They say that culture defines history. What if you had to describe culture by its music? What if we were making a time capsule to send to space, and could only pick three albums to describe each decade of popular culture music?
Jefferson Airplane - Surrealistic Pillow
Everyone's heard the songs "Somebody to Love" and "White Rabbit." The songs became two of the most recognizable of the 60s. But the album 1967's Surrealistic Pillow, still remains somewhat of an obscurity. Just one listen of it, however, will prove that Jefferson Airplane, the first of acid rock, were not just good for one or two iconic songs, they could put together a consistent album that was just as great as their singles from start to finish.
The Beatles - Rubber Soul
Most people have probably heard of Rubber Soul, and it suffices to say everyone has heard of The Beatles. Nevertheless, the albums that followed often overshadow this album. Rubber Soul finds the four rising to the challenges set by their peers, expanding their sound, and showing the world why they were the standard for which all pop music was and still is measured. And lyrically, there isn't a stronger album in The Beatles' catalogue, or John Lennon's for that matter, than Rubber Soul.
The Who - The Who Sell Out
The whole idea of making an album that had a concept began with this album It is supposed to play as if the listener were listening to a radio broadcast, with the songs separated by fake ads, station ids, and jingles played by the group. In terms of the music, The Who shows amazing songwriting. The band has its most psychedelic moments on "Armenia City in the Sky" and "I Can See For Miles," and some of the themes that were brought out in their following albums are first heard here.
Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon
Some may argue it's the best album of all time, some may not. But music history would be a drab place indeed without this phenomenal album. That's all that needs to be said.
David Bowie - Heroes
Midway through his Berlin phase, Bowie wrote what most consider his best song, the title track for Heroes. Inspired by lovers meeting at the Wall, which was mere yards from the studio's window where he recorded, Bowie crafted a timeless story of love and rebellion. It's one hell of an inspired album that reflects the events of the 70s like very few other albums can.
Ramones - Ramones
The first band to do what they did, The Ramones inevitably turned heads, inspired other musicians, and even provided a new dictionary of terms: "hey ho let's go," "gabba gabba hey" and "punk," even though they didn't call themselves that. But they're widely recognized as the first ones to do it, and this is their first recorded session of rebellious, silly and altogether fun rock `n' roll.
Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five The Message
Looking at the cover to The Message provides an overview of the entire album. You've got Grandmaster Flash, the Furious Five and Duke Bootee striking a pose on the street as if on their way to a B-boy party- while in the background you've got glimpses of urban decay best depicted by the torn up storefront sign. It's a versatile and solid album all the way through that summarizes all that's great about old school hip-hop, but it's the combination of the party atmosphere and urban decay that makes The Message an important message for everyone involved.
N.W.A. Straight Outta Compton
In reality, punk was not thoroughly realized until it took the form of gangsta rap. In the late '80s, poverty led to anger. Anger brings the need for reform. On the east coast, Public Enemy served as the megaphone for Nation of Islam, asking for change, releasing albums preaching unity and equality and forcing the public to remove the blinders from their eyes. On the West Coast you had NWA, a group with no need for metaphors or allegories, a group who had been spawned from the bullet sprawled streets of one of LA's most brutal neighborhoods. They were a group whose name said it all and whose debut album is a milestone of music genius.
The Police Synchronicity
Near the end of their career The Police were at the height of their popularity. Synchronicity, the band's fifth and final album, was their most finely crafted pop album, loaded with hit singles that, despite appeasing the masses, represented the height of artistic creativity. The Police evolved into one of the biggest bands in the world, creating universal anthems. Shortly afterward, they went on indefinite hiatus. That hiatus is still on.
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill Lauryn Hill
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill got straight to the point and still came out a winner with the polls. Hill tackles it all fearlessly and makes one of the most powerful musical statements heard in years. It's proud- it's what soul should sound like. Lauryn Hill puts the soul back in Soul with The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.
