Sunday, March 22, 2015

Best Songs of 2015... So Far

The first quarter of a year has never been diverting like this year before. The beginning of the year is usually quiet and tranquil from major releases, as if the musicians are lulled by the cold winter and the warm spring. So, when they all decided to drop their latest songs at the same time, it just feels so surreal and magic. We already heard the first Sufjan Stevens' song after five years of waiting, and Madonna dropped her new album this month, and the synth-pop band Passion Pit surprises us with their latest album, Kindred, out next month and Kendrick Lamar ambushes us with his new album, To Pimp a Butterfly. 

It is actually arduous to pick some best songs to make it to this list. I cannot spew all of my favorite songs out since that will be exhausting to write. I still have many things to do (my final project *scoffs*, actually). So, I will only mention 10? Or 15? I do not know, though. This list is actually spontaneous. I decided to write after getting bored of studying for my mid-term. 

Either way, in no particular order, these are best songs of 2015... so far. 
Madeon - Pay No Mind (feat. Passion Pit)
Leclerq a.k.a. Madeon has everything. He has the face, the age, the girls who scream his name, the talent to create a great song and the experience of working together with Passion Pit. 'Pay No Mind' is really funky, and I am finally be able to distinguish his work from another EDM musicians. As Angelakos, shouted Don't you pay them any mind to the air, both of my hands are up in the air. And trust me, I am not a guy who can easily put his hands on the air. 

Years & Years - King
You cannot underestimate this rookie. Years & Years won BBC Sound of 2015, and they beat James Bay, Raury and Wolf Alice (and I know you do not care with them). For your information, this Sound of... polling is like Trelawney's prophecy in terms of predicting future successful musician: it is eerily accurate. It is the same polling who predicts Sam Smith, Haim, Ellie Goulding and Jessie J to be megastar, long before they all are famous. Years & Years' songs are easy to digest, like a Serbu Rame rice porridge in Cisitu. 'King' is heavily filled with synth, and this is not typical, and that is why I like Years & Years. Not a fan of its music video, though.

Westkust - Swirl
I cannot point out why I like this song. 'Swirl' is like any other songs from shoegaze band, but there is something different and something unique from this song.It probably reminds me of a background music from RPG game, even though I know exactly that is not the exact reason. 

Tobias Jesso Jr. - How Could You Babe
After I watched Jesso Jr performing 'How Could You Babe' in Jimmy Fallon, my jaws never closed perfectly. That is exaggerating, honestly, but that is actually the exact way to describe Jesso Jr's performance. Stunning. 'How Could You Babe' seems filled with teenage angst and rage, but somehow Jesso Jr. arranges this song to be more mature and more sad. How could you babe? How could you babe? sounds like a scream of agony, and I can't help but cry. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Album Review: Satellite Stories - Vagabonds

Artis : Satellite Stories
Album : Vagabonds
Label : XYZ Recordings

We love Satellite Stories. Or it is just me, actually. It's because you've probably never heard of them before, though Vagabonds is their third album. But, I can assure you that once you've hear their songs, you'll be totally in love with this band.

Satellite Stories, band asal Finlandia ini, kembali dengan album ketiga mereka yang berjudul Vagabonds, setelah album sophomore mereka, Pine Trails, rilis pada tahun 2013 yang lalu. Vagabonds bisa dibilang merupakan salah satu album yang paling saya tunggu-tunggu sepanjang tahun ini karena, well, this is freaking Satellite Stories. Saya biasanya jarang fanboying kepada satu band, tetapi Satellite Stories ini benar-benar sukses membuat saya jatuh hati.

Yang saya suka dari musisi asal Skandinavia dan Islandia adalah mereka menawarkan bunyi-bunyian yang tidak pernah saya temui di musisi dari negara mana pun. Kita bisa mendengar musik Sigur Ros asal Islandia yang luar biasa unik, Highasakite asal Norwegia yang menawarkan musik adem, Royksopp yang menawarkan musik elektronik yang lembut. Satellite Stories ini juga bukanlah perkecualian. Mereka sering dibilang terdengar seperti Two Door Cinema Club, tetapi saya kurang begitu setuju. Sekali mendengar Satellite Stories, saya langsung tahu mereka menawarkan sesuatu yang beda seakan-akan ada instrumen alien yang hanya ada di daerah Skandinavia. Lagu-lagu Satellite Stories merupakan lagu pop/rock yang ceria, menyenangkan, dan menular.

