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March 21, 1988 - Image 27

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1988-03-21

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0 MARCH 1988 Life and Art



Sting's slick new
LP has no soul
In rock
music's ever- N(TIHIING
expanding hal- YcK E TH SU
lowed hall, the
niche bearing
the name "Sting" lies somewhere be-
tween "Bowie" and "Costello," some-
where between idolatry and intellect.
His obsession with being taken
seriously finally culminates on Nothing
Like the Sun, his new and anxiously
awaited double album. The record's 12
songs are marked by a rich interweav-
ing of musical textures, literate and in-
sightful lyrics and, alas, a saddening
lack of passion.

:..: ,
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r .

Nowhere is this more evident than on
"They Dance Alone." The song is a poig-
nant look at Chilean political injustice.
But rather than making one think, it
puts one to sleep.
Sting does attempt to liven things up
a bit in "We'll Be Together," the album's
funky first single. But even this anoma-
lous burst of energy can't escape the
soulless vacuum; it's a little too slick,
too inhuman for genuine funk.
On Nothing Like the Sun, Sting hides
behind the music, presumably because
he's adopted the mistaken philosophy
that serious-art-can't-be-lively. Sting
wants to prove to the world that he's a
smart guy. But if he's really smart, he'll
try to muster a little more passion in his
next attempt.xsJeff Turrentine, The Daily
Texano, U. of Texas, Austin

*Natural disaster for
Earth, Wind & Fire
By T.W. Siebert
The Diamondback
U. of Maryland, College Park
The once reliable and intelligent
funk/pop band Earth, Wind & Fire's
e new release Touch The World is a great
disappointment. Overproduced to the
point of desperation, it is awash with too
many synthesizers and drum machines,
which replace the much-missed EW & F
horns-a key ingredient in most of this
band's best material.
Seventeen songwriters and six pro-
ducers dull the band's character and
even Phillip Bailey and Maurice
White's superior vocals can't save it.
Side one is mostly innocuous pop
music, easily dismissed. The band
seriously miscalculates by closing with
the rehashed "New Horizons," which
only bids unfavorable comparison to the
lightweight fare.
Side two is more of the same. The
standout cut is the harmonious, hymn-
like title track, which rises above the
bombastic production with good lyrics
and strong vocals.
Though not without melodic appeal,
Touch the World can't touch the group's
earlier work. Earth, Wind & Fire has
lost its roots, become too full of hot air
and burned out.
Balancing Act
tips musical scale
Balancing Act is teasing you. Its bar-
bershop-quartet rock on the newest LP,
Three Squares and a Roof, sounds oddly
familiar but damn if you can place its
origin. Just when you think you've fi-
gured them out, Balancing Act will send
you reeling back into confusion.
With punchy instrumentals such as
"Governor of Pedro," it's almost difficult
not to start scuffing those heels across
the floor. "Searching for This Thing" is
another extremely catchy tune about
the quest for the Holy Grail. The hooks
will whirl you up in the air and refuse to
put you back down again, all the while
laughing at your captivity.
"Obviously we have influences,"
guitarist and vocalist Steve Wagner
said. "But we don't try to emulate any-
body. Each member brings an idea for a
P song and we all work on it." And it
seems to have paid off. The Village Voice
listed the group's EP, New Campfire
Songs, among the Top Ten EPs of 1986.
Wagner claims Balancing Act infuses
politics into its songs; "Politics start on
a personal level," Wagner said. "We deal
with that in our songs - on a very con-
crete level." Nicole Gustin, The Red and
Black, U. of Georgia

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As- real as it gets.

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