Side Lower

Songs that defined my 2018

January 02, 2019   |   10 Minute Read

This is a late, late 2018 hangover post. I should have been done with it earlier but procrastination got the better of me. I have never been much of music connoisseur. Ever since my schooldays, I have been suggested songs to listen and shared with. That practice hasn’t changed much. People still suggest songs to me and this activity has led to the development of some really cherished friendships. My Aekla Cholo Re credo doesn’t hold much ground here. Whenever people suggest me or share with me songs, I associate a distinct memory of mine with the song. So, whenever I listen to it again, the song reminds me of those memories. And such memories lead the way to more posts such as this.

Here’s a big thank you to all those who suggested me songs and made my 2018 musically awesome and for lending my brooding self some much needed warmth. I wish all of them a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious 2019!

Here’s my 13 songs for 2018. (Click on the name of the song to go to YouTube.)

Zombie – Cranberries

The first casualty of 2018 brought this song to me in the form of a WhatsApp status from a friend. Before 15th January, I didn’t know about Dolores O’Riordan or Cranberries. The hard-hitting lyrics backed by the pummeling, distorted electric guitars and O’Riordian’s lilt reminded me of The Sniper by Liam O’ Flaherty which I read in school and its end. Terrorism is wide spread and it affects people universally whether in India or Ireland. This is a song which I hummed for quite some time on my often-solitary walks from my hostel to college.

One Moment in Time – Dana Winner’s version

After winning the Chandigarh round of Crucible, I was elated. Sometimes I wondered that I might be dreaming. Our win was real. This song (I prefer this version more than the Whitney Houston one) was shared by my quiz partner who in real terms is a music connoisseur. This song in a way could describe my feelings in the run up to TC.

I want one moment in time
When I’m more than I thought I could be
When all of my dreams are a heartbeat away

Santorini, Aria, Rain Must Fall – Yanni

Why, why have I missed this Greek maestro? Discovered Yanni through one of my TC prep nights. Each piece is a magnum opus. The way he incorporates exotic instruments to create music is truly an eclectic fusion of ethnic sounds. His music makes me happy, makes me smile. Personal favourite – Rain Must Fall.

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

Actually, all the songs of the movie. I was introduced to ABBA in 2016 in my first year of college. Their simple lyrics and happy sounds made them my go to place whenever I was blue. The movie was delight to watch, gives happy vibes. Summer, colourful, musical and Meryl Steep! I am a simple person – I see Meryl Streep, I watch. And till now I have never been disappointed with my choice. Favourites – Thank You for the Music and Andante, Andante.

Команда 2018 – Polina Gagarina and Egor Creed

The Greatest Celebration on Earth happens every 4 years and brings with a creative outburst of art, music and books. Ever since 2010, I have always been a fan of the non-English versions of the official songs. From Nancy Ajram and Cheb Khaled’s Shajea Helmak to David Correy and Paty Cantu’s La Copa de Todos. Ricky Martin’s Cup of Life from 1998 is still at the top for me though. This year, I was disappointed. None of the songs could capture the zeal and the enthusiasm. Coca Cola was couldn’t live to its expectations. FIFA’s was already a listen-once phenomenon. After some search I came upon Команда 2018 by Polina Gagarina and Egor Creed. It’s completely in Russian, devoid of any recognizable faces but it is infectious! The beats, the rap, the lyrics all fall into place. Throughout the month of June – July ’18 this song remained at the top of my list.

What If God was One of Us – Joan Osborne

I was gifted this song on my birthday by a friend and I have been grateful ever since. This song is my companion during lonely evenings. The music doesn’t distract, the words don’t repulse. Simple, yet so good.

