8 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, April 7, 1998
WEILAND'S '12' SUFFERS POST-GRUNGE BLUES
survive with 'Battle'
Since the release of Stone Temple Pilots' lacklus-
ter "Tiny Music ... Songs From the Vatican Gift
Shop" two years ago, lead singer Scott Weiland has
had a full plate of things to do in life - kick a hero-
in habit, divorce a wife, watch fellow STP members
play in the horrid band Talk Show and finally,
record a solo album.
With his solo debut "12 Bar Blues," Weiland
deserves a little credit in pulling out all the stops and
answering to no one, breaking free from the stigmat-
ic grunge label that plagued STP in the form of heavy
criticism. Drastically cutting any ties to STP, "Blues"
is very experimental, blending various forms of rock,
pop, blues and dance. Weiland mixes guitar, drums,
accordion, piano, xylophone and the ever-present
bouncing beat box to find an enclave of different
sounds with each new song.
In all this experimentation,
however, Weiland strikes out
- "Blues" is plain boring.
Scott Weiland Each new track goes into
12 Bar Blues something beginning with
some intriguing beat or
Atlantic whimsical piano that ends up
Reviewed by to be nothing but Weiland
Daily Arts Writer warbling in his lethargic,
Chris Cousino raspy voice.
Outside influences are
abundant on this album as Weiland's vocal style is
much too reminiscent of David Bowie in the early
'8Os. Weiland also borrows from the likes of the
Beatles, Elvis Costello and Beck, among others.
If Weiland fans aren't already sick from "Trippin
on a Hole in a Paper Heart," they will surely be very
wearied and junkied after listening to the numerous
songs on "Blues" that deal with depression and
addiction. In the first single, Weiland moans to
"Barbarella," asking "Come save me from my mis-
ery/ Can't you see it's a disease." "Divider" then
talks about "A junkie, he ain't shit/ Somne of them
get famous/ But most of them just get it."
Well, listeners, get this. Most of the songs are just
chunks of sound thrown together, producing some
bothersome noise. Different music styles are tra-
versed in single songs, yet they don't fuse together
well. There is, however, one really fantastic song,
"Where's the Man," which exists along the same
lines of STP's "Pretty Penny" and "Creep."
"Man" opens with a fade in and quick fade out of
the blues guitar strumming. An acoustic guitar, a
wood block and a violin set up a dark, dreary facade
as Weiland's uncharacteristically smooth, pained
voice portrays a passionate character for the scene.
The slow drums provide a solid constant as the gui-
tars explode along with piano and synthesizers.
With a great song like "Man," it is a disappoint-
ment that songs like "Cool Kiss" and "Jimmy Was
a Stimulator" even were recorded. These place
together very noisy guitars, the beatbox and key-
boards while Weiland wails away his pointless
words. "Desperation #5" is almost laughable, open-
ing with a beat similar to Tone Loc's "Wild Thing."
Another wild track, "Lady, Your Roof Brings Me
Down," includes a piano, an accordion and a violin
playing a melodic waltz. "Lady," also on the "Great
Expectations" soundtrack, is a one of the strange
experiments that actually works, mixing a guitar-
driven melody and Weiland's straining vocal range
with the tight, sexy waltz.
The interesting waltz of "Lady" and the powerful
"Man" will not hold the album up from sinking into
the "Blues" of used CD bins. If Weiland could just
find the spark he has on such great STP hits as
"Creep" and "Big Empty" he may create a solid
album. Even "Man" has this spark as he sings, "I'll
tell you what you wanna ear." What you wanna hear
- well Scott, not your album, that is for sure.
When I was out in Los Angeles a
couple of months ago, I picked up a
punk-zine that listed things that they
wished would disappear. One of those
things was the Suicide Machines.
They're just jealous 'cause a band
from Detroit does this punk-ska thing
better than most of their precious
Southern California counterparts.
On "Battle Hymns," the Detroit
quartet's second major-label album,
the band takes what it has been doing
for years and upps it a level for one
of the most intense offerings released
so far this year. The Suicide
Machines don't break any new
ground here, lots of bands combine
ska rhythms and punk tempos, but
these musicians do it better than
most. There's no annoying horns
here, either; this is pure ska-core in
the vein of Operation Ivy.
