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December 08, 1993 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1993-12-08

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8 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, December 8, 1993

BOOKS
continued from page 5
opses are a minor part of the book
and often leave out important (and
fun) details. Instead, the lion's share
of the entries are devoted to the dis-
semination of extremely nitpicky (thus
the name) inconsistencies within and
between episodes. There is simply
nothing better than to read more than
400 pages about continuity errors on
turbolifts.
The entries are subdivided into
the following categories: plot synop-
ses, trivia questions, ruminations, plot
oversights, changed premises, equip-
ment oddities and continuity and pro-
duction problems. As previously
stated; the plot synopses are woefully
short and not comprehensive. The
other clear faults of the book are that
the trivia questions are extremely spe-
cific and Farrand's ruminations are
often without merit.
On the positive side, the final four
divisions are often interesting. They
amount to a printing of the little prob-
lems that tend to gnaw at the back of
your mind when watching the show

(such as when Data, who cannotmake
contractions, says "I'm"). This can
be used to make people say to them-
selves "Yes! I knew that was wrong.
I am cool." On many of the obvious
mistakes, the book can be an ego
massager by reinforcing the reader's
own nitpicking.
Unfortunately, much of the book
dives into recklessly anal retentive
observations. Statements such as
"someone retrofitted the brig" and
"the hay gets beamed up also" are
irritating bits of information at best. It
is, however, such irritating informa-
tion which is the impetus of the book.
It is not surprising that it delves into
such absurdities, but it isn't gratify-
ing either.
The best point of the book are the
handy "toteboards" Farrand has as-
sembled. These are handy listings of
whacky things like who gets killed,
who has sex how many times, and the
amount of moral compromises that
characters make.
It's a simple way to find some
cool facts out about "Trek." But this
is hardly enough to salvage the entire
book. Unless you like lots of really
picky facts, don't bother.
- Ted Watts

David Foster
The Christmas Album
Interscope
Well, Jolly Old Saint Nick is
packin' up and getting ready to head
down Santa Claus Lane and you can
be sure that he'll have David Foster's-
"The Christmas Album" blaring from
the speakers in the sleigh. This com-
pilation of twelve Christmas favor-
ites is sure to put Santa and anyone
else in the holiday spirit.
Seasonal favorites like "Away in
a Manger," "O Holy Night" and "The
Christmas Song (Chestnuts roasting
on an Open Fire)" were arranged by
David Foster for artists such as Tammy
Wynette, Michael Crawford and
CelineDion. This isthekindofChrist-
mas album which has the makings of
a classic, but currently it is being
blasted in malls and at Christmas par-
ties around the country.
As on any album, there are some
selections which stand out. Bebe and
CeCe Winans' rendition of "The First
Noel" stirs the listener through its
emotional performance. David Fos-
ter himself arranged a sort of modern,
high tech instrumental version of
"Carol of the Bells" which kicks the
album. Johnny Mathis' performance
of "It's the Most Wonderful Time of
the Year" makes you feel like a kid

