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October 05, 1999 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-10-05

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The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, October 5, 1999 - 9

BREAKING R ECORD
REVIEWS OF THE MUSIC INDUSTRY'S NEW
BoWIE STILL IN HIS PRIME ON NEW 'HOURS...'

S
RELEASES
Experimentation leads
t0 disjointed 'Day'

Somebody should tell David Bowie that dirty old
men are not supposed to make good music. They are
supposed to dress up in silly costumes, charge $50 for
tickets, and play mediocre music for a few hours every
other summer. Living in the past is the recipe for suc-
cess when you hit the golden age (40-plus) in the
music industry. Have the Rolling Stones come out with
any decent music in the last decade or so? No. How
about Pink Floyd, you ask?Certainly not. David Bowie
is bucking this trend however, with his latest release,
ours...", which is chock-full of vintage Bowie.
The difference between Bowie and his middle-
aged counterparts is that with Bowie, it has always
been about the music. While Aerosmith, the Stones
and the like were routinely selling out venues like the
Silverdome and Pine Knob
throughout the '80s and '90s,
Bowie was forced along a dif-
ferent path. He never achieved
David Bowie the same level of commercial
hours ... success attained by many
EMD/ other groups, and therefore
virgin infrequently afforded the
Reviewed by opportunity to live off of past
Phip Maguran glory or past hits. He recorded
For the Daily constantly, needing to produce
quality albums to keep his leg-
endary name in the public eye.
Bowie has always been an outcast of sorts, and
probably would not be at his best as a sort of Mick
Jagger-ish idol, though he would have loved the part
where he got to wear riduculous costumes.
fortunately, most of the fame that Bowie has
ahieved has been by virtue of the fact that he looks
somewhat like a sculpture that has been spray-paint-
ed by a bunch of local no-goodnics. Ninety-nine per-
cent of the time he makes Steven Tyler look like a
Catholic school boy (or girl) in full uniform. David
may have matured in his old age however, since he is
sporting the fallen-angel/evil demon look on the
cover art of "hours...," instead of his usual rainbow
warrior/circus freak attire.
The music is very good, and can be compared to
0 soundtrack to your favorite dream. That may be
what Bowie had in mind also, since somewhere

1 1111 I'I If ff1111111R I
t -
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M~ A

It's only to be expected that Sting
would mature musically since his
days with The Police. The pop sound
of "Every Breath You Take" could
only last so long in such an extensive
solo career. In "Brand New Day,"
however, this artistic experimenta-
tion results in a hit-or-miss release;
while every song is musically up to
par, creatively they run the gamut
from monotonous to beautiful to
simply bizarre.
Sting is at his best singing in the
style that made him a star with The
Police. The title track, a mellow
spring-in-your-step tune, is destined
to be a radio hit, as is the album's
first track, "A
Thousand
Years."
Those are the
Sting only two songs
that can be cate-
gorized as "tra-
A&M Records ditional" pop -
Reviewed by the rest of the
Daily Arts Editor album can't be
Jessica Eaton pinned down. A
highlight is
"Desert Rose," with string and elec-
tronic accompaniment and an east-
ern theme.
A less successful experiment is
"Perfect Love ... Gone Wrontt,"
which mixes moderately slow blues
reflection with female French rap.
The result is a disjointed, mostly

a
incoherent lyrical and harmonic
mess.
Sting also attempts a western folk
ballad in "Ghost Story" and, yes,
gospel in "Fill Her Up," both with
moderate success.
In fact, any of the songs on the
album (except, maybe, "Perfect Love
...") could stand on its own as a hit,
except Sting's star reputation :won't
allow it. Only the title track will
sound familiar to fans of the singer's
old style.
Together, this collection of songs
fails to offer anything to unite them.
The album cannot be judged as a
whole, but only by its parts. And
while these parts will not alienate
any of the singer's fans, Sting's
attempts at artistic expression will
not be enough to produce any mem-
orable hits.

around seven of the songs mention dreams, and he
even titled a track "The Dreamers." The entire album
is composed of relaxed, smooth music. Relaxing, but
not anywhere near Muzak or other standard fare ele-
vator music. You will get caught up in it and quickly
lose focus. It is likely to make you drift off, close your
eyes, and just listen to what Bowie has to say.
The first five or so tracks on this album are almost
epic in quality, but there is a little letdown near the
end. It seems like Bowie got tired during the record-

ing session or was upset that he had to work through
nap hour, and the last few songs are a cut below the
opening, but still solid.
Anyone who ever thought that David Bowie was
just a guy who dressed up like a freak and paraded
around scaring kids in the great '80s movie
"Labrynith" needs to listen to this album. This is not
the work of a washed up hippie, of a struggling '70s
icon or of an '80s metal band. This is great stuff made
by an artist who is obviously still in his creative prime.

Guster won't be 'Lost'
with energetic album..

r

Life Story' showcases rhymes

Black Rob has been hyping himself up on bootlegs
d mix tapes for months. Finally, on "Life Story," he
ts a chance to show everyone how good he really is.
The most hardcore artist on the
Bad Boy label since Biggie,
Black Rob delivers tales from the
'hood while avoiding the tired
Black Rob stories of cash and Cristal we've
heard from so many rappers.
Life Story "Life Story" provides an
Boy Entertainment excellent combination of beats
Reviewed by and rhymes. "Got out the car/I'm
Saily Sts Writer still schemin the house/Tiptoed
Alisa Claeys around the back/Quiet, like a
church mouse" in "Jasmine" are

the kind of lyrics that provide a much needed dose of
creativity to rap's current scene. "You want hot soup/I
got shit like up in Attica/Guns ridiculous/Like Battle
Star galactical" in "Down the Line" is another example
of the many words that will catch your ear.
The weak points of "Life Story" include repetitive
beats on a few of the songs. Puff Daddy's signature
interjections of "c'mon" and "yeah yeah" also get irri-
tating.
Black Rob serves a style that is close enough to
Biggie's to satisfy those who miss him, yet different
enough to stand out from all the other artists of today -
and yesterday.
"Life Story" is an essential addition to any serious
hip-hop fan's CD collection.

