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Hands All Over

By Alvi Ahmed.

Maroon 5's third studio album, recorded by legendary producer Robert “Mutt” Lange showcases mainly the band's considerable strengths. The album is a clever amalgam of pop rock, funk and R&B. Hands All Over is as Maroon 5 as it gets. It has a few unforgettable melodies, sleek and groovy bass lines and drumming and passionate lyrics about heated relationships gone wrong. Yup, for Maroon 5 fans this album is a must have.

“Misery” is a typical Maroon 5 track. Good lyrics, catchy hook, but slightly lacks instrumental in finesse. The song is perfectly crafted for radio or your car, but that's about it.

“Hands All Over” is a pure rock pop track. The lyrics are well written and the melody has a groovy feel to it, mostly because of the bass line. But the bad thing about the song is it lacks the dirty appeal Maroon 5 fans come to expect. But it is still a pretty decent cut.

Vocalist Adam Levine shimmers with “Give A Little More”. The vocals are smooth and soulful and at some stages it slightly resembles Michael Jackson's voice (which is a good thing). The song was made to burn up dance floors and repeated listens are a must, especially if you are a woman.

“I Can't Lie” sounds like a doo-wop track with a hint of indie-rock flavourings. The song has an icy texture and has pretty good instrumental arrangements with hard guitars, thick bass lines and strong drum strokes. However, the lyrics are weak and a little boring. But not a bad track musically.

“No Curtain Call” is an amazing track but can be found on the deluxe edition and for some strange reason it didn't make it to the original 12 tracks selected for the album. This track is better than at least half of the tracks that made it to the actual album. Maroon 5 fans be sure to give this song a try, you guys are bound to love it.

“Out of Goodbyes” features musical and vocal contributions from country/rock band Lady Antebellum. The only good thing about the song is Hilary Scott's “pretty” voice. This is what Adam Levine had to say about the country star. The track is a depressing, slow burn ballad and it's good when you about to go to bed. That's because you will fall asleep even before the song hits the chorus.

The other tracks are pretty ordinary, and true fans may get addicted after repeated listens. But Maroon 5 played it safe on this album, which is a good thing but also boring. The element of surprise is missing, but all in all an average album with a few sparkling gems.

Overall rating: 6.5/10
Reference: Amazon.com

The Social Network

By Kazim Ibn Sadique

From the theft of fire from the Gods by Prometheus, to the legendary rivalry and copyright battles between Edison and Tesla, right down to putting a man on the moon, the history of the development of science and technology has been rife with theft and nerd wars. Generating a good idea is hard work. It is much easier to steal them. And the sad thing is, this sort of idea-nicking happens at the best of Universities, where the brightest minds of the world converge. And with that, welcome to The Social Network.

The Plot
The film follows two parallel lawsuits against Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook. In 2003, in one night of drunken programming, the Harvard sophomore comes up with FaceMash, a website that takes pictures of female students from the university database and puts them up on the Internet, in pairs, to be rated. The popularity of this ends up crashing parts of the Harvard server. This feat brings Mark to the attention of two brothers, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, who hire him to design a website for them, Harvard Connection, which would be exclusive for Harvard students. Mark stalls with the work and tells Eduardo that he has an idea for a website but needs money to launch it. Eduardo gives him $1000 and 42 days later, Mark, using his own codes and programming, brings out thefacebook.com. Eduardo becomes co-founder and CFO of the brand new site.

While the stung Winklevosses try to settle this without going to court, Mark and his friends expand to other schools across the country and eventually meet Sean Parker, the co-founder of Napster, who suggests they drop the “the” and go with just facebook.com. As the tiny pebble becomes a rockslide and Facebook goes corporate, it begins to look like Sean is edging Eduardo out of the business.

This is not one of those movies you watch for the lighting or soundtrack. Don't get us wrong, the lighting's brilliant; stark, real, just what would suit this movie and the soundtrack is pretty decent. But this one is more about the story. Facebook is more than a household name now. People check Facebook more than their e-mails. It is fascinating to watch its birth, even though, as the screenwriter Aaron Sorkin himself admits that he focused more on the storytelling than truth.

