With the last weekend of November upon us, it's time for another playlist, put together by the diverse souls on the Firstpost newsdesk. You'll find some Freddie Mercury on this list — his 25th death anniversary has, after all, just passed us by. Apart from songs by Queen, you'll find Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, some innovative covers courtesy Anthony Vincent and Rock Sugar. Scroll down to the very end and you'll even find a gem from Bollywood.
But enough with the talking! We leave you with the music; as always, tune in to tune out.
'Radio Ga Ga' by Queen
A friend reminded me a few days ago that 24 November marked the 25th anniversary of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury's death. Sadly, Mercury's mother Jer Bulsara also passed away on 20 November, aged 94 — just a few days before the anniversary. Queen's guitarist Brian May wrote a touching tribute to Jer on his website, calling her a "warm and devoted mum...fiercely proud of her children, Freddie and Kashmira". May added that while Jer was a faithful Parsi, she never failed in supporting her "irreverent" rockstar son (read the full tribute here). The twin items of news this week make this seem like an ideal occasion to bring back up all the Queen songs on one's playlist, and listening to them on loop, and marvelling afresh at the band's (and Mercury's) musical genius. And while so much of their repertoire could make it to this list, let's go with 'Radio Ga Ga' — an ode as much to the radio, as it is to the passage of time, and the ultimate redundancy of phenomenon that once seemed immutable.
— Rohini Nair
'Hello' by Anthony Vincent
Everyone's heard Adele's 'Hello'. But if you've ever wondered what the song would sound like if it was covered by Lionel Richie, the Backtreet Boys, Guns N' Roses or Pink Floyd? Well, Anthony Vincent has an answer. Vincent's signature is covering in one song in different genres (sometimes as many as 21!), all put together in one performance. The result, is quite interesting.
— Kinjal Vora
'Rise' by Eddie Vedder
Eddie Vedder's on the ukulele and vocals on this one. It’s hard to imagine a songwriter marrying up with a movie topic more logically, more effectively, than Eddie Vedder and Christopher McCandless, the detached American kid-gone-walkabout who serves as the doomed protagonist of Into the Wild.
— Shatadru Roy
'I Want To Break Free' by Queen
Another tribute to Freddie Mercury's 25th death anniversary — and my mom's playlist. Queen and Freddie Mercury hold a very special place in my heart; Mom used to entertain me with this song while she cooked, encouraging me to belt out 'I want to break freeeeeee' at the top of my voice — with no care to the neighbours! She used to tell me the video is as much fun as the song; I hadn't seen it because, hey! the '90s = no internet. When my friend and I finally did see the video of Freddie Mercury as a seventies housewife vacuuming the floors, we were entranced. This was our after-college anthem.
— Ankita Maneck
'Innuendo' by Freddie Mercury
The rumour mills were kept quite busy following the release of this song, there was public outcry demanding to know why it was special effects in place of florid Freddie in the video. His fans know how his appearances were vital to the song, his get ups, still largely the stuff of Halloween traditions.
They remembered how gaunt he looked accepting his last award for ‘His Outstanding Contribution to British Music.’ Surely, it wasn’t his last release, and surely he was not going to die?
But this denial was not unprovoked — until this album release, band members and friends kept refusing allegations of his declining health to the public.
Most tribute videos feature the songs 'In My Defence', or 'These Are the Days of Our Lives', finger on Youtube’s play button, I swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth. In fact 'Innuendo' retained so little of the typical Queen style, giving more of a Led Zepplin's 'Kashmir' kind of feel. So, what was the innuendo behind 'Innuendo' and why does this come after 'Show Must Go On'?
Freddie was, I fantasise, preoccupied with his legacy in this album more, as compared to any of his work before, to quote him: "to keep working until I (he) f***ing dropped".
I like to think it was Freddie’s lasting message rather than last message, intended to be taken as the truth of a man not with one foot in the grave, but strong in the face of the gravest adversity: ‘That we’ll keep on tryin / Till the end of time’.
Thus will the many Queen pundits remember this special muse, this special, special man.
— Eisha Nair
'We will Kickstart your Rhapsody' by Rock Sugar
Top secret disclosure: These carefully-curated FP Playlists are actually pulled together on email threads, kickstarted by one person and added to by others.
Not-so-secret disclosure: Very often, when seeking inspiration, some of the picks by other people tend to help me work out what I want to recommend for a particular weekend.
With that out of the way, I couldn't help notice the large (relatively) number of Queen tracks on the list so far. So how to best pay tribute to Freddie Mercury? With a generous sprinkling of Rock Sugar, of course. LA-based rockers Rock Sugar take great delight in mashing up rock and pop songs (primarily those from the 1980s) and the band's mash-up of Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody' and 'We Will Rock You' with Mötley Crüe's 'Kickstart My Heart' elevate all three songs to stratospheric levels, without losing the essence of either.
The purposefulness of 'We Will Rock You'? Check.
The jaunty fun of 'Bohemian Rhapsody'? Check.
That incredible talkbox solo from 'Kickstart My Heart'? Double check.
You losing yourself to the magic of Rock Sugar? We'll soon find out.
— Karan Pradhan
'Closer' by Lemaitre ft. Jennie A
For those of you who don't necessarily j*** over anything and everything Apple, the new Google Pixel ad that is plastered over TV screens must have caught your attention. Once you're over the fact that you may have to sell your spouse's kidneys to afford the phone, it's the theme song of the ad that really catches your attention.
Lemaitre is a Norwegian indie electronic duo hailing from Oslo, and chances are that you've heard their tunes in some random playlist, but 'Closer' will possibly help them get more recognition.
This is a party starter, no doubt. A very catchy song, and an even catchier hook. Freddie Mercury would be proud.
— Swetha Ramakrishnan
'Let's Fall In Love Some More' by Al Bairre
This South African indie-pop band brings to us a characteristically upbeat and optimistic song about someday experiencing the joy of falling in love. Lead vocalist Nicholas Preen's laid-back vocal style complements the bubbly ukulele strumming. The song's foot-tapping melody will have you playing it on repeat.
— Derrek Chundelikkatt
'Jiya Lage Na' from Talaash
This song from Talaash is a masterpiece, both lyrically and musically. The lyrics, penned by Javed Akhtar, explain the entire storyline in a nutshell, with suspense peppered all over. Ram Sampath has used only western musical instruments in the song — yet the song sounds so Indian, thanks to the rustic and soulful vocals by Sona Mohapatra and Ravindra Upadhyay. While Upadhyay's grainy voice lends the song an earthy touch, Mohapatra's vocals echo lend it an air of the supernatural. For those of you who have seen the film would know the rationale behind these contrasts.
— Devansh Sharma
'Amar Mawte' by Anupam Roy
This one's for all of you who want a combination of good music and great lyrics. For those of you who aren't Bengali, I would suggest, tune in and let it take you on a mystical journey. As for the Bongs, don't kill me for liking this version better than Lopamudra Mitra's or Rupankar Bagchi's. Anupam Roy invariably feeds you a tuneful soundtrack, irrespective of whether he's singing it or composing it. So, if this happens to be one of your introspective weekends, let the pensiveness of the song ride your thoughts!
— Reema Mukherjee