Page 8 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, October 20, 1989
Continued from page 7
guess it's okay to read about such
matters, as long as you don't have to
look at them. But Ice-T has got to
have the most R 'n' R record that
rap has produced for awhile. Free-
dom of Speech is a vaguely concep-
tual album that revels in its own
juices, courting controversy with re-
bellion, then bathing in the mixture.
The title cut boasts a cameo from
Jello Biafra, and it's arguably the
most radical statement I've heard
from anyone on disc all year.
The opening cut, "Shut Up, Be
Happy," is like a scene from your
least favorite sci-fi movie. Amid
thunder blasts and vulgar guitar riffs,
a barker's voice screams to you via
loudspeaker, explaining that martial
law has been put into effect. Stay in
your homes, he says. Anyone caught
outside after the curfew will be shot.
At one point, he bellows that "the
sole enemy of progress is ques-
uon... Shut up! Be Happy." Then it
The next song, "Iceberg," is
funkier than funky even for sam-
pling standards. Over a scrungy,
whistling groove, Ice boasts (among
other things) that he's the coldest
im.f. alive, and then modifies his
name accordingly. The title "Iceberg"
is not undue. Cluttered with profan-
ity, vulgarity, sexual content, street
manner and humor, "Iceberg" feels
like Superfly but it moves like Gil-
Scott Heron. "Peel Their Caps Back"
is yet another chapter of Ice's gang-
ster past, or rather, that "trendy mili-
tant-violent image" of his. When a
member of his gang gets "capped,"
Ice goes for payback and both sides
are eventually annihilated. The
groove is tough, but it's the moody,
piercing synth lines that make the
song. This one puts all of N.W.A.
to shame, without question.
"This One's For Me" does me
most proud. Forget the music; Ice
takes out his theoretical enemies one
by one here with much venom, and
freedom of speech is in effect. At
one point, he refers to apathetic
buppies as "just a bunch of punk
bourgeois Black suckers." Then he
disses all the two-faced rappers who
refuse to back up fellow rappers
Public Enemy and Professor Griff.
And then for dessert, he whales on
the government, pointing fingers at
the C.I.A. as well as Bush. "They
sell drugs, then say it's us," he
sneers. The basic target turns out to
be hypocrisy, as near the end, Ice
admonishes the listener, "you claim
you're down? Then never sell out."
Ice seems to brandish his X rat-
ing like a badge. He seems more
than happy with creating something
quite dreadful, then standing back to
watch it fester, mold, and make a
stink. But it's a beautiful thing.
"The Girl Tried to Kill Me" is kinky
enough, and "Black and Decker" will
turn some stomachs, but you gotta
wonder why exactly was he forced
into black-marking it? Is it because
Ice-T crosses the line of rap crotch-
grabbing and sidewalk spitting?
Most likely, it's because of his tar-
gets. In the title track, Ice spits ex-
pletives like "P.M.R.C., you stupid
But the best song this time
around is "Hunted Child," where Ice
harnesses all his venom, blood, fury,
sweat, power and verbal prowess to
tell a story that seemingly no one
wants to hear. He plays the role of a
young Black male, wanted for a drug
murder. With vivid imagery he de-
scribes being chased by society into
a criminal world, then being hunted
by the media, hunted by the police,
manipulated by society, even hunted
by his own people. Since his life is
marked, he admits, "Yeah, I killed a
brother/ plan of the man, word to the
mother/ the place I call home is hell,
you understand/ and when I die, I'm
goin to hell again - the hunted
This is by far Ice-T's best work,
as well as one of the better rap
records of the year. Ice and Afrika Is-
lam have followed their gangster
content through its natural evolution
and come up with something we all
can relate to, especially "Lethal
Weapon." It's quite simply a bold,
powerful work, as well as entertain-
ing as hell. Call it R 'n' R because
quite simply, what used to be shock-
ing no longer is. What used to move
no longer does. And if nothing's
shocking, then the listeners should
have nothing to fear. Ice-T dances
that fine line, over a punchy hip-hop
beat. More power to him.
-Forrest Green III
Animal Logic is a band featuring
vocalist Deborah Holland, a former
piano teacher whose voice has a
country edge, jazz-man and master
bassist Stanley Clarke, and former
Police drummer Stewart Copeland,
another musician at the head of his
field. This group's debut album also
features two other jazz greats, L.
