Music that made my 2011

So the Holiday festivities are over and my belly feels like a ton heavier. And nothing accompanies a few exercises than some good music.

2011 was definitely not a Holiday, it has its own share of headaches and constipations, but the music remains  the same. Here is a list of some of the artists that really made my 2011 still another good memory, after all.

Phoenix

 For artsy-fartsy indie rock enthusiasts, Phoenix is the typical effeminate French rock band. Phoenix is a techy band, making their music accessible to hipster party-goers. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is a delight; it is easy listening while retaining the edgy vibe. However, it is hard to find raw energy in their music, emotion is almost absent from the laconic guitar riffs, watered-down drums up to the kinky vowel enunciations. Nonetheless, the tunes are catchy and fresh, lively companions to an early morning jeepney ride on earphones. It is still a puzzle to me how girls find boys who whine like pre-adolescents attractive and sexy.

The Smiths

This band is just too fatalistic sometimes, but for some moments they are arrogantly funny. The thing about the Smiths is that their tunes are excruciatingly boring, monotonous and sometimes pathetic. Maybe that is what separates them from the raw energies of English pop and punk. Morrisey is fond of cryptic themes and sarcastic one-liners; the typical smart-alecky thing. It is Jonny Marr’s guitar work, however, that draws me to their music. I like the simplicity and jolliness of his playing, a contrast to the doom in Morrisey’s voice.    The people in the Outcrop office play Smiths songs when they are lonely. I guess it’s the 500 Days of Summer obsession thing. Poor folks. Hehe.

The Kinks

Nothing too kinky about this band. You know listening to the Beatle is kind of funny especially when you realize that everybody is listening to them. The Kinks is a better alternative. Ray and Dave Davies are without doubt brilliant songwriters and bad-assed siblings, creating songs with naïve but truthful social commentary, backed by raunchy guitars and exquisite rock and rollarrangements. I love “Celluloid Heroes,” “Dedicated Follower of Fashion”, “Lola”, “Apeman”, “The First Time We Fall In Love”, “Come Dancing”, “Black Messiah”, “Low Budget”, “Rock and Rock Fantasy” …(and now I realized it is just too many). By the way, The Rolling Stones is fine, I like the image, but their music is boring as a Arctic desert. Bloody Brits, eh?

Oasis

Surprisingly, these cocky copy-cat brats still managed to creep into my playlist. Songs from Be Here Now and Don’t Believe the Truth make up for what Oasis was for me last year, but of course Definitely Maybe and What’s the Story will outshine these records anyday of the week. Special mention to “Acquiesce” (this is Oasis cock rock at its best, and this being a duet between Liam and Noel makes it more special) and “Listen Up”, a cheesy gobbledygook track perfect for after arguing with a girl/boyfriend. By the way, I consider their last album Dig Out Your Soul is not only their worst album, but also one of the worst albums I have heard since I learned to dance to Westlife’s “Larger Than Life.” It was rubbish masquerading as a stripped-down rock ‘n roll psychedelic record. If Be Here Now is Oasis on cocaine and speed, Dig Out Your Soul is Oasis in zombiefied form.

Keane

Love this band, and will love it more if the vocalist will try do some dieting. Very good songs, nice lyrics. All their albums are singular and have their own artistic kernel. I can’t believe I’ve been listening to Keane since Grade 6.

Sampaguita

During the latter half of the year I ventured to listen to classic Pinoy rock. Sampaguita is one of those good bands who I often hear during birthdays and parties from the blaring speaker of the karaoke, thanks to the Manangs of our purok. They may sound baduy and old-fashioned, but musically they are much more able compared to the more popular Juan Dela Cruz Band. Favorite songs: “Sa Diyos Lamang”, “Laguna ”, “Tao”, Easy Pare.”

Anak Bayan

The band name sounds like the name of a radical student organization, but I believe they are unrelated. Nonetheless, everything is radical about Anak Bayan and their music. “Jeepney Rock”, for instance, is the Filipino version of psychedelic rock plus progressive  rock ala Emerson, Lake and Palmer. The lyrics are very pedestrian, striving to be more ‘local’ and easy to relate to. Anak Bayan touches topics like migration, politics and day-to-day Filipino experience. The song “Pagbabalik ng Kwago” even sounds like a communist chant: “dadalhin tayo sa paraiso/ sa pugad ng langit/ lahat ay magkapatid/ pantay-pantay lang/ walang lamangan/nagkakaisa at nagbibigayan.” That, my friends, is Joma Sison on acid. Hehe.

Sinosikat?

Who cares what the band name really means? I think this is what Sinosikat really signifies: ambiguity (sexual, if you want) and technical skill. One of the few remaining hopes of Filipino music.

Phil Keaggy

There was an urban legend wherein Jimi Hendrix was asked who he think is the best guitarist. Hendrix allegedly answers, “I don’t know, ask Phil Keaggy.” And of course, everyone may be asking, who the hell he is? Well that is the time that I discovered this guitar maestro of prodigious talent. Phil Keaggy is most famous for his dazzling fingerstyle playing, but he is also a very good blues and jazz player. Maybe his playing gravitated me towards those kinds of music. It’s difficult to single out any representative song for this man. His whole discography is a testimony of talent.

Ozzy Osbourne

I like his hair. I like his voice. I like Randy Rhoads. His music is, uh, nevermind. Hail the Prince of Dorkness. That’s all.

Yes

My interest for Yes’s music has never wavered for the past three years. I downloaded  three Yes albums 4 year, and they are all more valuable than last ten movies I watched. Drama, Close to the Edge, 90125, The Yes Album, and Going for the One. Drama is quite fun, heavy, dense, noisy, but I miss the majestic element of Jon Anderson’s voice. Close to the Edge is colossal, thunderous by impact and massive in sonic power, all three songs are good especially the title epic track. The Yes Album is fine, I like “Starship Trooper” and “Perpetual Change” but hate “I’ve Seen All Good People.” Going for the One is a very long album, very dense, making its sound almost opaque that it fills my eardrums like white noise. It has ahhmm-okay moments but when it peaked at “Awaken” it seemed like every star in the sky has exploded. Haha. 90125 is 80’s Yes, very 80s-sounding indeed, has some weak, unbearably long pop tunes but nonetheless is still enjoyable.

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