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December 03, 1997 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-12-03

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8 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, December 3, 1997

'Live' lives up Badu's soulful standards

Erykah Badu
Live
Kedar/Universal Records
It hasn't even been a year since
Kedar/Universal recording artist
Erykah Badu burst onto the music
scene with her "Baduism" debut, but
she has already established herself as
one of music's premier artists. One
might wonder if she may have been
overexposing herself by releasing a live
album only 10 months after her debut,
but "Live" has more than a few pleasant
surprises in store for those who thought
she was only redoing songs from
"Baduism."
The first of those surprises is
obviously "Tyrone," the
unbelievably clever sin-
gle that may become
the anthem for women
who are tired of get-
ting taken advantage
of in relationships.
The music for the
song, like all of Badu's
music, is relaxed, laid
back and very bluesy.
Erykah's lyrics cut with the
precision of a scalpel, yet strike with
the force of a chainsaw and her voice
conforms perfectly to the moods, emo-
tions and ideas expressed with every
word that passes through her lips. Both
the live and studio versions of "Tyrone"
(both included on the album) are an
absolute joy.
The surprises don't stop there. As of
late, remakes of old R&B songs have
been the musical trend and Erykah has
not been any exception to this. But there
is a difference between simply going
into the studio and recording someone
else's song (which is what most R&B
artists do) and paying genuine homage
to the original artists who were innova-
tive enough to create such a song that it
is worthy of remaking. While Badu's
previous remake fit into the former cat-
egory, the remakes of R&B classics
"Searching" "Jamaica Funk," "Boogie
Nights," "All Night Long" and "Stay"
definitely fit the latter category.
From hearing her renditions of each
of these songs, one can tell that the

utmost care has been put into doing jus-
tice to the original songs and the origi-
nal artists.
Even when she is re-performing her
old songs, Badu doesn't rest on her lau-
rels.
In performing her most popular
songs, Badu keeps her music flexible
enough to allow for seemingly sponta-
neous changes in her performance,
which only add to the mesmerizing
mystique of her and her music. She
even does a freestyle rap at the end of
"On & On" that would make Lauryn
Hill of the Fugees proud. An additional
treat is the completely original "Ye Yo,"
which is a heartfelt tribute to the child
to which she has recently given birth
and to the sacred institution of mother-
hood.
Badu's latest effort
includes all of the traits
that have become her
trademark: jazzy,
bluesy music,
thoughtful and
insightful lyrics, sin-
cere and heartfelt
vocals and an element
of surprise that keeps her
eyes on the clouds, but
keeps her feet on solid ground.
If you are a fan of Erykah Badu ...
and who isn't? ... this album belongs in
your music collection.
- JuQuan Williams
Metallica
Re-Load
Elektra

They've done it well and have proven
many critics very wrong.
Just one year later, Metallica has
released a follow up to "Load" "Re-
Load" re-establishes Metallica as a
heavy band, but one that will not be
confined or compromise on creative
evolution.
The 27 songs that fill "Load" and
"Re-Load" originally were supposed to
make a double album. The decision to
release the albums separately was defi-
nitely the best in the interest of the band
as well as the fans. It gave Metallica
more time to work on "Re-Load"'s
quality selection of songs. It also gives
the band a chance to prove to its fans
that Metallica has not gone soft.
Compared to "Load," "Re-Load" is
raw and stripped down, almost as pow-
erful as any live Metallica concert. The
first song, "Fuel," is an all-out musical
attack. If you are not banging your head
by James Hetfield's first vocal rant,
then Metallica will find its way through
your speakers and bang it for you.
Perhaps the most attention-grabbing
track on the album is "The Unforgiven
II." From the title, you would think that
it is a remake of "The Unforgiven" the
radio/MTV hit from Metallica's 1992
self-titled album.
But it's not just that. The band teases
fans by beginning the song with the
original "Unforgiven'"s drum and horn
introduction. But Metallica then recon-
structs the original's bass, drum and
guitar lines and adds even more gut-
wrenching lyrics. On top of that,
Metallica gives us a play on words (Buy
the album and find it yourself). What
more could we ask for?
Just 12 more powerful tunes, which
Metallica gladly delivers.
New fans should not be concerned
about Metallica reverting to the days of
leather and 12-minute epics. Metallica's
experimental side shows through on
"Re-Load."
The most diverse track on "ReLoad"
has to be "Low Man's Lyric." It is basi-
cally an Irish jig, slowed down and
complemented with violins. Just as on
every track, lyricist, vocalist and gui-
tarist James Hetfield belts out potent
lyrics, but on this one, he sings a little
softer and a little slower to reveal a
story behind the song.

