MUSIC MAKES A MELANGE LIKE THIS ONE.

DISINTEGRATION & BOYS DON’T CRY by THE CURE.

A LETTER TO ELISE was my proper introduction to THE CURE’s catalogue last year, around the same period of October- November. In fact, Cocteau Twins, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds among others like The Verve and Bjork were part of the same ensemble of artists discovered by this audiophile.




It feels good then to have two of these numbers by THE CURE grace my recent playlist along with others by Cocteau Twins and Nick Cave, to mark a pattern of continuity. One of these is the punk-rock classic BOYS DON’T CRY, with its memorable guitar line its highlight. DISINTEGRATION is an expansive eight and a half minutes deep dive, complete with warm guitars, synths and drums. The instrumental dominance is appealing to me and I also love how Robert Smith’s vocals are not aiming for  perfection. Every voice has its own trademark and Smith’s lies in the lack of formality and grand technique. He is very natural in that regard and that’s why he is the perfect fit for these songs.








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PANDORA ( FOR CINDY) by COCTEAU TWINS.

There’s something rightfully mystical about the illegible, incoherent lyrical properties of Cocteau Twins songs. I find that particularly uplifting because the vocals and musical blends are so seamless that reckoning with a recognisable lyrical set is never a priority.

HEAVEN OR LAS VEGAS and CHERRY- COLOURED FUNK made that amply clear to me. Now, PANDORA ( FOR CINDY) is where that blend of mystery, beauty, pure musical resonances all come together.

Call it one palatable dream vision in the form of a five and a half minutes soundscape.









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HALLOWEEN & SPELLBOUND by SIOUXSIE AND THE BANSHEES.



This is one band that I really wanted to add to my playlist within 2022. I received that opportunity when two of its signature songs came my way vis a vis a Rolling Stones Magazine list of the best Goth songs. In fact, most of the new songs here are culled from that list as it gave me a further peek into the works of artists I had come to like over the past year and a half. 

HALLOWEEN has become one of my absolute favourites. It has got a vocal performance, lyrical interpretation by lead singer Siouxsie Sioux that’s very powerful, her crisp and yet earnest voice given greater flourish by the instrumental ensemble around her.

The same unforgettable core is present in SPELLBOUND, its bouncy rhythms and breathless energy buoyed by its catchy chorus,

“Following the footsteps
of a rag-doll dance

We are entranced.
Spellbound.”

More songs of this legendary band will sprout into the open for this listener. But these are the very best to start with.






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RED RIGHT HAND by NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS.

Somehow, Nick Cave and his repertoire seems to find a way to expand its base in my playlist. WHERE THE WILD ROSES GROW, the sublime INTO MY ARMS and the beautifully twisted duet with PJ Harvey in the form of HENRY LEE were there, part of his 1990s portfolio.

This year, his musical scores for DAHMER and BLONDE offered me an insight into the recreated worlds of savagery and pathos these works wanted to salvage, for the victims of a serial killer and a media culture that breaks more than makes a superstar.

Darkness is not a viable human pursuit but we cannot ever escape its clutches. Mr. Cave understands that very well. So on RED RIGHT HAND, that restraint and slow-burning effect is in service of another sinister tale, of our inner demons that get manifested in the form of a metaphorical monster. Listen to how well he utilises his baritone to capture that spooky, sinister edge. The use of alarm bells also builds anticipation.



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LISTEN by BEYONCE

With another record Grammy haul for the 2023 ceremony, Beyonce has proved her versatility and creative power is one for the ages.

Every now and then, however, we need to acknowledge her as the powerhouse balladeer she is, quite simply one of our very best. LISTEN off the DREAMGIRLS soundtrack is her at her most persuasive, empathetic and glorious, asking for the world to take judicious note of her gifts.

It’s a beautiful moment where the artist and individual become one, inseparable entity. More than the steady stream of accolades, it’s Beyonce’s voice that always stands tall. We need to remember that.





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UDHERO NA by AROOJ AFTAB and ANUSHKA SHANKAR.



Two musicians from the subcontinent have done more to bring often disparate worlds together through  cultural footprints that cannot be erased by bigoted preliminaries.

What a wonder then that Arooj Aftab’s Sufiyana stylings and soulful meditations build up a sustained aura of thehraav( calm) on UDHERO NA, complemented by a kindred in sitar maestro Anushka Shankar. Grammy winners, these two are up for another Golden statuette for this timely collaboration. My fingers are crossed and more than the studio version, I recommend you listen to the seven minutes of transcendence that a live performance offers.

UDHERO NA is also a worthy follower to Ms. Aftab’s seminal breakthrough MOHABBAT. It’s hence heartening to listen to words we are familiar with reach and reverberate on world stages as these.  Fusion music delivered with a native sincerity is hard to find. These two pioneers are putting in the hard work to honour their legacies.







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FORGIVENESS, SEND MY LOVE TO JOHN and MINOR FEELINGS by RINA SAWAYAMA.



HOLD THE GIRL is Rina Sawayama’s sophomore success story and to still not have it on a Grammys nominee list is utterly disheartening.

The politics of determining success on awards ballot may continue to be muddled but for listeners invested in her musical evolution, it is another chance to resound the merits of the album.

Three other songs from the album apart from the five singles that I’ve already written about make it a winning streak for her. These are FORGIVENESS, MINOR FEELINGS and SEND MY LOVE TO JOHN. The first is an all-out belter from her part which sees a key change in the second half as also possesses a memorable chorus, something that anyone with half a singing voice will definitely want to sing along with while the second is the album’s prologue, a pithy but powerfully resonant declaration of catharsis that this set promises and delivers on.

SEND MY LOVE TO JOHN is finally a gentle, country ballad that aims to build bridges while acknowledging the roots of immigrant anxiety, parental distance and judgement,  religious diktats and failing to recognise true love owing to internalised homophobia.

It’s beautiful and a perfect way to recognise Rina’s evolving trajectory that can accommodate confidence, pathos and constructive statements seamlessly.












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THE 30TH and TV by BILLIE EILISH


If there’s any further proof needed that Billie and Finneas are modern-day geniuses then these two new songs by this prolific team are a perfect showcase for their collective talents.

The state of the world, mortality, resignation and changing loyalties all get subsumed in the acoustic melodies here. They are earworms and mark a further frontier for Billie’s subdued vocals and mature handling of subject matter.

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