8 The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, February 10, 1998
6 Welcome to Breaking Records, a weekly collection of reviews of the music
stry's new releases. Look forBreaking Records everv Tuesday in Daily Arts.
IHA ' S SOLO DEBUT IS NO SMASH
eke Adam Sandler, a rap
dma, and a bunch of'80s icon,
tdthem up. What do you get?
s dtrack to Sandier's new m+
F Wedding Singer.
-4ie movie takes place in 1985
the-music contained within it is m
early '80s new wave. This collecti
reshing, though, because it's nc
old '80s songs you hear or
ifs flashback hour.
pon throwing the disc into
The While listeni
Wedding the Psyche
Singer Furs, I thin
Maverick putting those
Reviewed by chute pants
Daily Arts Writer on. As Billy
Colin Bartos tells us whata
day it is f
shy old tune
The saying goes that one should never judge a
book by its cover, and I agree. But the adage does-
n't say anything about CDs.
And in fact, a close look at the cover of James
Iha's "Let It Come Down" reveals a great deal
about the artist and the album.
First, it features a photo of lha standing alone,
which is appropriate, as this is the first solo album
from the Smashing Pumpkins lead guitarist. More
important, he's looking not at the camera but
down, his long, ragged mane of dark hair obscur-
ing his face. The pose seems calculated to portray
Iha as sensitive, thoughtful and introspective -
an image reinforced on the album by his lovestruck
lyrics and soft, high vocals.
The border of the photograph is a bright canary
yellow, the simple scheme and sunny color coin-
ciding with the songs' straightforward pop sound.
The hue also creates a vaguely retro feel,
reminscent of '70s icons like Big Bird and the
Thompson Twins. This is when music was
fun, when MTV actually played videos!
Besides all this '80s madness, you get
a silly new Adam Sandler song and
Ellen Dow, the old lady from the movie,
joining the Sugarhill Gang for their hip-
hop classic "Rapper's Delight." Plus, the
Presidents of the United States of
America do a cover of the Buggies'
"Video Killed The Radio Star," and it's
the first time PUSA hasn't sucked.
Although you probably won't ask any-
one to sing these treasures at your wed-
ding, you can sing along anytime. So
grab your Pogo Ball and get hoppin' and
pick up this great collection. You're not
getting any younger without it.
I'm looking for the girl in my class with
the big hair and the leg warmers. Is it all
coming back to you?
Listen to the Police and the Smiths.
You'll be searching for your dog collar,
sleeveless t-shirt and blue-colored hair
$pray. Culture Club, David Bowie, the
Let It Come Down
Daily Arts Writer
Similarly, the music faint-
ly echoes that decade's
slightly syrupy singer-song-
writers like Cat Stevens and
James Taylor. And to be hon-
est, there's not much more to
the album than that.
Musically, though Iha and
producer Jim Scott augment
the simple melodies with
flourishes of horns, strings,
organ and even steel guitar,
the songs are almost uni-
he tells us that "love
is a falling star" and
in "Winter," states
that "love will carry
me over land and
In recent months,
rumors have circulat-
ed that Iha's album
would have a distinct
since he is quick to
admit his admiration
for country-rock fore-
fathers like Neil
Young and Gram
Parsons. The pres-
ence of producer
Scott (whose resume
includes work with
Tom Petty and
guitarist Greg Leisz
and electric guitarist
Neal Casal seemed to
suggest the same.
But the closest Iha
comes to sounding
like his heroes is an
resemblance to late- '80s Eagles.
It is difficult to imagine "Let It Come Down"
achieving much commercial success. There are no
instantly memorable singles here that might latch
onto MTV or top 40 radio for any extended period
And while lha's management and record label
is banking on his Pumpkins connections, fans of
that band won't find any of their usual heavy, dis-
torted electric riffs here.
The market for this album is pop fans, but they
formly bland. The sound is inoffensive but ulti-
The lyrics are similarly mediocre, veering occa-
sionally into melodrama. Like most frustrated
poets, Iha falls back on predictable topics and
cliched imagery. "The sound of love is oceans far
away," he sings on "Sound of Love"; in "Jealousy"
can certainly find similar-sounding but immeasur-
ably better fare from the likes of Freedy Johnston,
Matthew Sweet, and even Iha's pal (and Scratoi.
Records co-founder) Adam Schlesinger, wio
guests on piano and bass but is better known for
his bands, Ivy and Fountains of Wayne.
in all, Iha's first solo effort is hard to get excit
ed about, whether positively or negatively. "Let It
Come Down" is far from great but won't be among
the worst things you hear all year - it's just very;
'Live' gives good Face
Sure, a live album sounds like some-
Thing that Aerosmith might do, but that
didn't stop Face to Face from finally
Tecording one of their own. It should-
n't stop all you punks out there from
buying it, either.