There is one song on "Re-Load" that
could possibly define the entire album.
The track, "Prince Charming," displays
James Hetfield's well-respected lyrical
and vocal abilities. It contains the clas-
sic and often copied Hetfield thrashing
guitar line (shown best on "Master of
Puppets") and guitarist Kirk Hammet's
bluesy, "Load" reminiscent solo stunts.
Bassist Jason Newsted and drummer
Lars Ulrich provide a solid backbone on
this and every track with a display of
technique and power, unattainable for
most bands.
On every Metallica album, Ulrich
contributes a ferocious yet intricate
drum ensemble. On "Re-Load," his per-
formance resembles his work on
Metallica's 1992 self-titled album,
which made every headbanger dream of
playing the drums.
Metallica fans old and new will think
"Re-Load" rocks. It is just another
notch on Metallica's belt of success.
After 16 years, if Metallica hasn't made
you bang your head yet, it has reloaded
and definitely will this time around.
- Jewel Gopwani
The Pietasters
Willis
Hellcat Records
I love my family dearly. I really do.
My mom, dad and sister each hold spe-
cial places in my heart. Do you know
what I love even more? The new
Pietasters record, "Willis."
One of today's greatest ska bands, the
'Tasters have managed to out-do them-
selves on this, their fourth and latest
release. "Willis," the band's first record on
indie giant Hellcat (a subsidiary of
Epitaph), showcases a slight change in
style for the band. The group's harsher,
more "rocking" side gets exposed on
"Willis"Steve Jackson's distinctive vocals
are much rawer on this record than their
other major studio release, "Oolooloo."
Baby, if this is harsh, I can't wait to
hear these boys when they start to play
rough.

Erykah Badu delivers her second album in a single year with the stellar "Live."
When you pick up your copy of of tunes like "Crazy Monkey Wom
"Willis"-- and you will pick up a copy the album's opening track.
for yourself - expect to hear seven The band hails from Washinj
great musicians playing some damn D.C., and was formed in 1990, a
fine ska. The horn arrangements on many bands are, with few expectati
"Willis" are incredible, to say the least. little experience and a lot of h
Notes that are higher than you thought According to Jackson, the only
pleasant come across with perfect clari- future the guys saw in the band wa

an,"
Is so
ons,
eart.
real
as as

From metalheads to meatheads to
Deadheads, Metallica always has and
always will demand respect.
For all of Metallica's musical contri-
butions until 1996's "Load," its image
remained the same. It's funny how
much a haircut or a new shirt influences
the public's perception of someone's art.
And the public's negative reaction to
1996's "Load" was just another hurdle
for the men in Metallica to jump.

ty and in perfect tune.
Trombone, sax and trumpet solos
have a prominent place on the record
than typically overdone guitar solos that
most albums are plagued with. This is
musicianship at its finest. I've got noth-
ing against Tom Goodin, the 'Tasters
guitarist, who also does a fine job on
"Willis" not only as musician but as a
songwriter.
Huge fans of the Motown sound, the
Pietasters cover a few "old school" clas-
sics on this record. Their interpretations
of "Quicksand," "Time Won't Let Me"
and Jimmy Easter's "New Breed" make
one thing crystal clear to listeners: This
ain't your daddy's rock and roll.
The Pietasters also make clear their
other influences on "Willis." The reggae
and Caribbean feelings of songs like
"Without You" (my personal favorite)
strike a nice contrast with the hard edge

an avenue for "getting free beer." Oh,
what's that I hear? You like what you're
hearing now? Can you relate to this
desire? Can you?
Their quest for free beer aside, the
Pietasters have shaped their sound :
one of the most distinct on the ska scene
in recent years. Before recording
"Willis," the 'Tasters made 12 tours
(count 'em, 12) of the country, with the
Toasters, the Scofflaws and now main-
stream successes, the Mighty Mighty
Bosstones.
This CD is ska. This band, this
record, is why you should become a fan
of ska music. Don't do it because it's the
next big thing, do it because ofOe
Pietasters. When you find that special
place in your heart for the Pietasters and
"Willis," I'm sure your family will for-
give you. Mine did.
- Gabe Fajuri

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Sierra offers 'Hoyle' to relieve boredom

MICHIGAN
RECORDS
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S fi & sat.: 9:On e:663.80
11,40 south university (above goodtime chadeys), AA
1 fr. & sat.: 9:00a-1 1:00p 11:0oa-8:QO--m n-hus:90a100p snas

