Posted in Of Musicals

My Top Fifteen Autobiographical Albums – Finale

Today, I bring you the third and final part of my top fifteen autobiographical albums. Part one can be found by clicking here, part two by clicking here.

11. Rangeela by A.R. Rahman.

I am sure some of you have, at least, heard some of Slumdog Millionaire‘s music, if not seen the movie and listened to the album. Even if it won a couple of Oscars, I would consider it as Rahman merely doodling, in comparison to some of his masterpieces like Rangeela. Rangeela is an important document of my childhood, contains my favourite song from my part of the world, “Tanha Tanha”, and is just a fun, vibrant album, that combines both traditional elements, and synthpop in a way that is purely, buoyantly exquisite. Most of you will not understand a word that is sung, but I bet it won’t stop you from wanting to break into dance.

12. Dil Se by A.R. Rahman.

dil se

While we do have a strong pop and rock scene in India, as well as an electronic music scene, Bollywood is where all the money and talent is, or wants to be. Also another soundtrack from the nineties and my childhood, this one may not be as much of a crowd pleaser as Rangeela, given the subject matter, but the soundscapes created on this album are simply divine. With only five, mammoth songs, Rahman arranged, produced and composed some of the most interesting sonic experiences ever. The videos that go along with it also add to it, with “Chaiyya, Chaiyya”, filmed atop a moving train, achieving instant iconic status.

13. Hounds of Love by Kate Bush.Hounds_of_loveThis one was the most difficult to choose of this entire list. Kate Bush is an anomaly in music. Any genre you try to fit her into, there will be a substantial amount of her music that would be the polar opposite of it. More importantly, she is everything I ever wanted in any artist, across all art. To me, she is the greatest storyteller, and a strong female energy in my life. There is the kind of music that moves you, or makes you want to dance along and be happy. With Kate, you feel as though the song has somehow caressed you, and made you feel less alone, as if it were your friend. Her artistry is like an entire universe unto itself, one you are glad to be forever lost in. Hounds of Love is only one of those many pathways to that universe. Every song is recommended, and not just on this album.

14. Let it Be by The Beatles.

let it be

I will be less obvious and not include Sergeant Pepper‘s on this list. I appreciate Let it Be more than some fans and critics do for one reason – it’s the only opportunity you get to see them at work. The Beatles are, obviously, every kind of great, but despite being a great live band (having the ability to send London in a tizzy with an impromptu rooftop concert of new, unheard material), they are an even greater studio band. There isn’t much “cheerfulness”, if any in Let it Be, the documentary film (which contain much more music than the album, including “Don’t Let Me Down”), but it is an absolute treat to see them create, or just jam along to their own favourites like “You Really Got A Hold On Me”.

15. A Hard Day’s Night by The Beatles.

a hard day's night

None of the afore-mentioned albums are in any order, but this one for me, is easily number one. Say, it was the end of the world. We were being taken to a new planet, and no art was allowed in your baggage being deemed unnecessary. I would carry this with my paracetamol. Yes, A Hard Day’s Night is the paracetamol of all pop music albums. So basic, so simple, and yet, so healing. If I encountered aliens, I’d give them a copy. If I have grandchildren, I’d give them a copy. If I marry, my husband better have a copy and love it. If I hear one negative thing about this, I won’t approve of your comment. It’s been a hard day’s night making this list, and I better go listen to it to relax.

That’s all folks! I’ll be back to my Of-finess soon!


Writer, Blogger, Kate Bush Fanatic

34 thoughts on “My Top Fifteen Autobiographical Albums – Finale

  1. Yes, The Beatles! Love them 🙂 And you now have me curious about Rangeela. I have watched Slumdog Millionaire and really loved the movie.

    1. Then you’d be blown away by Rangeela! Slumdog isn’t Bollywood though, Danny Boyle directed it. However, unlike a lot of non-native directors, he actually got it right! The link to the word “Rangeela” leads you to a YouTube video of all the songs, audio only, on the official channel of the record company. Maybe you can listen to it sometime, and tell me how you like it!

