MUSIC : The 2006 List

It's that time of the year again. Continuing the tradition of last year, here's the list of MY favourite music of 2006. This year I'll try to make the list simpler (not enough time, really!). And just like last year, coming up is my list of Favourite Movies & TV Shows of 2006. Read on..


Arctic Monkeys

In 2006, more than ever before, artists have had to hit hard and hit fast to make an impact. YouTube, MySpace Music and the new blogocracy mean that overnight sensations can now happen, almost literally, in the course of a single day. Careers aren't built, they're launched – vertically, like a rocket. And if they don't shoot straight into the stratosphere, they're finished before they've started. Arctic Monkeys are the most famous exemplars of this super-success. By the time their album came out in January, they were already huge. 4 teenagers from Sheffield lead by the talented Alex Turner has taken the term 'online music' to another level. They cultivated a fanbase by making MP3s available on the internet, and before they had even released a proper single, managed to have a sell out concert in London's Astoria.

Arctic Monkeys' sound is based entirely on music from the past five years. The laconic, distorted vocals bear the influence of the Strokes. The choppy punk-funk guitars have been filtered through Franz Ferdinand, the frantic rhythms and dashes of ska come via the Libertines. So what makes them different? It's those lyrics that set the Monkeys apart from their contemporaries. Turner effortlessly describes scenarios that everyone can identify with - a taxi ride home, pretentious bands who pretend to be cool, arguments with a girlfriend - and manages to make every line sound pithy, funny, poignant and immensely quotable. Musically, it's scratchy, raw guitar rock all the way - the sort that makes you fall in love with music all over again.

Their debut album has been voted as the best album of the year from Time Magazine recently. If you haven't yet listen to their album, that's one reason to start.


Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not

Clearly the album of the year for me. This album contains many of my favourite lyrics this year: all that's left is the proof that love's not only blind but deaf - (Fake Tales of San Fransisco); anticipation has the habit to set you up for disappointment - (View From The Afternoon); there's only music, so that there's new ringtones - (A Certain Romance); All you people are vampires/All your stories are stale/Though you pretend to stand by us/Though you're certain we'll fail - (Perhaps Vampire Is A Bit Strong But..). Beneath all the internet hype, this album has all the ingredients -startling youth, tremendous potential, a gifted lyricist, and a rock-solid rhythm section. What more could you ask for? FAVE TRACK : Fakes Tales of San Fransisco

Pearl Jam - Pearl Jam

Pearl Jam's best studio album in a decade is like Vs. with politics -- iron-rock riffing and a lyric righteousness forged in real battle. "World Wide Suicide" and "Army Reserve" don't just protest the Iraq War and its disastrous consequences. These are songs about universal accountability. Now that's classic rock. FAVE TRACK : World Wide Suicide

Dewa 19 - Republik Cinta

Being a die-hard Baladewa, this album had to be on my list. To take Nazim Masnawi's comments on my review of this album "..I think if they produce crap one day, I'll probably love it to death!". I agree. Amazing album. FAVE TRACK : Selimut Hati

Muse - Black Holes & Revelations

Never mind the barmy black-hole conspiracy theories that inform much of the songwriting of Matt Bellamy, the multitasking mastermind behind Muse – this is a brilliant album, dark, dense and crunchingly heavy, but also bristling with musical references to such disparate influences as Queen. This sense of adventure is what makes Muse the heavy rock band that it's OK for everyone to like, and it's what makes this their finest album. FAVE TRACK : Starlight

Justin Timberlake - FutureSex/LoveSounds

If I told you I like the new JT album six years ago, you would probably laugh at me and shouted 'Fag!'. But Justin Timberlake is not the teeny bopper, boy band member anymore. He is stepping up the bar for pop music and himself. His partnership with Timbaland is one of the best pairing in pop music. The sound that they created on this album is totally mind-blowing. Timbaland's drum programming is clean, intelligent, and has an organic feel that is lacking in many types of music. Justin's phrasing contains hints of the great soul singers before him but does so in a way that is fresh and accessible to our generation. This album will probably make u realize that maybe Timberlake is his generation's Prince. Pop/dance album of the year. FAVE TRACK : My Love

Snow Patrol - Eyes Open

Epic in its sonic architecture, intimate at its emotional core, this is the real sound of 21st-century rock. While most indie guitar bands are still in thrall to the '60s beat boom, Snow Patrol employed dance maverick Jacknife Lee and all the technology of the modern studio to lend a glittering, machine-driven sheen to their anthemic choruses. Singer Gary Lightbody's poetic ruminations on love and loss ensure that the biggest selling album in the UK this year has a beating, human heart. FAVE TRACK : Chasing Cars

