Five songs to do battle. It was hard to choose. Collectively these are the songs that happened to dominate my playlist for the most part of the year.
Taken individually each of these songs has something glorious that sets it apart from the rest. They offer different and enlightening world views, the metropolitan flavour of Kenya’s landscape, two spectrums of the most powerful sentiments in the world and at another end the dance of life and death.
These songs have also highlighted the unprecedented skill of musicians, some seasoned and others beginning to look that way. Credit must also go to the self-made sound engineers and producers that gave life to the crisp and measured sound that this scene has been craving for so long. Beyond that there has also been the growing influence of female vocalists both from within and beyond.
That and much more has characterized the rich year that we have experienced as far as music is concerned. And without further ado let’s start the countdown!
- Rash – Sons of Robots
Perhaps one of the least satisfying of Rash songs so far. At certain intervals it’s a tough song to listen to and not as expansive as their previous releases. It still contains the signature sweet singing that has made Rash so loved.
Bass playing virtuoso, Sebastian Filardi made his bow with this song. That bass intro eclipsed everything else that was done in this song and it was a good parting gift for Rash fans. The climax is just as good as the beginning, with the song spewing out delightfully satisfying yet introspective guitar solo from Max.
Aside from being one of the only outfits outside movie franchise Mad Max that still makes dystopian world ideology sexy, Rash keep churning out great tunes with a long shelf life.
- Lust of A Dying Breed – Divine Design
This song was gripping for what it stood for. It has the greatest emotional appeal of the bunch. As a dedication to the late rocker Lucard, LOADB vocalist Martin Kanja described it as his own effort at exorcizing the fear of the death, pointing out that the dark mistress was but the twin sister of life, ying and yang, always giving gifts to each other. The intellectual stream could go on and on but if you really want to explore the greater recesses of this song id recommend reading the kybalion.
The delightful treats in this song are endless, Maasai chants at minute two, mesmerising oriental guitar riffs from lead guitarist masquerading as an Advocate of the High Court Issa Abdalla, touches of brutal vocals with pig squeals in tow from Martin and the bespoken production genius of Leon Malu’s “Shinigami Studios”.
The only drawback was the sanitised and perhaps pop feel that seems to have seeped into Lust of a Dying Breed’s music.
- Parking Lot Grass – Turn Around
It’s a song that has an immediate effect on the nerves. A contradiction in the way such an attractive theme as love is set in a creeping gothic atmosphere. With this song Parking Lot Grass crossed borders once more and collaborated with Nigerian rock goddess Clay. She sings as if she was born to it. She may be in fact the reason that this song won so many people over. But also, Parking Lot Grass are amazing! It’s no surprise that this song is one of the many jewels that crowns their new album ‘Tusk at Hand’.
- Culture Horizon – Baba Joshua
Number one and two were really hard to pick and there were times when compiling this list, these two songs momentarily switched places.
‘Baba Joshua’ was the first single from Culture Horizon. This song has something that I wish the band would decide to pursue as part of their core sound. This is a song that brings so many flavours and colours to flourish.
It is a taste of what the old rhumba maestros like Mbilia Bel and Franko Makiadi. Beyond that it felt like these guys, perhaps without even knowing it, crystallised the collective heritage of the Kenyan people, not unlike the codex carrying the DNA of a billion kryptonians aboard baby Kal-El’s ship.
That complex aesthetic balance channels into a simple and catchy rock song that is easy to identify with. And that is why we rank it so high on the scale.
- Rish – Hate Song
If you thought Sebastian Filardi could charm playing bass, then you haven’t heard this song. Take your hats off and bow to the majesty of Amos Kiptoon. And as you walk along the hall of majesties be careful not to lose your head to the swinging sword that is the vocal prowess of Njerish Muchai or as she goes by her stage moniker, Rish.
She pranced and waved her arm like that for a whole year, mesmerizing radio listeners while taking some time to dominate the charts as well. She stayed on top of those charts for as long as I can remember and for that and many more reasons piled up into a review we did <> she takes top spot for us here this year.
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