There's no denying that this is the record that changed everything for America's indie rockers. It can be hard to imagine this polished set of catchy songs ushering in an alternative revolution. Such a raw, energetic and passionate musical voice such as Kurt's had never pricked the mainstream's bubble. Years later, it's still an enjoyable listen, and songs as good as "In Bloom" and "Polly" will always be in style.
Radiohead - OK Computer
Are you surprised? Wise beyond its years, OK Computer made it okay for rockers to rock and be intelligent. Otherworldly guitars, swooning and heavenly vocal makes feeling disconnected and alienated ominously soothing. People weren't sure if they'd rise above 'Creep' but they did. Your kids will never ask you who Radiohead were, they'll know.
With another year being over, another decade is nearly done with. There were many new facets to music. A lot changed, some good, others not. But the changes will not stop coming. Music and culture progresses with time. This decade has already produced enough good music to fill out the list, and hopefully, more will come.
By Ahsan Sajid
Reference: wikipedia.com, treblezine.com, and rateyourmusic.com
Genre: Action Role-Playing
Minimum System Requirements
System: Pentium IV 2.4 GHz or equivalent
RAM: 1024 MB
Video Memory: 128 MB
Hard Drive Space: 8500 MB
Recommended System Requirements
System: Pentium IV 3.0 GHz or equivalent
RAM: 2048 MB
Video Memory: 256 MB
The Witcher is a brand new role playing game with a take on sword and sorcery that makes it an icon.
You're a male witch called Geralt who is drawn into battles. You have a big sword, a very big one indeed. And you have a lot to slay although sometimes the decision between wrong and right is hard to choose. And yes, you have to choose and face the consequences.
Some bad guys raided your witcher fortress and killed your friend. You vow revenge and start off on a killing spree tracking them down. But soon enough you get caught in a fight between a religious leader of an entire village and another witch. However, everyone has a dirty past and a murky secret. No one seems to be what you would call good. Not even you yourself.
You're not much of a hero often taking advantage of situations that suit your intentions. You do help people but that to for money.
The villagers all turn out to be a sleazy lot. The witch on the other hand sold poison for a suicide and offers voodoo treatments to kill others. So what do you do? You could side with your own kind which means finishing off the village. Or……
Throughout you deal with child traffickers, woman-hating religious fanatics, voodoo witches, racists, elves, killers of all types and every other sort of low life.
The combat mechanics are an innovation in this game. Gone are you usual mouse clicking and dragging moves. The whole action is strung together in combos that lead to exciting sword-swinging flash moves.
You can customize your character with dozens of different abilities and skills. Three different fighting styles and a very lengthy list of skills make for a complex choice. And all the different decisions you make have consequences throughout the game.
The game looks grim and depressing. But it is also depressingly realistic in looks. You'd be even more surprised to learn that this game uses the same engine as Neverwinter Nights of 2002. While attention to detail is amazing, landscapes and buildings are all run down and make you want to use the sword on yourself. But at the same time it has the macabre effect of mesmerizing with the bleakness.
The game has been translated form Polish so some of the English lines can sound abrupt and out of place.
Gaming clues are a bit difficult to figure out. So you need to start the game on an easy setting. Despite the incomprehensibility at times, the combat system is still awesome.
The game has e very interesting story and a brilliantly engaging combat. It's also got characters that are set to become iconic in their own right. The only problems are a few translation issue that give the storyline a staccato effect.
Hollywood has churned out its array of art films, gore films, animated films, freakishly realistic animated films (Bewoulf, anyone?), and bad films. Now, with 2007 drawing to a close, the crème de crème of films is being filtered, hotly contested, and ultimately picked for Oscar nominations. So, what's the buzz?
One movie making the rounds is 'Reservation Road' written/directed by Terry George. This movie, based on a (relatively unknown) book, packs a star-studded cast of Joaquin Phoenix (Walk the Line), Jennifer Connelly and Mark Ruffalo. It's a story about how a hit and run accident intertwines the lives of two families. Terry George might just pick an Oscar for Best Director, and Mark Ruffalo for Best Supporting Actor.
