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October 01, 1997 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-10-01

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8 - The Michigan Daily - October 1, 1997

CRU delivers unforgettable debut,

Oooh la la: Keenan Ivory Wayans exposes his chest hair in celebration of his new talk/variety show.
w 0
Wayans programmesfor
sorry late-night television

CRU
Da Dirty 30
Violator/Def Jam records
The logo for Def Jam recording
artists CRU is a "have a nice day"
smiley face that is cut in half - and
the missing half is replaced with half
the image of a skull. Surprisingly, the
logo says a lot about the music of
Yogi, Chadeeo and the Mighty Ha, as
their music is a strange - but enter-
taining - mix of violence and come-
dy.
Everything about this group is mis-
matched, from the aforementioned
logo; to Yogi's laid-back, abstraction
paired with Chadeeo's bold guntalk; to
the strange conglomeration of mellow
grooves reminiscent of A Tribe Called
Quest and hardcore B-boy songs remi-
niscent of Mobb Deep.
CRU somehow manages to make the
mismatches work, however, by employ-
ing a tried-and-true formula: Make sure
the grooves are head-nodders; make
sure the lyrics and delivery are superior;
make sure there are plenty of great
guest stars (in this case The Lox, Slick
Rick, Ras Kas, Tracey Lee, and even
Antoinette ... remember her?) to add
credibility, and - most of all - make
sure there is at. least one definitive song
that has everyone who hears it once
eager to hear it again.
In CRU's case, the definitive song
is "Just Another Case," a haunting
blend of eerie guitars, tightly deliv-
ered street story and extremely catchy
chorus. This is obviously the best
song on the album, but there are a
number of gems on the 30-track
album: from the understated chords
of "Fresh, Wild, and Bold," to the
infectively simple bounce of
"Bubblin," to the soothing R&B of
"My Everlovin," to the neck-breaking
"Bluntz & Bakakeemis."
Yogi's throaty voice is
the most notable, but
Chadeeo and Mighty
Ha complement him
pretty well.
As hard as it is to
find them in the
album, there are flaws.
There are way too many
useless interludes in the
album (10 in all), and only
about five of them are entertaining.
One of these interludes is even
thrown right in the middle of one of
CRU's better songs ("Goin' Down").
Also, around five of the songs on the
album don't come close to the quality
of the other 16.
"Lisa Lipps" is an annoying mix of
Mighty Ha's annoying screaming and
the annoying wailing of the sampled
groove, "Gonie's Tale" and "The illz"
are two subpar songs back-to-back
and "Pay Attention" is just plain

By Leann Dawson
For the Daily
Does television really need another talk show? Is that a
resounding "no" from millions nationwide?
But wait, what if it was something different, a new
approach to late-night television, and
maybe if it was hosted by someone R1
younger. a comedian like Keenan Ivory
Wayans? Tht
That could be good show. After all,
-Wayans has stated that he wants to
"wake you up, give you your last hour
.of excitement" and return to the "vari-
ety" format of years gone by. He wants to do something
"different," and everyone knows that he's funny, so how
bad can it be?
Well, in this case, "variety" means a girl band that might be
playing - if you don't look too closely, and the dreaded audi-
ence participation slots - why do people actually want to
volunteer for humiliation on national television?
No doubt, some great talents have been discovered this
way. Yet, on Tuesday night, as a female participator screamed
her way through "Killing Me Softly," even Keenan had the
grace to look embarrassed.
Wayans introduces his show with a monologue demon-
strating his comic talent, and the show has the required ele-
nents of a lively program - a young audience willing to
scream at the required signals, a mix of interviews and music.
- The downfall is Wayans' lack of interviewing technique,
hot to mention the lack of interest surrounding his guests.
Has'anyone even seen Blair Underwood lately, let alone

;E
ie

CRU's debut album is one of the best rap albums released this year.

care about his wedding video? The "stars" are either on
their way up (Jenna Elfman, "Dharma and Greg"), or liv-
ing in relative obscurity (Jasmine Guy). Needless to say,
they have little to offer the audience in the realm of topi-
cal entertainment news, or even interesting personal infor-
mation.
E V I E W At times it as though Wayans has invit-
ed over some friends who have known
Keenan Ivory each other for years to watch a few
Wayans Show movies and generally not do very much.
FOX Conversation is limited, stilted and
weeknights at 11 often interposed with jokes between host
and guest, which have no meaning for
either the studio or home audience.
Wayans asks no searching questions, and the tension
and desperation of guests attempting to revive careers is
obvious. At the same time, the audience is trying just as.
hard to salvage a good time, and the interview ends
abruptly with the feeling that they might just as well have
been talking about the weather.
The show lacks a sense of coherence and direction, with
Wayans often appearing out of his depth during interview
segments.
Of course, this is not as apparent as it would be if they actu-
ally had'some well-known names - perhaps there is method
in the madness after all.
As an attempt to diversify the content and racial mix of.
guests on late-night talk shows it is certainly worthwhile, and
Wayans will probably improve his technique with time. If
anyone can actually stay awake through the entire hour-long
episodes to find out then, please, let me know.