Shankar on violin and Freddie Hub-
bard on trumpet. But don't let any of
this fool you - Animal Logic is a
Not only that, but Clarke and
Copeland admit that it's a pop al-
bum. In other words, they planned it
that way. Pop-loathing music fans
can, however, take heart in the fact
that Animal Logic does not sink to
the depths of the Police's post-Syn-
chronicity disaster, "Don't Stand So
Close to Me '86" Rather, this album
seems to signify Copeland's attempt
to enter the mainstream now that St-
ing has proven that it can be done
But, whatever you do, don't ap-
proach this album expectingthe oh-
so-deep lyrical quality afforded to the
albums of Copeland's former band-
mate. Holland wrote all the tracks
and love songs are typical fare -
songs about finding love, songs
about losing love, songs about los-
ing love and hoping to find it again,
and so on.
Holland's lyrical apex occurs on
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Into real movies
BY TONY SILBER
The criminal with a heart of gold. It's a Hollywood clich6 older than
Burt Reynolds' character, Ernie, in his new film Breaking In. Ernie is the
criminal with a heart of gold, an aging thief, a conservative yet stree
smart burglar who decides to take on a younger partner.
Breaking In is a character film from noted character film director BiA
Forsyth (Local Hero). A character film is not a technical term, but it's a
nifty way to describe a film in which characters and their qualitites are th.
primary focus of the film; the story is secondary. Local Hero is a terrifif
example. Forsyth presented characters that we fell in love with because ol
their irresistable qualities.
Breaking In poses some natural difficulties for Forsyth. Can he make us
care about characters above and beyond the details of the plot? He certainly
does. Burt Reynolds' Ernie represents a landmark performance in a rather
lackluster career. The quintessential superstar of '70s cinema, Reynolds'
characters lacked depth and insight for the most part (Deliverance is a4i
exception). His abilities as an actor were shrouded in meaningless and
Ernie, the 61-year-old career criminal, comes to life in Reynolds' subtk
and effective portrayal. We can really believe in this guy. His flaws,
though always apparent in his character, never consume him. His limp
and his gray hair present him as almost grandfatherly to us. He may be 4
criminal, but no one can say he isn't honest. While breaking open a safe
at a supermarket, Ernie scolds his young partner, Michael, for taking ar
apple: "Next time you pay for that." We want him to succeed as a crimir
nal, but more importantly, we don't want him to give up his morals.
Casey Siemaszco's character, Michael, is a sharp contast to the stead
and reliable Ernie. His recklessness and naivete are as appealing as Ernie's
honesty. He and Ernie meet while trying to rob the same house. Actually,
Mike isn't a robber - his profession is breaking into people's houses,
raiding their refrigerators, and watching some TV. He and Ernie meet by
accident in a home, Mike with his plate full of food and Ernie with his
safe cracking tools at which point Ernie tells him, "You and I are in the
same business - monkey business."
Breaking In details the adventures of Ernie and Mike on their various
"jobs." This becomes an "education" for his young apprentice, teaching
him the philosophy of robbery and the responsibilities that go along with
such a profession. "Possessions weigh you down," Ernie tells him, but of
course, Mike is overwhelmed by his newfound wealth. He buys a late '7a'
Lincoln, a posh apartment, and other luxuries. The two part ways, only tt5
reunite for that "last, big heist" which will seal their futures forever.
Forsyth's characters carry this film. Reynolds and Siemaszco are excel-
lent together. The development of their relationship is handled very well
by Forsyth and writer John Sayles. These characters are not only believ-
able, but they are also appealing and humorous to us. The film has many
light, enjoyable moments. Ernie asks Mike if he has any family. The re-
sponse is beautifully delivered by Siemaszco: "Not really. Just a mother, a
father, and a sister."
Breaking In is no Local Hero, but it is an entertaining character film.
Creating interesting characters can often be more difficult than creating in-
teresting stories for a director and a writer, but Forsyth and Sayles deliver
BREAKING IN is now showing at Ann Arbor 1 & 2 Theaters and Show-
P .1 GP, O
So, you forgot about
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Continued from page 7
The group will also perform
The Goldbrick Variations for piano
two hands, and Four Folk Song
Upsettings" for mezzanine soprano
and devious instruments."
This may be the last opportunity
for Ann Arbor audiences to see this
artist and his cohorts in live perfor-
mance. Schickele will stop touring
after the '91 season in order to de-
vote more time to serious composi-
tion. "But this is not the end of
P.D.Q. Bach," Schickele claims.
"We'll still make records and we'll
still do the annual gig in New
York... and don't forget P.D.Q.
Bach's distinct advantage; he's the
only dead composer who can still be
P.D.Q. BACH, joined by the Semi-
Pro Musica Antiqua and guest artiet
Randall Jeffries, will be performig
tonight at the Michigan Theater atQ
p.m. Tickets are $16.
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