      1. Awesome, thanks! I’m always interested in new/different music 🙂 Here in Canada we just have Justin Bieber lol

      2. lol True. But these days it seems to be the running joke that all Canada has is snow and some punk kid named Justin Bieber. Ha ha! Oh, and moose. We have lots of moose 😀

      3. I can’t believe you used the words “punk” and “Justin Bieber” in the same sentence! Moose are wonderful! I love the landscapes of Canada, whatever I’ve seen of it in videos and things. And you have two very interesting interviewers whose videos I’ve seen on YouTube, Jian Ghomeshi and George Strombopoulos (I hope I spelled that right!). Trust me, it isn’t all Justin Bieber to the rest of the world!

      4. lol I’m sure the guy has been called worse things than a punk. Though he has been trying to clean up his image (no more peeing in public spaces, etc.), which is great! I watched him recently on Jimmy Fallon and he seems to be in a much better place than he was last year. Oh, and yes! George with-the-insanely-long-last-name! Love that guy! He does a lot of interviews with hockey players now, which is awesome! (I am one of those crazy Canadian hockey fans lol)

      5. I think it is ice-hockey which is big in Canada? I’ve seen him interview actors and musicians, and I was surprised by his knowledge when he interviewed a few Bollywood actors. Both him and Ghomeshi are really knowledgeable, eloquent people who ask good questions and make the guests feel comfortable.
        I try to avoid as much of Bieber, Cyrus and the like as I can, lol! It is hard though, but I need my peace of mind!

      6. Definitely 😀 Though I do tend to get sucked into watching eTalk late at night, which is a Canadian show that gossips about all the latest crazy things that stars and musicians are doing lol It’s sort of a guilty pleasure of mine. And hockey is a very huge sport in Canada 🙂

  2. First, well done on this little series. I thoroughly enjoyed it. My own forays into Indian music are mixed-bits of classical here and there, electronica like Bombay Dub Orchestra, trippy stuff like Ananda Shankar and of course, Bollywood, which my wife especially loves for it’s danceability. I may have to track down some A.R. Rahman for her. We have a few Bollywood compilations though so maybe I have something already! In the short time I have gotten to know you I was waiting for the Kate Bush to show up! The only question would be when! Let It Be is indeed an interesting choice. I did not really care for much of it over the years (possibly influenced by my least favorite Beatles song of all time-The Long And Winding Road) but I got a newly remastered copy of it last year and I was really surprised how much I actually enjoyed it. It also has one of my favorite George songs-For You Blue. What an inspired choice for number one though actually. I think I shall have to listen to it tonight on my way home in fact. My own top Beatles album wavers quite often. Sometime it’s Abbey Road, sometimes Sgt Pepper, sometimes the White Album but I think overall I go with Rubber Soul.

    1. Interesting to see Ananda Shankar mentioned instead of Ravi. My mother will be pleased to hear that! For us it is serious stuff you know, not trippy! Don’t worry, I am not offended! The highlighted “Rangeela” in the Rangeela section actually leads to a “jukebox” of all the songs, provided by the official channel of the record company. Dil Se is slightly more traditional, but a masterpiece of creativity.
      I find it really hard to rate The Beatles albums. I am always a very non-judgemental fan, and the songs feel like The Fab Four’s children or something. Like, a lot of people won’t call “Hello, Goodbye” a real song, but I highly appreciate the silliness. It is interesting that you don’t like “The Long and Winding Road”. I won’t say it’s my favourite, but Beatle tunes have a way of sticking in your head, and this one is no different for me. And I like the “Bob cat bob, go Johnny go” bit in “For you blue”!
      It’s been really hard making this list. I wish I could include ten Beatle albums, ten Kate Bush ones, five Ramones, five Blondie, but that would be an entire new blog then! I actually feel I’ve revealed more about myself than I do in my normal, psychology posts. It is scary!

