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December 01, 1998 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-12-01

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8- The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, December 1, 1998

Aft

Hard-core covers rock

SEMI-PRECIOUS JEWEL

"If I could tell the world just one thing,"
croons Jewel in the opening strains of her latest
single, "Hands," "it would be, we're all O.K."
Though not exactly profound, Jewel's senti-
ments here, and on the rest of "Spirit," are sweet
and much appreciated, as if she's the sunny little
blond girl down the block who skips in and out
of your life.
And Alaska's own multi-media, multi-plat-
inum little blond girl has avoided the sophomore
slump in a big way on "Spirit," not really a
tremendous feat since her
debut "Pieces of You," was a
bit of a loose, meandering,
yodeling slump of its own.
Jewel The amateurish feel of
Spirit Jewel's breakthrough, evi-
Atlantic Records dent in the fact that all three
of her previous singles
Reviewed by required re-recording for
Daily Arts Writer commercial release, is
Bryan Lark remedied here, recruiting
longtime Madonna collabo-
rator Patrick Leonard to handle production
duties.
With Leonard's old pop hand, Jewel's folky
blend of social criticism and sappy love poems
becomes tighter and more appealing, with hum-
mable lyrics matched by impossibly gorgeous
arrangements.
The match comes off as a lite version of Tracy
Chapman or Cowboy Junkies, with more than a

ing riff from Tom Petty's "Mary Jane's Last
Dance;" the album-opening "Deep Water," a
grand ode to survival; "Absence of Fear," a frag-
ile orchestral number; and "What's Simple is
True," whose simple beauty is rooted in its "I
love you" chorus.
Most of the album is similarly listenable and
enjoyable and only suffers when Jewel attempts
to pass off oversimplified observations ("Your
hopes in the sky, but your heart like grape gum
on the ground" from "Deep Water") and oft-
used allusions (Romeo and Ophelia) as profun-
dity, even accidentally repeating "fragile flame"
in three songs.
Jewel's lyrics are strongest when cleverly bal-
ancing contemporary cultural observations with
the love songs that are her trademark: "I got a
plastic Jesus, a cordless telephone for every cor-
ner of my room, got everybody but you," from
"Down So Long," or the interesting thought of
"Hitler loved little blue-eyed boys and it drove
him to hate" from "Innocence Maintained."
Despite its smooth production and clever
lyrics, the album is most affecting when return-
ing to the acoustic improvisation that largely
failed on "Pieces of You," for the bonus track
"This Little Bird," which teams Jewel with her
mother, for a lovely little lullaby.
Still, Jewel's entire "Spirit" possesses the
power to lull listeners into a state of awed appre-
ciation. Her hands may be small, I know, but
they pack a mighty pop-folk wallop.

Aside from the rebellious tendencies
that have flooded through a decade of
Metallica's music, the band still has
respect for its rock 'n' roll elders.
On "Garage Inc.," these masters of
metal cover songs by bands that have
been inspirational on its way to the top.
Fans that have followed the band since
its early years are accustomed to
Metallica's wrenching sound and earth-
shaking beats. But on disc one of the
double album, Metallica experiments
with a sometimes
softer and some-
times grittier, but
on the whole
Garage Inc. unfamiliar sound.
Metallica The band particu-
Elecuric Records larly exercises its
right to musical
Reviewed by diversity while
Daily Arts Writer covenng tracks by
Jewel Gopwani Thin Lizzy and
Bob Segar. The
most notable song
on disc one is Metallica's version of
"Loverman," by Nick Cave and the Bad
Seeds. While sounding somewhat like
Cave, Metallica's lead singer James
Hetfield manages to sound a little like
Barry White on the song's interlude.
Disc two should be a little more famil-
iar to fans who frequent Metallica shows.
Starting off with the fierce beats of
"Helpless" by Europe's Diamond Head,
Metallica enforces its trademark sound

0*

bit of "Like A Prayer"-era Madonna spunk
thrown in for good measure.
Jewel and Leonard's pop-folk formula is
applied best on "Hands," co-written by Leonard
and a catchy ballad that has something to do
with self-esteem and God, which is irrelevant
since "Hands" is just a damn good pop song. Go
ahead, listen - try to get that chorus out of your
head.
In fact, "Spirit" is rife with great pop ditties
and potential singles: the uncharacteristically
rockin' "Down So Long," which cribs its open-

that hard-core fans could spot a mile
away.
Metallica continues the audial assault
with songs from the Misfits and Killing
Joke. Covering Queen's Stone Cold
Crazy, Metallica unleashes an attack for
only the most skilled headbangers.
The band finished it all off with four
songs in reverence Motorhead.
Originally released on the band's "Hero
of the Day's" UK single, Metallica
shakes up its sound again in homage to '
the metal militia of yesteryear.
Metallica has never went wrong any of
its albums. On "Garage Days Inc.,"
Metallica runs the rock 'n' roll gamut,
presenting a new sound on some old
songs and offering classic covers that old
and new fans will definitely enjoy.
"Garage Inc.," is another good move by a
band that gives metal a good name.