again.
Also featured on the album are
Wynonna, Vanessa Williams, Peabo
Bryson, RobertaFlack and Tom Jones.
Each artist gives a special Christmas
wish in the lyric book.
This album is just what you need
to add to your collection.
-- Jessie Halladay
Various Artists
No Alternative
Arista
It's always best to take these vari-
ous artist benefit compilations with a
grain of salt. Most of the artists in-
volved in these projects are only in-
volved because it's the politically
correct thing to do, not because their
heart is truly dedicated to the cause.
Consequently, the albums are all over
the map in terms of musical quality.
"No Alternative," the latest in the Red
Hot & Blue organization series of
AIDS benefit albums, is no exception
to this rule.
Apart from a couple of songs re-
corded specifically for the collection,
the majority of "No Alternative" is a
hodge-podge of live tracks, B-sides,
covers and outtakes from some of the
leading names in "alternative" music.
Unfortunately, the quality of the ma-
terial varies greatly and prevents "No
Alternative" from being a definitive
portrait of today's college-rock scene.
Three of the largest names in alterna-
tive rock - Sonic Youth (cassette
only), the Beastie Boys and the Breed-
ers - are represented by sub-stan-
dard live tracks; Kim Deal's cringe-
inducing vocalson the Breeders' "Iris"
is particularly painful and embarrass-
ing.
Straitjacket Fits, Barbara Man-
ning, Jonathan Richman, Sarah
McLachlan and the Verlaines all con-
tribute pleasant, unremarkable tracks
that will satisfy their fans yet fail to
win any new converts. Soundgarden 's
two-year old "Show Me" is a fine B-
side, but both Matthew Sweet's
"Superdeformed" and Buffalo Tom's
"For All To See" both sound as if they
weren'tquite finished. If it is Soul
Asylum's wonderful interpretation of
Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing" or
Uncle Tupelo treating Creedence
Clearwater Revival's "Effigy" as if it
was a Crazy Horse number, the cov-
ers are more than welcome; if it's the
Goo Goo Dolls' pop-metal take on
the Rolling Stones' "Bitch," it is ex-
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cruciating.
However, the good original songs
on "No Alternative" are quite power-
ful and more than justify the purchase
of this benefit album. With their
R.E.M. tribute, "Unseen Power of the
Picket Fence," Pavement has finally
struck the perfect balance between
anarchic noise and pure pop that they
have always suggested. Bob Mould's
acoustic "Can't Fight It" may be a
two-year old outtake, but itis as strong
as anything from his solo albums.
Smashing Pumpkins' elegant elegy,
"Glynis," is beautiful and American
Music Club's amazing, aching "All
Your Jeans Were Too Tight" speaks
as eloquently aboutthe AIDS crisis as
Patti Smith's moving "Memorial
Song." Nirvana's hidden track ranks
among the best of their work, but the
band that really stands out is Urge
Overkill. With "Take A Walk," the
World's Greatest Rock & Roll Band
plays it entirely straight, delivering a
touching ballad that is genuinely af-
fecting. Coming from these masters
of ironic hard-rock, the gesture is
more heart-felt than any of the other
contributions on "No Alternative."
- Tom Erlewine
The House of Love
Audience with the Mind
Fontana
It seems like every year around
this time, when winter winds begin
blowing and moods turn somewhat
sour, House of Love come through
with a new album to help us enjoy this
bleakness. Melancholic yes, but tnis
is certainly not sadistic material.
The group's latest release "Audi-
ence with the Mind" continues their
tradition of dark Eastern influenced
rhythms and twangs, coupled with
endless tales of loves gone awry and
other affairs of the heart.
Unfortunately, House of Love
have never been hip enough to get
their rightful share of the pop music
pie. Thus, getting their music in front
of a larger audience has definitely
been a challenge. But merely one lis-
ten to the eerie acoustics of the title
track orthe gorgeously sad "All Night
Long," show a band with an immense
amount of insight into brilliant melo-
dies and poignant lyrics - not too
different from the Church, who the
House of Love have been compared
to on more than one occasion.
Perhaps it's the fate of House of
Love to be enjoyed by those knowl-
edgeable enough to seek them out.
The music here remains soft and
maybe a bit too slow and mellow for
conventional audiences. One thing's
for sure, they will certainly never fall
prey to the egotistic trappings of fash-
ion and popularity which are all too
abundant in music today.
Kick back in front of the fireplace,
watch the snow fall and prepare to get
properly depressed.
- Nima Hodaei
Reba McEntire
Greatest Hits Volume Two
MCA
One word and one word only can
be used to describe this album: awe-
some. This is a collection of some of

country music's finest songs and, in
fact, some of the finest ballads ever
recorded in any genre.
The first song, "Does He Love
You," the heartwrenching duet with
Linda Davis, pits woman against
woman in the fight for one man's
love. When Reba sings "does he love
you (like he loves me)," Davis echoes
and asks the same question back. The.
tone for the whole album is set- sad
yet proud, and triumphant for having
survived heartache. Mostof thesongs
included are ballads, love songs to be
exact, like "For My Broken Heart," a
sorrowful realization that life goes on
even when love doesn't. "Rumor Has
It" laments for a former flame who
has found someone new. "The Great-
est Man I Never Knew" is Reba's
wistful farewell to the father she neve#
got the chance to know.
The musical and lyrical beauty
with which these stories are told makes
each as entrancing as it is depressing.
The tone and tempo both pick up on
"Fancy," a rock song with a blues riff
and an optimistic outlook; likewise
"Love Will Find Its Way to You"
looks on the bright side. All ten songs
can stand on their own, but together
they intensify, fitting together like a
finely-woven tapestry of emotion.
This is one of those rare albums that
can - and should - be listened to in
its entirety. It's sad, yes, but it's also
deeply moving; a musical experience
that could make a Reba fan out of
almost anyone.
- Kristen Knudsen
Kingmaker
Sleepwalking
Chrysalis
Kingmaker takes traditional rock
& roll staples and creates upbeat, early
'80's style alternative (or "New
Wave") similar to Elvis Costello's
guitar-oriented material. It's a tried
and true approach, and therefore
rehash, but their relentless energy will
make you forget that you've heard it
before.
The first two songs, "Playground
Brutality" and "Armchair Anarchist,"
set the stage for an album full of
slightly subdued songs proclaiming
the punk rock attitude in a pop setting.
The entire disc is flowered with sen-
timents of rebellion and anarchy.
The post-post-punk style come*
through as their general sound, but
every song has its own appeal. For
instance, "Queen Jane" sounds like
"Sunday Papers" by Joe Jackson,
while "Sequined Thug" has a "Tainted
Love" flavor. There are many high-
lights including "Ten Years Asleep,"
"Stay Free" and "Honesty Kills."*
Truly, there is not a filler song in the
lot.
The style is very distinct, thus
making the band a candidate for a
limited audience. However, the songs
are catchy as hell and will appeal to
most fans of alternative pop. The
band's appeal is a product of excel-
lent production and solid songwriting.
If you dig this style, you're sure to dig
this band.
- Gianluca Montalt

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