Chaos and the Calm and then some…

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If ever a title has done more justice to an album, it is now. James Bay’s haunting voice echoes in my head while I write this one. Listening to it the first time, one is first impressed by the layers the melody has. The second time, the maturity of each song, hits you like a cool breeze on a warm day!

The beauty of the album is I haven’t really been able to pinpoint the influences of the artist. He doesn’t sound like anyone else. I would call this a new direction for soft rock, then “Best Fake Smile” bursts through the speakers and I think, perhaps this is more rock and roll.

“Let it go” and “Move Together” have become my new favorite rock ballads. In his introduction, he has said he wanted to make music that had real meaning. This he has done with such ease that it’s hard to believe he is a new kid on the block. There is a sense of surety and maturity in each note and each beat. While stand alone, each song rings true, the real meaning of the album unveils itself when you hear the songs in the exact order they appear in the album.

From the chaos of “Craving” to the calm of “Hold back the River” back to the chaos of “Best Fake Smile”, he truly has tried to keep moving in extremes of emotions. But never, not even in the sorrow of “Move Together”, has he seemed unhappy or in pain. This is not an album for the broken hearted, this one is for those who wish for a new day. This one is for those who wish to “keep the peace between the sheets”.

To some up the album’s beautiful simplicity in one phrase, “Why don’t you be you and I’ll be me?

The Song

As they float in
These forlorn notes
They bring about a memory
Of the times you were held close

As the voice spreads out
Through the cracks of the black veil
You wonder why this song
Leaves your heart broken and pale

Then comes the joy
so sweet and contagious
From the heart of the Irishman
A voice so loud yet magnanimous

Some they make you dance
Others make your soul cry
But each one plays some part
In the story of your life

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Little Broken Hearts: of pain, revenge and strength

Revenge is, as they say, best served cold. Thus, the icy cool and calculated revenge hinted in “Happy Pills” by Norah Jones from her latest album released this May is a refreshing change from the slow serenade often associated with her. She teases and almost reaches darkness with her words and strong overtones.

The makeover was long overdue. It started with collaboration with Danger Mouse in “Rome” where she is the fallen heart. Little Broken Hearts is a story of the slow decay of a relationship. “She’s 22”, my personal favorite, has a vengeful and yet vulnerable quality about it.

The songs are refreshingly mature and are perhaps Norah’s best work yet. The electronic jazz-like quality proves she isn’t afraid to venture into unexplored territory. I had never been a fan of Jones for I always thought she lacked variation. The lyrical power of the songs makes you a part of the story at the very first listen. The video of “Happy Pills” is perhaps the best representation of the album. It is sexy, classy and vengeful in every way. The song appears much later though in the evolution of the album. I would suggest listening to the songs in the exact order for they tell a story. A dark one, one of mystery, anger and suppressed rage, the story is pretty simple but the emotion has so many layers to it. One starts to picture the relationship breaking down right in front of you.

“Travelin’ on” speaks of moving on with strength. Each song is symbolic of the emotion you feel starting with the realization of infidelity down to the revenge. The beauty of the story lies in the sexy undertone of slow and calculated revenge. For all those who wrote off Norah Jones as the bore she used be (including me), this one is set to make you sit up and take notice. It’s bold, mature and creative contemporary jazz at its very best.

The video oh “Happy Pills” is what drew me in. I hope it does the same to you. “Miriam” only takes the story  one step further. To me, it’s almost shocking someone could write as darkly and get away with it with such class and do a perfect job of it! “All a Dream” is an abrupt ending to the musical but its rhythmic power is enough to hold the song good on its own.

The best thing about the collection is that I could picture a musical right in front of me with each and every song. Poetry, music and fiction all contribute to the freshness of the album. An eternal addition to my collection. Hope it makes it to yours too…

Miss Sunflower Blue

I don’t think about you
I’m sunflower blue
I dream of a voice
an evening breeze
whispering in my ears
singing me to sleep
I don’t think about you
I’m sunflower blue
You don’t haunt me
in my hazy memories
you don’t follow sunset 
in a midnight’s dream
I don’t think about you
I’m sunflower blue
You aren’t etched deep
in the depths of my soul
I don’t get lost without you
and wonder where to go
I don’t think about you
I’m sunflower blue

Purple Haze

My wounds feel wrong
my joy in a haze
is this just a season
a passing pretty phase?
Does the mind know what it feels
does it feel truly safe
does it yearn for solitude or 
its people that it craves
Is my glass half empty
or the plate half full
Is it just the dim lights
or my life’s sweet lull
The door awaits
a faint knock
as it turns midnight
on a stopped clock
Will I live the other day
just to die in a smile
or will I stay here in the purple haze
will I stay here a while?

Waterbone: Tibet – The lost story of a journey

You can only be called a true LISTENER of music if you have the ability to respect music made from the unlikeliest of sounds. My first tryst with Waterbone was a cassette bought by my father at an attempt to find Indian sounds in America. He had gone almost sentimentally collecting remotely Indian sounding albums from the American Music Stores and came back to India triumphant of having found mystic chants in this band’s debut album.

For me Tibet was more than that, it was a window to this mysterious land that has been fighting its existence for decades. It was a sound that transports you to the Himalayas. It was real because the artists had in fact traveled to these lands and recorded with Tibetan artists. It was not like the typical Enigma album (no disrespect to the artist), it didn’t have the technology of recorded voices. What it did contain was the voice of a people finding peace in spite of the turmoil around them.

Jimmy Waldo, one of the members of the group, one of the founding members of an ’83 hard rock group Alcatraz, has been a rocker throughout his life. The album is a testament to respected hard rockers like Robert Plant because they choose to tread paths untread by those before them, he chose to change his genre purely in his quest for something that touches his soul.

Tibet is more than just a trance, electronic, lounge album, it’s the voice of a forgotten land, the chant of peace and hope for a place that has forgotten it under ages of oppression.

But the song that started it all, the one that led my father’s thought to this album is this one song that takes you right at the foothills of Himalayas on a spiritual journey. Presenting to you, the “Song For the Mountain”

Lady Antebellum: Need You Now

I very rarely think of music reviews, but come one give me a break it’s Valentine’s Day and though I am not much of a mushy person, this album could be a perfect rebound album!
I am not much of a country music fan (used to stick Shania Twain until she started singing songs like Up!) but this one is the most perfect, feel good album I have heard in a long long time!

I started with the title track, song writing is very important for country songs, “Need You Now” is a good  start up. It talks of what I call a relationship relapse. The fact that Charles Kelly (lead vocals) and Hillary Scott (the fairer lead vocals 🙂 ) have the option of a duet makes this band even better! There is flexibility, and unlike other country albums all songs don’t seem like the same.

The band started like the perfect 21st century story, Scott and Kelley met over MySpace and decided to form a band with Haywood. Haywood is pretty impressive with the guitar but it’s definitely the strong vocals that pulls them through.

I would single out “Hello World” and “Our Kind of Love”, the serenades can pull at heart strings and leave you with a smile. “Something About a Woman” should probably be a good gift for your Valentine. All in all, a cup of coffee, Marquez’s Love in Time of Cholera and this album in the background make for the perfect toast to love this Valentine’s Day.

I know this may not be the perfect review for this album, most critics have said it’s the same tried and tested formula of Country Music. But for me it’s a re-entry.Play it on your car while going for a long drive with that special someone and the effects will be telling but then even John Mayer and Coldplay can have similar effects on dates so I won’t read much into that.

But they are new to this so I think we should give them a chance. So check Lady Antebellum for that feel good Valentine’s Day (or u could just go check out the corny “Valentine’s Day” flick, I couldn’t care less LOL )