Since I don’t listen to radio due to its horrible content, I turn to other sources to find new music. SPIN magazine recently rated Cornershop’s “When I Was Born for the 7th Time” as the best album of 1997, and because I trust the judgment of its editors, I went out on a limb and bought the album. In turn, I was exposed to one of the best albums I have ever heard. You may have heard the extremely catchy single “Brimful of Asha,” but for those who have not, Cornershop is a mix of Asian, American and European styles.
Led by Tjinder Singh, Cornershop uses everything from sitars to synthesizers in their songs. Singh causes opposite types of music to connect, with the result being an album that is actually fun to listen to. Almost half of the tracks on “When I Was Born for the 7th Time” are instrumentals.
Although some may be turned off by this concept, the instrumentals on this album are more interesting than the songs. In fact, some of them (“Butter the Soul” and “It’s Indian Tobacco, My Friend”) are just plain genius.
On the other half, “Brimful of Asha” is one of those songs that will stay in your head for hours, but you will want to have it there. I can’t describe “Candyman” with any other adjective than “exceptional.” “Norwegian Wood” is a Beatles cover sung in Singh’s native tongue, Punjabi. The only song I would consider skipping is “When the Light Appears Boy” which sounds like an Indian ritual dance at Boy Scout camp. The only redeeming grace to that song is that it features a poem by the late Allen Ginsberg, who influenced several pop culture icons. For those of you who have grown tired of the mainstream fare repeated on endless cycles over America’s airwaves, I strongly recommend Cornershop. For the rest of you, keep listening to your Wallflowers. .
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