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November 29, 1993 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-11-29

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The Michigan Daily - Monday, November 29, 1993 -7

Eric Darken
A Drummer Boy's Christmas
Some things are not to be messed
around with. Human germ-line cells.
Classic cola formulas. And most of
all, traditional Christmas songs.
nsurprisingly, "A Drummer Boy's
qthristmas" takes it upon itself to
mess with this last untouchable. The
album's self-described fusion of "pop,
jazz, Latin andclassical music" causes
it to fail entirely in its attempt to make
a properly modern translation of tra-
ditional Christmas songs. This may
be seen as an inherent problem in the
translation attempt rather than a flaw
in Darken's abilities.
0 Oddly enough, Darken is a drum-
mer. The fact that percussion is the
impetus of the album may have made
this realization all the more difficult,
considering that Yuletide songs often
lack drums as an important element.
Darken's skills are utilized effectively
on several tracks, especially the xylo-
phone on "Carol of the Bells" and the
steel drum on "Sleigh Ride." Unfor-
unately, the rest of the music is not as
appropriate. Guitars and saxophones
make unwelcome appearances on
songs which were meant to be sung
by a choir and accompanied by a deep
In attempting to use so many di-
verse styles, Darken has forgotten
what Christmas feels like. Too often
the album tries too hard to be urban
contemporary and loses any type of
Onood that the traditional versions of
its songs instill in people. If you want
something nontraditional and good,
find "A Very Special Christmas" in-
- Ted Watts
Cure For Pain
Rock and roll without guitars?
Blasphemy! Yet, on its second al-
bum, "Cure For Pain," Morphine
proves again that it can be done and to
great effect. The trio's unique sound
is built from the ground up on the
drums of Jerome Deupree (formerly
ofEither Orchestra), the smooth saxo-
phone of Dana Colley and the vocals
and unique two-string bass of Mark
gandman. It's a damnably seductive
' nix, from the smoky despair of "In
Spite of Me" ("I always knew you
would succeed... / And you did it all
in spite of me") to the relatively
bouncy "Buena." Sandman's vocals
are brooding and overcast and well-
suited to his lyrics, which convey
much of the same feeling of tragedy
and loss of American Music Club's
ark Eitzel.
Guitars are never missed on "Cure
For Pain," as the trio has the ability to
conjure the feeling of that traditional
roar without using it in their music.
"Implied grunge" is how Sandman

once kiddingly described Morphine's
sound. It rocks without beating you
over the head and charms without the
aid of the ever-familiar chiming gui-
tars of Western Pop. Instead, "Cure
For Pain" sneaks in the back door and
lingers, bringing a bit of rain and
smoke with it from the outside world
and offering 38-minutes of sweet re-
lief from a world that is often too
static and structured for true comfort.
- Dirk Schulze
Smokin' Suckers Wit
Playin' Fools
Live drums, live bass and guitar,
but is it live? Ever since The Sugar
Hill Gang, rappers have had live in-
struments back up their rhymes, but
with the release of the Brand New
Heavies' "Heavy Rhyme Experience"
last year and the new wave of live
jazz/hip-hop fusion, the possibilities
of live instruments under rhymes has
taken on new dimensions.
Smokin' Suckers Wit Logic takes
the possibilities in a new direction
and to another level. There is no doubt
that Mr. Watts (drums), D-Smooth
(Guitars) and Money Mike (Bass) all
have talent - it's a quality band to
keep the band-oriented set rockin'.
Along with these fellas, DJ Spank
Dog is up to par and despite the Paris
sound-a-like rhyme style, when he
pulls stuff like "I write tracks by the
stacks there's no time for reacting /
Act like you know but I know that
your acting" he keeps the sound ac-
cessible to the rap lovers. The contra-
diction inherent in the group's name
-violent yetlogical- isreflected in
the lyrics, as some songs pay tribute
to Jah and others promote the same
old "Load up the Glocks we're com-
ing to kill you" mentality of the aver-
age tough guy rapper.
Ultimately, the question is whether
the hip-hop crowd is willing to push
aside the new Tribe Called Quest for
Smokin' Suckers, and whether the
other crowd is willing to push aside
the new Pearl Jam for Smokin'- Suck-
ers. They are good, but are they good
enough to capture both audiences -
or will they end up with squat?
"Playin' Fools" is interesting and
innovative, two things harder and
harder to come by, so you should
support them and buy it. But if you
have trouble straddling two musical
genres, buy it on cassette, because
you might not listen to it all that
- Dustin Howes
Drop Nineteens
National Coma
This seems to be the year of "The
Mediocre Follow Up." Many artists
(Breeders, Matthew Sweet, Buffalo
Tom, to name a few) have had diffi-

Williams alone
saves 'Doubffire'

"Dude looks like a lady," wails
Aerosmith vocalist Steven Tyler as a
bosomy, corseted Robin Williams, as
the elderly Mrs. Doubtfire, runs,jumps