Tribute
CD only
sutffices
The year was 1989. Hip-hop was in
the middle of its biggest renaissance,
with new artists emerging left and right
who would further the culture and
become rap music legends.
This was the year of the militancy of
Public Enemy, the introspection of De la
Sol, the shameless humor of The Fresh
Prince, the battling of MC Lyte and
EPMD, and the dancing of MC Hammer
and Kid-n-Play.
The hip-hop world - and the world
in, general - wasn't ready for a group
out of Compton, Calif., to release what

A Day for Honey finds the perfect mix

N.WA
Straight Outta
uthless ty
Reods
Reviewed by
Daily Arts Writer
Quan Williams

would go on to
become one of the
most influential
albums in music
history. By
putting the sex,
violence, drugs
and profanity of
the harsh Los
Angeles streets in
its music, the men
known as N.WA.

upon the original material. WC keeps up
syllable-for-syllable with MC Ren's
original flow on "If it ain't Ruff," and
both Mr. Mike and Mack 10 do their best
Ice Cube impersonations over souped-
up beats on "I ain't the one" and
"Dopeman." Big Pun, Fat Joe and the
Terror Squad represent the East Coast,
taking turns redoing Ren's "Quiet on the
Set." Jayo Felony makes Eazy-E's "8
Ball" sound better than it actually was,
and the song makes Jayo sound better
than he actually is.
The two best remakes of this West
Coast classic both come surprisingly
from the South. New No-Limit Soldier
Snoop Dogg tag-teams with C Murder to
make a mind-blowing "Gangsta,
Gangsta," while Silkk the Shocker
amazes with his new-and-improved ver-
sion of "Express Yourself." Ant Banks's
performance on "Something Like That"
is also memorable.
As memorable as all of those songs
are, the others are not so. "Parental
Discretion" is just a rehash of the origi-
nal with nothing new, and Bone's "Fuck
tha Police" is as boring now as it was
when they released it a year ago. The
worst one is the uninspired remake of
"Straight Outta Compton." It features
Dre'sta, who happens to be one of the
wackiest rappers on the face of the
Earth, even when he's rapping someone
else's lyrics.
"Straight Outta Compton" was truly a
milestone album, which had the heaviest
influence on today's music. This tribute
album serves to cement the album's, as
well as the group's place in music histo-
ry. If you don't have the original, then
the tribute will more than suffice.

Music fans wondering what "Melon Collie"-era
Smashing Pumpkins collaborating with Helmet
would sound like have had their prayers answered
with A Day For Honey's self-titled debut.
Mixing equal parts of Smashing Pumpkin's
ethereal songmanship with Helmet's no-frills
riffage, A Day For Honey
have found an uneasy peace
treaty between the two
S * ** through its music.
A Day for Lead singer Tracy Jorg
Honey manages to pull through
A Day for Honey effortlessly across the varying
styles of songs, from the
TVT/Building upbeat head-crusher
Revew "Laserblast," to the tender and
Daily Arts Writer atmospheric "Cinder."
Adlin Rosli Her vocals come through
crystal clear in providing
catchy vocal lines to complement guitarists Frank
Michael and Ed Chiappa's sometime brutal and
other times eerily melodic guitar riffs.
The rhythm section, consisting of Larry
Gorman on drums and Anthony D'aiuto on bass,
also manage to hold its end of the proceedings in

are only two of many songs on the release that
simply grabs the listener's attention.
The lyrical angle for many of the songs on its
record deals with questions of faith and self intro-
spection.
As Jorg sings on "U.F.O Wreck," "Inside your
world of worry, you'll find the shadows of your
truth. Inside your world of worry, you'll find your
faith" and on "Godless" where she sings about
"Candy coated truths you cling to fade, like the
child that died inside without a trace."
The album's production was handled by
renowned New York hardcore producer, Don Fury.
Fury managed bring out the same sort of energy
out of A Day For Honey for this album that he did
with Quicksand on its "Manic Compression"
album.
Whether the music market is susceptible for A
Day For Honey, however, remains to be seen as it
competes with a host of other angry girl fronted
acts out today.
In an industry full of Alanis and Courtney fol-
lowers, it is pleasant to find a girl-fronted band
such as A Day For Honey that provides such a
pleasant mix of aggression and tenderness.

an impressive manner.
With its debut, A Day For Honey shows it is not
afraid to go with a heavy chugging riff or a com-
pletely laid back melodic part for its songs.
The aforementioned "Laserblast" and "Cinder"