Scarborough Fair – Simon and Garfunkel

This song was casually mentioned by a friend as I was coming out from the hostel mess on a September night. It was the time of my mid sessional yet I was asked to listen to it once. I have been a fan of Simon & Garfunkel’s clean sound, folksy lyrics which does not exude a sense of urgency. This is a timeless song. Some how this song escaped my playlist. The brilliance of this piece has been explained by Polyphonic in its video on YouTube. Combining two different songs into one yet not deviating or overwhelming the listener Scarborough Fair/Canticle is one of my all time great suggested songs so far.

Apocalypse – Cigarettes After Sex

Suggested just before I was about to take the bus to Delhi for my journey home, this song made my trip much pleasurable. The trance like muted music and its lyrics enchanted me and made my lonesome trip a little better.

You leapt from crumbling bridges watching cityscapes turn to dust
Filming helicopters crashing in the ocean from way above

Oh, when you’re all alone, I will reach for you
When you’re feeling low, I will be there, too

Diamonds and Rust – Joan Baez

Another suggestion from a friend. A retrospective on a long, lost relationship with Bob Dylan by Joan Baez, I spent most of my early November mornings listening to it just to hear this line again and again and again –

Well you burst on the scene
Already a legend
The unwashed phenomenon
The original vagabond

Tu Kisi Rail Si Guzarti Hai – Swanand Kirkire

I watch a lot of railway videos on YouTube and I think that the site must have seen the word ‘rail’ and put it on my recommendation. Not really a big fan of YouTube’s recommendation algorithm, I have to make an exception for this. This song had me with its opening lines. Personifying the passage of a train over a bridge to young, shy love left me enraptured. Swanand Kirkire’s voice and Varun Grover’s lyrics created magic through this song.

Tu kisi rail si guzarti hai
Main kisi pull sa thartharata hoon.

Gabriel’s Oboe – Ennio Morricone

This track from the movie The Mission left me spell-bound. Ennio Morricone is a gift to humanity. Every spaghetti western I have watched had background score by this man. I could not imagine he could also create wonders like this. This is slow but beautiful which needs to be relished. Henrik Chaim Goldschmidt’s version is a great rendition of this.

Azaadiyan – Amit Trivedi, Neuman Pinto and Amitabh Bhattacharya

In the last week of November amidst the project submissions, quizzes and lab evaluations I found my solace in this. In part due to its lyrics and also due to the film being shot in Jamshedpur with this song being picturized on the Kadma-Sonari Link Road, just metres away from my home. It didn’t bring in me a huge desire to go home but it sure does kindles up some wonderful memories of home and my city. I might perhaps use the last lines of this song for a post years later…

Subah Ki Kirno Ko Roke Jo Salaakhein Hai Kahan
Jo Khayalon Pe Pehre Daale
Woh Aankhein Hai Kahan
Par Khulne Ki Deri Hai
Parinde Udh Ke Jhoomenge

Kahani Khatam Hai
Ya Shuruwaat Hone Ko Hai (Hone Ko Hai)
Subha Nayi Hai Yeh
Ya Phir Raat Hone Ko Hai (Hone Ko Hai)

Be Prepared – Jim Cummings

I have a confession to make – I haven’t watched The Lion King until the November of this year. In all my 21 years of life, I simply gave this film a miss. I missed the bandwagon to watch this when I was young and when I grew up, this felt too cartoonish for me. It was not that this film was completely oblivious to me – the words Simba, Hakuna Matata were known since I was in class 6 or 7. The Circle of Life (which is my first Elton John) was suggested to me in my first year of college. Still, I was not interested in actually watching this. This outlook changed in November. I realized what I missed. One song which will stay with me is Scar’s Be Prepared. What a piece of propaganda music! Rhythmic words, symbolism and a certain grandeur. If I was one of the hyenas, I would have followed Scar just for his choice of words and baritone.

Once again, a heartfelt thank you to all those who helped me discover some great music and make my awesome 2018, even more fantastic. Keep suggesting me in 2019 too since I have got a strange feeling of déjà vu that this year won’t be as happier or exciting as 2018.

All images are screenshots from their video on YouTube. Link given.

Like it? Subscribe