Sometimes "What you wish for"
does come true: for Gutter it certainly
has. The Boston trio's third effort and
first "real major-label debut," accord-
ing to band member Ryan Miller,
"Lost and Gone Forever," is Guster at
their finest. Guster consists of Ryan
Miller and Adam Gardner at guitar and
vocals, while Brian Rosenworcel lays
down the unique percussion sound.
Guster has
recently come off
an excellent sum-
Guster mer with perfor-
mances at
Lost and Gone H.O.. R . D. E ,
Forever Woodstock and
WEA/Sire "Late Night with
Reviewed by Conan O"Brian."
Daily Arts Writer The publicity
Ryan Malkin Guster has been
receiving is sure
to bump these
guys into the mainstream, and they
deserve it. Guster has completed an
excellent album without leaving
behind the techniques and sounds that
earned them the large following they
now have. Not only does "Lost and
Gone Forever" have sure-fire radio
hits such as "Barrel of a Gun" and
"Center of Attention," but slower tunes
like "Either Way" and "So Long," in
the tradition of "Parachute" and
"Rocketship."
With the addition of Dave
Matthew's Band and U2 producer,
Steve Lillywhite, Guster has a created

GIJSTER

retentious 'Silent Weapons' lacks songs with substance

Detroit natives, Lab Animals,
stumble on its current release right
from its title. "Silent Weapons For
Quiet Wars" sounds pretentious and
the music that goes along with this
title does not fare any better.
The group wants to fuse Goth,
Techno and Metal together into a sin-
gle disturbing and provocative musi-
cal outcome.
Otilizing complex and interesting
techno beats as its musical back-
bone, the group puts together distort-
ed vocals, samples, odd noises and
other worldly sounds together.

Unfortunately, aside from the won-
derfully inventive drum loops, the
group failed to come up with any-
thing memorable.
What is seri-
ously lacking on
* "Silent Weapons
Lab Animals For Quiet Wars"
are good songs.
Silent Weapons For All the drum
Quiet Wars loops and odd
Digital Dimension world noises in
Reviewed by the world cannot
Saily Arts Writer make up for the
Adlin Rosli album's weak

amount of substance. If that was not
bad enough, the group insists on
push what little substance it has with
angry and "disturbing" lyrics with
"scary" song titles such as, "24
Hours In Hell," "Skin Driver" and
"Death By Pain."
Aside from the wonderful pro-
grammed drums, there is nothing
worthwhile on this outing by the Lab
Animals.
If anything, "Silent Weapons For
Quiet Wars" should do well in fol-
lowing the suggestion of its title and
just go away quietly.

a more beefed up sound with addition-
al instruments added for the purposes
of the album. The band members
played the piano, trumpet, and organ
to name a few, while Page McConnell
of Phish added the theremin.
All 11 songs on "Lost and Gone
Forever" incorporate the live sound
and energy Gutter fans have come to
love and expect, but with the organiza-
tion and depth of sound required of a
major release album.
Over the past several years Guster
has grown exponentially. Their live
shows still incorporate the Ryan
Miller humor and the Guster classics
we all love. But, "Lost and Gone
Forever," is a more professional, media
friendly album, yet with the Guster
personality still very much intact.
The attention Guster is and will be
receiving from "Lost and Gone
Forever" is sure to make Guster a great
deal "Happier"

Gardenian makes Euro-'80s metal work on 'Soulburner'

Gardenian
Soulburner
Nuclear Blast America
Reviewed by
Daily Arts Writer
Adlin Rosli

Have you ever wanted to
know what White Lion might
have sounded like if they were
a death metal band? Probably
not, but if you did you need
not go further than picking up
Gardenian's "Soulburner"
release to find out.
Although the group's music
has one foot firmly placed in
the melodic Swedish death

metal scene, it also has its other foot caught in the
pompous '80s power metal scene. The group's
singer quite easily goes from sounding like Cookie
Monster's grandpa to White Lion's Mike Tramp
throughout the album. Most notably doing this in
the chorus to the album's second track,
"Powertool."
The songs range a great deal too, from the all
out heavy but melodic assault of the title track to
the "lighter-in-the-air-like-you-just-don't-care"
mellow ballad, "Small Electric Space." The group

is seemingly a master at bridging cheesy hair band
music with aggressive death metal music.
If all of this sounds ridiculous to you, your not
too far from the truth. A first listen to
"Soulburner" is likely to elicit more chuckles than
praise. But the last laugh may actually belong to
Gardenian as the songs from "Soulburner" have a
way about them of growing on you. Once you get
over how cheesy the music sometimes get com-
pared to contemporary heavy music, you'll find
yourself listening to this album quite a bit.

Missed a week
of Breaking.
Records?
tooking for a
review of a
particular
album?
Check out the
* Daily's
archives
online!
qww,
michigandaily.
* com

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