Macott's ,Poetry' spurs electric emotions

changed music forever. Without N.W.A.,
artists may not have gained the freedom
to beso up front about controversial sub-
jeci.: There would be no Ice Cube,
Tupac or Notorious B.I.G. Dr. Dre would
never have formed Death Row records.
Southern rappers such as the Geto Boys
andi No-Limit would never have gained
mainstream appeal. In truth, the majori-
ty of rappers in the music industry owe
their careers to N.W.A.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of
that landmark album, Ruthless Records
has gathered some of rap's most promi-
nent names to do covers of the songs on
"Sfiaight out of Compton"the landmark
albumii that changed music forever.
It, is a great effort on almost every-
body's part to do justice to the originals,
and many of the remakes even improve

Electric poetry, indeed.
Listening to Mascott is similar to
cranking an old, wind-up jewelry box
and lifting its lid.
Like the soft, airy songs that slip out
of those miniature treasure chests,
Mascott's debut "Electric Poems" is a

Mascott
Electric Poems
Le Grand Magistery
Reviewed by
Daily Arts Writer
Jimmy Draper
And while such
and cliched (how

collection of lilt-
ing pop lullabies.
Only slightly
longer than 15
minutes, the five
emotional post-
cards that make
up the "Electric
Poems" EP are
portraits of love
and love-gone-
awry.
topics are overdone
many radio singles

the titles?), they also make for the best
songs when done with enough care - as
they are here.
A one-woman show run by Kendall
Meade, Mascott is the moniker for the
Michigan native (now of Brooklyn,
N.Y.) and her musician buddies who
sometimes provide additional accompa-
niment.
Though also known as a touring mem-
ber of the indie giants Helium and the
Spinanes, Meade doesn't embrace the
former's space gazing or the latter's get-
down-and-dirty rock.
Nor is Mascott's sound similar to
Meade's previous band, the bop-and-pop
outfit Juicy, with its spoken-sung vocals
and peppy beats.
Instead, Mascott's predominant organs
create a lush, soothing sound. She adept-
ly incorporates everything from toy kid-
die keyboards to flutes, giving the songs

a rich, musical texture to accentuate the
downcast lyrics. Meade never exagger-
ates the melancholy with her vocals
though, allowing sadness to subtly creep
through the cracks on songs like "Baby,
Go Away."
With its tragic fairy tale feel -
drowned loves, dead end Romeos - the
album is storytelling at its romantic best.
She may sound optimistic on the
opening track ("My eyes are ready to
grow wide"), but it's clear early on that
all the songs don't live quite so happily
ever after.
The narrator in "Waiting Awhile"
takes a guy for granted until he rescues
he'r - drowning to do so. In "Sundown,"
she laments what could have been: "I
hoped something bigger would come out
of us.".
Some people may not appreciate the
album's slow pace - there are no big

beats for the movers and shakers - and
initially the music may sound so light
that it could float, unnoticed, right by the
listener. But for an album that could hav
ended up as cry-me-a-river whinin,,
Meade has recorded an E.P. that is
refreshingly beautiful and, yes, poetic.

have the words "I," "love" and "you" in

Mimicry sets Therion
back on sophomore CD

Tupac legacy survives on 'Hits'

x
K_

Therion's new release "Vovin" is
by far one of the most eclectic
releases this year.
Imagine, if you will, opera singers
harmonizing together, lush string
instrumentation and a melodic heavy
metal band providing the rest, and
you will get a
rough picture of
* what this release
is all about.
Therlon The mix of the
Vovin two worlds may
Nuclear Blast seem like a
Records cheesy premise
Reviewed by on the surface,
!aily Arts Writer but the results

with him a spiritual agenda through
his music to find "knowledge and the
balance of life." How this will trans-
late with the post-grunge music
masses revering mediocre bands
such as Creed and Matchbox 20 is
questionable, but those looking for
something more adventurous will
not be disappointed with "Vovin."
A host of guest musicians were
roped in for the making of this record.
Guests include members of Grip
Inc., Cradle of Filth, the Wupperthal
Opera House Choir and the Indigo
Orchestra.
The scope of musicians involved
here is massive and so is the lyrical

Tupac is one of the most recognizable names in hip-
hop.
The name is associated with a "Thug Life" philosophy
that many inner-city youth live by, as well as the much-
publicized war with the late Notorious B.I.G.
Unfortunately, Tupac has become more famous (or
infamous) for his image and untimely death than for his
music.
Death Row records is attempting to rectify that with a
new "Greatest Hits" album.
As well-known as the late Tupac Shakur is around the
entertainment world, there are many who still don't know
the full scope of his career.
To some, he was merely a thug who preached ultravio-
lence and misogyny. To others, he
was a radical, who talked of revolu-
tion while uplifting the black
woman.
2Pac Many of these contradicting mes-
Greatest Hits sages may never be reconciled. But
Death Row/ if they are collected on one album,
Intercooe ..np -_ -- - - - - -r o Stncn ;

"Vovin," however, too many of the
songs vocal melodies seem to merely
mimic that of the guitars. It would
have seemed that the group would
not have any problems in deriving
counter melodies to complement the
guitars, but the vocals guitar mimic-
ry persists too often on the record.
This single flaw is difficult to over-
look as the vocals are always the

alm"a

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