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November 03, 1998 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-11-03

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8 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, November 3, 1998

STILL LOOKING TO ROCK

Carter's not 'Alright'

The Cincinnati-based Afghan Whigs fifth full-
length record, "1965," is yet another sophisticated
offering of neo-noir, groove-heavy theatrics from a
group that for the past five years has been seeming-
ly primed for that big time crossover into commer-
cial superstardom.
Led by funk soul brother No. 1, Greg Dulli, the
Afghan Whigs have successfully churned out
moody, engaging and confessional albums that,
while not immediately grati-
fying, consume the listener
into the scarred world of
Dulli's masochistic and self-
Afghan Whip loathing psyche.
But what has always dis-
1965 tanced the band from the likes
Columbia Records of alterna-trash like Live and,
Reviewed by most recently, the Smashing
Daily Arts Writer Pumpkins, is its uncanny abil-
Lucas Rakocija ity to fuse the love of
Motown, punk, New Wave
and straight up rock 'n'roll into an entirely separate
and original sounding work. In fact, it has always
been difficult to pinpoint a specific band that
sounds like the Afghan Whigs.
Unlike 1993's brilliant "Gentlemen" and its last
album, the dark and murky "Black Love," the
Afghan Whigs have created, with "1965," a more
upbeat and accessible record - perhaps position-
ing themselves for that big arena-rock future that
many critics feel has alluded them. While the
results are not as overwhelming as its previous
work, the new record proves to be undoubtedly sat-
isfying. From the intimate whisper of the opening

enjoy.
While the group's earlier recordings dealt with the
more self-destructive tendencies of Dulli's lover-man
persona, this record is all sex. The track "John the
Baptist" finds the group finally reaching that devil-
ish and soulful R&B hook that has always influenced
its record collection but not necessarily its sound. In
this song, Dulli declares "Baby doesn't want just
anything, she wants everything" and "I got the devil
in me, girl" - all the while backed up by a funked-
up array of horns, strings and R&B singers.
The album's best track, "Uptown Again' finds
Dulli addressing a scomed lover with alarming
honesty ("Baby, you cry too much, I'm tired of the
sound"), while "Neglekted" bookends the theme of
the entire record in one memorable line: "You can
fuck my body, baby, but don't fuck my mind." Not
bad for a white guy who can name-check rapper
Nas and still come off as sounding legit. The radio-
friendly "66" finds Dulli at his most sensually sug-
gestive ("Come on, come on little rabbit, show me
where you got it cuz I know you got a habit") and
the music finds the group invoking the ambient,
sonic semblance of late-era U2.
Libidos, bad drugs, snotty Rave kids, voodoo-
chanting women - these are just a few of the top-
ics addressed in "1965." While it probably will not
deliver the members of The Afghan Whigs the
much-deserved and long overdue fame that has
been expected of them, it will assure fans of rock
'n' roll that their saviors have arrived.
In an era where something like electronic music
can be virtually hyped into the public conscience,
it's nice to know that someone still wants to rock.

Country music sweetheart and white
trash female heroine Deana Carter
returns with the follow-up to her multi
platinum debut "Did I Shave My Legs
for This?" Despite a couple of weak
song choices "Everything's Going to be
Alright" makes a bold statement.
The album opens with "You Still
Shake Me" a song that goes along with
Carter's familiar theme of not taking
crap from men. The opening words "I
ain't in love, I ain't your bud/I ain't your
little turtle dove,' while being somewhat
trite, are a far cry
from the days of
**** Tammy Wynette
Deana Carter when songs
preached to
Everythings Going women to stand by
to be Alright their drunken
Capitol Nashville men: Other tracks
Reviewed by like "Dickinson
Daily Arts Writer Country, "Never
curtis Zimamermann Comin' Down"
and "Make Up
Your Mind" just confirm this proud
female and serve to further emphasize
her personality in the music.
The album isn't all hard rock though.
Carter does offer a couple of mellower
tracks like "Michelangelo Sky" and the
first single " Absence of the Heart."
These are solid, well-written tracks that
remind everyone of the Deana Carter
from the first album, with just enough of
a different sound to keep things interest-

track and first single, "Somethin' Hot," Dulli
croons "I wanna get you high/ I wanna get next to
you" - therefore reintroducing the listener to the
most prominent topic within his lyrical repertoire:
sex.
Backed by the most musically capable band in
"alternative" rock, Dulli helps produce a record that
best transcribes the atmosphere of the group's live
act. Recorded largely in Daniel Lanois' New
Orleans studio, the album examines the darker side
of contemporary relationships while attaining a
sound that seems to possess the groove of Motown,
the slippery beats of '70s funk, along with all the
brown sugar a Stonesy honky-tonk man could

ing.
There are a certainly few weak tOO
on the album. "Brand New Key"isate
ribly written song and Carters Sluri
vocals only make matters worseWhe
she sings the refrain it sounds like c'ha
screeching against a blackboard."Peop
Miss Planes" - while sung well - is
boring song with a predictable ch
out of place on an otherwise tol
recording.
But, the weakness of a few song
on the new album shouldn't outweig
its strength. Its progressive cduntr
rock sound and down-to-earth lytic
make it a solid sophomore effor
What sets it apart from other countr
albums is Carter's willingness- t
grow as musician and expand t
horizons that tend to limit most pet
formers in this genre.

