Once is more than enough

SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil (The Philippine Star) - March 14, 2008 - 12:00am

The album Once, which contains the music from the movie of the same title has entered the Top 200 Albums list of Billboard magazine. Once is known as “the little film that could” because it was made by writer and director John Carney with a $100,000 budget but it went on to become a hit, win acclaim and bring home an Academy Award for Best Original Song with Falling Slowly.

As all those movie fans who watched the coverage of the 2008 Academy Awards doubtless remember, Falling Slowly was performed by Glen Hansard of the group The Frames and Czech singer songwriter Marketa Irglova. A simple love song sung with accompaniment by Hansard on the guitar, Falling Slowly was the underdog in a year dominated by three songs from the Disney live-action fantasy Enchanted and an Eddie Vedder composition from the Sean Penn directed Into The Wild. But in a surprise upset, Falling Slowly got the Oscar.

Once also stars Glen and Marketa. The film follows them for a week in Dublin as they meet and fall in love. At the same time they write songs, rehearse and then record these to tell their love story. Again, the success of the picture says that you do not really need big names, an epic story, millions of dollars for your budget and eye-popping special effects to make a film that would touch the hearts of people everywhere. Once just anchored itself on beautiful music and it worked.

Like Falling Slowly, the songs in the Once soundtrack are mostly simple, acoustic ballads. The form has lately shown surprising strength in the US hit charts thanks to No. 1 sellers Coco by Colbie Caillat and Sleep Through the Static by Jack Johnson. If you enjoyed those two, Once makes for a very logical follow-up.

Meanwhile hot female artists dominate this week’s list of the Top 10 albums in the Billboard 200. These are Discipline, the new CD by Janet Jackson; New Amerykah Part 1, 4th World War by Erykah Badu; Sleep Through the Static by Jack Johnson; Savage Life 2 by Webbie; As I Am by Alicia Keys; Hannah Montana 2 Soundtrack by Miley Cyrus; Once, the movie soundtrack by Glen Howard and Marketa Irglova; Juno, another motion picture soundtrack by Various Artists; Little Voice by Sarah Bareilles; and Back to Black by Amy Winehouse.

The Hot 100 remains a strong base for assorted R&B sounds and the singles in the Top 10 are Love in This Club by Usher featuring Young Jeezy; Low by Flo Rida feat. T-Pain; With You by Chris Brown; Don’t Stop the Music by Rihanna; Love Song by Sarah Bareilles; No Air by American Idol Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown; Apologize by Timbaland feat. OneRepublic; No One by Alicia Keys; Independent by Webbie. Lil’ Phat & Lil’ Boosie; and Sensual Seduction by Snoop Dogg.

Speaking of another famous female, one of the biggest of them all, Madonna was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last March 10 on the merits of her hit songs Holiday and Jump. Music artists become eligible for the honor at least 25 years after the release of the album or the single with which they made their mark and it has now been a quarter of a century since the Material Girl’s self-titled album came out.

Also inducted this year was the British pop group from the ’60s, Dave Clark 5 (DC5) for Glad All Over and Because. Unfortunately, lead singer Mike Smith died of pneumonia only a few days before the event. Clark was the group’s drummer. So I guess, this permanently kills all hopes of one day getting the DC5 to once more perform its hits in the Philippines.

Other inductees were Canadian poet, novelist and songwriter Leonard Cohen for Suzanne and Sisters of Mercy; John Mellencamp for Jack & Diane and Wild Nights; the instrumental group the Ventures for Walk Don’t Run and the Theme from Hawaii 50; harmonica legend Little Walter for My Babe and Blue Lights; Billy Paul for Me and Mrs. Jones; Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes for If You Don’t Know Me by Now; and songwriters and producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff for The 81 by Candy and the Kisses.

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