      1. No don’t be scared! And like High Fidelity I could make extensions of my lists. Top 10 Beatles songs that did not make my Top 5 Beatles list, that sort of thing! I do have a hard time with the Beatles as well. But who on earth has ever told you Hello, Goodbye isn’t a real song?! Send them to me!! Oh I think the Ananda Shankar I have is a compilation of some of his 60’s material, so that is why I said trippy, I will happily stand corrected as to his importance. I have music by Ravi of course, as well as some other classical stuff (names escape me at the moment). One of my favorites the last few years in a different vein is Kiran Ahluwalia, who lives here now. I will check out the jukebox later our of curiousity 🙂

      2. No, you see, it is trippy music to you, but serious, classical music to us. You may have seen the Concert for Bangladesh, organised by George Harrison, where people applauded to Ravi Shankar and band simply tuning their instruments! Shankar laughed and said something like, “Well, I hope you like the music too.” I am not trying to correct you of course.I know you must be much more perceptive. That music is very closely related to a very important cultural movement in America. We here, just have an entirely different attitude to it. My lack of training, of course, means I have little to no accessibility to it.

      3. Oh dear! What did I step into! My choice of the word trippy is obviously the culprit. I rescind the choice of that word. I liked what I heard from him I should add. You are right that it is just different, but no less serious and important to you. No offense intended! On a different note have you seen the Concert For George, which had music from Ravi and Anoushka Shankar?

      4. Yes I have! Years ago though. It was a year after George’s passing, right? I remember his son looked exactly like him!
        I didn’t get offended! I merely tried to point out, in my rambling way, that I can’t exactly use the word “trippy” to describe Indian classical music! Indian music that I can recommend to you are Bollywood music, and maybe some regional pop and rock. Classical I can’t begin to talk about, though I did take two years of singing lessons. I feel hopelessly inadequate!

      5. We are, we are! I think I’ve managed to, somehow include all the decades 60s onwards. Except maybe the 2000s, though I don’t remember when Velvet Goldmine was released.

      6. Well, it was mainly grunge and alt-rock, was it not? In my teens, it was all that for me, and a few “classic” rock acts. I didn’t include any The Killers, Muse, Greenday etc, as it has been years since I listened to any of them.

      7. I have to say, I did! If I made this list ten years ago, there would be a lot of Oasis on it! Surprisingly, people go on forever and ever about Nirvana, while I just had a phase when I was 16, and never went back. So much of what I like now is the opposite to that. I guess the best thing you can do as a music lover is stop being a snob about it, and be open to whatever you feel yourself drawn to.

      8. Well some of it is an age thing and a natural resistance to what the ‘kids’ are listening too but part of it is preference about buying choices (before streaming). I could buy something by a new artist…or I could buy the new Richard Thompson album. So I would typically choose the new Richard Thompson. Not to say that I don’t like new stuff. I went through an Oasis phase, a Killers phase, Kaiser Chiefs, etc but very few survive long term for me.

      9. Exactly! Classic rock does have a “classic” element, which is why it survives, though 2000s music, being my teen years, often haunt me. I never stopped listening to the classic acts I listened to even in my teen years, except for The Doors. I just haven’t gone back to them, I don’t know why.

      10. Ugh The Doors. Don’t get me started lol. The thing for me was it gradually turned into music other than rock for me. Blues, soul, World, Country and lots of Folk. That became what I was excited by, and in all those genres I would buy new and old artists, and it always felt fresh. Plus those new rock sounds seeped into those genres so I felt like I was contemporary, without listening to contemporary music in a way.

      11. For me, obviously, it is harder to get access to anything other than the big names in all those genres. We have artists here inspired by all those American genres. Not so much soul and country, but there is a lot of folk here. Even Mumford and Sons performed here before they got famous! But, I have to say, I can’t really get into folk. I am very happy, poppy in my tastes, and something that sounds like The Kinks or early Beatles is fine by me. And there isn’t any of that in contemporary artists at all.
        I am interested in listening to some more Country though. Can you name a few, lesser known artists for me? I know all the big ones of course, though mainly just a couple of songs. Except for Linda Ronstadt, whom I also adore. But not artists that may not be accessible enough for me. For example, I really don’t understand Red Dirt!
        One contemporary artist I like is She and Him. They do everything, sixties pop, jazz, folk.

      12. Folk is such a hard genre to define. Though I like traditional folk from Britain and Ireland especially, probably my favorites are folk-rock bands like Fairport Convention, Oysterband and more contemporary people like Eliza Carthy. Lesser known country is tough because I don’t like today’s country generally. Tom Petty called it bad pop music with a fiddle, which is pretty much spot on. Hot Club Of Cowtown do Western swing. Excellent players and recommended.Though they are really more American folk than country, I highly recommend Rhiannon Giddens both solo and with Carolina Chocolate Drops. Just a lot of fun. If I think of more I will let you know.

