Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, December 23, 2010





By Alvi Ahmed

When you think of Christmas songs, you immediately think about lame Christmas carols. But over the past few decades these Christmas carols have been covered by famous rock icons. So here's a list of some of the best Christmas rock songs:

Little Saint Nick - Beach Boys

The music and the outline of this song has been taken from their hit from the early sixties “Little Deuce Coop”. A little retro, but not bad considering a Christmas song.

Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) - Bon Jovi

The album on which this song was featured also included other artists such as Eric Clapton, Run-DMC and others. The album was recorded for the special Olympics and it's not a bad song either. It has got the classic Bon Jovi feel with a slight touch of Christmas.

Last Christmas - Jimmy Eat World

Originally recorded by Wham! (and written by George Michael) the song bore similarities to Barry Manilow's 'Can't Smile Without You,' which resulted in a lot of controversies and was settled in court. But if you want modern rock fused with Christmas, do give this song a try.

Jingle Bell Rock - The Ventures

The song was featured on their 1965 Christmas album and was very popular back in the day because they successfully mixed the Christmas vibe with hard core guitar riffs and licks.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town - Bruce Springsteen

Springsteen's 1985 cover of this song immediately hit the charts in both UK and Australia. Other notable bands such as Aerosmith, Alice Cooper and The beach Boys also had their own version of the song. But Springsteen's one is the best.

Merry Xmas (War is Over) - John Lennon

The lyrics of the song are based on the Vietnam anti-war campaign driven by Lennon and wife Yoko Ono, who rented billboards that read, "WAR IS OVER! (If You Want It) Happy Christmas from John and Yoko." The song is often regarded as a "secret No. 1" because it reached No.1 on the UK Top Singles chart (the week ending on Jan. 3) -- a week that the charts were (at the time) notably unpublished due to Christmas. This song is amazing and fans of Jon Lennon should immediately give it a try.

Please Come Home for Christmas - Eagles

The Eagles are awesome. And so needless to say this song is also equally awesome and easily the best amongst all the songs covered so far. Released as a single in 1978, the song peaked at No. 18 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.

Reference and facts taken from AOL radio.

Game Review

By Shaer Duita Phish Reaz

Sometimes gamers need a break from the intense 24-hour gamer lifestyle; and what better way to take a gamer break than by playing a game that requires no mental effort whatsoever? A mindless, senseless game of button mashing fun is what's needed. Shank provides the perfect side-scrolling action adventure solution. Since gamers are used to hand exercise during gaming, this game can be finished without much effort.

Shank doesn't bother with a storyline or terribly innovative gameplay either, and doesn't need to, really. For the sake of writing a proper review however, we must elaborate some more on the plot. Shank, the protagonist, used to be the top hitman of mob boss Caesar, but when Caesar asks him to kill his girlfriend Eva as a test of loyalty and Shank refuses, Caesar issues a hit on both of them. A wrestler called The Butcher is sent after them and he murders Eva. At the start of the Single player campaign, Shank walks into a bar in search of The Butcher. He goes around fighting Caesar's henchmen and tries to find the whereabouts of his girlfriend's killer. This is the start of a blood-spattered path towards revenge.

To tell the truth, the levels tend to get very repetitive. This is not a game you want to play for hours on end without any breaks. Play some other game, and if you need a hard-earned (!) break, play Shank.

Graphics wise, it's as good as it can get in a 2D game. The game is glossy and the explosions and mayhem are beautifully rendered, so it doesn't feel like you're playing those old 2-D games. The cut scenes look great, in a modern cartoonish way. No complaints in terms of the graphics department.

Soundtrack wise, it could have been a bit better. The menu background music is great and very fitting, but in the heat of the action and mayhem the game can feel a bit hollow and lacking somehow, and the excitement at the beginning of a stage can be dampened easily.

The co-op gameplay is another highlight of the game. Whether on PC (using two controllers) or X-360, the co-op campaign is very engaging and loads of fun. It also requires teamwork, so brush up on your skills at coordinated button mashing before you try the co-op campaign, or else you'll be stuck very soon. The co-op storyline is a different subplot, so it's a refreshing try if you're bored of single play.

Overall, it's a great attempt from EA at a modern interpretation of the classic side-scrolling genre. It has a few glitches here and there, but if EA does make a sequel (which I think it should) hopefully those will be ironed out. As a first attempt it fits the purpose.


By Dr Who

Episodes: 6
Run: Season 1 - Ongoing
Ratings: 18+

The last decade and half has seen the unstoppable rise of the zombie apocalypse scenario. The dim and slow zombies of George A. Romero's black and white Night of the Living Dead have now become faster, stronger and eventually, just plain boring. If movies and games had voices, we'd be hearing a lot of, “Been there, done that.” So when The Walking Dead rides into the middle of the genre, Rick Grimes style, and looks towards different boundaries, we stop and take notice.

The Plot
The series starts with Rick Grimes, a former Sheriff who had taken a bullet in a gunfight. He wakes up from a coma a few weeks after being wounded to find the world devoid of the living. Very 28 Days Later, we know. Except the zombies are slower. He is saved from an attack by a man and his son, who tells Rick there is a rumour of survivors in nearby Atlanta. Hoping to find his family, Rick parts ways with his newfound friends and heads for the city. After scenes that reinvent the phrase, “Sheriff riding into town,” Rick is surrounded by the Dead.

He is rescued by Glenn, a former pizza boy, and eventually meets up with the rest of the survivors, where he finds his wife Lori and son Carl. His old partner and best friend Shane is there, too. The two old partners form the command structure of the small group. Once a cop, always a cop, they say.

That is where the predictable part of the plot ends, we're afraid. And we do not want to give spoilers.

The verdict
One season, only six episodes so far, and this series is ready to compete with the best in this genre. The casting is brilliant. Andrew Lincoln gives a credible performance as Sheriff Grimes, the idealistic and hence slightly naïve leader. Shane, Grimes's partner, is the picture of the torment that you would expect a nice guy in his position to go through. Lori Grimes is played by Sarah Callies of Prison Break fame. We trust we don't have to expand on her.

There's plenty of gore, as the rating should tell you. But it is not gore for gore's sake. It's presented matter-of-factly, as a regular part of life in such a situation. And the story gets to you. The characters somehow hit you where it hurts. Whether you watch Rick saying sorry to a zombie with half a body crawling on the grass in a park before he shoots her, or if you see a man sitting by the window with a sniper rifle, waiting to shoot his wife in the head, the punches keep connecting. What more do you expect from Frank Darabont, the guy that gave us Shawshank Redemption?

The soundtrack is sparse, using the scare tactics rarely. When it is there, it is slightly nostalgic, which fits with the series' underlying misery. In a similar fashion to Castle, which always opens with a good song introducing the murder scene, almost all episodes of The Walking Dead end with a nice track. But while Glenn listening to Black Strobe's “I'm a Man” while driving a smoking hot red Dodge Charger down the wrong side of the highway is quite acceptable, seeing the zombies scrabble over dinner meat to Wang Chung's Space Junk is a distinctly disturbing experience. We reiterate, this series is filled with graphic violence, but worth every second of discomfort.


home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

© 2010 The Daily Star