Vagabonds masih terdengar seperti lagu-lagu Satellite Stories yang saya dengar. Album ini diawali dengan track pembuka Vagabonds, dan merupakan awal yang seru untuk album ketiga ini. Vagabonds merupakan lagu yang sangat ceria, dan vokal Esa Mankinen yang unik dan khas menemani sepanjang lagu Vagabonds. Track kedua, Heartbeat, merupakan lagu favorit saya dan juga merupakan lagu kedua yang mereka lepas. Heartbeat ini begitu luar biasa catchy dan mudah didengar. Bagian chorus dari Heartbeat ini merupakan highlight dari lagu ini. Mankinen dan kawan-kawan beristirahat sejenak pada lagu When Love Became, diawali dengan beat yang pelan, dan bertanya-tanya mengapa cinta merupakan hal yang sulit meski masih bisa dibilang When Love Became masih dengan tone yang ceria khas Satellite Stories.

Vagabonds berisikan sebelas buah lagu yang sangat menyenangkan. Album ini merupakan album yang sangat mudah untuk dicerna, bahkan hanya dalam sekali dengar.

Track List:
  1. Vagabonds
  2. Heartbeat
  3. Polarized
  4. Campus
  5. Heroine
  6. When Love Became
  7. Painted Arms
  8. Round and Round
  9. Same Sun
  10. The Trap
  11. With You

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Finland: The Reason Why I Want To Go There

This essay is written in order to fulfill the requirement for thisisFINLAND Foreign Correspondents' Programme here. Even though I am dubious that I will be accepted, at least I have tried something new and broken my shell out.

Finland, The Land of Thousand Lakes and The Land of My Chimera

When I was in high school five years ago, I learned the world’s longest palindromic word according to Guinness World Records is saippuakivikauppias. It consists nineteen letters and it is Finnish word for a soapstone vendor. I was like, “Whoa! That is really cool.” And that is the moment when I became intrigued by Finland. After that day, I started to learn little by little about Finland. I learned that Suomi is one of the most difficult languages in the world. I learned that Finland has the world’s best education system. I learned that Finns are the world’s biggest coffee drinkers. I learned that Finland also has hundred-thousand lakes, making it as the country with the most lake in the world.  Those little trivias make me more intrigued by the awesomeness of Finland. 

Indonesia also has strong relationship with Finland. Martti Ahtisaari, the former president of Finland, and also a Nobel Peace Prize laureate has helped us to resolve the conflict between Indonesian government and Gerakan Aceh Merdeka (Free Aceh Movement), a separatist movement in Aceh. The conflict had lasted for decades and never been resolved until Mr. Ahtisaari led the peace negotiation between Indonesian government and Gerakan Aceh Merdeka. Finally, a peace agreement is signed after seven months of mediation and negotiation. The 30-year-conflict is finally over. We owe a lot to him, and to Finland.

All those reasons I stated above make me eager more to go to Finland. I love learning something new, and by going to Finland, I will be able to learn something new. A lot. My special interest is music. I have listened to music coming from today’s Finnish musicians. Satellite Stories, for example, is one of my favorite bands. I like their fun and cheerful music, and in my opinion, Scandinavian music, especially Finnish music, has distinctive and unique kind of music. It has different tone that I have never listened from musician from other countries. I also listen to French Films. Learning languages is my interest as well. In my opinion, language is the greatest invention that human being has ever invented. It is impossible to communicate with each other without language. One thing that never fails to awe me is how can be possibly there are millions of languages in this world, some even possess their own alphabet system. Even alphabets amaze me. Alphabets are only characters, but when they are set in correct order, they can deliver a message and the brain can interpret them. It is just amazing. I will be more than happy if I get a chance to visit Finland and learn a thing about Suomi. I read somewhere that Suomi is really hard to learn, but I regard that as a challenge, as a hurdle that I will tackle down. After all, challenges are what keeps me moving.

Even if I have stated that my special interests are music and languages, I don’t mind learning any other thing about Finland, either learning Finnish folk-dance—even though I have an awkward move, singing Finnish folk-song, tasting Finnish local cuisine, experiencing Finnish modern lifestyle or anything. Basically, I crave for learning anything in Finland. That is what motivates me the most.

One last thing that I need to tell you why I am really intrigued by Finland. I once told my best friend that I will go to Finland someday. I told him I will go to Helsinki, settle down there, and marry someone in Finland. I actually do not know why I told him that, but I often dream of it. It is as if Finland had magnet that keeps pulling me. There is no particular reason—yet—why it must be Finland; the place I want to settle down or the place I want to marry in, but trust me, that dream is real. If I get a chance to go to Finland from this programme, I guess I will find the reason. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

ƧINUOUS - Part 4


Saat aku tiba di rumah, mobil Ford butut milik Mom sudah terparkir di driveway. Aku masuk dan mendapati Mom sedang duduk di meja makan. Matanya menerawang jauh seperti sedang memikirkan sesuatu. Ia sedikit tersentak begitu aku memanggilnya beberapa kali.