James Morrison - Undiscovered

This 22 years old kid from England will not be undiscovered no more. If you hear his voice, you will probably compare him to soul greats like Al Green, Otis Redding or even folk heroes like Van Morrison or Cat Stevens. The truth is, he is a mixture of all of them, but with a very interesting twist. You will be hearing more from this kid, I guarantee. FAVE TRACK : You Give Me Something

M. Nasir - Sang Pencinta

The only mainstream local album that matters this year. Every song from our own 'sifu' sounded very fresh and new. Not as life-changing as 'Saudagar Mimpi' but still pack a few punches and probably could teach our own local artistes a thing or two about producing a good quality album. FAVE TRACK : Juwita Citra Terindah

Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury

With musical partners the Neptunes, Clipse have crafted 12 unrelenting tales of desperation and distribution, glamour and gloating. Lyrically, the album is spare and incisive- wordplay abounds but the punches are quick and devastating- and musically, Malice and Pusha T have arguably snatched the best dozen Neptunes tracks in years. Together, the quartet has crafted an album that's sonically deep, dark, and one of 2006's finest. Hip hop on a higher level. FAVE TRACK : Wamp Wamp (What It Do)

Lupe Fiasco - Food & Liquor

Food & Liquor is packed with quality rhymes and production. Lupe Fiasco confidently works his gifts over a variety of topics as he focuses on relationships: racial, cultural, and religious relationships ("American Terrorist"); father-son relationships ("He Say She Say"); and even his own ambivalent relationship with hip-hop ("Hurt Me Soul"). Props to our Muslim brother from the West, Mr Lupe Fiasco. You've done a great job. FAVE TRACK : Kick Push

Nidji - Breakthru

Indonesia's answer to Coldplay, Nidji stays away from the current trend of Indo alt-rock scene spearheaded by Radja, Peter Pan and others, and created a new Brit-pop influenced album that is very rich in lyrics and musical department. There are 2 versions of this album, one in English and another one in Indon; proving that this band is aiming for a bigger audience, and bigger success. FAVE TRACK : Heaven

Thom Yorke - The Eraser

Major Thom managed to keep his first solo album a secret until just before it dropped -- the reason, he explained, is that he didn't want to raise any questions about whether Radiohead were breaking up. The sound recalls Kid A's quiet glitch-tronic moments, in disarmingly straightforward verse-chorus-verse tunes. But even in morose ballads such as "The Clock" and "Atoms for Peace," Yorke's steely intelligence shines through. FAVE TRACK : The Clock

Ghostface Killah - Fishscale

With crack-rap ascendant, Wu-Tang's iron man dares to tell everything he knows - not by showing off fresh slang but by displaying his knowledge of old-school slangin'. As always, Ghost raps on the edge of some kind of breakout or breakdown, but it's the beats that seal the deal. Ghostface illustrates everything in such intricate, minute detail that it's easy to get lost in his flows. This album will undoubtedly be remembered as a classic. FAVE TRACK : Whip You With A Strap

Gigi - Next Chapter

Gigi are back to their usual self - producing great rockin' tunes. But on this particular album, the tunes are more laidback and mellow, but of course, still rockin'. This album marks their 12th years together as a band, and proving to their listeners that they are still here, stronger than before. FAVE TRACK : Kepastian Yang Ku Tunggu

Chris Cornell - Unplugged In Sweden

The sweet sound of nothing except Chris Cornell's voice and his guitar. Cornell giving us the taste of his upcoming solo album on this September 7th performance on a Swedish radio show. The underground bootleg album of the year. FAVE TRACK : Billie Jean

TV On The Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain

When it comes to Brooklyn’s TV on the Radio, most folks fall into one of two camps: They know nothing of the band, or they’re sick of hearing about them. This year's art-rock indie darlings have released a triumph so loaded with tension that it takes real work to unpack. The band's major-label debut comes with David Bowie's seal of approval -- the Thin White Duke contributes vocals to "Province." Now, that's something. FAVE TRACK : Wolf Like Me

Various Artistes - Radio Malaya

Local underground compilation of the year. Featuring wonderful tracks from indie pop favourite Couple, punk mainstays Carburetor Dung, experimental outfit Furniture, a rare track from the now defunct Sgt Weener Arms and new material by Ipoh great, Muck. A must-own compilation. FAVE TRACK : Mari Nyanyi Menjilat - Carburetor Dung


My Love - Justin Timberlake feat T.I.

Single of the year. This song got me hooked from the very first listen. Timbaland is a genius for writing this wonderful track. Check out the chorus : Timbaland manage to combine five different sounds together; an echoing synthesizer, a human beatbox, an opera like piano, a sratching noise that sounded like the voice of Porky Pig and JT soulful voice. It's a work of art and it sounded so good. T.I. verses was the icing on the cake. Much respect for JT and Timbaland who are willing to take risks and continue to suprise us.

