A tribute to James Horner: My top favourite musical scores of his

I was saddened this morning to hear of James Horner’s untimely death. A double Oscar winner, he was an extremely talented musician who gave us such memorable scores in Titanic, Avatar, Braveheart, Apollo 13 and many other movies. For some reason, the sinking scenes from Titanic have been lingering in my mind since this morning ever since I heard the news. How ironical that he had to die in a plane crash, of all things.

Truth is, we have lost one of the greatest composers of the contemporary times. The man whose sweeping orchestral scores literally poured life into many a movies.

Unfortunately, I have not heard all of his music, but these are some of my absolute favourites of his. Stuff that I always carry in my smartphone.

1) Rose’s Theme – Titanic

Titanic is one film that catapulted James’ popularity among the movie goers. “My Heart Will Go On” is probably the most recognizable song ever. It is just perfect in every sense. But if you’re looking for something more haunting, the hum version of this song called ‘Rose’s Theme’ is one I always settle down with in loop. Just brings back all of those emotions…the sea..the ship…Rose…

2) The Destruction of Home Tree – AVATAR

This is such a powerful score that it never fails to move me to bits whenever I listen to it. Coming at a very crucial moment in the film, it perfectly underscores the action and the destruction and the agony that follows afterwards. A masterful track, my favourite bit starts from 4:10 and up until the very end.

3) A Kaleidoscope of Mathematics – A Beautiful Mind

I absolutely love this track! The way it starts off, marvelously building up intrigue. Then seguing into the more somber notes.

4) For The Love of Princess – Braveheart

I remember looking for the score as soon as I watched the film, me being a sucker for sweeping violins! This one takes on epic proportions midway and makes for an amazing listen. I love the kind of mixed emotions this one evokes in me.

5) A New Nervous System – Bicentennial Man

One usually remembers this movie for Robin Williams, he was a fantastic actor and I still cannot digest that he is no more. And James Horner as usual imbues such delicately soulful music into this film that perfectly compliments the humanoid robot’s emotional journey through the film. The below is one glorious example.

6) Rooftop Kiss – The Amazing Spider Man

A track that sounds very simple but is beautiful in its own right. A very soothing track.

RIP James Horner. You music will live on. 

Songs of the Week – 18.6.15

You noticed the plural in the title? Yes, this time I’ve got loads of good music to brighten up your mid-week 🙂

1) Where It All Begins – Hunter Hayes Ft. Lady Antebellum

There’s a reason I love country music. It’s clean, simple, has a distinctive sound, and just makes for a pleasurable listen. I’m a big fan of both Hunter Hayes and Lady Antebellum, and this collaboration between them is an absolute delight. Nothing too mind-blowing about the song, but a catchy hook and impressive lyrics make it worth a listen.

2) Ship To Wreck, Delilah –  Florence+The Machine (How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful)

Florence Welch rules! Her amazing vocals and killer hooks make the entire album a great listen. My absolute favourite is Ship To Wreck though, with that retro touch.

3) Where the light is, Born Again, He Knows – Dan Bremnes (Where The Light Is)

This new kid on the block has some nice songs up his sleeve. Good melodies and foot-tapping rhythms, it’s soft-rock done very well.

4) Indru Netru Naalai – Hiphop Tamizha

This whole album impressed me a lot! The songs are of higher quality, have better tunes than most of the current Tamil songs and are well orchestrated too. Look out especially for the Conquest of Time theme and the title track sung wonderfully by Shanker Mahadevan! I also love the guitar strumming in iPhone 6 Nee Yendral.

Song of the Week – Sun Saathiya, ABCD 2

ABCD stands for Any Body Can Dance, so yes this is a dance oriented movie indeed. (A Bollywood version of Step Up, if you will)

So imagine my delight to have found such a sweet little love ballad in this film. It has got a mesmerizing tune, great vocals by Priya Saraiya and an overall nice foot-tapping feel to it.

But also staying true to the movie’s theme, the song is heavily and brilliantly choreographed but in a way that doesn’t seem too distracting. Shraddha Kapoor twists her body in precision to each and every note and trust me when I say that a single watch is not enough to take it all in. This lady can dance!!

Great thing is, even without the dance, the song makes for a wonderful listen. Sachin-Jigar strike gold this time.

Songs of the Week #3

And good music keeps pouring in! So this week I’ve got multiple songs across different languages that are worth a listen.

