variety in the album unlike many in the list. There are too many unplugged versions, too many reprise. But the music is just so amazing that even one listening to them after other wouldnt bore you.
Fav Song : Baatein kuch ankahee si/Rishtey

Pyaasa – Another S D Burman in the mix. Definitely the most exhiliriating album. Every time I listen to the album it sends shivers down my spine. It has the haunting effect, it has amazing romance, it has fun and it is the Godmother of melancholy. Guru Dutt was perhaps at his best making this movie. SD also didn’t leave any stone unturned to give the music of the level of the movie. And last but definitely not the least Hemant Kumar (just one song ), Geeta Dutt and the unbeatable Rafi tell us what painful, colourful and romantic singing is.
Fav Song : Jane wo kaise log the.. The most played Hindi song in my last.fm library

Rockstar – If Life in A.. Metro is the best music of naughties then Rockstar is definitely my favourite album of this decade. A.R.Rahman,as always is in his elements. The lyrics, the depth, the vocals all are here but my favourite song in this album is the instrumental overtaking the usual Rahman sung, soft croon Kun Faya Kun. If only Rahman could give us more such albums regularly
Fav Song : The Dichotomy of Fame

Sifar – Lucky Ali is my favourite voice, his ethereal voice which I first heard sometime in school to this date remains the favourite voice till date. Although I would be more than happy to find another voice more pleasing to my ears than his, but none found as of yet. I generally wouldnt be able to live without any of his first 3 albums but still if I have to chose 1 out of his albums, it will undoubtedly be Sifar, contains my favourite Lucky Ali song Mehboob, my 2nd fav song Dekha Hai Aise Bhi and many of my most fav lucky songs
Fav Song : Mehboob

Slowhand – Clapton was a magician we all know, Clapton defeated Harrison in a duel we know, Clapton serenaded Patty Boyd away from George we know. And this album is what tells us (atleast me) why he was all the above. Love songs par excellence (and to think Layla and Bell Bottom Blues lie outside this album), Guitaring phenomenal, the song Peaches and Diesel is just guitaragasm.
Fav Song – Wonderful Tonight/Peaches and Diesel.

Swades – A. R. Rahman is just a maestro. The undoubted king of contemporary Bollywood music. The fact that his albums are spectacular is universal knowledge. But the one song that I look to in his albums is the one soft crooning song that he composes and is generally sung by the maestro as well. In this movie the song was “Ye jo des hai tera”. A gem, a song to hum your whole life. BUT the biggest success of Swades music (for me) was its background music and the album called Swades.Background with 37 songs that I have is perhaps only a bit more valuable than the actual album.
Fav Song : Ye jo des hai

Get Back

We (atleast me) have heard a lot of special Dylan, Lennon, McCartney songs through the anals of rock music. Best thing about musicians is, the inspiration they take listening to each other’s music, observing then write and work. Lennon did a Dylan first, then  Dylan did a Lennon which had only left Paul McCartney as one of my all time fav artist, not to be in the mix, and that’s when Get Back come to my listening circles.

Most interesting part of the song is, the lyrics and the theme/tune of the song. This is a pure McCartney song, where you are blasted with his super amazing voice in the starting of the song along with the Ringo drumming at its full fore, pretty strange for a Macca song. Which mostly rely on less of instruments, and even if needed, they are piano/guitar, never the heavy thumping of the drum.

An interesting aspect of Lennon’s writing always is, the slogan or catch phrase writing which he does. Give Peace a Chance, Imagine, All you need is love, You know my name, there are countless such examples and this is the exact same technique applied by Macca.

Such songs, generally have a strong line which is the whole-soul of the song, while there are a few lines thrown here and there, many times they wont even make sense, sometimes they might be a >conversation between 2 people, while the theme line takes most of duration of the song. The aforementioned features (more or less) in above songs can as well be, very easily observed in Get Back.

Song Trivia : –
1. According to Lennon, Paul looked at Ono, everytime while singing the line, “Get Back to where you once belonged”.
– I say ‘Super Win’
2. Although many artists like Clapton have recorded with Beatles, but no one ever got any credit in Beatles songs, Billy Preston, for this song is the only Non-Beatles to have ever got a credit on any Beatles song.

 

Rafi vs Kishore

Of the 5 “classic” hindi singers, the biggest fight has always been between Kishore and Rafi. Asha Bhosle growing up in the shadows of Lata Mangeshkar could only ever go as high as Lata (perhaps at times succeeding her). Lata is perhaps the greatest of them all, men and women. Mukesh, Kishore and Rafi don’t stand as far apart as Lata and Asha. Yet, I (and many people I know) put Mukesh on a paddle below the other two, partly due to fact that he’s a bit typecasted.
Mukesh = rona dhona , raj kapooor euphoria songs.

