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September 06, 1991 - Image 20

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-09-06

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Page 20 -The Michigan Daily- Friday, September 6, 1991

Dream Warriors
And Now The Legacy Begins
4th and B'Way
Many rappers boast of their in-
tellect and science when they recall
the Nation of Islam concept of the
third eye. Refreshingly, with their
maniacal debut album, the Dream
Warriors surpass this overblown
concept simply by refusing to ad-
here to its parameters. As their
name suggests, the Warriors' King
Lou and Capital Q warp our vision
of reality with inspired, surreal mu-
sical samples and a reserved science
rooted deeply in philosophy.
Following the bossanova insan-
ity of the first single, "My
Definition Of a Boombastic Jazz
Style," a puzzling question is
asked, "Yo, where'd everybody go?"
Thereafter comes "Follow Me
Not," an equally dizzying work of
cut-and-paste sampling that is clev-
erly cubist with its quirky jumps in
the groove, yet expressionistic in its
frenetic structuring. The song's ca-
sual question of free will, "Who is
more fool? The fool, or the fool
who follows the fool?," is ex-
pounded upon brilliantly in "U
Never Know a Good Thing Till U
Lose It."
Belying its trite, amusing groove
that is reminiscent of the Good
Times theme, "U Never Know a
Good Thing" blurs ominous
undertones with an ingenious spirit
of musical schizophrenia. Between
verses, the sound of a gun being
cocked is audible with a heavy bass
line, symbolizing a physical imposi-
tion upon an unkind fate. The con-
clusion of destiny is brought about
with a brief scurry of samples be-
fore a gunshot rings out and the
track abruptly ends.
Another wonderfully distorted
vision is the Warriors' prison cell
with a view in the jazz romp "Wash
Your Face In My Sink." The song,
expresses an inmate's desperate
struggle for the positive in his life,
the much-mentioned basin, as op-
posed to his toilet.
But sadly, as their album con-
tinues it becomes obvious that the
Warriors depend much too heavily
on their record collections while
they lack verbal vitality. When the
music is stretched too thin in "U

Could Be Arrested" and "Face In
the Basin," a musical malaise re-
sults that is inescapable. Only the
inclusion of the bizarre "Do Not
Feed the Alligators" and
"Maximum 60 Lost In a Dream"
saves the album from lapsing into
meaninglessness. The ending ques-
tion repeated in "Maximum 60,"
"Yo, where'd everybody go?,"
strangely disturbing in its insular-
ity the second time, pulls the record
full circle and congeals it conceptu-
ally into a whole. Yet, due to its
lyrical deficiencies, And Now the
Legacy Begins just barely lives up
to its title.
-Forrest Green III

Van Halen
For Unlawful
Warner Bros.


Uh-oh. Van Halen's suffering an
identity crisis. Sammy Hagar is
singing songs called "In 'N' Out"
and "Spanked" and it comes off like
Paula Abdul doing Megadeth's
greatest hits. David Lee Roth may
have been a jerk, but at least he was
pretty good at sounding sleazy;
Sammy's better off singing all
those 5150 songs about love.
David Lee Roth may
have been a jerk, but
at least he was pretty
good at sounding
Once upon a time, you see, Van
Halen was doing tunes like
"Running with the Devil" and
"Atomic Punk." David Lee Roth
was perfect at this and Eddie Van
Halen was perfect at the guitarwork
best exemplified by "Eruption." So
they put out a couple more albums
and Eddie was experimenting with
guitars and low-level keyboard
work and Dave was still sounding
sleazy and they got to an album
called Fair Warning , which was
pretty much the epitome of Van-
Halenness. Unfortunately, it also
didn't sound much different from
their debut album. So people said
that Van Halen was running out of
ideas. Goodbye, they said, and began
thinking that maybe it was time for

He won a Grammy, he's gotta be good!
Lou Rawls does it all: jazz, pops, gospel and soul. He does it with class: a
soft, thoughtful edge. He's not alone in Ann Arbor because he's
performing with the famed Ann Arbor Symphony for a benefit pops
concert for the Orchestra. Catch him at Hill Auditorium tommarow at 8
p.m. Tickets range from $17.50 to $25 at TicketMaster (plus evil service