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Hoyle Classic Board
Games
Sierra"
Win 3.1/'95 CD ROM
On the heels of the popularity of
"Hoyle Classic Card Games," Sierra
has released yet another surefire
success: "Hoyle Classic Board
Games."
The games in the collection
include Snakes and
Ladders, Parchisi (known
as Sorry or Trouble to
us), Chinese Checkers,
Yacht (Yahtzee), Chess,
C h e c k e r s,
Backgammon, Dominoes,
Battling Ships (Battleship),
and a form of Mah-Jongg wittily called
"Zen Bones."
Also included with the game is a
demo of the Classic Card Games and a
version of Blackjack.
The 12 challengers to the player are
as varied as the selected games. Among
the more fun ones: a talking bear, an
android from the future, a bickering
married couple from space, and a trap-
per from the 1800s with a beaver pup-
pet.
Throughout all the games except the
single-player Zen Bones, there is con-
stant heckling from the opponents.
Sometimes it can be ridiculously funny
and sometimes it's just annoying patter.
The opponents' nonstop chatter spices
up what would otherwise be a dull
game.
Even with the chatter, the opponents
are no slouches. Checkers is almost an

impossible game even on the "easy"
setting.
Pachisi can get frustrating because
each of the opponents seems to just get
the exact roll to knock you back to the
start.
Dominoes is the only relatively easy
game in the package. Battling Ships
puts a new twist on the game, adding
little missile launchers to fire at your
ships and explosions of fire erupting
from the spots that are hit.
The rest of the games are pretty much
as we know them. The most
addicting game included is
Zen Bones, where the
object is to match all
-the tiles until you can't
match any more.
There are several dif-
ferent tile schemes that
you can use, some easier than
others. The hardest scheme, which is
almost impossible to complete, is defi-
nitely the Pyramid. The easier ones are
all the city-based puzzles, such as
Pompeii.
One negative aspect of the game is
the not-so-clear instructions. Some
rules aren't explained at all. While most
of the games are self-explanatory, for
those unfamiliar with all of the games,
it could be confusing.
"Hoyle Classic Board Games" is
brought alive by Sierra's usage of its talk-
ative opponents. They provide a chal-
lenge, as well as making the game fun.
The challenge is so great that the
games never get too easy or boring.
Each of the games occupy you for a
while, until you move on to the next
one, making you want to play the old
games again.
- Steve Paruszkiewicz

ER
I.l

NBA Live '98
EA Sports
Sony Playstation

FOREIGN

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TRACY CHAPMAN
Tracy Chapman

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AP)

For the past few years, EA Sports has
proven itself to be the king of the hard-
wood and with the release of "NBA
Live '98,' there won't be any reason to
change the crown size.
"Live '98" is more than just a pol-
ished "Live '97." Of course the "Live"
gurus at Electronic Arts tweaked and
fine tuned the gameplay, sound and
graphics, but they have added new
plays, moves, dunks and even a three-
point shootout to the mix.The result is
an appetizing blend of dazzling dunks,
slick spins, killer crossovers and fade-
away buzzer-beaters all served up with
a side of "Riiiii-cola!"
The game's play-by-play comnl-
tary is done by TBS/TNT analyst Verne
Lundquist and is a little less dry than
last year's version.
Rosters are as up to date as possible,
with Shawn Kemp, Vin Baker and
Terrell Brandon included on their new
clubs and there are new logos and are-
nas
EA has upgraded the Artificial
Intelligence again, and even add
Superstar level of game play for tI-
who broke the press on All-Star level
last year.
The new Al also factors into player
trades. This is an excellent feature, but
sometimes it appears as if the program-
mers didn't read the scouting reports.
For example, the computer allowed
New York Knicks Patrick Ewing, Chris
Childs and Allan Houston to be traded
for San Antonio Spur David Robin ,
who's not that good, but wouldn't s
Chicago Bull Scottie Pippen for L.A.
Lakers' Nick Van Exel, Eddie Jones,
and Kobe Bryant. Scottie isn't THAT
good either.
The gameplay underwent some
changes as well. For the most part,
expect the same solid control that has
made this series popular. The difference
this time around is the options a player
has. Now you can select and pass to
player that you want to instead of the
"blind passing" system -which, by the
way, has cost me more than few hairs.
No more last second three pointer's
taken by a player who unexpectedly
(and unintentionally) gets the pass.
There is also a drive button that makes
the ball handler go strong to the hole,
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