wack.
With some notable exceptions, the
songs of "Da Dirty 30" are extremely
high in quality. CRU's debut is definite-
ly one of the better rap albums to be
released this year, and by taking a
chance on some unlikely combinations,
has set itself up for longevity in the rap
game.
Anyone who is either a real hip-hop
fan or a fan of real hip-hop absolutely
has to have this album in their collec-
tion.
-JuQuan Williams
Tanya Donnely
Lovesongs For Underdogs
Reprise/Time Warner
Tanya Donnely, Ms. All-Around
Thang, co-founder of Throwing Muses,
member of The Breeders, front-woman
of Belly, has just released her
debut solo effort,
q "Lovesongs For
Underdogs."
It seems hard to
find any difference
between this solo
release and her last
band, Belly, but does it
really matter?
Her music is pretty
yummy regardless of any
obvious similarities to past musical
ventures. Femme .Donnely's candy
vocals and sweet melodies juxtaposed
with disgruntled, forlorn lyrics paint an
ear-opening picture.
Tanya's aptly titled, "Lovesongs For
Underdogs,' is a collection of just that
- love songs or lack-of-love songs.
Many of the songs address the depress-
ing let-downs and feelings of abandon-
ment involved with love.
Songs like "Bum" and "Landspeed
Song" are obviously about misad-
ventures with romance. The first sin-
gle, "Pretty Deep," off "Lovesongs
For Underdogs" is a perky alterna-
pop tidbit that strums and thrums
along regardless of its lyrical discov-
eries.
"The Bright Light" takes off with
more up-tempo beats and soprano mus-
ings over confusion and tough love.
Tanya's warbling proves moving when
in tandem with switchbacks between
electric and acoustic guitars.
"Landspeed Song" deals with frus-
tration over lack of reciprocation in
relationships: "I've sunk a lot into this
venture / I expect returns / I've suf-
fered all the slings and arrows / I
know where it hurts." This track starts
off dischordant and slow but readily
flings into a rousing melodic car ride

in which the engine runs on passion,
not gasoline, and the rest-stops smell
like roses. Keep me on this hypothet-
ical highway as far as I'm concerned.
"Swoon" gracefully skips through
flowery fields of cellos, violas and
airy guitars. The atmosphere is sultry
and savory inside this concluding
song.
At this point, one begins to wonJ<
what has been going on in Tany .
life. Nearly every song on
"Lovesongs For Underdogs" confess-
es feelings of misguidance or igno-
rance of the truth in some manner.
Tanya, what have you been doing?
Either all these songs don't evolve out
of her own personal experience or
Tanya's been hit by the "unlucky"
stick one too many times.
Overall, this album consistently gen-
erates bittersweet flavors in your mu@
cal mouth, but a few songs lack the
integrity to maintain this motif by rely-
ing on mediocre guitars and basic drum
patterns.
"Breathe Around You" and "Bum%'
are forced to plea "guilty" to this
charge. "Clipped" borrows a classic
surf rock riff, but the tune saves itself by
quickly sailing off into a pink sunset of
Tanya's woes.
"Lovesongs For Underdogs" satisfO
and spins yarns that swoon and swell
around swirling spells of velvetymel-
lowness. If you liked Belly, you'll like
"Lovesongs For Underdogs" as.well,
but get out the tissues, cognac andathose
old love letters you thought you'dnever
read again.
- Chris Felax
Northern Exposure
Various Artists
Ultra
If you're heavily sedated and, have
nothing to do this Saturday night, have
I got an album for you! Sasha and John
Digweed, a DJ duo from the UK, ofte
DJs for NYC club Twilo's, haveteamed
up to form a groovy sound to make you
move, but instead, you'll fall right to
sleep.
Perhaps it's the fact that you've
never heard of the groups they sam-
ple, like William Orbit, Fuzzy Logic
or Banco De Gaia. Or maybejt's just
that the two have taken so .much
Ecstacy that they don't notice their
re-mixed ambient tunes sound mor
like the jingles of a dime-store ra
stick.
If you want that Twilo's sound,; go
back to New York. You won't have a
dance club in your room with this in
your stereo.
- Stephanie JoKlein

11

Tanya Donelly

Wednesday, October 1
3:00pm, Eldersveld Room
Department of Political Science
5638 Haen Hall

You are invited to meet with a program
representative. Please stop by to discuss
the program and opportunities in Washington,
pick up an application and brochure.
Refreshments will be provided.

m

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