      13. Thank you! Would you say there is a really strict difference between country and American folk? There is a “folk” of some sort everywhere. We have several different ones here , differing from region to region. I read in a musicology book that country is like the commercial end of American folk. Which, to my knowledge, sounds reductive, and inaccurate.

      14. There was a time where I would have said country was not just the commercial end but would believe it to be true by and large. Like India and elsewhere though I do believe there are both style differences and regional differences here. The root of country is bluegrass and if you tell a bluegrass musician they play country be prepared to run for cover. It has its own flavor and instrumentation different from country. Then you have genres like Cajun and Zydeco, Native American music and Chicano music. Carolina Chocolate Drops are interesting because they revived an almost extinct form of African American rural folk music and jug bands. I think very highly of them

  3. I have been listening to Ziggy Stardust all morning! Thought you should know.

    I am apologetically ignorant to Indian music, though I do own a copy of Slumdog, which was an incredibly moving film. I will take your suggestions here as my first foray into Indian music.

    And you’re a Beatles fan! I don’t know how to pick a Beatles album. Though I think I might put Across the Universe (the movie) on later to enjoy while I clean and help my daughter with her homework.

    I have enjoyed your lists! Thank you so much for sharing.

    1. You are welcome! I have a feeling you will enjoy both the Rahman albums I mention, especially because you are already used to his style. The highlighted “Rangeela” in the Rangeela section leads to a jukebox video of the album on the official channel of the record company. Maybe listen to it sometime and let me know what you think! I think you will enjoy Dil Se too, as it’s more traditional and moody, and yet alt-ish.
      I did like the Across the Universe movie and soundtrack. Jim Sturgess was lovely, and an amazing singer!
      I think I’ll go put on Ziggy too as I do my chores now! I am itching to watch the Hammersmith Odeon concert again.

  4. Reblogged this on Iconography ♠ Incomplete and commented:
    The author of this post is absolutely right. Rangeela was A. R Rahman’s debut album back in 90s. The story itself was less generic than “Slumdog Millionaire” and it contested many tropes of the time. Rahman added to genre breaking by adding non-generic music in a popular Bollywood movie which is a big deal because you see in pop Bollywood movies of that time there was a season of over the top sensationalism. The canvases that Rahman painted with his music allowed a movie which was about popular Hollywood culture and subtle critique of that culture without character assassination to be moving and also sensually/sentimentally/viscerally stunning and beautful. This movie was matured beyond its time. Urmila’s character started out as a backup dancer and they also criticise the lead heroine primadonna spoiled attitude. No one called her names for being a backup dancer or “item” girl. THE BEST PART WAS HER HOUSE WAS ALSO INHABITED BY SO-CALLED STREET RUFFIANS WHO NEVER SLUT SHAMED HER OR CALLED HER RUDE NAMES RATHER RESPECTED HER. A funny movie scene is when the lead actress apparently falls in love with her chauffeur and he tells her to not act in romantically charged scenes out of jealousy that was also subtly criticised and showed how though we feel status only marks people it is actually the status of their behaviours that shows prevalent. Overall, “Rangeela” is a defining movie of my childhood so is its music and my Abbu introduced it to me and we always loved it together too (Thanks OfOp for making remember fond memories). Also that song Tanha Tanha had this solo shadow dance sequence as in Urmila danced in complete shadow of dawn or dusk classical Indian dancing. That had given me an artistic sensibility from a young age (so Thank Allah Almighty I had a Abbu, Dad, who knew what had aesthetics and substantial from a young age and my Ammu, Mom, is pretty much like that too). So yeah great thing to remember.

    1. Great analysis of the film! Only one small correction. Roja was Rahman’s first stint in Bollywood, and that too it was only a Hindi remake of his original music – which was fully retained – from Tamil. I am not aware what would technically qualify as his début album, as I’ve never had the opportunity to listen to his Tamil albums.

      1. I think it was more of his Bollywood debut as in mainstream. I think so because it was first project he had almost all creative control. And yeah “Chaiyya, Chaiyya” made Malaika Arora Khan and also many shows like MTV loveline ;3

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