Monday, August 13, 2012

The MJ Show #150 - Gul Panag's top 10 songs!

I got to know Gul Panag because of my radio show a few years ago but let me tell you about what I felt about her when we met up for the first time.
I was hosting a tv show for Zee Business many months ago and though Gul and I were acquainted on twitter...the first time I met her in person was at the finale of this show in Shillong. We hung out a bit, talked about music and the bands that were taking part in the show. Gul had come there as the guest host of the finale and what I really liked about her is how simple, cool, intelligent and down to earth she really was and is in real life. :)
Even then I knew from our conversation then that she was really into music. In fact, she was totally rocking out to one of the much heavier acts on the show too. And to be honest, the reason I got to know her in the first place was also music so when I got The MJ Show back on I knew that I had to have her as a guest and today, on the BIG 150th episode of the show, I can't think of anyone better to have as a guest than the lovely, talented, super-strong and beautiful Gul Panag :)

And she's quite an adventurer and a daredevil too. Before we begin the show have a look at this video of her's. Will show you a really different side of her's and you'll get why I think she's pretty cool :)

So...when I got started on this episode I asked Gul to mail me her favourite songs which she did and then we spoke on the phone about the songs. Here's what it sounded like.

Mihir Joshi (MJ): So...Gul...welcome to The MJ Show. Let's get straight into it. Let's talk about some of your all time favourite songs.
Gul Panag (GP): Hey Mihir...all right here we go. My top 10 in no particular order are:

GP: Okay first up is "Ain't Talkin 'Bout Love" by Van Halen!
I love the intro to song. It's a great song...superbly upbeat and powerful. I generally listen to this when I'm getting ready to go out...or to the gym...or I'm getting into the car. It's a total mood fixer for me! :)
MJ: Killer song to kick off this set. I get exactly what you mean. A great song like this can totally pump you up! For me..."Shoot To Thrill" by ACDC always does the trick. Check it out!

GP: Up next is a song by my friends music direcotor duo - Sidharth & Suhas called Nainawali Whiskey.
I love the lyrics of the song. And though the music is totally in the dance space the lyrics are really beautiful. And it's got a awesome Punjabi flavour to it that I really love.
MJ: I love Sidharth-Suhas. I love the stuff they do. Always fun :)
Okay I just heard the song and I don't really get a chance to put up songs like the next two songs I've got here. I LOVED both of them when they came out. I love what comes out when you mix western beats and styles with Punjabi music. Actually I love it when western music fits in with any kind of Indian music. There's always some great stuff that comes out it.
Here are two absolutely KICKASS songs for you! :)
Dr.Zeus - Kangna
Swami - Hey Hey!

GP: Next up for me is Lady Gaga. I mean who doesn't like Lady Gaga! And "Poker Face" by her is one of my favourite songs. I like a lot of her other songs but this one is the one I love most. It's a super-upbeat song and I love the beats and the way it makes me feel.
MJ: Have you seen or heard the "Glee" version of "Poker Face".
GP: No I haven't!
MJ: Okay then that's the song I'm going to play for you right now. I love their take on it. They've changed it from the uptempo Lady Gaga version and slowed it down to a ballad. I love Lady Gaga's version but when you want to chill out a bit and still listen to this song...this version is the way to go. Lea Michelle & Idina Menzel, the two ladies who sang this song in Glee are spectacular. Check it out!

GP: "Mr Saxobeat" by Alexandra Stan is a song that really love. It's a song that just came on the international scene out of nowhere and just took over the world. It was all over the place and I totally loved the sound of it.
MJ: I know exactly what you mean. I remember another song that did a similar thing a while back. "Stereo Love" by Edward Maya & Vika Jigulina is the song I'm talking about. I remember when it was out, you couldn't go to a single dance club and not hear it or versions of it. Brilliant song too!

GP: The Wallflowers is a band that I really like. The first thing I like about any artist is the music. It's always the music that hooks me in...but once the music begins to grown on me the lyrics become an important part of the song for me too.  When I first heard The Wallflowers several years ago...I loved the music instantly...great guitar parts...drums...but the more I heard them, I just I loved their lyrics too. And that's the beauty of such music I think. It's something that gets better each time you hear it.
MJ: Here's Gul's favourite song by The Wallflowers. It's called Sleepwalker
MJ: I totally get what you mean by the way. About how great songs grow on you more and more with time. For me, John Mayer is the one artist of our generation who has consistently written incredible songs. Great lyrics...I mean really really great lyrics and some incredible melodies. I love how he can tell stories with his songs. Now his latest album, Born And Raised, is not in my opinion his best work...but there's this one song in it that really showed me what a fantastic storyteller John is. The song has a deeper meaning obviously...which you get when you spend some time with it...but when you hear's a song about a guy and his submarine! Incredible stuff! :)

MJ: Okay the next song on your list was a surprise for me. You've picked "Until It Sleeps" by Metallica!
GP: I'm someone who prefers's most often pretty much mainstream rock...but there are times that I like heavier stuff as well. If you remember when we chatted in Shillong I really liked that band with the growling vocalist. I thought they were pretty badass!
"Until It Sleeps" is a classic. I mean...if someone who likes rock music, hears this song they will like it even if they've not really heard a lot of Metallica. It's got great guitaring...great's just such an awesome rock song!
MJ: I hear you. It's not a surprise that thousands of people all around the world revere Metallica so much. They've had so many such classics that transcend their genre and reach out to music lovers irrespective of whether they are into metal or not. One more such song is "Enter Sandman". Check out this live version of it. The energy of the song is reflected in the crowd. It's pure magic!

