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CLICK - A Column For Music Snobs:

Experiment #1:
Put your MP3 Player on shuffle and review the first 10 songs come up. Here's how it's done:

1. The Stooges I Wanna Be Your Dog (3:09)
Ominous start. Ear splitting distorted guitar awash in a haze of murky production. And sleigh bells? It's good old Iggy and the boys ripping of the Velvet Underground (so well that it sounds more VU like than anything in their actual catalogue). We have the trademark VU touches everywhere, an unholy grove that repeats ad infinitum to oblivion, the typical lyrics devoted to sexual deviancy and a touch of near genius (how in the world do you make a song more sinister by adding sleigh bells?) And then we have Iggy's voice, seemingly leashed until he howls out the lead into the instrumental break. This one cooks, hard.

2. The Romantics What I Like About You (2:58)
A pop-punk riff and handclaps counterpoint the last one as they kick this one off. I remember when I downloaded (I mean… obtained completely legally from credible sources… ahem) this song the artist name was Ramones which really tees me off, partly because I'm anal retentive about artist names, song titles, album names, album covers, track numbers… where was I? Oh yeah, but mostly because this sounds nothing like the Ramones (aside from the backbeat). I mean there's more than three chords! AND a frickin' harmonica solo! Anyway, rant over.

3. The Verve Bittersweet Symphony (5:56)
Oi Vey! This is by no means a terrible song. In fact at one point this was the song I played the most while travelling. Unfortunately the repeated listens led to what can only be described as an overdose and I haven't been able to listen to this one without having an impromptu seizure (complete with fetal position and shivering). But don't let that discourage you, the violin riff might be a Stones riff but the mere fact that its on violin instead of guitar is why this song is so gorgeous. If you like this one check out Love Is Noise on their latest album Forth. I'm still trying not to swallow my tongue.

4. The Ramones Do You Wanna Dance? (1:57)
Look who showed up. My MP3 tells me it's from their debut record, but I'm not sure. As far as I can remember it's a cover of a song by someone else. Three chords, first verse, chorus, second verse same as the first, instrumental break, third verse different from the first (I know I'm quoting 'Judy Is A Punk' but let's see you try with this pounding into your eardrums). Prime Ramones stuff. Idiot-savants never had better poster boys.

5. Lou Reed Coney Island Baby (6:36)
Well, most people will despise this one. Off of Lou's second most personal album (Magic and Loss is easily the closest he's ever come to ripping open his soul) and it was hated. Would you look at the rating on the Prindle site? I personally adore it. It's a slow tempo stream-of-consciousness number with Lou's characteristic croon conveying a ton of emotion (to me at least, I've listened to a ton of his stuff but I initially thought his voice could freeze an army of Vikings). Its minimalist too, there's guitar, drums (or would that be percussion? I honestly can't tell after Vampire Weekend) and backing vocals, but they hardly register, its just Lou ad-libbing the vocals on the spot. And who is that session guitarist? Prime blues licks abound on this record have you heard Kicks? I might even name it the coolest ode to murder ever, if Nick Cave hadn't devoted half his career to the stuff.

I send this one out to Lou and Rachel and all the kids at P.S. 192

6. AC/DC You Shook Me All Night Long (3:29)
I'm allowed to laugh, right? The stop-start intro, the guitar solos, the voice, the typical $%^& rock lyrics. AC/DC going strong. I'm not reviewing this. Just get the song.

7. The Flaming Lips Do You Realize? (3:32)
No, not the brief respite of the screams that the Ramones utter between songs; but chanted in a binary monotone as colours drip from the speakers like giant bubbles frothing in pink robots, giant elephant hands and hallucinogenics… A ton of orchestration filled with brief blips and samples of sounds which float along in a marmalade breeze resplendent in their beauty and then sprout bluebird wings and soar as Wayne heralds in the chorus of platitudes in his childish vocal harmonies, imbuing them with enough heart for the entire world (as if the world gives a damn about things like sincerity). It became Oklahoma's state anthem. Weird? You have NO idea.

