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March 03, 1986 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-03-03

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ARTS

The Michigan Doily

Monday,

March 3, 1986

Page 5

1Records

Bangles Different Light
(Columbia)
The Bangles have finally come out
with a new record. Yep, the girl group
that's so good you don't even have to
call them a girl group have finally
followed up on their notoriously fab
1984 release All Over the Place,
however, Different Light is somewhat
distressingly removed from its
predecessor's state of fab-ness,
missing a lot of the earlier Bangles'
compelling vocals and intelligent
songwriting.
The record begins with "Manic
Monday," a bit pristine pop fluff pen-
ned by one Christopher, an
anonymous Bangle-phile described
(terribly ambiguously) in the press
kit as "one of the 80's most popular
recording artists." If you haven't
heard or didn't guess (or really don't
care), Christopher is really Prince in
thin disguise - and "Manic Monday"
is a weakish Prince melody with
'decidedly weak Prince-ish lyrics. The
whole composition is vaguely at odds
with the Bangles vocally - undeman-
ding to both singers and listeners -
and comes across largely unaffecting

and forgettable. Of course, as the
single, it'll probably sell millions
merely by merit of its having issued
from the Purple One's pen...
The title track is similarly weak; it
is disappointing when considered in
the context of its author, guitarist
Vicki Peterson, who's exhibited
unusual writing skill in the past. It
has its moments, but a lot has been
sacrificed in the apparent toning-
down of the vocals.
Next is "Walking Down Your
Street," a bit of flower-power Motown
written by Susanna Hoffs and her
boyfriend, former Three O'Clock
guitarist Louis Gutierrez. It's
definitely one of the better tracks, has
a great hook, but occasionally slips in-
to melodic cliches which undermine it
a bit.
"Walk Like an Egyptian" descends
rather disturbingly into cuteness,
something the Bangles have suc-
cessfully avoided in the past. So does
"Standing in the Hallway," which out
-Princes-Prince as far as this record
goes and sports decidedly dumb
lyrics. However, all is redeemed by
Vicki Peterson's "Return Post,"
easily the finest track on the LP. It

recalls the sensitivity, intelligence,
and vocal prowess of the Bangles'
best. Words can't describe how much
power the B's can cram into the
chorus, but it's the kind of sound that
frequently earns them well-deserved
comparisons to the Beatles and the
Mamas and the Papas.
Jules Shear's "If She Knew What
She Wants" continues the trend
towards fab-ness on side two. Nice
Byrds-y tinge and a lovely call-and-
response chorus make one wish this
collaboration would continue. As far
as a follow-up goes, the bottom drops
out on the four part vocal "Let It Go"
- it's predictable-sounding when
compared to similar tracks like
"More Than Meets the Eye" on All
Over the Place.
Just like everbody who's anybody in
hep pop circles these days, the
Bangles have covered an Alex Chilton
tune. And just like most everbody
else, it's "September Gurls." While
Michael Steele gives an admirable
reading, most of the sparkling quality
of the guitar in the Chilton original
has been drained out, leaving the
whole thing somewhat flat-sounding.
Similarly, momentum is lost in

"Angels Don't Fall in Love" and "Not
Like you," although the latter is con-
siderably improved by Debbi Peter-
son's vocals on the chorus. Michael
Steele again puts in an excellent per-
formance on "Following," reading
with the feeling and subtlety not found
on the rest of the side. It's really sur-
prising she's not sung lead on records
previous to this. Hope she continues
to.
While ultimately not as satisfying a
record as All Over the Place or their
1981 debut LP, Different Light still
isn't exactly a bad record, especially
when considering the inclusions of
"Return Post" and "If She Knew...".
On the whole, Different Light seems a
bit tamer, a whole lot more predic-
table, and a little more mass-market
conscious. It's still lots and lots better
than the large bulk of pop swill one
hears these days, but doesn't even
come near to topping the Bangles of
two years ago. It's a bit of a downer to
play the three records in
chronological order and note a
gradual decline in their quality. I'd
just hope the next doesn't continue the
trend.
Julie Jurrjens

The Bangles, decline of the girl group?

A

2

Civic Theatre

By Dave Turner
A S I LEFT the Mendelssohn Theatre last Wednesday night into yet
another snowy 'Spring' Break night, I had to give credit to the Ann
Arbor Civic Theatre for providing more than their share of the chill which
I felt going through me. I had just seen their intense production of James
Baldwin's Blues for Mister Charlie, a classic out of the sixties flowering'
of Black Theatre. The chill I felt was due more to the cold, hard realities
which the play brings forth than to the weather.
Mister Charlie is set in Plaguetown, USA, where the events surroun-
ding a black man's murder, for little apparent reason, and the subsequent
trial and acquittal of the accused white man, are played out. The story
reminds one of our not-so-recent past, and displays the conflict which
prejudice brings to any community.
Director Lundeanna Thomas, a Phd. student in Theatre at U-M, left the
basic structure of the play intact, adding only a few mixed media to help
put the story, now almost thirty years old, in the proper context. An
TAMARACK CAMPS

pays tributeI
native use of slides as a preview to the play presented us with
s of Ku-Klux-Klan rallies, protests, and a jailed Dr. Martin Luther
These slides, along with the continuous use of well-chosen
round music ranging from Gospel to Motown, helped settle the
nce into just the right historical time frame for the production, and
et the explosive mood felt in this country at that time.
ay the roles in Mister Charlie seem somewhat dated and contrived
Uncle Tom and Redneck stereotypes; but their wants, desires,
ices and feelings are those which are relevant at any time. The
hate which prejudice produces in men was well portrayed by Steve
as the Reverend Meridian Henry who is torn by this hate and his
tian beliefs. His son, Richard was portrayed admirably by a virtual
to the stage, U of M football player Gene Lawson. Although
rd's coolness was brought out more than his implied intelligence,
>n deserves credit for the emotion and heart which he brought to the
Parnell Jones, Plaguetown's only educated, pro-civil rights white

to Black His to ry
man was played by Terrance Auch with a calm, experienced hand.
The set, which was functional but somewhat flat was brought to life by
an imaginative lighting plot which successfully described the changing
time, mood, and location. The background during the violent flashbacks
seemed to engulf the stage in a seering heat that served the action
dramatically.
Overall, the AACT is to be congratulated for this production which
reminded us during this Black History month of how far we have come in
the area of civil rights, and also reminds us to remain aware of the plight
of the oppressed.

..

TUESDAY LUNCH FORUM 12 NOON
- Continuing A Series of Eyewitness Reports -
Tuesday, 12 Noon
March 4 - "ANALYSIS OF THE PHILLIPINES' ELECTION"
Speaker: Michael Cullinane, Center for South and Southeast Asian Studies
who was there for the pre-election campaigns
AT THE INTERNATIONAL CENTER-603 E. Madison St.
LUNCH AVAILABLE: Students-$1.00 Others-$1.50
Co-Sponsored by The Ecumenical Campus Center, The International Center.
lunch prepared and served by Church Women United in Ann Arbor
For additional information please call 662-5529

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