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September 07, 1979 - Image 123

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-09-07

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The Michigan Daily-Friday, September 7, 1979-Page 11-A

winning w
(Continued from Page 9)
frstration have taken him. He con-
s ntly swears ft the audience, and
a resses their applause with a vicious,
s castic "You're too kind, too kind."'
Tie band talk among themselves bet-
w n numbers as if they were each
o er's only support. At the end of the
concert Thunders tells the audience
8 t t if they want an encore they have to
k k over all their tables. When they
d n't, he burns the audience with
s ething along the lines of "stupid
f ks." And then, as if the audience
d 't even exist (or perhaps as an
u imate in frustrating the audiences'
e pectations) the Heartbreakers do
r urn, to play the Motown song "Do
u Love Me?"
N FACT, while this album does soar
i spots as a rocker, its real success is
a a document of Thunders' struggle to
k p his anger from making the music
c aotic to the point of incoherence. And
s is often not even good chaos, for
T unders' playing often lacks teeth,
a d the band sounds either simply to be
h4ving an off night or else too tense to
il. So while it is a fascinating
dcument, in many ways it is not a veryM
e citing one.
till, nothing can take the edge off a
stng like "Chinese Rocks," and a re-
wbrking of the Dolls' "Chatterbox" (a
sig Thunders wrote) is also terrific.
A d if he hasn't shaken off the Dolls'
d life ethic, he has reshaped their
s nd, taking some of the Johanson
finkiness out and applying some
ri eting stripped-down rhythm. All of
wich is to say that if this album
n't stamped with the Thunders
sonna, it still would be worth
ring. But not terribly.
it's pretty obvious Thunders isn't a
happy guy nowadays, in a way it's no
less true for David Johanson. The few
tunes that pummel at all like the Dolls'
songs did have been finely produced,
and stand up as much for their clever
pep song aura as for their smoke.
Johanson has cashed in his artillery by
and large, the sound and fury which
was found on his comeback album last
year, and opted instead for the sort of
glitzy flash that got stashed away much
of the time with the Dolls.
BUT JOHANSON has done more than
add pop sensibility to his music. By
penning ballads, reggae tunes, disco
songs, Motownesque thumpers, and by
pegging the songs so often around the
idea that style (i.e., what you wear and
how hip you act) is of the utmost impor-
tance, I can't help feeling Johanson is
saying something about the importance
of, being in step when people have
nothing else to make them feel god,
about ithemselves. The album is.about
facades., "Swaheto Woman" is an
irrestibly luminescent disco song, with
a compulsive Motown bass line and
grand, soaring vocals, about people

ith 'Style'
starving in South Africa! The
towering strings and guitar chords of
"Melody" hit us way before the aching,
vague lyrics do. Again and again the
pure colors and passion of the music
and vocals take us away far sooner than
do the words.
Besides musical facade, the album
focuses on facades in lifestyles - hip
clothes and hip talk. On one level "In
Style" is all about shopping for clothes.
Perhaps the finest rocker on the album,
it is about Johanson going downtown to
shop for clothes, but finding out he
doesn't have enough money to get what
he wants (or something equally forget-
table.) However, it is also about
suspending one's passion, about having
faith that one day, if one travels with
self-confidence and patience, one can
get what one needs. Johanson believes
in doing things with style, but never in
style for its own sake. "You Touched
Me Too" is a wonderful example of this
balance of passion and craft,
simultaneously both a deep-felt con-
fession and a puppy-love ditty.
IT IS WHEN style becomes
everything, Johanson seems to say,
that things fall apart. On "Flamingo
Road," a super ballad which closes the
album, Johanson tells the story of a
woman so poor and insecure she must
fall in love with some rich hipster just
to get by. From there on, it's downhill
for her - she's got "all the clothes in
France," and her "conversation takes
(her) everywhere," but she's still
alone, freezing in the back of some car
with her furs and her leather pants.
The Dolls wanted the world and they
wanted it NOW!, and when they didn't
get it, it hit them like frustration shock
hits any number of individuals. I'm
tempted to quote Neil Young and say,
"some get strong (Johanson), and
some get strange (Thunders)," but that
would be too cruel. And who's to say?
Maybe by banging his head against the
wall long enough Thunders really will
get whatever he wants, except that he
sounds too jaded and bitter nowadays to
even realize it if he did. And maybe
going in style "until there's a better
way,", as Johanson says, is mostly a
road that never quite leads to total hap-
piness. But I don't think it is always so
- especially if. the music counts for

Classif ieds

r"What movie has run th LONGEST (almost a year)
and has had the most CONSECUTIVE sellouts in
' the history of the Movies at Briarwood? Call
1 769-8783 between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm on Mon-
day, September 10, with the correct answer
and win a pair of passes to Briarwood Movies'
First Anniversary Celebration.
(Hint: It's not "Star Wars")
(50 pairs will be given away)
(Limit: 1 pair per person)
A United Artist Exclusive
now showing at:
The Movies at
Prudential Town Center
Corner of Evergreen and 1-696
In Southfield
The strangest things happen
when you wear polka dots
(English Subttles
Based upon the play by JEAN POIRET A im by EDOUARD MOLINARO
Coyiht~tisUie Alss aprtinAl ihs eevd ntdaiit



~... -

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