"Battle Hymns" has a much more
live feel than the band's previous
r e l e a s e,
** "Destruction By
Suicide Definition." The
songs are sharp
Machines and jagged, but
Battle Hymns many of the
Hollywood album's tracks
Reviewed by are actually pop-
Dailyits wier pier than any-
Culin tantos thing on
With 22 songs clocking in at 31 min-
utes, you could guess that the
Machines have two speeds: Hyper
and warp. Although the tempos of the
songs don't vary much, you won't
catch twotracks that sound at all the
same. Pop-ska flavored tracks butt
heads with hardcore rants to give
"Battle Hymns" a very diverse feel.
The Suicide Machines are ab<
more than mere musical intens
though. Vocalist Jay Navarr
focused lyrical tirades touch on ma
important topics on "Battle Hymnr
"Confused" and "Step One" tac
the destructiveness and hypocri1
war. "Black And White World" a
"Hating Hate" condemn racism.
"High Society" and "Strike" do
mert the tragedy of the separat
between the different sociocconot
strata of society. "In The End" ce
brates being different, emphasiz
"when you're on the outside look
it, it's all just fashion in the ee
Pretty deep subject matter for a "t
ical punk band," huh?
"Destruction By Definition"
no slouch by industry standards
"Battle Hymns seems poised
even greater success. Detroit's0
has raised its flag and planted it fit
No matter what they say,
California, people should be pr(
to stand behind a band like
Suicide Machines, who means w
it says and makes you feel it.
Goodie Mob is 'Still Standing' with second CD
First Cappadonna, then Gangstarr and Cocoa
Brovas. Next will be AZ and Public Enemy, and
eventually Canibus, and A Tribe Called Quest. 'Tis
the season for high-profile Rap albums.
Now that the snow is thawing out, record labels
want to be the first to get their artists played inside
your newly waxed car.
LaFace Records is no exception, throwing Goodie
Mob's hat inside the ring. The big question is if Cee-
Lo, Khujo, Big Gipp, and T-Mo can swim with the
big fish with their "Still
Standing" sophomore album.
Unlike a lot of rappers in
* this industry, Goodie Mob has
Goodie Mob only slightly changed its
image: Now they are all older
Still Standing and wiser than in their social-
ly and politically charged
Reviewed by In other words, it's the same
DuailAms group, but the messages are
even deeper and sharper than
The best example of this is the flagship song of the
album "They Don't Dance No Mo" which delivers a
double-edged blow over a slow, bouncy Organized
On one hand, the song speaks out against people
who go to clubs and parties yet do everything but
dance to the music. It also says loudly that "Mr.
Bojangles" is tired of dancing, making a fool out of
himself to impress an unappreciative audience. This
is vintage Goodie Mob.
The strong messages continue through the album,
from "Beautiful Skin," which tributes the black
woman, to "Fly Away" which tells those who don't
like Goodie Mob's style or message exactly where
they can go.
They pick up the roles they had from last time:
Khujo is once again the old man, spitting razor-
sharp wisdom without a care for who he insults in
the process; T-Mo is once again the loud revolu-
tionary, forcing you to step back and look at the big
picture; Big Gipp is once again the street hustler,
bringing the pain of life in the Dirty South to a per-
sonal level; and Cee-Lo is once again the sancti-
fied preacher, bringing fire and brimstone to the
They are also blessed by the presence of their
label mates Outkast on the slick "Black Ice," and
by fellow Atl.-ian Witchdoctor in "Ghetto-
Along with Craig Love and superproducer D3
Muggs, Organized Noize returns to provide more
cutting-edge music for the Mob to rap over, like on
the gritty "The Dam" and on "Just About Over,"
which is a guitar-loaded voyage into the uncharted
waters of alternative music.
Each Organized Noize track fits the theme and
mood of the Mob's subjects perfectly. With "Still
Standing," LaFace will definitely hold its own with
the heavyweights, and may even knock a few of them
out of the box.
** - Excellent
No stars - Don't Bother
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