Just like the McCartney- Lennon comparison which has egged on Classic Rock enthusiasts for generations, Rafi vs Kishore battle has been going on, even in the present generation, even though Rafi died, a good 7 years before I (avg age of our generation) was born and Kishore died a few months after my birth. Now coming to the main question, the debate between the two and my view on it. Even though I was a Kishore Kumar enthusiast since the time I can remember done in by his yodeling and the masti in his songs, also coupled by the fact that until quite some back I wasnt proficient in recognizing the different voices of Rafi & Kishore ( I still can hardly distinguish between old Lata & Asha songs, although newer songs are easily identifiable).

It would actually be a sin to downgrade Kishore when compared to Rafi, coz there might not be much of a difference, but if you ask me, my fav male singer in Bollywood, there’s only going to be 1 answer, Mohammed Rafi.

For the starters, a fact which many might not know is, although its Kishore who is associated with Yodeling and is the only Indian in this list http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Yodelers, but its Rafi who was the first one to bring  it into bollywood, using it in songs, as early as the early 50s, while Kishore Kumar popularized it almost a decade later.

I have always had a fascination with the songs of 50s, 60s featuring people like Dev Anand, Shammi Kapoor, Joy Mukherjee and people of that generation and while songs from Rajesh Khanna period are huge favourites with people all around, but I have more than often found those songs, either sad (lost of rajesh khanna songs) or Happy go lucky(typical Kishore songs) and I like these kinds of songs, but the soul stirring, the harmoniously beautiful songs which came in the 50s and the happy go lucky  + romantic songs in 60s, are more of a feature of Rafi than Kishore. Kishore Kumar while managing to be succesful in the early decades of his career (he had a proper start to his career in mid 50s) only came to the fore in 70s with songs in the film Aradhana, being the important milestone in his career, but before that it was Rafi all the way.

In my opinion, while Mukesh is chained to sad songs, Kishore is more or less limited to the cheerful and sad songs, but Rafi with his ethereal voice always fits the bill for me, whatever be the type of songs, he has hummed out songs, which would surpass Mukesh anyday, his romantic songs/duets with Lata/Geeta Dutt would always be counted as the most romantic chapter of hindi music, while he couldnt give Kishore a running when it came to the bubbly and ecstatis songs, but perhaps the most famous fast paced song of bollywood, Yahoo! Chahe koi mujhe Junglee kahe, was sung by NOT Kishore but Rafi, which can us a fair idea about his talent.

While I will always be enamoured by Kishore’s voice in songs like Diye Jalte hain, Roop Tera Mastana, Mera Jeevan Kora Kagaz and likes but the only question to my all time listing preferences will always be Rafi because his songs have always  retained that freshness for me 50-60 years after they were recorded, but with Kishore you at times tend to get bored, more so coz of the type of songs he sang, rather than his voice being the reason. But, when you dont have much to chose from, this is the type of things which can make the minor difference.

Lennon vs McCartney

Towards the end of The Beatles, the inter Beatles relations had come to an absolute low and they were showing their rage against each other, only way they knew, through the means of songs. It all started with the song “Wah Wah” written by George Harrison for his old time friend and the one who introduced him to Lennon and effectively made him a Beatle. McCartney came up with his version of Lennon bashing with the song Too Many People. But the song we are talking about is, How Do You Sleep, John’s response to Paul completing a sort of chain.

George Harrison played guitar on the song, and Klaus Voormann(the man who created the cover of Revolver played bass on the song, both long time McCartney friends, thus hurting him even more. Ringo, the only Beatle who was against the disbanding visited the studio during recording of the song and was reportedly upset saying “That’s enough John”

Having a look at the lyrics, anyone can make out what this song refers to

So Sgt. Pepper took you by surprise
You better see right through that mother’s eyes
Those freaks was right when they said you was dead
(We all know about the Paul is dead controversy)
The one mistake you made was in your head
Ah, how do you sleep?
Ah, how do you sleep at night?

You live with straights who tell you you was king
Jump when your momma tell you anything
The only thing you done was yesterday
(Yesterday is THE most popular song Paul wrote as part of the Beatles)
And since you’re gone you’re just another day
(Another day was the song Paul recorded after leaving the Beatles)
Ah, how do you sleep?
Ah, how do you sleep at night?

Ah, how do you sleep?
Ah, how do you sleep at night?

A pretty face may last a year or two
But pretty soon they’ll see what you can do
The sound you make is muzak to my ears
(Comparing his songs to muzak/Elevator music)
You must have learned something in all those years
Ah, how do you sleep?
Ah, how do you sleep at night?

Paul’s answer to this was Let Me Roll it, a song sung and written in John’s style and can be seen as an olive branch offered to John! Thus trying to tone down the bitter feelings at both ends.