The Michigan Daily
Tuesday, December 8, 1987
Introducing the Hardline
According to Terence Trent
The hardline according to Terence
Trent D'Arby goes something like
Young, talented, and fresh from
the UK - where American soul
music is valued far more than it is at
home - D'Arby has something hot
to sell. But unlike most other in-
vestments these days, D'Arby's is
worth buying. He has the most
striking stage presence to emerge in
recent years and a voice to match, if
not excel. If the songs from this re-
freshing new LP stick to the charts
faster than news spread of Madonna's
divorce, it's due to far more than
some heavy marketing ploy.
On the surface, Terence Trent
D'Arby resembles something of a
Michael Jackson disciple. With his
slim, dramatic figure and his
"whoops" and "oooohs," he draws a
fair comparison. But D'Arby can do
Jackson better than Jackson can, and
without the overproduced, affected
image of the Plastic Man. More im-
portantly, D'Arby easily blows away
any such comparisons as soon as he
opens his mouth for an extended pe-
Introducing is an impressive
showcase with ten of its 11 songs
written by the artist himself.
D'Arby's touch is derivative, and
you can hear traces of just about
anyone (Prince, James Brown) in his
songs - but it's an honorable
derivation, more out of a genuine
love for the music than anything
else. He can do straight soul, gasp-
ing, powerful howls ("If You Let
Me Stay"), and funk, as o n
"Wishing Well," which he calls a
"tone poem." He can score a pop
number in the Stevie Wonder tradi-
tion ("I'll Never Turn My Back on
You (Father's Words)"), along with
At times D'Arby can get a little
too formulaic, as on "Let's Go For-
you can name, it's sooo good to hear
the real thing. Terence Trent D'Arby
is a real soul singer. Despite his
potential commercial trappings,
there's a talented vocalist and musi-
cian that's going to be heard and
seen for what he is.
Whatever the reason, it's often
disappointing. With a little help
from his friends Eric Clapton on the
guitar, Elton John on the piano, and
Ringo Starr on the drums, it's hard
Dark Horse Records
O.K., I'll admit it. My initial in-
terest in this album probably wasn't
much different than the thousands of
former Beatles fans. With a name
and a voce as big as George Harri-
son's, ho; -an you lose?
But their I got skeptical. Cloud
Nine's energetic hit single "Got My
Mind Set On You" was getting so
much play that I was almost afraid
to listen to the rest of the album.
But I wasn't utterly disappointed.
Although tracks like "Got My Mind
Set On You" and "Cloud Nine" are
so snazzy and synchronized that they
seem to cover up Harrison's distinc-
tive voice, others like "Fish on the
Sand" and "Breath Away from
Heaven" are true reflections o f
Harrison's ability as a musician,
singer, and producer.
The problem with Cloud Nine is
that it lacks an emerging Harrison
character. Harrison leaves the listener
searching for some sort of style,
rhythm, or anything that would
compel us to get really excited about
him. The same seems. to be true of
his previous two albums - All
Things Must Pass and Gene Tropo.
Maybe he is still searching for for
what is characteristic Harrison.
duce some hits that will stay with us
for a long time.
Awaken at Twilight
There is often a fine line between
sounding like just another main-
stream rock 'n' roll band and playing
quality, original stuff. But if you can
walk that fine line, balancing famil-
iar pop with your own creativity, the
result is often versatile, quality mu-
That's what the Detroit-based
group It's Raining successfully pull
off on their new album, Awaken At
Twilight. The band does not give in
to the lazy urges of MTV-dom, but
they also don't have a "we don't care
if anyone listens to us" attitude, ei-
The opening cut, "Days That
Don't Begin," is one of the LP's
finest. Matthew Smith's vocals are
believably emotion-filled and are at
the core of this song's energy with
the constant, but far from raw, guitar
and bass lines providing the back-
drop. The incorporation of a saxo-
phone in the later part of the song
shows the band's pop leanings.
"Winter" and "Repeat" have dis-
tinguishable U2 influences - the
echoing guitar of both songs is defi-
nitely played under the influence of
the Edge. However, by no means is
either cut a rip-off of the four
Moralistic Messiahs from Ireland.
There's no preaching or politics here.
They just borrow a couple of U2-
It's Raining's lyrics explore the.
ins and outs of relationships. Smith
slows down effectively with the pi-
ano-ballad "Again" that reflects
moody shades of Peter Hamill, but
the band is less successful with
"Upstairs," which drags and drags
without getting anywhere:
"Christine Is Not Herself Today"
is unquestionably quality pop. It
strays from the overlying serious
tone of the album providing a little
Bazooka fun. But the crashing piano
chords of "In Empty Harbors" returns
us back to the graver side, again with
Smith's vocals providing the energy.
