Friday, December 17, 2004

2004 - A musical retrospective

cover story


Bands. Splits.
We could hardly have predicted most of these splits. Some of them even left us wondering why...
- Jal: After the success of their very first song 'Aadat', the members of Jal parted ways, both sides giving their own reasons for the split. Atif released his debut album 'Jalpari', which was soon followed by the release of Goher's band's album 'Aadat'.
- Aaroh: Vocalist Farooq and bassist Khalid split with guitarist Nabeel and keyboardist Kamran, and both sides ended up claiming the rights to Aaroh. As a result, one side (Farooq, Khalid, Jason and Haider) released the video for their track 'Na Kaho', while the other (Nabeel, Kamran, Rahat, Sameer, Qaisar and Shehzad Mughal) recorded a new version of 'Sawal' and went to Mumbai to perform their track that appears on the soundtrack of 'Rakht'.
- Junoon: After playing with the band for over a decade, Junoon's bassist Brian O' Connell left the band. Guitarist Salman Ahmed cited Brian's unraveling personal life as the reason for the parting of ways. The band performed with Mekaal Hassan on their Summer of '04 tour and the Mekaal Hasan Band was the opening act for some of their shows.
- Noori: Mohammad Ali Jafri announced that he was leaving Noori to pursue 'other ventures'. Ali Noor, Ali Hamza and Gumby are continuing with the band and are currently working on their second album.

Us and them
The fame of Pakistani pop truly reached far and wide this year.
- Strings: The duo recorded the track 'Jeet Lo Dil' with the Indian group Euphoria, which was the official song for the India-Pakistan cricket series. Their song 'Najanay Kyoun' was featured on one of the versions of the 'Spiderman 2' soundtrack and the video for the track was filmed in Mumbai. The Strings also toured India and released the video for their track 'Bolo Bolo' which featured vocals by Indian singer Hari Haran. Their album 'Dhanni' was crowned number one on the India pop charts. The year also saw the Strings nominated for the 'Most Stylish Person In Music (Male)' award for the MTV Style Awards and the band won the 'Best Band' award at the first Sangeet Awards that were held at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
- Junoon: The video for Junoon's track 'Ghoom Tana' featured appearances by Nandita Das and Naseeruddin Shah and included vocals by Shubha Mudgal.
- Fuzon: Two Australian filmmakers filmed a documentary on the alternative music scene of Pakistan and shot Fuzon recording their new album. The team then went to Delhi with Fuzon where the band played at a concert called 'Sarhadon Ki Jugalbandi' aimed at promoting peace and cultural exchange between Pakistan and India. In India, Fuzon shared the stage with Indian filmmaker Gulzar, sufi singer Kailash Kher, fusion band Indian Ocean, Pakistani singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and poet Ferhat Shah. And the video for Fuzon's song 'Deewane' featured Indian actress Urmila Mantondkar.
- Noori: The band released an online demo version of 'Naya Jahan', their duet with Indian singer Anaida. Noori, that just might have set a record this year by performing 110 concerts in 42 days, launched their online record label 'Lighthead Records' with the international release of their debut album 'Suno Ke Main Hun Jawan' because of the heavy demand for their music by fans living outside Pakistan, especially in the US and Europe.

Sound of the underground
Some underground bands could be heard in the mainstream this year. Album releases, videos, gig...quite a bit happened.
- Call: After more than a decade as an underground band doing English music, Call switched over to Urdu and began work on their first album 'Jilawatan'. The band also released the videos for their songs 'Nishaan' and 'Pukaar'. Entity Paradigm: A merger of two underground bands, EP enjoyed success as a mainstream band and released the videos for their tracks 'Waqt' and 'Hamesha' this year.
- Corduroy: Islamabad based band, Corduroy, released their album, 'The Morning After'. The album launch took place at The Civil Junction, where the band had been performing for about a year.


Knot. Tangled.
Some walked down the aisle. And some thought once just wasn't good enough...
- Britney Spears:
Wedding number 1:
Date: 3rd January.
Venue: Las Vegas.
Groom: Her childhood friend Jason Allen Alexander.
Annulment: 55 hour later.
Wedding number 2:
Date: 18th September.
Venue: A Studio City home.
Groom: Kevin Federline, father of 2 with actress Shar Jackson.
- Jennifer Lopez: Five months after breaking her engagement with Ben Affleck, JLo married Marc Anthony at a secret ceremony that was held at her Beverly Hills home, less than a week after Mark divorce his wife. JLo, 33, married Ojani Noa in 1997 and Chris Judd in 2001. Mark Anthony, 34, previously married Miss Universe Dayanara Torres in 2000 and has two sons and a daughter.
- Travis Barker: Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker and former Miss USA Shanna Moakler tied the knot on the 30th of October in Santa Barbara, California, and the family will be doing a reality show for MTV, titled 'Meet The Barkers' next year.
- Brandy: Robert Smith revealed that he was never legally married to Brandy and that the couple just played the part to maintain Brandy's image, and a few weeks later, Brandy announced that she was now engaged to NBA player Quentin Richardson.

