Tuesday, December 25, 2007

温故知新: Best of 2007

I don't claim to be an arbiter of cool or intend this to be a statement of any sort, but as we look on towards 08, i reminiscence about these gems that defined, at least to me, 2007:



[1] Timbaland's "Shock Value"

James finally gets hip-hop, years after it went mainstream. But pardon me, I'm Asian and I don't wear ghetto and/or bling. It was the collaborations that blow me away, with a whole motley list including artistes as diverse as Fall Out Boy & Elton John. These are my favorites:

"The Way I Are" (featuring Keri Hilson and D.O.E.)
"Apologize" (Remix) (featuring One Republic)
"Give It to Me" (featuring Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake)

Mr Children

[2] Mr Children's "Home"

Mr. Children: my all time favorite Japanese rock band. Some J-bands tend to go overboard with their makeup, their wailing, and their over-the-top antics. Mr Children has always kept it simple, just how i like it. If glay is harajuku, Mr. Chldren is Muji. And i prefer muji. Noteworthy tracks include:

"しるし" for the soul, "フェイク" to rant and "Wake me up!" to pick me up.

Corrinne may

[3] Corrinne May's "Beautiful Seed"

Singapore has hope beyond mandopop. I love the subtle biblical references in the lyrics. An asian Sarah Maclachlan, think: good vocals, a "home for Christmas" kind of feel. Notable tracks include "City of Angels", "Beautiful Seed", "Five Loaves and Two Fishes". I could leave this on repeat mode the whole day.


Lust Caution

[1] Lust, Caution

Most Asian WWII films I have seen portrayed mostly carnage and bloodshed and overt suffering, but not this one. The S&M sex and uninspiring ending aside, i loved how this was one war movie that did not feature even one Japanese character during the entire course of the movie even though it was the Japanese occupation. There are other things to worry about, like horny traitors. Then again, I won't expect anything less from Lee Ang. I found myself paying less attention to the plot than to the intricate backdrops in the movie. Shanghai in the 40s has an old world charm its brash y2k version of itself could never replicate. Classic.


[2] "Fracture"

Watching this during PLC when I was coming to terms with studying Criminal Procedure helped. A brilliant cat and mouse hunt with defense attorney Ryan Gosling and murder suspect Anthony Hopkins would appeal not only to law students and others who know the meaning of double jeopardy, but to anyone who loves a good thriller. Brilliant.


[3] "Cashback"

Released in Britain in 2006 but only released in Sunnypore in mid-2007, its merits warrant glossing over the technicality of it not being a 2007 movie. It's funny, it's offbeat, it's irreverent, and it does not take itself too seriously as it ponders via voice-overs the meaning of pain, hurt, love and their intricacies. Add in a dash of british slang, mixed with a huge dose of slow motion with the "Casta Diva" soundtrack borders on pure cheesiness but if you're looking for something feel-good, this is it.


I have not been reading much non-law stuff for much of 2007, as there was already so much that I should be reading, but have not been. Nonetheless the end of law school and the bar exam gave reprieve to once again read for leisure, and here are my personal recommendations:


[1] Making Globalization Work

Not only highlighting what's going on in our world, but how to go about solving it. An erudite piece of work, that has propelled my ideologies forward. Quite admittedly, it was only after reading this did i realise that my concepts and thoughts were still stuck in the 90's: that globalization and free trade is beneficial per se. The print media in Singapore does love to make a brouhaha about the merits of free trade: note all the high profile agreements as of late that we have concluded with other states, I am not pointing fingers, but perhaps we are not exposed to more critical views on globalization and its ramifications. Read this, be prepared to challenge your old long held stereotypes, and to be reminded that there is still so much more we could do.

Reluctant Fundie

[2] The Reluctant Fundamentalist

With all that has been going on around the world, books like "The Kite Runner", "My Forbidden Face" and "Kandahar" has helped us to understand, but none of them compare to Mohsin Hamid's version of a Pakistani man's love affair with and eventual abandonment of America. For anyone who has lived abroad and adopted the ways of the west, who would understand this conflict and angst of the protagonist.


[3] After Dark

Murakami easily ranks with Milan Kundera as being one of my favorite living writers. This one's set in real time, in Japan, with themes of isolation, strangers in the dark, and reclusiveness, everything that reminded me of a place that I have embraced full- out. I think to myself, will my love affair with Japan end up in abandonment?


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home