14A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, March 13, 1997
Crow stirs up a storm in Detroit
By Bryan Lak
Daily Film Editor
You're a three-time Grammy winning singer-song-
writer whose debut album sold over six million
copies. Your second, self-titled album was released six
months ago and had since gone nearly triple platinum.
Three weeks ago, that. album won two more
Grammys. So what do you do
If you're Sheryl Crow, you hit
the road once again to perform a
series of sold-out, kick-ass shows
in small theaters, the latest of
which was Tuesday night (conve-
niently enough) at the Fox
Theatre in Detroit.
Playing the Fox Theatre, with its gargantuan audito-
rium and gaudy, over-the-top decoration, is a feat only
the most vibrant and magnetic of performers can pull,
and Crow performed the task with ease and plenty of
Crow kicked off the show with a rousing rendition
of the grinding rocker "Hard To Make A Stand," which
is probably the only song in history to delve into the
psyche of a middle-aged transvestite and still be
From that auspicious opener, Crow and her loyal
band of guitarists and percussionists segued into a
bongo-heavy performance of her current hit single
"Everyday Is A Winding Road."
The sole woman in the group, Crow's black tank
top, tight brown pants and girl-next-door demeanor
was decidedly more Woodstock '94, than the Vivian
Westwood persona she's been inhabiting lately.
The set also reflected such simplicity and comfort,
consisting only of white curtains, three area rugs,
innumerable instruments and extensive lighting equip-
That stripped-down feeling exuded by her behavior
and surroundings is definitely indicative of where
Sheryl Crow has been headed recently. With her latest
self-produced record, Crow aimed
E V I E W for a more low-fi, high-quality,
one-woman edginess that was
Sheryl Crow absent on her collaborative and
polished debut, "Tuesday Night
Fox Theatre Music Club."
March 11, 1997 Her aims for quality and edgi-
ness have apparently paid off,
judging by her engaging and often disquieting ver-
sions of such new songs as the alien-inspired churner
"Maybe Angels"; the heartfelt anthem "Redemption
Day," written during her trip to Bosnia; the heart-
breaking wife's tale "Home"; and the pissed-off rant
against someone and/or everyone "A Change."
Enhancing her newfound musical prowess was her
onstage banter, which alternated from the serious (her
accounts of war-torn Bosnia), to the humorous (her
good-natured chides of rhythmless audience mem-
bers), to the outrageous (dedicating a brisk version of
"Leaving Las Vegas," "... to all you strippers out
there ...," and proceeding to do a mock-burlesque
In addition to her aspirations of being Courtney
Love, Crow exuded more than her fair share of sexu-
ality, whether desperately belting out the theme song
of sexually troubled women, "Run, Baby, Run," or
coyly sashaying and playing the maracas to the innu-
endo-filled "Na Na Song."
Crow's down-home sex appeal leaked into most of
her numbers, which made a pleasurable concert all the
more enjoyable - Crow even makes playing the
accordion, during a quiet rendering of her top 10 hit
"Strong Enough," look sexy.
However, sex was not the only thing Crow had to
offer. She offered the thousands of screaming fans
something substantial to scream about - a toe-tap-
ping, booty-slapping, hand-clapping good time, cour-
tesy of the performance of her signature songs.
From her debut, "All i Wanna Do" was the catchy
little ditty that put Sheryl Crow on the map and she re-
created it again with a fresh and much less annoying
rendition of the arguably overplayed song.
Reestablishing her presence in the music industry,
the hit "If It Makes You Happy" has become some-
what of an anti-male, you-should-know-what's-good-
for-you anthem, replete on Tuesday with lyric-scream-
ing, finger-pointing and a faster pace.
The female audience members did calm down long
enough to break down in tears with Crow's affecting
performance of the poignant "I Shall Believe:'
Returning for one encore, Crow closed off the
remarkable set of her best songs with a country-fried
cover of the soul classic "Do Right Woman, Do Right
Man," which allowed Crow to showcase the true
extent of her post-Pavarotti duet vocal talents only
hinted at on her two albums.
Performing hits, album tracks and covers with
sexual flair and musical virtuosity, Crow made a
huge crowd of Detroiters at the Fox very happy for
two hours and, in her own words, "that can't be that
Sheryl Crow is going for that grunge look these days.
Continued from Page 13
In spite of its suspect name, "Pop,"
U2's 10th full-length album, is anything
but. Leading the way in the electronic
trip-hop musical trend, the album is
danceable; grooveable and almost as
surrealistic as the band's last effort,
"Passengers: Original Soundtracks 1."
The slow, steady bass in many of
"Pop"'s songs cause your body to
groove instantly - an important feeling
to evoke since U2 is launching a whirl-
wind world tour this spring.
The most notable and stylistically
distinct pieces are also, by no coinci-
dence, the first two singles,
"Discotheque" and "Staring at the
Sun." These two don't sum up the rest
of the album, however. While
"Discotheque" is disco, don't let the
band's trendy '70s garb at their press
conference in New York's K-mart last
month fool you.
Yes, "Discotheque" should be a
favorite at the clubs. And the haunting
"Staring at the Sun" comes close to
the most soul-stirring ballad on the
album. But the real news here is the
indescribable new technological
sounds, in keeping with the band's
love of exploiting society's addiction
to the cyberworld. The album's
released singles will feature the true
dance pieces, remixed by Howie B,
with b-sides from "Passengers" and
From the deceivingly seductive "If
You Wear That Velvet Dress" to the
explosive "Miami," to the spiritual
"Wake Up Dead Man," trip-hop has
manifested itself in a variety of ways.
