I am often asked what I am listening to at any given point. I wonder what to recommend when faced with the proposition. Because at most times I don’t know if the person asking me would have heard of the artiste or not. In fact, whenever I open up my current playlist, the responses I generally get are: “Oh, who are they?’ or “Are they any good?” or “Oh! I didn’t know they had a new album out.”
It is funny to see that in this day and age of information overload, the lack of awareness and interest in international music is huge.
I am concerned about how international indie music is neglected. Especially when all modern forms of communication today - from advertising to film promotion, song picturisation, styling and attitudes — have consistently been inspired and referenced from international music, over the past 15 years. Hours are spent by various creatives in various fields, downloading international music videos from YouTube and various other sources for lighting techniques, camerawork and so on. So why is international indie music ignored?
Is it only referenced for the purpose of copying it? The idea obliterates all qualitative endeavors. Have we become so lead on by desi corporates that we have put on blinders and refuse to make any extra effort to sustain international attitudes and music as it used to be when it shaped us?
I must also say here, I say all of the above, with all due respect to Hindi film music and its peripherals, and I have an equal love for it as well. India is in my heart and the world is in my mind. I feel that Indians are now global citizens, and I think we owe it to ourselves to strike that balance between the east and the west…if I may say so.
Here’s what you want on your iPod, recommends Luke Kenny
Forevermore Whitesnake EMI
This is one band that refuses to die and justifiably so. I can never find fault with the indomitable spirit of David Coverdale, the charismatic front man of the band. Their 2008 comeback album, Good To Be Bad was a return to form and a huge middle finger to the non-believers and nay-sayers. Proof that power-rock will never die. Forevermore is ten times that! And with the power duo of Doug Aldrich and Reb Beach in the mix, this is a scorcher for the classic hair-metal fans. Of course there is David Coverdale’s vocals, which come powered with 10,000 watts that will drag you out from under that rock.
21 Adele EMI
After stunning the world with her debut in 2008, the 22-year-old British singer follows it up with a brilliant sophomore effort. It is heartbreaking to hear such a perfect voice that brings scorching emotion to songs that resonate like a hammer to the gong. British Soul has never sounded so good. This is an album of formidable excellence, not without its flaws, but the one thing that makes these flaws salient features, is the exuberant voice of one singer, Adele. The finesse and class is brilliant. I will wait impatiently for 23.
Bottomline Need I say more?
F.A.M.E Chris Brown Sony Music
Following up 2009’s debacle Graffiti, with a more streamlined train of thought (think hot-tub soul ballads), Chris Brown would like to distance himself from the Rihanna episode as much as possible, but somewhere down the line, all the heartfelt lyrics seem to allude otherwise. The myriad collection of producers try and bring various styles to the songwriting, yet something here doesn't seem to work. Guests Busta Rhymes, Ludacris, Timbaland and even Justin Bieber cant really save this. Although Benny Benassi does bring some rude grooves on ‘Beautiful people...’
Hello Fear Kirk Franklin Sony Music
Only in America can gospel music hold its own against the other popular forms of music, at the same time embracing its genres. So here is Kirk Franklin, an artiste on the scene since 1993 with his 12th album, Hello Fear. The sound is distinctly mid ’90s new-jack swing, exuberant and joyous, as all gospel music typically is. But this has some punchy grooves that make you wanna get up and raise your hands in praise. If it so behooves you.