8. The Beatles I Am The Walrus (4:36)
From uplifting psychedelia to schizophrenic paranoid, sinister psychedelia. I can imagine John with a devilish grin on his face as he creates these ridiculous lines of Dylan inspired poetry. The Beatles were to later ridicule the song themselves (Glass Onion, God) and John would disown it as a piece of fluff, but what do I care, (unless I'm listening to it at 2 in the morning and the Joker laughs at you sneaks up on me) its brilliant.
Goo Goo Goo Joob

9. The Kinks You Really Got Me (2:14)
From the biggest '60s band to one of the most overlooked. And hey! It's their first great and most rocking song. The basis for at least a quarter of all hard rock songs ever penned, this Davies tune still steamrolls over you despite the age and horrific production. Almost Louie Louie like in its garage rock grandeur. A classic.

10. The Jesus and Mary Chain Some Candy Talking (3:19)
Finally, the last song on the list, I'm exhausted. I really just want to listen to this one and not delve too far into it… who am I kidding? I live for this stuff. Off the (arguably) most important noise-rock album of all time, Psychocandy, this one was a surprise hit for the mopesters (Man, people have weird tastes…) Starts out softly enough for one of the band's numbers as the vocalist mopes like a sadistic emo (which he very well may be), but then here comes the chorus and then the magnificence of the distortion break (for you philistines, The Mary Chain do not do instrumental breaks). Does anybody else notice that band's just a pop outfit hiding behind the wall of distorti… okay forget that, just enjoy the rave up of that final chorus.

Bonus Track:
Elliott Smith Miss Misery
Two tickets torn in half
And a lot of nothing to do...
After the exit of Michael Jackson (why did none of the newscasters refer to him by his surname?) I got to thinking of all the exits pop music has suffered. Lennon, Morrison, Harrison, Joplin, Moon, Cobain, Hendrix... infinitely sad really, but my first was the worst and it was none other than the man whose gift to the world was his sadness. And if you don't know Elliott Smith you don't deserve to read about pop music. This was my introduction to him and so I give it to you. If you enjoy it I encourage you to skim his discography to find that one.

By Prinnydood and Friend

Street fighter IV

By Shehzeen Samarah Hussain

Sure we're going 360º with all the new games that are thrown our way. And it sometimes becomes hard to pull out the retro dust laden video games from our growling cupboards, just so we know they're still alive and kicking. Bearing in mind the very complexities that keep us away from the real classics, Capcom thought it was time to dabble with the old. That's what brought Street Fighter IV to life.

The series of course needs no introduction. The infamous Ken-Ryu face-offs, the dexterous knockouts and the brilliant throw maneuvers of the characters won hearts ever since its emergence in the late 1980's and in the years that followed. Hours spent in front of TV screens, eyeing the combo meters, jerking at the burly sound effects and praising the 2D graphics, are hard to forget. SF4, though, is designed with 3D graphics but the game's still played on a 2D plane. Sure that's new, but it works just as well.

The visual effects are distinctive, and that's no surprise when one tries to pull off such ambitious goals. The idea of sticking to the 2D plane might sound intimidating, but when you see the brilliant impressions of depth and angle, it's actually hard to tell the difference. The game has a hand-drawn look with few calligraphic strokes and ink smudges. But the game doesn't look like the trailer. The stages are clear and have streets which extend to a distance, brilliantly tinted and flawless to the trifling details.

The Street Fighter sequels have held onto the tradition of brilliant gameplay, and SFIV is nothing less. The quick jabs, standoffs, combo attacks and the projectile defences are recognizable to any aficionado of the series. A rather new attack called the 'focus attack' (also called 'saving') has been introduced which basically helps you to cancel out your opponent's attack. Even though it can't withstand multiple attacks 'saving' makes your player immune to a jump or counter attack and gives you time to focus on your own moves. The idea is to help you block out recurring attacks by your opponent, provided you have the timing right.

The combo and revenge meters build up with your moves and all this depends on your execution of attacks, damage dealt, performance, time management and technicalities. Speaking of revenge meters (also known as Ultra Combo gauge), these are particularly new to SFIV which basically fill when your player undergoes damage from the opponent while the combo meters build up when you inflict damage. Ultra Combos are long and cinematic moves featuring a lengthy combination of punches, kicks and other fighting techniques. The ultra moves can only be activated when you have full combo and revenge meters, in other words when you're playing considerably even fights. What makes Street Fighter a challenge is the fact that you can't get away by simply hitting players. It's especially important to build up reflexes as you continue to play the game.