Runners-Up : Starlight - Muse; Crazy - Gnarls Barkley; What U Know - T.I.; Irreplaceable - Beyonce; So Sick - Ne-Yo; Incinerate - Sonic Youth; Me & U - Cassie; Too Little Too Late - Jojo; Black Sweat - Prince; Trouble - Jay-Z; Save Room - John Legend; James Morrison - You Give Me Something


OK Go - Here it Goes Again

Four guys, eight treadmills, one solid classic. So much has already been said about this video that the most I can tell you is just to sit back and enjoy. Watch the band having a lot of fun as they get good exercise accompanied by their great music. Watch for this on best-videos-ever lists for years to come. Watch yourself hit replay. Here we go again. (Also check out their other video 'A Million Ways', the video that started it all.)

Runners-up : My Love - JT feat T.I.; Leave Before the Lights Come On - Arctic Monkeys; Crazy - Gnarls Barkley;

FILM :64th Golden Globe Nominations

The 64th Golden Globe Nominations was announced last week. Here's the list for the motion picture nominations :

Best Motion Picture
The Departed
Little Children
The Queen

Best Motion Picture -- Musical or Comedy
Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
The Devil Wears Prada
Little Miss Sunshine
Thank You For Smoking

Best Director
Clint Eastwood - Flags of Our Fathers
Clint Eastwood - Letters from Iwo Jima
Stephen Frears - The Queen
Alejandro González Iñárritu - Babel
Martin Scorsese - The Departed

Best Actor
Leonardo DiCaprio - Blood Diamond
Leonardo DiCaprio - The Departed
Peter O'Toole - Venus
Will Smith - The Pursuit of Happyness
Forest Whitaker - The Last King of Scotland

Best Actress
Penelope Cruz - Volver
Judi Dench - Notes on a Scandal
Maggie Gyllenhaal - Sherrybaby
Helen Mirren - The Queen
Kate Winslet - Little Children

Best Actor -- Musical or Comedy
Sacha Baron Cohen - Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
Johnny Depp - Pirates of the Caribbean 2
Aaron Eckhart - Thank You For Smoking
Chiwetel Ejiofor - Kinky Boots
Will Ferrell - Stranger Than Fiction

Best Actress -- Musical or Comedy
Annette Bening - Running with Scissors
Toni Colette - Little Miss Sunshine
Beyonce Knowles - Dreamgirls
Meryl Streep - The Devil Wears Prada
Renee Zellweger - Miss Potter

Best Supporting Actor
Ben Affleck - Hollywoodland
Eddie Murphy - Dreamgirls
Jack Nicholson - The Departed
Brad Pitt - Babel
Mark Wahlberg - The Departed

Best Supporting Actress
Jennifer Hudson- Dreamgirls
Adriana Barraza - Babel
Cate Blanchett - Notes on a Scandal
Emily Blunt - The Devil Wears Prada
Kikuchi Rinko - Babel

Best Screenplay
Little Children
Notes on a Scandal
The Departed
The Queen

Best Animated Feature
Monster House
Happy Feet

Best Foreign Language Film
Letters from Iwo Jima
The Lives of Others
Pans Labyrinth

Best Original Score
The Painted Veil
The Fountain
The Da Vinci Code

Best Original Song
Listen - The Pursuit of Happyness
Never Gonna Break My Faith - Dreamgirls
Bobby - Happy Feet

And the list for the television nominations are quite interesting as well :

Best TV Series - Drama
Big Love
Grey's Anatomy

Best Performance by an Actress In A Television Series - Drama
Patricia Arquette, Medium
Edie Falco, The Sopranos
Evangeline Lilly, Lost
Ellen Pompeo, Grey's Anatomy
Kyra Sedgewick, The Closer

Best Performance by an Actor In A Television Series - Drama
Patrick Dempsey, Grey's Anatomy
Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Hugh Laurie, House
Bill Paxton, Big Love
Kiefer Sutherland, 24

Best Television Series - Musical Or Comedy
Desperate Housewives

The Office
Ugly Betty

Best Performance by an Actress In A Television Series - Musical Or Comedy
Marcia Cross, Desperate Housewives
America Ferrera, Ugly Betty
Felicity Huffman, Desperate Housewives
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, The New Adventures of Old Christine
Mary-Louise Parker, Weeds

Best Performance by an Actor In A Television Series - Musical Or Comedy
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Zach Braff, Scrubs
Steve Carell, The Office
Jason Lee, My Name Is Earl
Tony Shalhoub, Monk

And Hiro Nakamura was nominated in the miniseries categories :

Best Performance by an Actor In A Supporting Role In A Series, Mini-Series Or Motion Picture Made For Television
Thomas Haden Church, Broken Trail
Jeremy Irons, Elizabeth 1
Justin Kirk, Weeds
Masi Oka, Heroes
Jeremy Piven, Entourage

Hope that Masi Oka wins, although Jeremy Piven was excellent in HBO's Entourage. And of course I really hope Heroes would win because the show is excellent. In the movie categories, the only movie that I saw was The Departed so I can't really judge. What do u guys think?

