Friday, July 13, 2012

The Beatles Remastered: Revolver

Music has been so integral a part of my personality that there are a large number of performers and performances that I feel extremely challenged to write about. I feel that no amount of effort that I put into writing about them can ever do justice to how important they are to me. Over the years, I have gathered courage to write about some of them in the best manner I could, but they still come across as inadequate to me. The Beatles is one such musical phenomenon. Though I have attempted reviewing works by Paul and written about John and the 70s, I cannot bring myself to write about the music of The Beatles.

While browsing, I found that I had replied to a question on an audio forum a long time back, and I thought it merited a place here, since I doubt I will ever be able to reproduce the cocky clarity with which I answered. The questioner had asked whether the 2009 remaster of The Beatles' Revolver was worth buying for a fan who already has the original vinyl...

Surely one of the greatest album covers of all time, and among the top three Beatles album covers for me.

Here is my reply.

Revolver is a landmark album for The Beatles in many senses. It is a point of departure from their earlier albums and contains all original tracks and no covers. It also sees them experimenting with electronically altered sounds, and unusual instruments. It also marks the beginning of their foray into psychedelia.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Tina Turner - Simply The Best

I was really not aware of Tina Turner’s body of work or her journey as a musician and as a person when I first heard her sing Private Dancer and What’s Love Got To Do with It. I was a teenager fed on a diet of campus rock, and for all purposes, this was nothing more than glam pop pretending to be rock. Yet, something about her voice, her delivery, and the urgency of her singing made me sit up and listen to it carefully. This was at a time when other than the weekend pop time and the occasional top of the pops or Eurovision fillers on Doordarshan, all you had on music television was an hour of MTV in the late afternoon. When I first saw her perform on television, her energy and intensity bowled me over.

I grew out of my teens. Tina Turner drifted in and out of my musical horizon with Mad Max and 007 soundtracks and duets with Barry White and Bryan Adams. My growing propensity towards jazz and the blues saw her climb lower on my personal charts. As a student of popular music, I familiarized myself with her early work with Ike Turner and the Revue with masterpieces like River Deep Mountain High and of course, Proud Mary. Beyond that, I was ready to ignore her songs as ones that were going to go to the bottom of the shelf. What I could not ignore, however, was the electricity of her singing and her live performances, whether it was with Beyonce at a Grammy performance or with Cher for the Oprah Winfrey show. Of course, there were other rockers her age who were rocking too, but she was something special. I could not put my finger on it then, and I have not been able to put my finger on it now.
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