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February 05, 1992 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1992-02-05

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ARTS
,The Michigan Daily Wednesday, February 5, 1992 Page 5
Recordsusings of a

A bunch of pretty boys trying, to steal Crowded House's good ideas? Nah. The Odds' naive approach to their tunes is actually quite endearing. And
you can't resist their ultraviolent lyrics.

Odds-
Neopolitan
Zoo Entertainment
Odds has often been compared to
the Australian band, Crowded
House. After just one listen to this
album, the comparisons are quite
apparent. Harmonized vocals, a
fairly "poppy" feel to most of their
compositions, and the ability to
write ordinary love songs with
somewhat intelligent lyrics are the
most obvious similarities.
On the surface, one might be
tempted to call this band nothing
more than a group of pretty boys
trying to capitalize on someone
else's ideas. Or are they? You're
about to write them off until you
come upon tracks such as "Are You
Listening?" A soft acoustic guitar
and the mellow tempo, stand in
sharp contrast to the lyrics -
!,Then he took his crash helmet /
And smashed in her friend's cheek-
bone / Yes you can stop I think she
heard you / I think she's got your
message."
OK, sure this is a cheesy song
about domestic violence, and yes, the
song "Faunily Tree" is a pop tune
about saving the environment (yet
another one?!), but what strikes the
listener is that the Odds doesn't re-
ally care if you take it seriously or
not. That's a naive approach that ac-
tually works on this album.
"Wendy Under the Stars," a
song about a young man losing his
virginity the night Elvis died, en-
compasses this innocence perfectly.
"I found out then what passion
could mean / I thought I loved her
but I didn't know how / I don't love
her when I see her now." It's almost
as if these boys are growing up in
front of you on tape. Songs like

dance i
by Alexandra Beller
You won't see them walking in the
Diag at noon or grabbing a cup of
coffee at Espresso Royale after
class. You won't notice them taking
catnaps in the afternoon or going
out to dinner with friends in the
evening.
You may glimpse them early in
the morning scurrying to an eight or
nine o'clock class, but after that,
forget it. Because between the hours
of 10 or 11 a.m. and eight or nine
p.m., you won't find a Dance major
anywhere.
Where are they all day? What do
they do? They are in the Dance
Building for four, five, twelve
hours a day, perfecting their art and
training their bodies. The harder
questions come later. Why? To what
end? Is it worth it?
The answers are many and varied,
but a deep strand of loyalty toward
a dancer's lifestyle runs through all
these students, as well as a propor-
tionate dose of humor about their
situation at the University.
Start with an 8 a.m. Kinesiology
class to study the physics and
anatomy of human movement. Move
on to a nine a.m. History of Art
class to learn about the heritage of
the visual arts and immerse the
mind in inspirational images that
will someday culminate in more
seasoned, learned choreography. Hop
over to the Dance Building for a
Music History class and after that,
it's time to get to work.
First, an hour and a half of Bal-
let, scrutinizing the tiniest details
of your body in the mirror, strug-
gling for what seems to be the most
intangible achievement of the day:
your technique.
After a fifteen minute break, it's
upstairs to Modern dance class
where you try to make yourself flu-
ent in a language that will help you
to express your observations, emo-
tions, thoughts and experiences
with an audience. This is an hour and
a half of experiencing gravity and
the physics of real life.
Another fifteen minutes and it's
downstairs to Dance Composition
where you attempt to use this lan-
guage of dance to speak. You try to
step on the foothold of centuries of
dance history without sinking into
its cliches.
What makes this life worth the
strain and effort? Lisa Darby, a