iLang
swanders
On hiS ovn
After releasing a hit record, being
crowned a guitar prodigy and touring
with the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith
and B.B. King, at age 17, Jonny Lang
is ready to release his sophomore
effort, "Wander This World."
Straying from heavy guitar rock,
Lang sticks to his blues roots and
I adds healthy doses of funk, soul and
R&B.
But it doesn't matter into which
genre Lang wanders. His voice
remains mighty, compelling and the
album's greatest strength.
Lang generates his deep, powerful
voice straight
from his gut.
From the
lovesick ballad,
Jonny Lang "Walking Away,"
to the light and
bouncy, "Second
A&M Records Guessing," Lang
Reviewed by digs deep to
Daily Arts Writer release the per-
Jewel Gopwani feet balance of
charm and inten-
sity.
He ends the album with an explo-
sive display - covering the late
Luther S. Allison's "Cherry Red
Wine" - belting out his mentor's
words with more strength and sav-
agery than on any other track.
Although Lang only performs one
cover song, he still didn't write the
rest of the album. The fact that he
only lyrically collaborated on three
songs on "Wander This World" makes
it hard to take this record seriously.
David Z, Lang's producer, key-
boardist Bruce McCabe and guitarist
Kevin Bowe, contributed to the
majority of the album's lyrics.
But despite his lack of lyrical influ-
ence, Lang deserves credit for bring-

Cardigans''Gran' tours trip-hop

ing every track to life with a level of
emotion that make the songs seem
like his own. Two of the tracks Lang
contributed to are the most heartfelt
songs on the album. "Walking Away,"
and "Breakin' Me," are touching love
songs that allow Lang to show off his
sensitive vocal side.
With David Z's help, Lang sings a
song co-written by Z and the Artist
(who, during his high-profile days,
was known as Prince). The song has
an undeniable R&B feel that induces
automatic movement. No one is safe
from this dance number.
Lang compounds the funk on
another lyrical contribution, "Before
You Hit the Ground." His voice rhyth-.
mically follows grooved out guitar
work, played in the vein of Stevie
Wonder's "Superstitious."
Although Lang tries to diversify
"Wander This World," the album still
is missing his driving rock riffs.
Lang's debut single, "Lie To Me,"
featured a staunch rock backdrop that
took listeners by surprise. But instead
of robust hooks, "Wander This
World" is full of intensely intricate
acoustic guitar and piano work.
Saving his best guitar work for the
solos, Lang adds to the album's musi-
cal power in spurts rather than
throughout each song.
Mixing a variety of genres on
"Wander This World," Lang continues
to evolve his already impressive
career. He has a long way to go, but
Lang could build up a resum6 to
match that of B.B King or the Rolling
Stones.

A cardigan is a comfy, button-down sweater
favored largely by the elderly.
The Cardigans is an equally comfy and buttoned-
down Swedish band that enjoys pleasing people of
all ages with its lounge-flavored pop-rock.
At least, that description describes the Cardigans'
first two American efforts, the
effervescent throwback "Life"
S** and "First Band on the Moon,"
the slightly edgier 1996 effort
The Cardigans that spawned the career-making
Gran Turismo hit, "Lovefool."
But on "Gran Turismo," the
Mercury Cardigans explores its dark and
Reviewed by trip-hoppy underside - the
Daily Arts Writer rough and sometimes itchy
Bryan Lark inner lining that stands in
strong opposition to its soft,
huggable wool exterior.
This foray into trip-hop, an already waning pop
trend, weaves decidedly mixed sonic fabrics into the
full sweater that is the Cardigans' repertoire.
The mixture of styles melds best on the album's
first single, "My Favourite Game," which wraps
Nina Persson's sweet vocals around a pulsing, gut-

