Saturday, February 17, 2007

Musical Conjectures

Music is the rich distilled essence that adds zing to life. Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. To some, it’s a wonderful pastime. To some others, it makes or breaks their day. Some seek solace in music, laugh and cry with the hues of a tune. There is no feeling, except the extremes of fear and grief, which does not find relief in music.

Music is magical; it is perhaps god's best gift to mankind. Music is medicine to the soul and that is rare. It's a language which the soul alone understands, but which the soul can never translate.

I am going to try and talk about music that made me rejoice, made me ponder, made a lonely day much better, music that accompanied me like no companion would, music that lifted me immensely and music that moved me.

Yanni's music is a kind that can make you rejoice, enjoy the splendor and daze at the arrangement. If the soul can dance, it will be at its dancing best when listening to Yanni ("Nostalgia" is a case in point). Michael Jackson manages to evoke pretty much everything that Yanni does, though they are miles apart in the kind of music they dole out. I celebrated "Heal the World" for its purity of thought. It was straight out of the heart of the most misunderstood celebrity of our times.

There's a whole brand of pulsating, racy music (call it hard metal or acid rock or whatever suits you) that has kept me entertained. When am in a good or upbeat mood or when am lost on a difficult problem at work, it is this genre that kicks me in all the right places and eggs me to revel in the moment. Deep Purple, Metallica, Rammstein, Greenday, Korn and a whole bunch of hard rock bands constitute the "kick me in all right places" group.

Music sets me thinking, especially when it is accompanied by meaningful lyric. Phil Collins' "Another day in paradise" is one such instance. Eminem's music is almost there, though I rarely listen to rap. Bob Dylan's "Political World" was another intriguing piece which kept me pondering for a while.

I have always liked the boy-band genre of pop with soft lyrics that ooze love and mush. Westlife excels at this like no one else. There are a couple of Westlife songs that get repeat play in my playlist, primarily because I was able to identify with them emotionally.

"My Love"
is a soft, romantic number that talks about a man's lost love and about the great times he had with the girl before they fell apart. There was this girl in my college I really liked and I somehow tagged this song to that girl. I listened to this song countless times when I got reminded of the girl. "My Love" is too deep in my system now and I would continue to listen to it and laugh and cry with it.

"If something can go wrong once, it will most probably go wrong again"

This is exactly what happened in my case. Another girl, another whiff of fresh air and another heartache. Westlife's "Fool Again" seemed to reflect my mind set then and continues to do so.

Westlife is to mush what Bryan Adams is to pure love. I recommend Bryan Adams to all lovers out there, try listening to his stuff with your loved ones and get transported to an all new dimension. "Cloud Number Nine" is a bed time ballad that will leave you dizzy in love. "Everything I do" to show how much you love, "Heaven" to croon when your spirits are high, "Please forgive me" when you want to apologize and make up to your love, there's a Bryan Adams number for every occasion.

"The best of me" is not his best track but is my personal favorite. "When you want it, when you need it, you'll always have the best of me" croons Adams. This one idea kept me going during highs and lows in my relationship.

Back home, my music is centered on Rahman with liberal doses of M.S.Subbulakshmi and Ilayaraja. Rahman has done wonders with his music and made the whole experience of music cherishable, like the lingering taste of fresh coffee. It's tough to single out a track of his as a personal favorite, though "Ennavale" pops up immediately. Roja, Rangeela, Bombay, Minsara Kanavu, Dil Se, Alaipayuthe, Lagaan and Taal deserve a special mention.

"Warriors of Heaven and Earth" left me breathless, thrilled, excited and a bit scared. It was a scintillating album filled with sounds I had never experienced before. It was scary because it was a truly international album and left me worried if this would herald the departure of Rahman from Indian music and propel him to dizzying heights of Hollywood and western theatre. Rahman is still around

"Vande Mataram" was another album that roused the patriotic spirit in every Indian. Seldom do you get to listen to stuff that leaves your hair raised and leaves you pumped and rooting for your country. Every time I listen to the title track in this album, it produces a deep sense of pride and a deeper sense of belonging. Anthems are not written twice for any nation, but Rahman's Vande Mataram is the youth's version of national anthem, a song that instills national spirit like nothing else.

Any discussion on music is left incomplete without a word or two on M.S.Subbulakshmi. The ethereal voice, the clarity of pronunciation and the oozing devotion in her renditions have helped countless people experience divinity. Her songs have helped me immensely in my search for inner peace.

Music has enriched me like nothing else; it has been a faithful companion, a source of comfort and solace and perhaps my only connection to my inner self.

Billy Joel once remarked

"I think music in itself is healing. It's an explosive expression of humanity. It's something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we're from, everyone loves music."

Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent. I will continue to immerse myself to the strums of Bryan Adams and Westlife and Rahman. Music makes my journey of self discovery worthwhile and spicy and I doubt if life would be worth anything without it.

Notes ::

I would recommend investing in a pair of quality headphones if you want an immersive musical experience. QuietComfort™ 3 from Bose is top draw. The HD 5xx series from Sennheiser is also an excellent headphone. If you prefer speakers to headphones, go for a 5.1 (or better) system from Sony, Creative or Bang & Olufsen. iPod or Cowon i2 paired with good quality headphones are killer mp3 players.

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