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When the music's over


From edgy rock to trance, 2009 had something for everyone. JAYASHREE ARUNACHALAM listens in

SOUND GARDEN Youngsters had a lot to choose from in 2009 (from top) Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Black Eyed Peas and U2

There's something to suit every mood and moment. Hip-hop and techno for nights on the town, reggae for the consequent lazy Sundays, classic rock and happy pop for road trips, the fiery licks of heavy metal for those days when you just want to vent. From being the food of love to the language of the masses, music can break barriers and hearts with one solitary chord.

From soft rock to party tracks, 2009 had it all. Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift and Adam Lambert may not be your average metalhead's dream team, but the music charts spoke otherwise. “There's something about music like that,” says 23-year-old forensic trainee Samira Kuhn. “Like Lady Gaga. She just sings the same thing a hundred times over but it's catchy. You might hate Poker Face but you'll still find yourself singing it.”

Just dance

Dance music definitely had the edge this year. Hyderabad's clubs might still have a soft spot for Akon, but the tracks were shifting. The first few bars of Black Eyed Peas' I've Gotta Feeling only have to play to get a crowd moving. Flo Rida's Right Round and everyone's favourite chub Sean Kingston fall into the same category. “I usually try to mix the tracks up with a little Katy Perry and Rihanna just to get a party started,” says college student Arjun Narain, who deejays in his free time. “But that usually works in private parties, not commercially. Michael Jackson is also being revived for obvious reasons.”

2009 saw music by Miley Cyrus, Kelly Clarkson, Kanye West, Kings of Leon and U2, with their latest No Line on the Horizon, but when it comes to club music, Bollywood can never be left behind in this battle to be heard. “Remixes of songs from Kaminey, Dev D and Love Aaj Kal are usually top requests,” says Arjun. “It's easy to gauge what kind of music to play at a party. Sometimes, it'll just be Bollywood all night long because that's all the crowd wants to hear.”

Advertising trainee Shalini Jain admits that she gets her music fix from television shows. “Shows like Gossip Girl and The Hills play all the latest music and sometimes even have guest appearances by top artists. It's a good source and I usually wind up downloading the music I like. From hip hop to alternative, the soundtracks are extensive put me in touch with whatever is the most popular music at the moment.”

However, old favourites will always resurface. “The biggest excitement for me was the release of Chinese Democracy and even that was the end of last year,” says student Chetan Shah, referring to the latest Guns & Roses album. Twenty-five-year-old business development executive Prashanth Venkatesh agrees. “Maybe I'm old-fashioned but I still prefer bands from the seventies to any of the new artists,” he says. “While many new artists are talented, very few of their songs move me the way music by The Beatles or Pink Floyd do.”

Whether it's present or passé doesn't really matter. 25-year-old pilot Nicky George sums it up. “I haven't had too much exposure to new music,” he says. “I usually have very cheesy music, only because that's what they play in clubs. But stuff like Tiesto, Coldplay, Lily Allen and Lost Prophets can never go out of style.” And the end of the day, it's all music to our ears anyway.

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