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September 14, 1989 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1989-09-14

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Page 8 - The Michigan Daily -Thursday, September 14, 1989

The Wee Papa Girls
The Beat The Rhyme The
Noise
Jive/RCA
This British rap duo were named
"Her Majesty's chief hip hop export"
by Black Beat Magazine. Send Them
Back!
The Wee Papa Girls' debut al-
bum, The Beat The Rhyme The
Noise, is just that - a few good
beats here, a few stale rhymes there,
and a lot of noise in between.
Acton, England natives, The Wee
Papa Girls are actually the Lawrence
sisters, Sandra (Total S) and Timmy
(Ty Tim). They named themselves
Wee Papa Girls because of the PG-
rated French expletives their father
would mutter around the house. "It
really means, 'Yes, Papa' in French,"
Ty Tim said in an interview with
Black Beat magazine, "but whenever
our father put money down on a bad
horse he'd listen to the race on the
radio and cry out, 'Oui, Papa!' We
always heard that, so we just called
ourselves by it."
The first few lines of the tune
"Faith," produced by Teddy Riley, go
"I remember the time/ I would try to
rhyme/ said to myself I got to find
the words/ 'cause this vocab ain't it./
All these words I know don't fit."
Consider this a self-fulfilling
prophecy for the entire album.
Although their raps are too weak for
human consumption, some of the
music is digestable - thanks to pro-
ducers like Riley and Kevin
Saunderson.
On the title track, "The Beat The
Rhyme The Noise," it is painfully
obvious that their Minnie Mouse
voices coupled with their British ac-
cents clash horribly with the rough
hai d-driving rhythms in the back-
ground. The same can be said for
"Kick It." It's as if the music on
these two tunes had been intended for
other artists and was given to the
Wee Papa Girls by mistake.
The rap/ballad "Soulmate" is one
tired tune - this one puts the "T" in
tired. The Wee Papa Girls should
leave the rap/ballads to L.L. Cool J.
They seem more at home with their
dance hall style reggae tune, "Wee
Rule."
The album's most redeeming fea-
tures are its house-influenced tunes,
"Heat It Up," featuring Two Men and
a Drum Machine and "The Trip,"
which was produced by one of
Detroit's leading house music pro-
ducer/artists, Kevin Saunderson. The
music is so good on these two tunes
that the weak rapping of the Wee
Papa Girls really doesn't matter.
Almost every tune on the album

has a different style and a different
producer. The songs have a better
chance at faring alone, perhaps as a
12" or in groups of 5 or 6 consistent
tunes rather than being crammed onto
a piece of vinyl in some sort of he-
donistic flea market fashion. Total S
of the Wee Papa girls defends the duo
by saying, "We're not scared of mix-
ing a lot of different music." Yet she
later adds that they're "still trying to
find (their) style" - so what else is
new?
If used correctly, their myriad of
musical influcences and bevvy of
producers (who barely have anything
in common) could be beneficial; in-
stead, good tunes have been mixed
with bad and twisted like a musical
pretzel that's too salty to swallow.
-Sheala Durant
The Opossums
marsupial eruptus
Picnic Horn Records
There are a few things that make
it hard for local twang-rockers the
Opossums to avoid the label "bar
band." For starters, they're a band
that plays in bars a lot. But there's
also the matter of their music.
Roots-rock is the easiest type of rock
to sell beer with, and the hardest type
to sell records with, for the same rea-
son: no matter how well or poorly
it's done, it still sounds familiar.
The Opossums do roots-rock both
well and poorly on marsupial erup-
tus. These boys have obviously heard
their share not only of Eddie Cochran
and Buddy Holly, but their country
predecessors and garage-band progeny
- the former showing in singer
Mark Neff's endearing backwoods
yelp and guitarist Marty Fletcher's
omnipresent two-note riffs, the latter
in Randy Sabo's heavy drumming
and the entire-band-as-one-instrument
crunch of "Alphabet Roadway" and
"Farmtown Rita."
It's not revolutionary music. But
it is fun. And when the Opossums
cut loose and have fun with it,
unafraid to be corny, you have fun,
too. "My Thing," a country-rock
tribute to voyeurism, may not be the
most cerebral stuff around, but it also
has an unbelievably catchy, danceable
chorus that Jason and the Scorchers
would trade their spurs for. Starting
from a tense, bar-chord-and-vocal in-
tro, "Rita" in less than two minutes
rips through a tale of young lust like
a kid running after a schoolbus.
But when songwriters Neff and
Fletcher stick too close to tradition,
lyrically and musically, the band
sounds listless. You only need to
hear the first few bars of "14 Reasons
Why" to know how the rest of the

song will sound. You only need to
read the title of "Roll River" to
know the same thing. And although
the ballad "(We Would) Break Down"
is heart-breakingly beautiful, it's also
undercut by its striking resemblance
to the LP's "Hearts Run Wild" and
"Disappearing Waves."
marsupial eruptus is not the al-
bum that will lift the Opossums
above "bar band" status. They may
yet do it, maybe by trying more ex-
periments like the churning, angry
"Alphabet," which even if it does fall
flat in its chorus makes a good start,
or by scanning their lyric sheets and
doing some clichdd editing. Most
likely, though, they'll do it with
more songs like "In And Out," the
album's strongest cut, featuring
melody and images ("I'm stuck in a
world! A world that's one week late")
that far outstrip the rest of the LP for
imagination. If so, they might prove,
like the Hoodoo Gurus and Johnathan
Richman, that you don't need to
reinvent the wheel - you just have
to keep it from going flat.
-Jim Poniewozik

0

A fall turns into dance
Once again, the September Dances are taking place at the Performance Network at 408 W. Washington
Street. Barbara Djules Boothe (above) will perform "Long Time Comin'" and premier "It isn't for the
Money, and Only for a While...", a work for four dancers with music by Leos Janacek. Janelle Folsom
will also perform "Separatism," and Abigale Hornby will perform her solo work "Toys-R-Us(eless)."
Performances are tonight , tomorrow night, and Saturday night at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 and $6 for
students and seniors, available at the door and by reservation.
Reach 40,000 readers after class,
advertise in
Uhe itcbigan nthu
MAGAZINE

George Clinton
The Cinderella Theory
Paisley Park
George Clinton, leader of the
renowned musical band and move-
ment Parliament-Funkadelic, has a
lot to say about contemporary music.
If you were to listen to his newest re-
lease, The Cinderella Theory, on
Paisley Park records (also his first
album in five years, much too long a
wait), you'd be challenged, amazed, *
and entertained.
The first single, "Why Should I
Dog U Out?" is a fresh look at
Clinton's view on urban artists'
commercial endeavors on crossover
appeal (selling out!), which he last
touched on with "R & B Skeletons
in the Closet." George attacks the
subject with a contemporary form,
but still retains some sense of his
previous work. The beat and turnta-
bles dominate the song, creating an
irresistible dance groove, but acting
underneath are funk-squeegee synth
lines and rhythm guitar riffs that de-
liver the goods.
Over his musical evolution,
George himself has mellowed out a
bit. The rude, sweaty grunge that
dominated the earlier records "One
Nation Under a Groove" and "Maggot
Brain" has been toned down to a
sleek, vibrant form that replaces ob-
trusiveness with subtlety. It reminds
one of contemporary R & B, but
funk is, almost by definition, any-
thing out of the ordinary, and the
See RECORDS, page 9

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