Mrs. Doubtfire
Directed by Chris Columbus; written
by Randi Mayem Singer and Leslie
Dixon; with Robin Williams and Sally
and kicks field goals like no aging
housekeeper should, without draw-
ing even a second glance from his
employees, who just happen to be his
former family. Even when the kids do
realize what dad is up to, that he's
dressing as a nanny so as to be able to
spend time with them, they never say
a word to mom or anyone else.
Hey! At least they get to see him
this way, and anyhow, dad's a hoot!
He bakes! He cleans! He loses things
down his bra! He speaks with a phony
English accent! For two hours! Two
long hours. Yes, this film is essen-
tially two solid hours of Robin Will-
iams running around, creating havoc,
dressed as some poor, "Depends"-
wearing English bubby, with the most
gullible neighbors in the history of
film. And yet, somehow it works.
Only Robin Williams could pull
this off. Literally. The dialogue is
cheesy, the kids are hammy, the
makeup is runny and the sentiments
are stale. The only thing appetizing
about this whole production is Will-
iams, which is, of course, no surprise.

The guy could probably make death
by electrocution seem comical. But is
this film even too farfetched for him?
Is it beyond his limit? Does he have a
limit? Apparently not, 'cause with
this one, he's not only crossed the age
gap, but the gender gap, as well.
Yet, there is never a second where
you're unsure as to whether or not
that's Robin Williams in there, and
it's kind of hard to swallow that his
ex-wife Miranda (Sally Field) doesn't
immediately catch on. It's pretty de-
pressing, actually. She lived with the
guy for more than 10 years before
they split. Then he shows up a couple
of months later in some cake make-up
and a new frock, and she hasn't the
slightest clue as to who he is. They
say that love is blind, but ...
Then again, you don't particularly
care. It is doubtful that there will be
anyone in the audience actually hop-
ing, as the kids do, that the parents
will get back together. Sally Field
does her usual chirpy blend of Tweety
bird and battered wife - or perhaps
battered Tweety - and is, at any rate,
so utterly fluttery and annoying that
you're quite happy to see her go off
with the sculpted Stu. As performed
by the emotionally challenged Pierce
Brosnan, Stu comes across less like a
mysterious, foreign lover and more
like a misplaced Ken doll, confused,
but happy to finally get to express all
those beachy thoughts he's been re-
If a reasonable, thought-provok-
ing film is what you're after, you're
on the wrong boat. Better jump ship
and head over to "The Piano" or "The

"Mrs. Doubtfire" may provide a break, but little else.

Remains of the Day." But if you just
want to sit back and put the old noggin
to rest for a while, there's really noth-
ing out there now that's more effort-
lessly enjoyable than either Robin
Williams or "Mrs. Doubtfire." Put the
two together and you're set for an
evening of genuine amusement. It
won't take you into the next day, but
it's good for an hour or two, lovey.
MRS. DOUBTFIRE is playing at

Ski Teams82411
Ski Swap
Saturday, December 4th 9am -9pm
At the U of M Coliseum (Hill & Fifth)
To Sell: Bring in equipment on
Friday, December 3rd, 4pm - 10pm
For More Info. Call 741-7107

culty in delivering for a second time
what made the previous album so
exciting and listenable. While there
have been exceptions (Nirvana, PJ
Harvey, Mercury Rev), a lack of fo-
cus and new ideas has plagued an
unusual amount of bands this year.
Unfortunately, this trend continues
with the Drop Nineteens second al-
bum, "National Coma." This album
is a perfect example of a lack of focus
as well as a complete lack of new
ideas. Though the band has new mem-
bers and a new sound, the group is
ironically weaker and staler sounding
for the changes,
The band's roster has almost com-
pletely changed since the Nineteens'
first album, "Delaware;" only lead
guitarist / singer / songwriter Greg
Ackell and bassist Steve Zimmerman
remain from the original lineup. The
new members remain faceless nonen-
tities in the sound; nothing distin-
guishes them from the old members,
or from session musicians.
The Nineteen's sound has under-
gone a change for the worse as well;
there is nothing as clever as their

cover of Madonna's "Angel," which
appeared on "Delaware." Further-
more, the sound on "National Coma"
wants to go twelve different ways at
once. During the course of one song,
the tempo and style can change, with-
out warning, as much as three times.
"Martini Love," for example, begins
like a Pixies outtake - driving punk-
pop - then changes into a droning
Smashing Pumpkins imitation and
then fades into simulated My Bloody
Valentine. "National Coma" docu-
ments a band going through an iden-
tity crisis; the lineup changes and
schizophrenic, undisciplined sound
show that the Drop Nineteens need to
wake up from their own coma of
- Heather Phares

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All seniors
interested in
Monday, January 10, 1994
DLJ will be interviewing at the University of Michigan
for our Analyst Program.
Interested students should send their resumes to:
Marguerite Haran
Manager of Recruiting
Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette
Securities Corporation
140 Broadway
New Yrk, NY 10005
Facsimile: (212),504-4624
Deadline: December 1, 1993

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