GP: "Pour Some Sugar On Me" is such an iconic song by Def Leppard. Lately I've been hearing their original version and the version done by Tom Cruise in "Rock Of Ages"! I must say that he's done a very very interesting cover of it. And I think that it's one of this BIG rock's totally timeless. I doesn't need to be on a chart right now or anything like that. If you're into rock you'll love it no matter when you hear it.
MJ: Totally agree with what you just said. It's one of those all time classic rock songs and I do agree. Tom Cruise has done a fantastic job, not just on "Pour Some Sugar On Me" but as a whole in the movie! You see him and you BELIEVE that he's a rock star!
Here's his version of the song :)

MJ: The next song on your list is another surprise for me. From Def Leppard and Metallica we now head to Ganga by Rabbi! :)
GP: I've known Rabbi for a while now. I love how the song opens and I love how Rabbi always has some really rich strong subjects in his songs. Ganga is a very feminist song. When I first heard his album and called him up I told him I loved the song. He asked me if I'd heard the lyrics and I hadn't. Like I said, the first thing that works for me is always the music...but when he asked me to listen to the words I did and I realized that it's such a lovely song. It's an interesting take on the girl child. The female half of the Indian population has always been at the receiving end of some kind of unfairness and I like how Rabbi has talked about it in his song.
MJ: I think Rabbi is a really interesting artist. I remember I hosting the launch of his new album for Universal a few months ago and the first thing I realized about his music is that he's an out and out rock n roll guy. It's not Sufi or Punjabi music. That's just the framework or language he works in but he's a rocker all the way.
GP: Oh yeah! He rocks! You should hear him do "Desire" or "Where The Streets Have No Name" by U2. I remember many years ago in Delhi, when he was still relatively unknown, we were at this thing where there was a live band playing. We knew that he was a rock singer so we asked him to go and jam with the band on stage and he did those two songs and he totally nailed them!
He's a very "thinking" singer. He's very socially aware and I think his music reflects that.
MJ: Well...let's play a song for Rabbi. Let's play Desire by U2. :) I'm sure he'll love it :)

MJ: Next up is "The Anthem" by Good Charlotte!
GP: I love what it says. Today we've become clones of each other...and this is a song that says that "I don't want to be you!".
It's one of the few songs that's talking about being an individual. It's talking about something that is so fundamental. All of us are always trying to do things to fit in. To be somebody's idea of what you should be. People are always telling you to do this and do that, wear this, and be seen here and talk about this and that...and I feel like telling them "Who are you to tell me all this?"
The concept behind the song is pretty much my anthem too. I believe in me and I don't want to be like anyone else. I'm happy being me!
MJ: I love what you said here. I feel the same. I really do. I can't imagine living life by someone else's rules. I'm happy being me and I am happy letting you be you. I think the main problem people have is that they are too bothered with just telling people what to do and what is right rather than seeing the world from someone's else eyes. It's very tough, I think, for people to see each other as "individuals". To see people who are okay with saying that "I'm happy being me."
I've always been a massive Elvis fan and there's this song of his that has these lines:
"Walk a mile in my shoes
just walk a mile in my shoes
Before you abuse, criticize and accuse
Walk a mile in my shoes "
If people could really get that...and embrace the idea and live by it...we'd have a lot more peace and understanding in this world.
Have a look:

MJ: So you've had everything from dance to pop to rock to metal. :) Almost time for your last couple of songs. So what are we ending the show with? :)
GP: I want to end it with Pink! She's a lady with so much attitude! It comes out through her lyrics. It's almost like she's saying that "Hey I'm a rockstar! I'm not here to be like you. I'm here to be like me so accept that or go deal with it."
MJ: So it's kinda representative again of the kind of person that you are eh?
GP: Very much so! There's a song of her's called "Don't Let Me Get Me" which has these lines:

LA told me, "You'll be a pop star,
All you have to change is everything you are."

It's such a rebellious line! The next lines were:
Tired of being compared to damn Britney Spears
She's so pretty, that just ain't me

When she came on the scene she didn't look like Britney or Christina Aguilera. She didn't fit the "good girl pop star" mould but she stayed as she was and totally rocked it! The song was about being the odd one out and sticking your middle finger to the world and doing it your own way! And not following someone else's formula.
GP: And the other song by Pink from the same album that I also loved was "Get The Party Started". Perfect uptempo, fun, free song to end my list with! :)

MJ: Thank you so very much for being on the show with me Gul. As always it's been such a pleasure talking to you. By the way...this is my 150th show. I'm really glad that you agreed to be on it but tell me what did you think about the concept when I asked you if you could be a guest on my show here.
GP: I first heard you, I think it was a couple of years ago on radio...and you were playing a David Guetta song that night. And it's something that got us chatting on twitter and then we met and spoke in person. So I just liked the fact that you're doing something that's unique and not following the herd or trying to just blend in. I thought it was pretty interesting the way you did your show and this blog is a really unique and interesting idea too. I'm happy to have been a guest on the show :)
MJ: Thanks a lot Gul :) I think you're super cool and I love the fact that you're so very comfortable being different and unique and...well being you! :)
Let me end the show with the David Guetta song that started this all off :)
Here it is:
David Guetta - Love Is Gone

MJ: Before I sign off for today, I want to thank all the awesome guests I've had on the shows so far and more importantly I'd like to thank all of YOU! Yeah! I'm talking to you...reading this post here today.
Thank you for coming on the page, reading it, passing it around, RTing in on Twitter or liking it on Facebook. It's because of you that I'm continuing with this online show. I'll figure out ways to make it more interesting in the shows to come but for let me know what you think about the shows, the music, anything at all on: or in the comments here :)

It is now time for me to say take care and have a nice day! :)
This is your Musicman...Mihir Joshi...signing off!

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