Credit The Edge, that master of electri-
cal sound, and drummer/percussionist
Larry Mullen Jr., who seems to have
the original Bowie/Eno "Heroes" com-
position and combined them with music
of his own to create a rather beautiful
musical accompaniment to dance per-
formed by American choreographer
Twyla Tharp's dance company.
While his "symphonization" of
Bowie's and Eno's original works some-
times seems to drag on a bit too much in
a vain attempt to extend the songs into
the six- to eight-minute time frame
many symphonic compositions fit
stereotypically, Glass has succeeded
quite well in bringing out the feel of the
original "Heroes" sound while simulta-
neously pushing the music into another
level of emotionalism.
The sounds of "Abdulmajid" fit
beautifully with the song's name as it
causes the listener to envision him self
camel-back riding along the Saharan
sands. And while Glass' booming bari-
tone/timid flute attempt to create a
sense of dread falls fairly flat in "Sense
of Doubt," the fluttering sounds of "V2
Schneider" are right on target in bring-
ing musical excitement and expectation
to the fore.
Perhaps what is most exciting about
Glass' work is that it reminds us that in
America today, there are still those who
have dedicated themselves to the sym-
phony. And at a point when few
American composers (with the excep-
tion of maybe John Williams) seem to
be even well known, let alone highly
regarded or respected, perhaps there's
no time like the present to make some
- Eugene Bowen
Brighten the Corners
For those not familiar with Pavement,
"Brighten the Corners" is the band's
fourth studio album, offering guitar-dri-
ven indie-rock imbued with classic rock
riffs and plenty of killer pop hooks, all
subverted by frontman Stephen
Malkmus' gleefully sardonic wordplay.
For Pavement followers who felt that
1994's "Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain,"
was the band's greatest achievement
and that 1995's "Wowee Zowee" was a
misstep, "Brighten the Corners" will
bring the boys back into your good
graces. It is Pavement's most cohesive,
concise and focused album to date.
Echoes of "Crooked Rain"'s sing-
along hits like "Cut Your Hair" and
"Gold Soundz" can be heard right off
the bat -- the album's first three tracks,
"Stereo," "Shady Lane" and "Transport
is Arranged" are all instantly humma-
ble. Throughout the album, a quieter
pace and greater emphasis on simplici-
ty and catchiness is evident.
Unfortunately, this cuts both ways:
The songs are more accessible, but
along the way something has been lost,
an intangible quality whose absence
keeps this record from being truly great.
Pavement is often at its best when it is
at its most raucous, when its songs get
all wound up with energy, attitude and
emotion and threaten to careen com-
pletely out of control. Those moments
of controlled chaos are less frequent
here; only "Embassy Row" and the cur-
rent single, "Stereo," really threaten to
explode with speed and emotion in this
While the energy may be reined in a
bit, Malkmus' lyrics are as irreverent as
ever. Like Robyn Hitchcock, you can
practically hear him cocking an ironic
eyebrow as he sings lines like, "One of
us is a cigar stand and one of us is a
lovely blue incandescent guillotine."
And while there's plenty of the delight-
fully cryptic side of Malkmus, there is
also from time to time a more revealing
glimpse at the man behind this twisted
mask, as in this lyric from "Transport is
Arranged": "A voice coach taught
to sing / he couldn't teach me to ;.
In fact, love songs (or anti-love son,
as the case may be) abound.
Musically, the band's playing here is
much more self-assured than orr past
releases; the band itself is much more
clearly a unit. In fact, the "Corners" ses-
sions were the first time Pavement had
ever recorded an entire album with all
five members in the studio at once and
playing on every track. The fact that
songs on the album were rehear
prior to being recorded is another first
for Pavement. A good part of these
changes in structure and organization
can probably be attributed to the pres-
ence in the studio of Mitch Easter (pro-
ducer of R.E.M.'s "Murmur" and count-
less other albums).
Highlights of the album, besides the
previously mentioned tracks, include
"We Are Underused," "Blue Hawaiia"
and "Starlings of the Slipstrea.
Honorable mention goes to "Date With
IKEA," one of guitarist Scott
Kannberg's two songs on the album.
Also listen for the addition of a new
wrinkle to the Pavement sound: Just as
they added pedal steel to the mix for
"Wowee Zowee," here they use congas
and other percussion that create a new
Overall, "Brighten the Corners" i
fine effort from a band that has inspiW
a thousand imitators and generated a
thousand controversies. While die-hard
Pavement fans may wish that the new
record had a little more of a conse-
quences-be-damned willingness to rock
out, this is definitely an excellent and
Bono Castro and the rest of the the U2 gang look as alternative as ever.
spawned followers of his "loops"
U2's history of social and religious
consciousness is also present on the
album, in the namedropping and com-
mentary of "The Playboy Mansion" and
the softly questioning "If God Will
Send His Angels" among others. Bono
and The Edge's amazing voices and
inspired lyrics, while becoming less-
easily interpreted, still have the same
"Pop" seems like a natural extension
of the band's work since the similar
"Achtung Baby," continuing a thought-
ful mockery of commercialism, Andy
Warhol-style. Perhaps the band has
finally arrived where 1993's less-well-
received "Zooropa" fell short.
- Elan A. Stavros
Through their musical recordings in
the '70s, David Bowie and Brian Eno
brought about a new era in music by uti-
lizing the influences of avant-garde and
world music to expand the sphere of
rock 'n' roll. In doing so, they not only
revolutionized the rock genre into
something of more significance than
the "Happy Day" spritzer it was often
used as, but they also re-routed the
direction of popular music. They gave
contemporary music a soul and a feel-
ing it seems to have never had outside
of gospel and a few Motown hits.
Philip Glass has taken six tracks from
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