People who watch a lot of music television will vouch for this: It's extremely hard to avoid Rihanna. She's everywhere, her gorgeous voice used as a Quick Fix to bring life to the most staid tracks around. And then, she keeps releasing stuff of her own.
Talk That Talk, Rihanna, Universal, Rs 395
Predictably, it's all rather catchy. There are great producers at work here, some talented pop songwriters (We Found Love, Roc Me Out), a couple of annoying ballads (We All Want Love) and potential dance floor favourites (Where Have You Been).
11 songs spread over a half hour or so. It's a great album for a short drive, but not one with guaranteed airplay a few years from now. She'll have a few more albums by then, of course.
Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds The saddest (albeit predictable) thing about a band as big as Oasis is how media coverage eventually focused more on the bickering backstage than the music on stage. By the time Liam and Noel Gallagher split, most fans had stopped caring about the next release.
Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, Noel Gallagher, Universal, Rs 395
Keeping this in mind, then, the nicest thing about High Flying Birds is how it makes one remember what made Oasis such a great band its ability to channel The Beatles into stadium and pub-friendly sing-a-longs.
You can sense this seconds after opener Everybody's On the Run kicks in. The euphoria is sustained across the next nine tracks, from the joyous Dream On and Wonderwall-influenced If I Had A Gun to closer Stop The Clocks. It's like the Oasis album that could have been, if it weren't for that annoying sibling rivalry.
Depths of the Ocean Fans of Indian Ocean will presumably pick up Depths of the Ocean irrespective of what this or other reviews have to say. Others ought to do so too though, simply because it's a great solo effort from a musician who knows his stuff.
Depths of the Ocean, Susmit Sen, EMI, Rs 350
If that isn't enough, the people he chooses to collaborate with (the late Asheem Chakravarty on Rejuvenation, Shubha Mudgal on City Lights, Angaraag Mahanta a.k.a.Papon on Wild Epiphany) ought to do the trick. The nicest compliment a non-musician can pay Susmit Sen is this that he takes the word 'playing' very seriously.
It always sounds as if he's having fun, which is contagious. The nicest compliment a musician can pay him is this that his instrument of choice is less a means of expression than an extension of himself. He is undoubtedly one of India's finest. We are lucky to have him.