Breaking up is hard to do ... or is it?
And then there were none. Or four in the last case.
- Sixpence None The Richer: After playing together for nearly a decade and achieved mainstream success with their hit single 'Kiss Me' that earned the band a Grammy nominated, Six Pence None The Richer broke up.
- Creed: The band split up after releasing three highly successful albums, the sales of which summed up to more than 30 million. The band was together for eight years. Creed guitarist Mark Tremonti, drummer Scott Phillips, original bassist Brian Marshall and former Mayfield Four singer Myles Kennedy formed a new band, Alter Bridge.
- Janes Addiction: Considered as one of the most influential acts of the last two decades, Janes Addiction decided to call it a day. The band had been inactive for ten years until they reformed in 2002 and released their album 'Strays' in 2003.
- Westlife: Bryan McFadden left Westlife to work on his own stuff and spend more time with his wife, ex-Atomic kitten and 'I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here' star Kerry Katona, and their two daughters Molly and Lily Sue. Later this year, Bryan and Kerry split up.

Someday, they'll look back at these incidents and laugh. Or maybe not.
- Ashlee Simpson: During her performance at Saturday Night Live, Ashlee came onstage to sing 'Autobiography', the title track of her debut album. Instead, a pre-recording of her singing 'Pieces of Me' began playing while she was holding her mic to the side. This lip-synch debacle saw her thrashed with criticism and some of those who had bought her album ended up trading it for other records. As for 'Autobiography' which was scheduled to be released as her next single, well, it wasn't!
- Janet Jackson: Just before the released of her album 'Damita Jo', Janet Jackson's supposed 'wardrobe malfunction' exposed the singer during her performance with Justin Timberlake at the Super Bowl in February, and resulted in CBS' twenty stations being imposed with a $500,000 (£269,359) fine.

Guns, roses and velvet revolvers!
We waited for 'Chinese Democracy'. We waited...and waited...
- GNR: Guns N' Roses' 'Greatest Hits' album was released. Axl Rose and former members Slash and Duff McKagan took legal action to prevent the release of the greatest hits album, but the legal claim was rejected. The band's last studio album 'The Spaghetti Incident' came out in 1993.
- Velvet Revolver: Former GNR members Slash, Duff McKagan, Matt Sorum joined forces with Stone Temple Pilots' Scott Weiland and guitarist Dave Kushner to form the band Velvet Revolver and released their debut album 'Contraband'.
- Colonel Claypool's Bucket of Bernie Brains: GNR guitarist Buckethead quit the band after four years during which no new material was released and formed a new band, Colonel Claypool's Bucket of Bernie Brains, featuring Primus bassist Les Claypool, Parliament/Funkadelic keyboardist Bernie Worrell and GN'R drummer Brian 'Brain' Mantia.

And they're still not sure why he won ...
George W Bush was reelected as the US President, but that isn't what most of the musicians wanted. Well, at least they tried!
- Eminem: Em called George W. Bush 'the real weapon of mass destruction' in his single 'Mosh', the animated video of which was released just before the US presidential elections. The track appeared on the rappers album 'Encore' that was released in November.
- A Perfect Circle: APC's album 'eMOTIVe' was released on the US Election Day and features 10 political themed cover songs. The band released an anti-Bush video for one of the two new songs on the album, 'Counting Bodies Like Sheep To The Rhythm Of The War Drums'.
- Punk Voter Coalition: US punk rockers united to form the Punk Voter Coalition that aimed to stop George W Bush from being reelected, and included bands such as NOFX and Anti-Flag.

Hail to the thief?
And just where were the security guards?
- Elvis Presley: The Elvis Presley museum, Elvis-A-Rama, was robbed and stuff including rings, a gold-plated pistol and other belongings, worth over $300,000 (£180,000), were stolen. A pair of the Kings 'blue suede shoes', however, was left untouched.
- George Harrison: The former Beatles' lyrics and photographs were stolen from his sister Lou Harrison's car while she was donating memorabilia to a library.

And India got its first taste of the Idols phenomenon this year.
- World Idol: Norway's Kurt Nilsen won the World Idols competition that featured the winners of the various Idol shows that have been carried out all over the world. Kelly Clarkson from the US came in second, Belgian Peter Evrard was third, Heinz Winkler from South Africa fourth and Britain's Will Young finished fifth.
- American Idol: Fantasia Barrino, the 19-year-old single mom from North Carolina, won the third season of American Idol. She beat 16-year-old Diana DeGarmo by a margin of just over one percent.

And the winner is...
- Usher!! The R&B star scored the biggest album of the year and four number one singles. 'Confessions' sold 1.1 million copies in the US in the first week of its release, which became the highest first-week total for any R&B artist! He was also a major winner at the award ceremonies that were held this year and picked up four awards at this years American Music Awards ceremony and 11 trophies at the Billboard Music Awards.

- By Sameen Amer

Us Magazine, The News, 17th December, 2004