Vintage Rock II - 30 Classics
EMI, Two-CD Pack, Rs. 445
Damn. I was born three decades too late, is my only reaction after checking this compilation out. It is a beauty that has almost every band we regard as timeless icons of rock today Deep Purple, Van Halen, Alice Cooper, Ugly Kid Joe, Motley Crue, Dio, Megadeth, Queensryche, Billy Idol, Skid Row, Poison, Cheap Trick, Europe and many more, a total of 30.
The compilation can be excused for being a little biased towards hard rock but the digital re-mastering, I can't understand. The feedback, the crackle and the dropouts are what make some of the numbers special, so I don't see any point in removing them. But the re-mastering need not put one down from buying this compilation because it is just a niggle not an ache.
CD One starts off with the ever-effervescent Van Halen, and this time for a change it is not "Jump" but "Why Can't This Be Love". Then comes Alice Cooper with "Poison". It is Alice Cooper at his best. Classic head-banging hard rock straight out of the Seventies. This is one of the numbers, which is very hard to find in a compilation, along with Warrant's "Cherry Pie". Ugly Kid Joe's "Everything About You" is another number that will get you singing along.
Though Motley Crue, Damn Yankees, Journey and The Quireboys give the CD One a little softness in the middle, the pace soon picks up with Firehouse's "All She Wrote" and Asia's "Heat Of The Moment".
Then comes the highlight of the whole compilation "Holy Diver" by the supremely talented Dio. Dio is a vocalist who has been part of the likes of Black Sabbath during his long career. "Holy Diver" is his biggest solo hit and it smacks of the generation he comes from. Sharp guitaring, crisp drums and haunting lyrics. This number definitely makes for a collector's item.
CD One also manages to pack in the now defunct Megadeth, which featured the undisputed master of speed guitaring Dave Mustaine. He is the man who walked out of Metallica because it was too slow for his taste. The number featured here is one of his best efforts, "Symphony Of Destruction". Queensryche rounds off an impressive CD One with "Anybody Listening?"
CD Two is not for making the compilation an attractive proposition for buyers. It manages to maintain the standard but is much mellower than CD One. It starts with the signature British hard rock number, Deep Purple's "Smoke On The Water". Though my Deep Purple favourite is "Black Knight", it doesn't have the same mass appeal as "Smoke On The Water", which is much slower in pace.
Black Sabbath make their appearance next with "Headless Cross". It was their biggest single hit in the post-Ozzy Osbourne era. To any die-hard Sabbath fan, the band lost its mojo after Ozzy left. His absence is sorely felt in "Headless Cross".
Billy Idol's "Cradle Of Love", Skid Row's "18 And Life", Poison's "I Won't Forget You", Glass Tiger's "Someday" and Heart's "Secret" are a few slow numbers that are worth a listen.
CD Two like One finishes with a clutch of hard numbers. "Rockin' All Over The World" by Status Quo will bring back memories of flower power. Then there is Great White with "Once Bitten, Twice Shy" and a compilation-favourite Europe's "The Final Countdown". Overall for the price one is paying, this compilation cannot be described as anything but bang for the buck.
Huqa Pani - Ali Zafar
Universal, Cassette, Rs. 65
Take a Kishore Kumar-like voice and obviously-imitated singing style, club it with yuppie Ibiza-ish electronic beats and then add a bit of nostalgic lyrics and style of Bollywood of the '70s. That's Pakistan's Ali Zafar for you.
What's disappointing is that every song in Huqa Pani almost reminds you of some Bollywood number, way back in the '60s and '70s. And what's frustrating is that you can't point out which one exactly! Call that a talented rip-off or what?
The album, though, comes at a crucial time when talks of softening Indo-Pak relations through JV films and music concerts are abuzz in the air. Films and music have always percolated across the borders (despite being banned in our friendly neighbouring country) and the Bollywood influence is obvious and inevitable right through this album of the youngster.
What one must admit is that somehow his voice and the looped tunes grow on you and you hum along anyway, after repeated listening. The lyrics, though, hardly demand attention.
Already a hit in Pakistan in 2003, Ali Zafar, a painter-model-musician won over a young audience with his husky voice and good looks. "Channo ki aankh mein ik nasha hai" takes you back to R.D. Burman and his "Dhanno" number. (This song was again reworked for a similar Amitabh-starring number "Dhano ki aankh sarabi re"). See what I mean? Re-recycle and re-remix all the way.
Indian channels are now airing the video of his track "Rangeen", a number you'll at least rock your head to, driving back from work. And it's straight out of crossover '60s-'70s Hindi film song down to the beats and the lyrics. The title track "Huqa pani band ho gaya" is oh-so disco bhangra but foot-tapping. "Ishq", a trance-ish Punjabi number will do well confined to numbed minds swaying in smoky clubs.
"Chal dil mere, chod ye phere, ye duniya jhooti, log lutere" really rubs in the old Bollywood influence further it still smoulders of an age when a cynicism of the world and system had crept in, and the only thing one turned to was drugs. The lyrics and jhatka gaadi-like tunes are reminiscent of O.P. Nayyar's trademark (forgive the comparison).
"Jugnuon se bhar le aanchal" is a very maajhi-like song from the S.D. Burman genre. The brooding song of separation "Dekha sung tere" stands apart from the teenybopperish, clubbish numbers, with its elaborate violin-filled orchestra much like the '70s Bollywood. His voice suddenly takes on a mature, thicker strain for this one. "Ek Pal" is slow, soothing and brimming with guitar strains.
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