najor
sophomore Dance major, says, "It's
the dancing itself, but especially the
performing. When you're out there
in the spotlight, it's the most ama-
zing experience. You see all of your
sweat and work in the classroom
come into your ideas that you
hopefully come up with fresh, inno-
vative movement.
By now, it's four p.m. and, if
you're lucky, you have a half hour
before rehearsals start up. Grab a
sandwich and get back to work.
Maybe you're rehearsing for one.of
the six student concerts put on ev-
ery year, or perhaps it's for the Uni-
versity Dancers Concert produced
every February. It could be a piece
for a faculty concert or even your
own choreography, but you will, for
sure, have two to six hours of danc-
ing ahead.
When that's over, go home (it's
nine or ten by now), do your home-
work, take a hot shower, maybe do a
short private workout (like sit-ups
and foot exercises), and get to bed
by twelve or one. Up again at seven...
"The beauty of dance is, like
most arts, ephemeral and transient.
It flits about you your whole career.
But when you're on that stage, it's
all there. Suddenly, you have a voice,
and a microphone, and an audience
and you can touch people in the most
instinctive and visceral of all ways:
through movement," says Anna
Azrilli, an NYU Dance major.
But why come to a University to
become a dancer? Why not just go
out there and "make it?" The an-
swer is trifold: to strengthen your
dancing in a way that is impossible
in a professional setting, to gain the
invaluable experience of non-pro-
fessional performance, and to have
exposure to a wider circle people
and ideas.
Judy Rice, University Ballet in-
structor explains the benefits of a
college Dance Department. "There
is so much collaboration and coop-
eration between faculty members,
especially here, that the students get
a very individualized and personal
training. There is a consistency to
the work that you don't often find
in a professional setting." This
comes as a result of taking class
with the same group of people under
the same professor day after day,
month after month - a situation
that rarely occurs in the frenzied
and oscillating scene of New York
and other "dance cities".
Another opportunity that is
next to impossible to find in the
"real dance world," and a major
motivation for many dancers to
come to a University is non-profes-
See DANCERS, Page 8

these even put you in the mood to
excuse a song as awful as "Love is
the Subject."
This is by no means the best al-
bum you're likely to hear this year.
But for sheer fun while it's playing,
Neopolitan is cool and satisfying.
-Nima Hodaei
Jules Shear
Unplug This
The Great Puzzle
Polydor
If I were an A&R man for Poly-
dor, I would pair up Jules Shear
with a charismatic female vocalist,
possibly Suzanna Hoffs, to sing his
songs exclusively.
This pairing would accomplish
two things. It would combine
Shear's respectability as a writer
with Hoffs' appeal as a sex symbol
and pop singer. A critical and popu-
lar success played constantly on
MTV - imagine that. It would
also keep Shear away from the mi-
crophone. His own voice has doomed
his records to obscurity. Now they
function merely as showcases for
his songs to be covered by other
artists.
Unplug This is an interesting
greatest hits collection. It consists
of eight of Shear's own favorites
played acoustically. A few of the
tunes, "All Through the Night,"
"If We Never Meet Again," and "If
She Knew What She Wants" in-
cluded here have been made very
popular by others, which proves the
market potential his material.
If you can brave his singing, the
lyrics of these songs tell great sto-
ries, making them equally welcome -
in the repertoires of a coffeehouse
performer and Cyndi Lauper.

Shear's real reason for returning
to the studio was to record his lat-
est release, The Great Puzzle. Pre-
dictably, his vocals are a struggle to
hear, but for the most part, the the
record is a collection of excellent
pop tunes. "The Trap Door," "The
Sad Sound of the Wind," and
"Dreams Dissolve in Tears" could
very easily become substantial hits
When they are covered (trust me,
they will be).
Unfortunately for Shear, that
will be the only way the great
masses will hear his songs, because
his voice is simply intolerable.
Polydor: give him a singer and make
him a superstar.

- Andrew J Cagan

Black Sheep
A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing
PolyGram
Just in case you haven't heard,
them, let me tell you about the'
newest villains in rap. The Native
Tongues' Black Sheep are the biggest
cocks in show business. As a friend
of mine would say, "They've got
their dicks tied around their an-
kles." And their debut album is a
regression into the rap era of fight-
ing wars with your phallus and
winning every time.
Their over-hyped sexism is more
clever manipulation of image and
promotion of womanizing than any-
thing else. Black Sheep Dres and
Mista Lawnge certainly aren't male
supremacists. Even in their meanest
barb "L.A.S.M." (meaning Ladies
Against Sexist Muthafuckas), the
defensive talk show host gets her
own words in against the fellas.
Pure product in its strategic usage
of controversial matter, the album
is more hype than actual content.
What the Sheep do have on their
side is wit, exquisite grooves and
Dres' rapping. IHlowever one-dimen-
sional lie may be, the flow is always
sharp and the lyrics picturesque.
Their occasional musical sloppiness
seems due to overconfidence more
than anything else.
From a spuse hip-hop beat with
jazz organ samples in "The Choice
Is Yours" (also bolstered with sat-
isfying upright bass, Quest-style, on
the remix), to a syncopated rhyth-
mic beat in the fab single "Flavor
Of the Month," the jams qualify to
See RECORDS, Page 8

Shear

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