tural groove that is matched measure for measure by
a distorted underbelly of muted "Ooh ooh"'s.
Another balancing act is performed well on
"Erase/Rewind," a pleasant and beat-driven truffle
that treads the thin line between Tricky and Ace of
Base.
The trip-meets-ultra-hip style also works on
"Paralyzed," a gorgeous ballad that pairs a lush,
scratchy electronic soundscape with sad, desperate
lyrics - the chorus repeats "the sweetest way to
die," in reference to the paralyzing love.
"Love me, love me, say that you love me," this is
not. But there was always a darkness lurking around
the Cardigans' sunny pop - think "I've been your
sister, I've been your mistress, maybe I was your
whore," from "Been It" - and it manifests itself on
"Gran" in mostly maudlin, overly trippy ways.
Not that electronica is always necessarily bad, it
just doesn't seem to fit with the fresh, clever, boun-
cy sound that the band has created for itself. One of
its songs was featured in "Austin Powers," for pete's
sake.
And since the group's sound isn't working over-
time, the band resorts to lyrics of the utmost medi-
ocrity, over-reaching well into the depths of the aver-

age, annoying euro-pop world they have sat
niously avoided until now.
"Gran Turismo" is a nice little diversion for.t
Cardigans, something that deserves a pat on.1
head and a promise to return to form on the nc
record.
Go ahead, put this cardigan on, but don't exp
too much comfort. And your Grandma prpbal
won't like it, either.

'Enter the Dru,' and experience a stellar

Following the impact of a multi-plat-
inum, internationally successful debut
album is no easy task. But the members
of superstar group Dru Hill have the
challenge and surpassed expectations
with their brilliant sophomore effort
"Enter the Dru." This album displays
the group's creative growth, as evi-
denced by its
involvement in
producing 13 of
**** the 16 tracks,
while still show-
Dru Hill casing a unique
Enter the Dru style that has pro-
duced six No. 1
PSO/Island hits over the past
Reviewed two years. "Enter
for the Daily The Dru" com-
by Josh Levin hines trademark
soulful ballads
are with occasional upbeat tracks that
will please many fans and recruit new
ones as well.

"Enter The Dru" gave the multi-tal-
ented quartet of Woody, Sisqo, Nokio
and Jazz an opportunity to show its
expansive musical skills both in pro-
duction and in song. The members co-
produced the album's first single
"These Are The Times" with co-writer
and famed hitmaker Babyface, a team
that spawned to the beautiful lyrics and
vocals that makes this one of the
album's best tracks.
Grammy-winner David Foster
offered his assistance in remaking the
Diane Warren classic "What Do I Do
With the Love." This song is pure but-
ter, with Sisqo's soulful voice laid on
top of a subtle combination of Nokio's
trumpet and Jazz's drums in a mix that
is truly sweet. A third notable producer
featured is Daryl Simmons, the man
responsible for the hits "In My Bed"
and "Never Make A Promise" off Dru
Hull's self-titled debut album. On
"Enter The Dru;" he is responsible for

production
Man, respectively, are more catchy tha
the trademark Dru Hill-style tones n
represent the group's desire to expahs
its repertoire. Both songs complemer
the slower grooves exceptionally, offe,
ing Dru Hill fans new stylisms in addi
tion to the soulful crooning that previ
ously propelled the group to the top-s
the charts. In addition to those pro
duced by Babyface, Foster.a
Simmons, self-produced ballads fn
Good Reason,' "Angel," "I'll Be Th
One" and "What Are We Gonna Da'
also feature the gospel-inflected voca
that truly define this group.
Dru Hill's sophomore effort show
cases a wonderful combination of song
writing ability, stellar production as
most importantly, the distinctive soulfg
harmonies that have made Dru Hill ax
of the most popular groups of the
The four Baltimore natives titled thi
album "Enter The Dru," and to do so i
truly a musical joy.

two cuts, including The Dells' hit "The
Love We Had (Stays On My Mind),"
another old-school tune that just flat out
works.
This sophomore effort also offers a
side unseen in Dru Hill with the upbeat
tracks "How Deep Is Your Love" and
"This Is What We Do." These two,
which feature Redman and Method

i

[tom

s

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,%Pm '

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Professor of Geological Science and
Director, LS&A Honors Program
The Pulse
of the Earth

Keep ingni at bat:
(When the team is on a winning
streak and rated #1 in the polls,
and you've got a great manager,
it's time to extend her contract
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We are on equal opportunity employer.
4e et A;
ye haNC

Tuesday, November 3,1998
4:10 PM
Rackham Amphitheatre
Receptius fsllows
Public welcome
Presented by LS&A
Paoera pi a p 'uus 9 Cstoph R. s edw hpua so.

Mayor Ingrid sheldon at tme plate durmg
the annual council versus media softball game.
Paid for by the Ingrid Sheldon for Mayor Committee
DougF. Ziesemer, Treasurer, 576 Glendale Circle, AnnAe, N 48103

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