Music : Album Review 006-009 (Chris Cornell Special)

4 great, must-have Chris Cornell albums reviewed here.. Read on.

Album Review 006 : Chris Cornell - Unplugged In Sweden

Oh my god! I could not stop listening to this album. I love it so much I listened to it everywhere. I got it on rotation in my office PC and I think I'm starting to annoy some people in the office. They started asking me 'Who the hell is that guy screaming on your speakers? Enuff already!!'. Well sorry folks, I can't get enough.

Got to be one of the best live acoustic album ever produced, Cornell did this acoustic set in Sweden on September 7 in a bar with about 150 people in attendance. Not only does he treat the audience to new Audioslave material (since released), he perfoms some acoustic gems from Soundgarden and Temple of the Dog. I am also a huge fan of cover songs, and this performance does not disappoint. Cornell has one of the most amazing rock voices and gives us great interpretations of Bob Marley's "Redemption Song," Elvis Costello's "(What's so Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding," and Led Zeppelin's "Thank You,".

I simply love the acoustic take on "Fell on Black Days" and "Blackhole Sun". But the one standout track in this album is Cornell's amazing cover of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean". Yes, Billie Jean. Cornell sang it with so much emotion and intensity that by the time he belted the chorus, you would tend to forget the original version. I had to admit, I never really listen to the lyrics of Billie Jean before, but after hearing Cornell's version, I now understand the meaning of the song. Cornell told MTV News that his upcoming second solo studio LP will feature this Michael Jackson's cover. Can't wait for that. But for now, if you're a Cornell fan you have to check this album out. The sweet sound of nothing except Chris Cornell's voice and his guitar. Brilliant.

Track Listing :
01 Doesn't Remind Me (Audioslave)
02 Like A Stone (Audioslave)
03 Wide Awake (Audioslave)
04 Fell On Black Days (Soundgarden)
05 Be Yourself (Audioslave)
06 Billie Jean (Michael Jackson)
07 Original Fire (Audioslave)
08 Redemption Song (Bob Marley)
09 (What's So Funny 'bout) Peace, Love and Understanding? (Elvis Costello)
10 All Night Thing (Temple of the Dog)
11 Black Hole Sun (Soundgarden)
12 Call Me A Dog (Temple of the Dog)
13 Thank You (Led Zeppelin)

Album Review 007 : Chris Cornell - Lost And Found

This is the unofficial collection of Chris Cornell's rarities, b-sides, soundtracks and demos album series. Lost and Found contains some of his well-known work as well as some very rare gems such as "Hey Baby" with MACC (McCready, Ament, Cornell, Cameron) taken from a rare Jimi Hendrix tribute album and the French version of "Can't Change Me" from the Japanese version of his solo album Euphoria Morning. The extra bonus track is the excellent Casino Royale's theme song "You Know My Name". This album is actually created by a fan and actually appeared on some of Audioslave official fan forum. The quality of the tracks are quite good for an unofficial compilation album. A must have for any Chris Cornell fan.

Track Listing :
01. Mission 2000 (Mission Impossible 2 Soundtrack)
02. Sunshower (Great Expectations Soundtrack)
03. Seasons (Singles Soundtrack)
04. Can't Change Me (French Version, Euphoria Morning Japanese Bonus Track)
05. Ave Maria (w/ Eleven)
06. Someone to Die For (w/ Eleven)
07. Heart of Honey (w/ Eleven)
08. Like Suicide (Soundgarden. Acoustic)
09. Right Turn (Alice Chains SAP EP)
10. Hey Baby (MACC, Jimi Hendrix Cover)
11. Into the Void (Soundgarden, Black Sabbath Cover)
12. Girl U Want (Soundgarden, Devo Cover)
13. Come Together (Soundgarden, Beatles Cover)
14. Karaoke (Soundgarden, Burden in my Hand Bonus Track)
15. She's a Politician (Soundgarden, SOMMS)
16. Blind Dogs (Soundgarden, The Basketball Diaries Soundtrack)
17. Wild Horses (Live Featuring Lovemongers)
Bonus Track : You Know My Name (Casino Royale Soundtrack)

Album Review 008 : Chris Cornell - Lost And Found II

The continuation of the Lost and Found series, Lost And Found II contains more of Chris Cornell amazing works. There'a also a bonus track, the live Tonight Show with Jay Leno performance of "You Know My Name". I love the Ramones cover, "I Can't Give You Anything" because it rocks! A nice retrospective of Cornell's career.