There's a new challenge mode, which helps you train and get through some of the basics before entering the fights. The mode offers six challenges for each fighter, and these initially start out as primers on the basic attacks in the game. These help you to learn the signature moves before you try the more complex attacks like combos and crossovers. The game also includes a variety of new costume colours, plus alternate costumes for the characters. Most of the characters, in addition to Ken and Ryu, have received a makeover worth some approval. Fei Long, the martial artist has received a distinctive throw attack and lets him jump behind his opponents. Dan Hibiki has a rather powerful dragon punch in comparison to the others. His famous “dankukyaku" kick has respectable range and damage and his 'gadoken' projectile has transformed to become more lethal than ever. Guile has the usual sonic boom projectiles, the flash kick, and the poking low forward kick in the game. While most of the old characters uphold their place in the series, SFIV has introduced new players namely Abel, Crimson Viper, Rufus and a few more.

What's clearly significant to bear in mind is that the game is truly an evolution to the series rather than a complete revolution. SFIV is just another example of how seriously Capcom takes their job and how, when it comes to fighting masses of muscle on a virtual stage, the Street Fighter series is your game.

Anime review:

By Kokoro-chan

Rating: 15+
They say reality and fantasy cannot co-exist. But what if they did? In a world where everything was according to your preference, a world where you could be anything you wanted to be instead of making constant compromises to fit in…this is your dream world. It's a magical place where even the business-like boss could be the king of a toy-parade, the genius scientist could be a childish robot figure and the strict, tight-bunned workaholic woman could for once let her hair down in a fiery mess of carefree bangs and become…Paprika.

There's a new superhero in town and she's HOT! Atsuko Chiba is a medical scientist leading the modification and completion of DC-mini, a revolutionary dream therapy machine that can cure patients by stimulating their subconscious. However, Dr. Chiba has her own unique ways of curing patients as well. Once she enters the patients' dream world her alter ego, a sprightly redhead named Paprika, takes over and guides their confused dreams towards treatment. But trouble starts brewing when one of the unfinished DC-minis gets stolen and the dream therapy project, despite its good intents, becomes an impending threat of infinite mind control possibilities. Is it merely a jealous co-worker trying to steal the show and make money for himself? Or is there a more sinister group involved, opposing the machines' intrusion on 'sacred' dream territory? It's up to Paprika to save the day.

Inner View:
“A gorgeous riot of future-shock ideas and brightly animated imagery…a mind-twisting, eye-tickling wonder.”-this is how the New York Times defined Paprika. That's Satoshi Kon for you, in all his brilliance and the much-talked-about style of detailed realism. But this particular book adaptation by the great Yasutaka Tsutsui must have been a delightful experimental treat even for him, given the scopes of working with both the dream world and reality. Which, he did with impeccable execution skills. Watching the movie feels like being on a wild roller-coaster ride. During the slow ascending period it gradually introduces its different characters and the momentum starts to build up. Then all of a sudden in a rush of screaming vibrant colours the whole world turns upside down-marching frogs, honking refrigerators, giant Japanese dolls and robots, butterflies, mermaids, fairies, mutated green men and what not! At one point the patients' dreams start merging with reality, with very much Kon-like animation style, yes. However, the man's genius lies in his ways of making this utterly bizarre scenario seem quite normal to his viewers. As if getting peeked at and attacked by a giant red doll in the middle of your office hour is perfectly natural! But that intensely intoxicating feeling of “what-the-hell!?” is the best part of Paprika. Other than that, the storyline, while having characters that eventually discover their personal shortcomings and come to accept who they are, also subtly hints to a much greater debate: should or should not science interfere with the deepest, darkest secrets of nature and human mind? Especially in the intriguing last scene where viewers are left with the dumbfounded expression of “what just happened?” on their faces and countless questions to ponder to themselves. What is it, you ask? You'll have to watch it to find out!

Ani'music': “Byakkoya” by Susumu Hirasawa
This futuristic techno-pop number surprisingly manages to leave an effect that is at the same time exciting and soft on the listener, blending in with the main theme perfectly and demanding attention.

Finally, if you're looking for a different taste in exquisite anime cuisine you should definitely give this dish a try. Unique story-theme, artistic animation, fabulous musicanything you name and Paprika stands out. Apart from leaving you slightly addle-brained and offering further comprehension after the second watch, this movie I daresay has no major drawbacks and therefore, can be a worthwhile addition to your watch list.


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