Posts Tagged ‘beatles’

404-j04001852British Invasion is one of those rare mainstream experiments gone right. Technically, The Beatles kickstarted the genre by simply further expanding on their sensibilities to glue together a triad of the most popular genres – rock, pop and soul. British Invasion was almost England’s answer to Do Wop music; a sort of entry point across the Atlantic for brash youngsters to wield their steel instruments and cockney accents. The flower power ethos of the Sixties let psychedelia slip into the sounds of the Invasion, which previously only focused on song structures that were candy-coated, and almost retarded in its simplicity. By the mid-Sixties, gone were the love songs and lullabies (and I guess we can all quietly thank Bob Dylan for that) with bands such as The Byrds, The Kinks, The Zombies and The Animals flirting with gritty blues and gnarly soundscapes; British Invasion was a different beast altogether.

Suffice to say the beast began wielding a pitchfork and kicking it’s mother in her stomach while giving the middle finger salute to the Queen with the evolution of the Punk scene. We got the dubious distinction of watching to kids sporting bad Mohawks and strumming guitars with bloody fingers. Sort of the Neanderthal stage in the evolution of music where only attitude and nihilism went under the microscope and where emerged an insane vortex in which Sid Vicious was worshipped as a musician.

519os-ddb6lWith New Wave, Synth Pop and Glam Rock dominating the Eighties, it almost seemed that all hope was lost in redeeming the once glorious British Invasion. I guess, only a brave few such as The Smiths, The Stranglers, Talking Heads and Wreckless Eric survived the onslaught perpetuated by Rod Stewart while the others – The Cure, New Order, Depeche Mode – merely conformed to what was popular at that time.

When grunge exploded in Nineties and everyone and his cousin’s milkman were listening to Nirvana, British Invasion was preparing itself for metamorphosis. A few British artists took it upon themselves to ignore whims and fancies of the American industry and more importantly to convince everyone that there was more to life than The Beatles. A lot of people have different opinions regarding the exact moment when this actually happened. Personally, I think that My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless (1991) is birthplace of the new British identity in popular culture. Before Loveless, the shoegazing genre was frowned upon and merely seen as drug-induced stupor and once it was released, for the first time the world stumbled upon what was to be known shoegazing and none could lay a claim to it but the Brits. And it didn’t just stop there as Primal Scream, Happy Monday, Blur, The Brand New Heavies, Massive Attack and a bunch of other bands from England invented new soundscapes and made their into the hearts of thousands who just weren’t impressed with the three-chord mayhem of Nirvana. Also, this was the year when the Greenwood brothers, O’Brien, Selway, and Tom Yorke decided to get together and call themselves Radiohead.

mbvThe second wave continued both in spirit and surprisingly even on the popularity polls well into the new millennium especially, with the rebirth of garage rock and shenanigans of the odd American – Jack White. Muse, Razorlight and Artic Monkeys joined in the festivities, as well, with their re-interpretation of Radiohead and Oasis.

Lately, there has been a lull in original Brit music and with the term ‘shoegazing’ raising more eyebrows than wallets, it is only a matter of time before the second wave is dead and buried. But thankfully, the Poms have made enough good music to keep us occupied for the rest of our lives and probably the Queen’s too. And a special mention to directors Wes Anderson and Guy Ritchie for their impeccable selection of songs in films and to Will Ferrell for a rousing rendition of the best love song of 1978.


The Kinks – Nothing In This World (Rushmore soundtrack)

Wreckless Eric – Whole Wide World (Stranger Than Fiction soundtrack)

The Stranglers – Golden Brown (Snatch soundtrack)


The British Invasion DVD set

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Bug-eyed beetles

It’s easy to believe that The Beatles were crappy. They made sugary pop songs & sappy romantic ballads. They weren’t just a part of the mainstream charts, they defined its existence after Elvis Presley became fat and people realized Little Richard was black.

So yeah, The Beatles exemplified pop music. Bad haircuts, sometimes cornier-than-hell lyrics and repetitive melodies. That was Beatles in a nutshell.

Thankfully, these blokes spoofed themselves seriously enough to make some kick-ass songs. Dreary pop ballads such as I Want To Hold Your Hand & All You Need Is Love helped a few guys get laid and made the others fall asleep. But whenever they decided to get in touch with their edgier side, songs such as the Happiness Is A Warm Gun, Eleanor Rigby and A Day In The Life Of…proved that Beatles could brilliantly mangle pop and force it to copulate with rock and roll.

The Fab Four certainly weren’t as good as people thought they were. Greatest band ever, my left foot. But after listening to gems like Free As A Bird, One Is The Loneliest Number and Across The Universe, an undeniable fact stands out and screams at me – The Beatles were bigger than Jesus and definitely better than Oasis.

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Neon nights in Kodaikanal

Monday morning

The weather is cold enough to drive all of us slightly nuts. The streets are empty enough to encourage us to steal a boat at 2.30 in the morning. “All for a night swim, buddies”, Prem snarls and leads us into this insipid adventure.

Monday evening

The cottage was very pretty. It had three large fireplaces and plenty of elves and fairies in the garden. It was in the middle of the woods too! Oh, how my heart skipped several beats!

Tuesday morning

It is barely 5 in the morning. Almost nothing moves. Not even the red ashes in the fireplace. I step outside to see white ghosts swallowing the hills.

Tuesday afternoon

The jungle wasn’t expecting us. Either that or it paid no heed to us. All I could think was how powerful it felt to be omnipresent. I was everywhere. I was sitting atop the banyan trees, looking for shy fauna. I was gliding over the crystal river, soaking in every bit of the sun. I felt closer to nothing. I was detached from everything.

Tuesday night

There was so much beauty in my lungs that I almost collapsed. This kind of beauty cuts deeper than pain and touches all else but the soul. This is isolation in its most exquisite form and shape.

Wednesday evening

I shook it off my mind. I was in Kodaikanal. I was staring at this lake, which was bathed in sunshine. Unbelievably so, I wasn’t happy. Then as the sun shrank beneath the clouds and then it dawned on me, I didn’t need to be happy. I was content. Happiness, like the Beatles said, might be a warm gun. Dam you hippies, I prefer water pistols.

Wednesday night

There’s an ancient African myth that says when a family loses a beloved one, the dead dance at night because now they have a new friend to play with during the day. I am not sure whether the dead danced during nights in Kodai, but this city moved at such a slow pace that I could not help but feel that death would become a necessity after a point of time. Sooner here, than in most places I have been too.

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