Track Listing :
01. Fell On Black Days (Video Version)
02. Stray Cat Blues (Rolling Stones)
03. Everybody’s Got Something To Hide (Beatles)
04. Thank You (Sly & The Family Stone)
05. Spoonman (Demo)
06. Flutter Girl (Demo)
07. Touch Me (Fancy)
08. She Likes Surprises
09. Cold Bitch
10. Fresh Deadly Roses
11. Homicidal Suicidal (Budgie)
12. Show Me
13. Can You See Me (Jimi Hendrix)
14. I Can’t Give You Anything (Ramones)
15. I Don’t Care About You (Fear)
16. Toy Box
17. Heretic ('Pump Up The Volume' Soundtrack)
18. Stolen Prayers
Bonus Track: You Know My Name (Tonight Show)

Album Review 009 : Chris Cornell - Live In Denver 2000

This is from a live performance on the Euphoria Morning Tour. Most of the tracks performed are from Cornell's debut solo CD, but it is really cool hearing him do the Soundgarden song "Fell on Black Days" as well as "Seasons" from the Singles soundtrack with Eleven as his backup band. From what I can gather listening to it, this was professionally recorded and mixed, as evidenced by Cornell saying so himself before one of the songs. Check out the rocked-out version of the song "Sunshower". A great opening track to any concert. And check out Cornell hitting that very high note in "Seasons". He is definitely the best hard rock vocalist ever. Wish I was there..

Track Listing :
01. Sunshower
02. Can't Change Me
03. Flutter Girl
04. Mission
05. Preaching The End Of The World
06. Seasons
07. Fell On Black Days
08. Disappearing One
09. Moon Child
10. Sweet Euphoria

For you download headz, here's links to all of the albums reviewed above. Enjoy! :
Unplugged In Sweden
Lost And Found
Lost And Found II
Live In Denver 2000

Music : Album Review 003-005 (Cover Albums Special)

I just realize that I haven't done an album review in ages.. so here goes.

Album Review 003 : Easy All Stars - Radiodread

Not surprisingly, the reggae collective Easy Star All-Stars has chosen Radiohead’s OK Computer for its second cover project. The group’s first was a reggae interpretation of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, an album that struck a similar emotional and sonic tone. As they did with Dub Side of the Moon, the All-Stars shine when they are able to find the hypnotic essence of OK Computer and its surprisingly natural expression in the reggae idiom. It helps that, like Dark Side, the Radiohead album relies on a soporific, trancelike ambience. Hypnotic reggae, mon!

Track Listing :
* Airbag* Paranoid Android* Subterranean Homesick Alien* Exit Music (For A Film)* Let Down* Karma Police* Fitter Happier* Electioneering* Climbing Up The Walls* No Surprises* Lucky* The Tourist* Exit Music (For A Dub)

Album Review 004 : Buena Vista Social Club - Rhythms del Mundo : Cuba

Remember the Wim Wenders' film, Buena Vista Social Club? Back in the late 1990s, it evoked a bygone era with a sound drenched in Afro-Cuban son that left the world with a nostalgic longing for Cuba and its music. Now the group's tropical romanticism serves as the nucleus for Rhythms del Mundo: Cuba, a return to old Havana but with a new twist. The twist is that this album features tunes by U2, Coldplay, Sting, Radiohead and others to fuse with the Buena Vista style for this collection It proves to be quite an entertaining work of art, done with honesty and sincerity. You may have heard these songs before, but never like this. "Clocks" by Coldplay is a medium-tempo guajira, with Chris Martin's voice dancing atop a solid clave beat. A version of U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking for" -- featuring both original vocals plus Cuban singer Coco Freeman -- is great. My favourite tune on this album, Arctic Monkeys' "Dancing Shoes" is superb as a rhumba. Charter Social Club members Ibrahim Ferrer and Omara Portuondo melt your heart with "Killing Me Softly" and "As Time Goes By," Ferrer's final recording before his death last year. Great tunes with a twist; the Havana twist.

Track Listing :
* Clocks (feat. Coldplay)
* Better Together (feat. Jack Johnson)
* Dancing Shoes (feat. Arctic Monkeys)
* One Step Too Far (feat. Dido & Faithless)
* As Time Goes By (feat. Ibrahim Ferrer)
* I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For (feat. U2)
* She Will Be Loved (feat. Maroon 5)
* Modern Way (feat. Kaiser Chiefs)
* Killing Me Softly (feat. Omara Portuondo)
* Ai No Corrida (feat. Vania Borges & Quincy Jones)
* Fragilidad (feat. Sting)
* Don't Know Why (feat. Vania Borges)
* Hotel Buena Vista (feat. Aquila Rose & Idania Valdez)
* The Dark of The Matinee (feat. Franz Ferdinand)
* High And Dry (feat. El Lele De Los Van & Radiohead)