The idea for a Face to Face live record
is one of the better things to come along
since sliced bread. Through the band's
seven long years of existence, Face to
Face has proved itself an incredible
band not only on record, but also
through steady touring and incredibly
powerful live shows. This record was
put on tape at two such performances in
J.A1 at the Roxy - both were shows
$olol out, and both held on the same
The album is true to its name - the
live sound is perfect. If any over-dub-
bing was done in post-production, it's
Funkdoobiest's third CD proves far from troubled
Face to Face
Daily Arts Writer
not evident on
the final product.
The way it was
played is the way
you hear it, and
as is the case
with most Face
to Face shows,
the way it was
Unlike many live
Song selection on the disc ranges in
vintage from the first record, "Don't
Turn Away," to the band's most recent,
self-titled long-player and a couple of
unreleased tracks as well.
Songs like "Pastel," "I Want" and
"You've Done Nothing" will keep
old-school fans happy, just as the
inclusion of last year's minor radio
hit "I Won't Lie Down" will catch
the attention of newer fans.
Technitcally, none of the material is
new, although one song, "Not For
Free," has only been released once
before, on a limited-edition picture
disc, and is almost never played
live. Also included on the record is
a competent cover of "Telling
Them," as a tribute to punk godfa-
thers Social Distortion.
The band is releasing this record in
anticipation of their upcoming tour
with The Reverend Horton Heat,
which kicks off in late March. What
better way to hype your live act than
to put out a great live record? "Live"
is all the proof you need to tell you
that your punk rock dollars are being
put to good use when you're at the
show, be it on your stereo or at the
The Latin/Puerto Rican culture has always been an
integral part of hip-hop music, but lately there has been
a renaissance of quality material courtesy of artists like
Cypress Hill, The Beatnuts and Hurricane G. Not to bie
left out, Buzztone/RCA's Funkdoobiest returns with
"Troubleshooters." Unlike Funkdoobiest's previous
two albums, Son Doobie and DJ Ralph M. play up the
band members' Puerto Rican heritage to the fullest.
They've dropped their "Pornstar" image, and in rein-
venting themselves, they may have secured a future in
"Troubleshooters" is pure hip-hop. Son's brash, off-
beat style of rapping forms a strange unison with Ralph's
stripped-down production. It's a little disorienting, but is
fun to listen to, nonetheless. The radio-friendly
"Anthem" is a treat for those who like rappers who per-
form their rhymes over classic songs (a la Puffy), but
songs like the barebones "Oy6 Papi" appeal to the fans
of hardcore B-boy music.
Those new to Funkdoobiest or Latin rap may find
Son's instantaneous switching between Spanish and
English hard to understand, but Son's context is always
clear, regardless of the language. There are also quality
guest stars peppered through the album, like Daz
Dillinger on the salsa-styled
"Papi Chulo," Kam on "Jam On
It" remake "Act On It," and
7** Hurricane G. on the haunting
Funkdoobiest "Doobie Knows," along with the
trademark sounds of superpro-
Troubleshooter ducers Ski and the Beatminers.
Buzztone/RCA But the useless interludes
aren't. Out of the five interludes
Reviewed by that were interjected, only the
Juauan Witeams freestyle rap in "Alley" is worth
listening to. But these really don't
detract that much from the album.
Funkdoobiest has rebounded very nicely from their
dismal sophomore album and is showing signs of liv-
ing up to the potential they showed on its noteworthy
debut. In fact, "Troubleshooters" may yet become one
of the definitive albums in the Latin hip-hop canon.
Rainmstein CD delivers anti-Valentine
hear everything that's important, from
the subtlest bass fill, to the incessant
chanting of the crowd and a couple of
mistakes, too. There aren't many,
'The main problem with the disc is
Trever Keith's voice. He's never been
the most polished singer in the world,
and it shows through on the record a
few times, which gets to be annoying.
I guess that proves how "live" record
really is. After all, this is punk rock -
you should expect a less that operatic
They're German. East German. Their singer was an
Olympic swimmer. They've been
on the soundtracks to "Lost
Highway" and "Mortal Kombat.",,
They are Rammstein. Be moderate- C*
ly on guard.
It's weird listening to a band that Rammstein
sings in a language you don't Sehnsucht
The vocals are more clearly a slash
musical element because they liter- Reviewed by
ally represent little or nothing to Daily Arts Writer
you. Ted Watts
Till Lindemann has interesting
pipes; sort of a mix between the singers of Megadeth,
Type 0 Negative and Pantera.
The music is similarly mixed, but with added ele-
ments of industrial electronic music. The spooky key-
boards on "Tier" are especially cool, but all sorts of lit-
tle flourishes grace the tunes.
Synthetic whistling effects, the tinny ring of a key-
board; it's all there.
Strangely, Rammstein's tracks are supposedly love
That's not really the feeling you get from the t
English tracks on "Sehnsucht." "Du Hasst" means "you
hate" and is at best an anti-love song.
And "Engel" seems to be about going to Hell.
Anyway, the music is interesting, especially the key-
boards, but it can get on your nerves. Well, they've
already been the number one band in Germany. If you
think that's cool, try them on.
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