The script does not flatter Zuckerberg, who was not part of the movie. He is smart, but quite deficient in social skills and comes off as a jerk in many situations. But co-founder of Facebook, Dustin Moskovitz thinks, “At the end of the day, they cannot help but portray him as the driven, forward-thinking genius that he is.”

Many of you will see Facebook a little differently after this movie, despite knowing it has been Hollywoodised. This reviewer certainly did. But hey, just because you dislike Edison doesn't mean you stop using light bulbs. As for trusting your friends with your ideas, you take your own risks. Yours truly, however, will take his chances.

Shaer Duita Phish Reaz

No one needs any introduction to Need for Speed. Easily the most recognisable racing game of all time, also one of the bestselling, Need for Speed has redefined racing games for PC and console several times over the years. In recent years though, sections of gamers have started to move away from Need for Speed in favour of games with more innovative gameplay and better cars/graphics, like Forza Motorsport and Grid. Loyal fans of NFS didn't lose faith though, and we were rewarded with the latest incarnation, NFS Hot Pursuit.

Developed by Criterion Games (of Burnout Paradise fame) and produced by the venerable Electronic Arts, Hot Pursuit represents a shift back to NFS roots, with ultra-exotic cars, serene, beautifully rendered locations, and the thrill of police pursuit. Along with some fantastic new features, first impression of the game looks good.

Scrapping the option of customising cars in the game may turn out to be a good decision on Criterion's part. It lends the game a childish fantasy theme. It reminds me of the time when I was a kid and was blissfully unaware of what understeer/oversteer and high compression natural aspiration meant. All I knew was that Lamborghinis looked cool and was fast, probably expensive too. That's what this game is all about: get in your favourite supercar, go race, or go for a freedrive around town. Occasionally get chased by cops too.

Plus, who wants to customise million dollar Pagani's and Veyron's anyway? It's a hassle best left for simulation racers like NFS Shift or Forza. Also, the fact that there isn't any hardly believable story in this edition makes the game all that more special. If we wanted a story, we'd read a book.

Players get to choose whether they want to play as a cop or a racer in every step of the way in Career mode. Unlike previous games, there isn't any quick race mode, just a freedrive option in Career mode, which you can play as either a roaming cop or racer. Freedrive is very addictive and entertaining if you have an imagination. Miles after miles of tarmac, coastal roads, mountain passes, forests, villages, even a dam or two combined with day/night changes and weather effects are enough to make one go “road trip!!!” Seriously, try this: keep playing until you unlock the Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder, then go for a drive along Eagle Crest road until you reach Eagle Crest Mountain. Drift to your heart's content on the way down and go towards Fairview Pass. It should be night by this time, and while listening to Lupe Fiasco's Shining Down, imagine taking in the fresh night air and the tanginess of the breeze coming in from the sea. Beautiful, isn't it?

Back to more important stuff, graphics is brilliant. Criterion should have included an interior view, but it isn't missed that much. Car detail is amazing, very glossy, and damage effects (visual only) look believable enough. Cars are very carefully chosen for their respective classes, but one complaint would be the lack of a few Japanese legends like the Skyline R34. Also, the game should have had a customisation option for some of the cars: who in their right minds would buy a Lancer Evo or a Subaru Impreza and keep them stock? These are cars meant to be tuned.

Soundtracks are very good too, carefully chosen “driving songs.” They could have included a few more songs though. Otherwise, the game is brilliant; worth finishing twice or thrice (career mode isn't very long). Gamer sites like IGN and Gamespot rave on about the Autolog feature, but since we're living in the land of the pirated, it's no use talking about something that requires online activation. Split screen should be fun as inclusion of special powers like EMP and Spike Strips (useable by both cops and racers) make things interesting.

NFS is definitely back on track. Can't wait to see what Shift 2 (coming out next year) is going to be like.

Overall- 9/10


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