Album Review 005 : Various Artistes - Bossa N' Roses

The latest in Music Brokers' hugely popular "Bossa N" series contains laid-back electro-bossa versions of Guns N' Roses classics like "Welcome To The Jungle," "Sweet Child O' Mine," and other hits. Bossa N' Roses is currently # 9 on Spain's album charts. Its predecessors, Bossa N' Marley and two volumes of Bossa N' Stones, have sold half a million copies around the world with the same formula: melding massive pop hits with bossanova rhythms, Brazilian beats and breezy female vocals. Personally I think that this album is a little bit ironic. I mean, can you imagine anyone else singing "Paradise City" except Axl? But it's kinda' cool and could be good for a few listens; before it starts to annoy you. After that, of course you will be clawing for the original. And I really hate the cover because it is so freakin' tacky. What's with the bikini, smoking fingers and roses background?? (Oh, I geddit.. guns and roses..and bikini?). If listening to rock tunes with Brazilian bossa meshed with hip-hop and Latin beats is your cup of tea, then go get this album. I suppose if you can't stomach Axl in his original form, this is a little easier to digest.

Track Listing : * Intro * Patience (Cool Wave Mix) * Sweet Child O' Mine * Paradise City (Vibes Edition) * November Rain (B&H Version) * You Could Be Mine * Knockin' on Heaven's Door * Since I Don't Have You * Don't Cry * Welcome to The Jungle (808 Remix) * It's So Easy * Used To Love Her * Live and Let Die (Rua Do Cosmos Mix) * Outro

MUSIC : Pumpkins Smashing The Studio

Jimmy Chamberlin posted this great news on last week :-

Hello again!

I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday. We have been very busy carving up the sonic landscape with oceans of guitars and a sea of fuzz bass. We are four songs deep and about a hundred guitars in! Every day is a little louder and every night is a little darker! Last night for instance, we were working on a song...a very beautiful simple song we had been playing since we got back together. A song that was never questioned because of its poignant simplicity. Suddenly, Billy looked up and said that he thought we should try to find something else in the song. A different feel. A new approach. Something besides drums, bass and guitar. We had Bo' (our assistant) bring in an old organ to see if that would change the vibe. Instantly the song was transported to a new place . A place of symphonic majesty that made us all smile.

It's really moments like these that make it all worth it.
Sometimes you just have to ask the question...........
At any rate, it sure was nice to play something quiet for a change!

- JC -

I reckoned most of you had already heard the news of the eagerly-awaited Smashing Pumpkins reunion. They are currently in the studio recording their new album since 1999 with legendary producer Roy Thomas Baker. Jimmy Chamberlin and Billy Corgan are set to return but no news about the inclusion of James Iha or D'arcy Wretzky. News about current lineup, songs, producers and guest artistes are kept secret until the initial release of the new album.

Until that day comes, anticipation and expectation is all we got... *Sigh*.

FILEM : Cinta - Yang Mana Yang Pernah Anda Alami?

Jarang-jarang sekali, bila aku selesai menonton sebuah filem (local atau international) di pawagam, saat aku masuk dalam kereta setelah selesai menghabiskan sebatang rokok, the only thing yang aku pikir ialah, 'Ishhh... rasa macam nak tengok sekali lagi.' Itu yang terjadi setelah aku menonton filem Cinta pada 11:45 malam, hari Jumaat lepas di MBO Galaxy Ampang (nearly full house audience).

CINTA - kasih, sayang. Suatu perkara yang terlalu luas jangkauan maksudnya. Satu perkara yang semulajadinya wujud di dalam nurani semua makhluk tuhan. Bukan hanya cinta antara 2 manusia, tapi cinta kepada keluarga, alam, negara, Tuhan dan sebagainya. Selagi kita hidup, cinta akan memainkan peranan penting dalam hidup kita. Bermula dari hari kelahiran hingga ke hari kematian, perasaan cinta tetap akan menjadi perkara yang utama dalam perjalanan hidup, walau kita sedar atau tidak.

Filem Cinta arahan Khabir Bhatia ini sedikit sebanyak mengupas persoalan cinta. Jatuh cinta, putus cinta, cinta platonik, cinta abadi dan cinta romantis. Semua persoalan cinta ini sungguh senang didekati oleh penonton kerana ianya perkara yang biasa dilalui oleh manusia. Ianya membuatkan feel filem ini menjadi lebih intimate. Dekat di hati. Persoalan-persoalan cinta ini dijalinkan menjadi sebuah rangkaian cerita yang bertembung antara satu sama lain, walaupun secara tidak langsung. Namun begitu pertindihan 5 kisah cinta ini dijalin dengan begitu baik dan tidak memenatkan pemikiran penonton. Ditambah pula dengan skrip yang sangat baik; sesuatu yang jarang ada pada filem Melayu, dan sinematografi yang indah secara semulajadi (tidak dibuat-buat) menjadikan filem Cinta sebuah filem yang mantap.