1. Title Track – Hamari Adhuri Kahani (Hindi)

Well, this is that instant hit of a love ballad from the director Mohit Suri yet again. Listen to it for the soulful tune and the completely heartfelt singing by Arijit Singh. This one song makes me so eager to watch the movie when it comes out. The video is absolutely smashing too.

2. Then Nila – Nee Naa (Malayalam)

Me being a sucker for the acoustic guitar, songs like this are just my cup of tea. A simple melody with very nice guitar strumming and very nice violin-laden interludes. What more could you want?

3. Entire Album – 36 Vayadhinile (Tamil)

Who would have thunk that we would hear epic orchestral scores in Indian cinema, but composer Santhosh Narayanan does it with gusto! Granted, most of it feels inspired but so do most of the musical scores these days, anyway. I highly recommend all the songs and score pieces from this.

4. Believe – Mumford and Sons (English)

Just another perfect song from Mumford and Sons that has got their signature all throughout. Especially love the intro, with that gossamer-like crooning in the background. Extremely likable and hummable, this one.

5. Sarod Theme – Piku (Instrumental)

Well, what can I say? My infatuation with this musical piece isn’t over yet. The more I listen to it, the more attached I get.

Happy Sunday!

Song of the Week – Bezubaan, Piku

I’m late this time for SOTW! Initially started off as an Every-Saturday feature, it took a beating last week as I was visiting my parents and was busy with – you know – all the stuff that one does when they visit their parents! 🙂 I haven’t listened to any new music up until then anyway.

You know you hear a lot of “hit” music these days and almost all of it sounds like – well this is catchy, but it feels like I have heard something like this before! It’s a fact that truly original music is almost on the verge of disappearing. And yet, out of all this, there comes a song suddenly that really takes your breath away with its beauty. And it has happened again when I listened to a new Hindi song recently. I think the last time this happened was also for a Bollywood movie – Badlapur! Those songs haunt me to this day!

The Song of the Week for me is unequivocally – Bezubaan, from the movie Piku.

I love the layers in this. How the composer Anupam Roy subtly underlays guitars and sitar, the way his voice soars oh-so-beautifully, and most importantly the section starting at 3:40 – starting off with simple Sitar pattern and eventually ending in that wonderful crescendo!! (somehow reminding me of a Kodaline song)

This is exactly the reason I had to embed the full jukebox of the album here, as the other standalone versions of the song seem to miss this bit! But thankfully, it’s the first song so you don’t have to click anything!

But the whole album is so good that I really recommend you give all of the songs a go!

Good music, Good times.

Song of the Week: Uprising – The Muse

This past week has been really frustrating. Had 12-hour work days as our team ran into a lot of issues with the application. There was a lot of bug fixing and relentless testing, and on top that there was a lot of pressure from the client as well. It was just chaos everywhere. So I couldn’t help but miss to write some of my daily Writing 101 prompts here! I did have some time to write to be honest, but my mind wasn’t in a state to do any creative work.

Through all this, there was one song that kept me pushing forward. It was on loop most of the times – at work, and at home too! It’s none other than Uprising by Muse. Now Muse has always been my go-to band for when I need to focus on something. And the lyrics somehow rang true this time as well.

They will not force us
They will stop degrading us
They will not control us
We will be victorious

Yes, I needed that! Isn’t it amazing to have a song for every occasion?

Song of the Week: How To Save A Life – The Fray

The Fray is a band I’ve only recently discovered but I immediately took to them as their sound is very close to my sensibilities. They have a lot of good songs in their discography and even though the recent album Helios was a bit of a dampener, I still have high hopes for them!

Of course it all began with How To Save A Life – the song that is just instantly infectious and sticks with you for a long long time. The music, the lyrics, and the singing come together amazingly; the music starts off very low key but becomes more intense as the song progresses. Singing karaoke to this song is one of my favorite pastimes. 🙂

Now am I the only one on this planet who hasn’t seen Grey’s Anatomy? I found this little gem while browsing Youtube. They apparently did a musical episode with the cast breaking out in songs over the course of the episode. The song How To Save a Life aptly is set in an Operation Theater where the doctors are battling to keep a pregnant woman and her baby alive. I don’t know any of these characters but I thought they did a brilliant job at this! You can read so much from just their eyes!

Be prepared to be hit by a wave of emotions – 

And here’s the original. Because it’s just too good!