Next we have 'Kite Runner'. Again, this is a book-to-movie adaptation directed by the young and upcoming (and painfully underrated) Marc Foster (Monster's Ball, Finding Neverland). The film has a serious topic (the Russian invasion of Afghanistan) and an intimate story (the relationship between two boys, master and servant). However, it just might not garner a statuette because the movie is adapted from one of the most highly acclaimed books of the last few years. Fans will be looking to the movie to adhere strictly to the book's storyline, and critics will be more ruthless of any and all criticism. But the (painfully underrated) young and upcoming Marc Foster has made some great movies in the past (Monster's Ball, Finding Neverland), so Kite Runner might just win.
Following in the wake of last year's Best Picture winner The Departed is American Gangster, written by Steve Zaillian and directed by Ridley Scott. The film stars Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe. Washington portrays Frank Lucas, a real-life heroin kingpin from Harlem who smuggled the drug into the country in American service planes returning from the Vietnam War. Crowe portrays Richie Roberts, a detective who brings down Lucas' drug empire.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is a musical-to-movie adaptation directed by Tim Burton (Corpse Bride, Sleepy Hollow) and starring everyone's favorite actor Johnny Depp. It's a dark tale of revenge, and Johnny Depp and Helen Bonham might just pick up Oscars for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress respectively.
I'm Not There is a biographical film reflecting the life of musician Bob Dylan. It depicts the iconic singer-songwriter through seven distinct stages of his life by using six different actors (Marcus Carl Franklin, Ben Whishaw, Heath Ledger, Christian Bale, Richard Gere, and Cate Blanchett). It was co-written and directed by Todd Haynes and also features David Cross, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams, and Richie Havens.
The romantic British film The Atonement may pick up a few nominations, if not an Oscar itself. This story about guilt and redemption (adapted from the highly acclaimed book by Ian McEwan) stars Keira Knightly (last year's Best Actress nominee) and James McAvoy. The movie is directed by Joe Wright (Pride and Prejudice. Young Irish actress Saoirse Ronan is getting a lot of buzz for her role in the movie she could pick up a Best Supporting Actress nomination.
Hairspray, the 2007 musical film, is an adaptation of the Tony Award-winning 2002 Broadway musical of the same name, itself adapted from John Waters' 1988 comedy film. Set in 1962 Baltimore, the film follows a "pleasantly-plump" teen named Tracy Turnblad as she simultaneously pursues stardom as a dancer on a local TV show and rallies against racial segregation. The film also features John Travolta (Grease, Saturday Night Live).
Waitress This critically acclaimed movie (it opened in the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year) stars Keri Russell, a waitress from the American South who is unhappily married to an abusive, dominating man named Earl.
The movie follows Jenna as she learns of her unexpected pregnancy, falls headfirst into an affair, and ultimately ends her marriage and starts life over. Definitely a feel-good movie, Keri has been compared to fellow Southerner Reese Witherspoon; and the movieif nominatedmight just snag an Oscar.
His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass is an adult fantasy tale and the adaptation of the first book in Philip Pullman's trilogy 'His Dark Materials'. This fantasy-of-epic-proportion has garnered criticism from religious groups for its anti-Catholic theme and from fans for the dilution of the religious elements from the novels, but it might win the Oscar for Best Picture.
My Blueberry Nights This is the first romantic comedy in a decade (the other one being 'Shakespeare in Love) that is a strong contender for the Oscars. It's a story about a woman who takes a cross-country journey and learns more about the true meaning of love. It's an Oscar wild card, and might just win Best Picture and Best Actress (Norah Jones).
Another possible wild card entry is the John Cusack film 'Grace is Gone'. A poignant tale of a father struggling to accept the death of his sergeant wife out in Iraq and faced with the difficult task of breaking the terrible news to his two daughters, this film received rave reviews at the Sundance film festival.
So, there you have it. The crème de crème of movies (English ones, at least). But, just because a movie generates Oscar buzz doesn't necessary mean it wins any (Memoirs of a Geisha?). So keep your fingers crossed. And watch the 2008 Academy Awards.
By Shehtaz Huq
Sources: Wikipedia, www.boards-ie.com, www.imdb.com