Aku tak ingin mengulas dengan terlalu mendalam filem Cinta ini kerana untuk mengelakkan spoiler bagi yang belum menonton. Serta aku rasa feel dalam filem ini harus datang secara semulajadi tanpa pengaruh lain. Tapi ini sedikit sebanyak kupasan dan pendapat aku tentang kelima-lima kisah cinta dalam filem ini.

Kisah Cinta 1 : Unggul
Kisah yang paling aku gemari. Sebab utama kerana lakonan hebat Dato' Rahim Razali (Elyas) dan Fatimah Abu Bakar (Rubiah). Lakonan bersahaja mereka membuatkan kita senang untuk menonton. It's like we knew them somewhere in our lifetime. Walaupun tanpa dialog, ekspresi wajah mereka sudah cukup membuatkan kita faham perasaan mereka. Tak banyak pelakon Malaysia yang ada keupayaan seperti itu.

Selalunya yang terjadi pada filem/drama melayu, contoh utama melodrama Rashid Sibir; terlalu banyak watak yang 'memaksa' kita untuk menangis. Paksaan ini kadangkala menjadi tetapi kadangkala merimaskan. Watak Elyas dalam filem ini tidak menagih simpati daripada penonton, tetapi simpati itu datang sendiri. Dalam kisah cinta ini, kita faham ertinya kasih dan simpati walaupun antara 2 insan yang baru bertemu, hubungan platonik mereka boleh bertukar menjadi cinta yang unggul.

Babak yang paling disukai : Ketika Rubiah melambai dengan penuh kasih sayang pada Elyas yang tidak 'kenal' padanya. Check out the expression on Fatimah Abu Bakar's face.

Harus disebut : Lakonan ikhlas Ngasrizal Ngasri. Beliau selalu diberi watak komedi yang memperbodohkan diri tetapi jelas sekali melalui filem ini, kekuatan beliau pada drama.

Kisah Cinta 2 : Sepenuh Jiwa
Bagaimana jika kita mempunyai kehidupan yang serba sempurna tetapi tiba-tiba orang yang perlu untuk melengkapkan kesempurnaan itu meninggalkan kita? Adakah cinta itu turut juga hilang atau bertambah kuat kerana kita merelakan pemergiannya? Persoalan yang sangat menarik untuk dikupas. Rashidi Ishak (Haris) dan Rita Rudaini (Airin) berjaya membawa watak masing-masing dengan penuh perasaan. Aku tak pernah melihat Rashidi sebagai seorang pelakon yang hebat, tetapi watak Haris ini mungkin merubah pendapat aku. Namun begitu aku terasa ada sedikit persamaan pada penghabisan kisah ini, pada babak yang melibatkan nota cinta (dalam filem ini lukisan) seperti juga babak dalam filem Love Actually yang melibatkan Keira Knightley dan rakan baik teman lelakinya. Itu pendapat aku.

Babak yang paling disukai : Kemunculan cameo seorang pelakon wanita pada akhir kisah. Membuatkan anda berfikir it's going to be a happy ending.

Harus disebut : Aku tak pasti siapa nama pelakon kanak-kanak dalam kisah ini tetapi lakonannya jauh lebih baik daripada kebanyakan pelakon di Malaysia. Our own Dakota Fanning? Mungkin.

Kisah Cinta 3 : Abadi
Sejauh manakah pengorbanan kasih seorang kakak kepada adiknya? Perlukah seorang adik mengorbankan cintanya kepada seni untuk memuaskan hati kakaknya? Seperti mana filem atau drama yang lain, apabila terdapat kisah cinta tentang hubungan keluarga pasti ianya dapat sampai tepat ke hati. It's a topic that is very close to our heart. Nanu Baharuddin (Dyan) mmg perfect dengan watak wanita sengsara seperti dalam filem ini. Dia ada satu ekspresi kosong penuh bermakna pada wajahnya yang tiada pada pelakon lain. Que Haidar (Dhani) juga makin menyerlah lakonannya. Cuma aku tak pasti kenapa dia harus memakai rambut palsu yang nampak terlalu janggal. Mungkin untuk menjadikan wataknya nampak seperti seorang kutu, kusut, kotor. Sinematografi pada tanah perkuburan (spoiler ke?) pada kisah ini tampak sungguh indah dan majestik. Sayu dan cantik pada masa yang sama.

Babak yang paling disukai : Peralihan daripada babak di katil hospital ke babak flashback bawah katil 2 orang adik beradik. Suntingan yang baik, lancar dan cantik.

Harus disebut : Sofi Jikan sekali lagi membuktikan kehebatannya. Dia 'mencuri' setiap babak yang dia muncul. Lakonan bersahaja dan real. Comic-relief yang memang kena pada tempatnya. The professional scene-stealer.

