Chords & Notes
Virgin Records, Double album
Cassette, Rs. 150
POWER BALLADS is one of those inspired compilations in which all the 36 songs are first-rate. Cassette 1 starts off with the number "Slave To Love" by Bryan Ferry (former lead singer of Roxy Music). It also features Queen's soaring "We Are The Champions", which later became the anthem for gays, the indefatigable Tina Turner's "The Best", R.E.M.'s "The One I Love" (from their album Document), Huey Lewis & The News's "The Power Of Love" (which was part of the soundtrack for the film Back To The Future), Belinda Carlisle's (former singer of the group Go-Go's) "Heaven Is A Place On Earth", Cutting Crew's very romantic "(I Just) Died In Your Arms Tonight", T'Pau's "China In Your Hand", Nazareth's brilliant, wrenching number, "Love Hurts", and Sinead O' Connor's slow, yearning "Nothing Compares To You".
Cassette 2 starts off with The Cars's biggest hit to date, "Drive" (a #1 hit). Other fine songs include Mr. Mister's "Broken Wings", Mr. Big's "To Be With You", Foreigner's "I Want To Know What Love Is" (unquestionably their best song), Reo Speedwagon's eminently hummable #1 hit, "Keep On Loving You", Pat Benatar's "We Belong", John Waite's "Missing You" (from his album No Brakes, which has made a welcome comeback), Bad English's luminous number "When I See You Smile", and Meat Loaf's #1 hit "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)".
Music buffs will have most of these songs in different albums. But it sure is great to have all of them in one single compilation. Power Ballads is a bargain for its price. Grab it.
18 Classic Driving Rock Anthems
Cassette, Rs. 100
THIS COLLECTION of 18 songs by various artistes and bands drawn mostly from the rock scene of the '70s and '80s (with a couple of tracks from the '90s thrown in), starts on a delightful note with Meatloaf's "Rock and Roll Dreams Come True". Even after a decade, this number makes for delightful listening. But then, it is Meatloaf, remember? Bryan Ferry's "Let's Stick Together" is sung to the wonderful accompaniment of a clarinet. Powerstation's forte in "Get it On" is in the opening strains of the electric guitar.
One track that should make driving a pleasure (that's what the album aims to do) with its wild thumping piano is The Stranglers' "Go Buddy Go", while Chris Speeding's "Motor Biking" and "2-4-6-8 Motorway" by the Tom Robinson Band have the same feel. Talking Heads' "Psycho Killer" is a live version here.
The album also includes the very popular Blondie number, "Atomic". Robert Palmer offsets Suzi Quatro's "Devil Gate Drive" with his absolutely devilish "Simply Iresistible". Jane Wiedlen and Belinda Carlisle root for soft rock in this collection.
A must-buy for those who believe that rock is the soul of music.
What's Wrong With This Picture?
Blue Note Records
Virgin EMI import
CD, Rs. 400
VAN MORRISON makes his debut on Blue Note Records with this album, strongly influenced by his love for the blues. The strong strains of jazz guitar and Hammond organ speak of early influences of blues and jazz artistes such as Lightnin' Hopkins, Leadbelly, John Lee Hooker, Mahalia Jackson (the very influential gospel singer), and the incomparable Muddy Waters.
The Belfast-born Morrison, with his considerable staying power (he's been singing for over four decades and his "Gloria" is still covered by respected musicians), begins this album with the title number before moving on to "Whinin' Boy Moan". The rockabilly notes of "Stop Drinking" that has shades of Lightnin' Hopkins's "You Better Watch Yourself", the pensive "Too Many Myths" that examines the downside of fame, and the meditative but humour-laced "Goldfish Bowl" showcases Morrison's ability to set the right scene.
With "Little Village", he melds poetry and melody, with the flute and mandolin lending a Celtic sound, a Morrison trademark.
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