Continued from page 15
yuppie angst bullshit overwhelmed
its few genuinely funny moments.
Jack Palance provided a magnetic
presence for the first half, but when
he died the film went with it, de-
generating into cheesy sentimental-
ity. Most wince-inducing line of the
summer: "Go find your smile."
And then there was Hudson
Hawk. And Mobsters. And Harley
Davidson and the Marlboro Man,
Continued from page 13
Strauss is German, Margaret is
English, and Mike Church and Grace
are both not only American, but
Midwestern to boot) but also with
persuasively different characteriza-
tions. Roman, with a goatee to re-
mind us that the '90s replacement
for the dork-knob ponytail came
from a regal era, blurs the distinc-
tion between evil and genius, leav-
ing us ever in doubt as to his guilt.
Margaret is properly demure as her
high-class British status might sug-
gest, but savvy in a way that few
heroines from the actual '40s
movies were. Her mischievous wit
exempts her character from the un-
questioned sympathy initially
prompted by her sheering murder-
Mike Church is particularly en-
dearing. Church's kindness is tem-
pered by crude brashness and hasty
petulance to render him suitably
suspect for the multiple false end-
ings. Grace does not speak initially,
but her fear and confusion come
through her eyes and reemerge in her
dialogue once she finds her voice.
Like Jeremy Irons in Dead Ringers,
both Branagh and Thomp-son por-
tray their two characters so that
even without the '40s garb, setting,
and black and white film, the pairs
are distinguishable.
The plot comes into its own for a
breathtakingly climactic ending.
Where Angel Heart succeeded in
resolving its complicated mystery
and Jacob's Ladder failed, Dead
Again is superb. Various solutions
to the identities of the characters in
their past lives are believed at
different times, and the plot,
throughout the movie and in
hindsight, is impeccable in sup-
portinghallsthe potential resolu-
tions. No inherent retrospective be-
lievability flaws here, because all
the scenarios fit in like a numbers
puzzle where everything adds up
across, down and diagonally. For the
ending alone, despite the irritating

Return to the Blue Lagoon, What
About Bob?, A Rage in Harlem,
Switch, Dutch, Bingo, Delirious, Ju
Dou, Only the Lonely, Soapdish,
Another You, Dying Young, Pure
Luck, Problem Child 2, Doc
Hollywood, Body Parts,
Defenseless, Ay Carmela, Life r
Stinks, Mystery Date, Talkin' Dirty
After Dark, FIX 2, Don't Tell Mom
the Babysitter's Dead, and more.
Remember? Of course not. Maybe I
should have worked on my tan after,
overkill of the preceding sequences,
Dead Again recovers its investment.
While Thompson and Branagh
shine, however, the secondary char-
acters are mixed. Robin Williams
turns in a disappointingly overdone
performance. He's altogether tod
nervy as a superfluous psychiatrist
who is working in a beef freezer
after being indicted for having sex
with his patients. Williams' coked-
out facial-tic style works in stand-
up, but needs to be squelched when
he acts; he never lets us forget who
he is in real life, and Dead Again is
not a Mork movie.
His character serves as a con-.
sultant, bridging the gap between.
reincarnation and psychology, be-
tween a past that must be overcome
and psychotic delusion. This means
that he preaches - constantly and
sphinxlike - the assurance that
reincarnation does indeed occur,
something that the viewer must
believe from point-go if the plot is
to work at all.
Derek Jacobi, as the hypnotist
who uncovers past lives and asks his
hypnotees to locate valuable an-
tiques as they journey back through
time, is excellent. His mesmerizing
voice draws the audience into its
trance, facilitating the transitions
between present and past, color and
black and white, Strausses and am-
nesia. That the flashback transitions
are so deft is a credit to Branagh,
who takes an oft-used and abused
convention and makes it shine.
Although comparisons with'
Welles, Lawrence Olivier and other
white-boy genii are ubiquitous, they
are apt. Dead Again is a shocking,
scary thriller that doesn't conde-
scend psychologically or intellectu-
ally, nor does it trade in fun for art-'9
for-art's-sake. If Branagh didn't feel
the need to over-embellish Dead
Again to wake us up, yet again, to
his talent, he'd have a much more.
subtle, much more sophisticated
DEAD AGAIN is being shown at
Briarwood and Showcase.

disco to make a comeback.
Ah, but then came Diver Down,
where Eddie really started working
with the keyboards and 1984, which
gave them their first big hit,
"Jump." It was still okay, though,
because Dave was still sounding
sleazy. So they hadn't soldaout, and
the world was safe from a Dance
Fever revival for a while longer.
But then Dave left and Sammy
came and we got a softer sound. No
more "Running With the Devil,"
now it was running with the good
old boys in some Top 40 popground,
but even that wasn't so bad. They
still had some good tunes and lots
of hot women running around in
their videos. It was just evolution.
The problem is that someone
must have got bored with that and
decided they had to "return to their

roots" or something, because now
we have Sammy Hagar sounding
completely unconvincing in his new
role as Fair Warning-era tough guy.
"Call 1-900-SPANK" quoth
Sammy, and I wonder if he came up
with that all on his own or if he
needed help with it.
On the bright side, we've still
got Alex Van Halen on drums and
Michael Anthony on bass. And
Eddie is still Eddie even though he
seems to think making chainsaw-
noises with his guitar is the same as
doing those classic old solos. "316"
and the intro to "Pleasure Dome"
show that he still knows what he's
best at: him and his guitar. And
when you get right down to it, Van
Halen is a lot like Elvis: if you ap-
preciate the artist, a mediocre pro-
duction is a lot better than anyone
else's best. And who knows, maybe
with the next one we'll get what
we're used to: great guitars and
sleazy vocals, and no more of these
lame album-title jokes.
-Antonio Roque

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