Kisah Cinta 4 : Tulus
A quest to find love. Dalam watak Arianna lakonan Sharifah Amani mencari 'cinta'nya, beliau telah bertemu dengan Taufiq lakonan Pierre Andre yang juga sedang mencari cinta tanpa sedar. Tapi how do you know when he/she is the one? Lakonan Sharifah Amani OK tetapi kadangkala nampak sedikit over the top. Pada mulanya aku tak suka akan lakonan Pierre Andre tapi I read somewhere yang Khabir Bhatia secara khususnya meminta Pierre untuk mengawal lakonannya supaya nampak contained dan lurus bendul. If that's true, than he's done a wonderful job. Aku juga suka pada mesej-mesej subliminal pada permulaan kisah ini, di mana terdapat barang-barang yang jatuh (sampah, kepingan siling) as in jatuh cinta dan juga nama 'kekasih' Arianna iaitu Khalif as in khilaf=kesilapan (geddit?). Very nice touch.

Babak yang paling disukai : Setiap kali rumah di tepi landasan keretapi di Kg Abdullah Hukum muncul. Tak tahu kenapa tapi aku suka. Dan juga watak Khalif yang sememangnya kayu tanpa perasaan (disengajakan pada pendapat aku). Membuatkan penonton faham dan suka jika Arianna tidak memilih Khalif.

Harus disebut : Terdapat satu babak di mana Amani dan Pierre terpaksa menunggu 3 LRT melintas di landasan di dalam a single shot. Well-executed.

Kisah Cinta 5 : Romantis
Falling in love is so hard on the knees. Kisah orang jatuh cinta yang agak berjaya dari segi romantis dan tragisnya. Cuma aku kurang senang dengan lakonan 2 pendukung utama kisah ini iaitu Eizlan Yusof (Azlan) dan Fasha Sandha (Azura) mungkin kerana chemistry on and off antara mereka. Lakonan Eizlan jauh lebih baik daripada drama-drama lakonannya dan nampak sedikit relaks. Secara jujur aku katakan inilah kali pertama aku nampak lakonannya tidak kaku. Fasha Sandha pula bagi aku biasa sahaja dan apabila dia menangis, penonton tidak dibawa dengan perasaan sedih dan kecewanya. Mungkin juga kerana limitasi pada watak mereka. Namun begitu, well-done to both of them.

Babak yang paling disukai : Babak romantik suprise dinner di taman. Seluruh panggung (especially perempuan) serentak mengucapkan "Aaaahhhh.....!" So cliche and sappy but so effective.

Harus disebut : Babak dalam keretapi pada akhir kisah ini mengingatkan aku pada babak dalam filem The Wedding Singer dan (sekali lagi) Love Actually (kisah Colin Firth).

Terdapat beberapa perkara juga yang sedikit mencacatkan filem Cinta ini pada pandangan aku. Yang paling ketara ialah kualiti audio serta dubbing. Aku tak tahu kenapa tapi masalah ini masih lagi belum hilang dari filem tempatan. Sesuatu yang perlu diberi perhatian. Seperkara lagi aku tidak faham kenapa watak Makcik Rubiah lakonan Fatimah Abu Bakar harus bercakap dalam loghat utara yang bunyinya sangat janggal (trust me.. I'm from Kedah). Loghat utara itu juga seperti on and off, sekejap ada sekejap hilang. Aku tak nampak significant ianya harus diadakan. Terdapat juga beberapa shot yang nampak terlalu commercial-like, macam iklan untuk Tahun Melawat Malaysia. Walaupun nampak cantik tetapi too much of a good thing is not good at all. And why are there too many shots of the Twin Towers? Mungkin juga menara berkembar menjadi penghubung antara 5 kisah cinta ini. Maybe.

Jarang sekali sebuah filem tempatan terutama sekali yang bertemakan cinta digarap dengan begitu baik dan dihidangkan kepada penonton dengan begitu segar. Filem seperti Cinta ini boleh membuatkan kita berada setara dengan filem-filem bertemakan cinta dari Indonesia, Jepun dan Korea yang sememangnya' pakar' dalam filem-filem sebegini. Lakonan yang baik, skrip yang mantap, suntingan kemas, sinematografi hebat dan penggunaan muzik latar yang sangat sesuai dengan setiap perjalanan cerita membuatkan Cinta sebuah filem melayu yang harus ditonton oleh semua.

Dan jika ada orang yang bertanya kepada aku nanti, "Harijadi kau tahun 2006 kau dekat mana?". Dengan suka, aku akan menjawab, "Tepat detik 12 malam, 2 Disember 2006, aku berada di dalam panggung wayang bersama cinta hati aku, menonton filem Cinta".

It's a perfect birthday celebration. A celebration of love. A celebration of CINTA.

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