The pleasant thing is that he does so
by singing not shouting.
Awaken At Twilight is a bold
release by a local band looking.for
exposure, and hopefully its appeal
will not cause it to be overlooked.
Its pop feel would definitely be
pleasing to a wide audience, but you
have to wonder if music fans with
mainstream leanings will find it.
And those who hunt for independent
releases might look past it for
something harsher. If either case oc-
curs, it will be unfortunate. Awaken
At Twilight deserves attention.
ward," but this flirtation with a Big
Sound is redeemed by the gorgeously
sparse, a cappella ballad "As Yet
Untitled," a father-son freedom song
lamenting South Africa's repressive
policies. When this quiet moment
ends, D'Arby lunges into Smokey
Robinson's "Who's Lovin' You."
In a music industry saturated with
super, super smooth gutless soul
from George Michael, Boy George,
and any other boy or George wonder
to believe that Cloud Nine fails to
be one that will be remembered for
more than a few months.
But there's hope. Harrison really
does shine in a few of his slower
songs. As he tells us in "This is
Love," "the sum will melt the chill
from our lives." He's trying to send
us an interesting and sentimental
message about the mingling of past
and present times. These slower
songs are generally more reflective
and serve as a better indicator of his
ability of an artist.
George Harrison trails far behind
Paul McCartney and the late John
Lennon in solo attempts. Hopefully,
Cloud Nine is a signal that George
Harrison is ready to do more in the
future and will be prepared to pro-
For The Holidays
AND WIDE SELECTION
SWEATS, PANTS, SHIRTS,
SKIRTS, JACKETS, ACCESSORIES
Sam's Bar: An
By Donald Barthelme
Illustrated by Seymour
Hey, what're you doing tonight?
Want to go to the bar? You'll like
this one - it's even famous. It was
immortalized in this kind of quirky,
short novella/long comic strip by
these two guys. Donald Barthelme,
you know, the famous writer. And
Seymour Chwast, the famous
illustrator. He sketched pictures of
the regular clientele. C'mon, let's
check it out.
Isn't this a great place? What'll
you- have? Look there's Max -
he's a roofing contractor. You've
got to meet him - he's a riot. I'll
bet he's still upset about Redford
and Newman. You see, he's always
modeled himself on them and now
he thinks they've wimped out.
"Newman has this careless in-
souciance, so I walked around with
careless insouciance. But Redford
has this tightly controlled energy,
like a coiled spring. So sometimes
I was like a coiled spring.
"Then Newman comes out with
his tomato sauce it's great tomato
sauce I use it all the time all the
profits go to charity. And Redford
is doing Sundance, that place where
he helps aspiring filmmakers. So
that throws you a curve, in terms of
the image. You go to have role
models but they should be
consistent. I been thinking. about
Frank Lloyd Wright. He's dead so
the image is stable." Sounds good,
I know, I know, he's strange but
what can you expect from a grown
man wearing a Mickey Mouse
Oh, and over there, that's Calvin
and Trish. No, Trish is the one in
the hat, and Calvin is the one with
spiked hair. You should hear what
he does for a job.
"I'm a song stylist but there's
not much work for song stylists
I've done MTV I was a disturbing
element in a Clash video they let
me keep the clothes."
Maybe you don't like fashion.
Are you interested in art? Randi is
always talking about it. What,
"I'm a second-generation artist.
My Daddy was a chain-saw artist,
made sculptures with his chainsaw.
You don't see that so much in the
"I do Hair Art. Like what I'm
wearing. It's hard to make an im-
pact in this town I had a show at
the Clock Tower which was re-
viewed in Bomb but the Bomb guy
was coming from a Baudrillardian
position and he said I was a simu-
lacrum of a fetish."
Whatever you say, Randi.
Sometimes people can get a little
far out here, but they're always
friendly. That's because the bar is
just like the owner, Sam. Another
one of the regulars here says, "The
thing you got to remember about
Sam, the key thing, is companion-
ability." That's what makes the bar
so comfortable. He really wants it
to be a great gathering place.
Are you ready to leave? So, did
you like it? I agree, the atmosphere
is a little much - I don't think
that I'd decorate everything in pur-
ple, black, and white. And you're
right, $16.95 is high for a cover
charge, but it was kind of fun,
tS and xERSppppRf
EXPERIENCE THE UNITED COLORS OF : . "
Franklin Park Mall
Drop by the
Academic Resource Center