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November 02, 1999 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-11-02

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8 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, November 2, 1999
tiYn'WSOFBTEAUKING UCRDSREAS;
REVEWSOF HEMUSIC INDUSTRY 'SNEWREAE

RAGE 'BATTLES' INTO 2000 WITH NEW RELEASE

Stone Temple Pilots
lose chemistry on '4'.

With a new millennium on the way and a spirit of political apathy among
most Americans, it seems time for a new socio-political rock revolution to
begin. The band to lead it is Rage Against the Machine. Rage remains one of
the most innovative rock bands of the decade, its fusion of musical styles
unparalleled by countless imitators. The lyrics of its third album, "The Battle
of Los Angeles," are full of hope for change as the midnight of the century
approaches. Rage Against the Machine definitely does not want to take the
year 2000 lying down.
The album opens up with "Testify," which makes no mistakes about where
Rage stands. Frontman Zack De La Rocha asks who's coming with him when
he says, "Who controls the past now controls the future/Who controls the pre-
sent now?"
In the next song, "Guerilla Radio," De La Rocha convincingly states that "It

IN

*x~ S***
Rage Against
the Machine
The Battle of Los
Angeles
Epic
Reviewed by
Matt Raeburn
For the Daily

has to start somewhere/It has to start sometime/What
better place than here?/What better time than now?" He
seems very sure of his success when he screams, "All
hell can't stop us now!"
-While musically Rage has continued to be innovative
and inventive, they have also stuck to the simple song
structure that has worked so well on previous records.
Many of the album's riffs are elementary, but Rage
uses a variety of new styles. The licks on "New
Millennium Homes" sound like samples, but guitarist
Tom Morello created them all. The music on The Battle
of Los Angeles is a testament to Morello's ability to take

42
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RAGE AANT TB M-
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When a romantic relationship
loses its chemistry, a couple usually
tends to go into denial. It is common
at this point to see a couple trying its
best to unsuccessfully relive the lost
magic. Similarly, the boys in Stone
Temple Pilots, once so good togeth-
er, have lost their musical chemistry,
and are again trying their best to pre-
tend that the missing magic they
once had is still there.
On "No. 4," the band offers track
after track of soporific and tired
songs. "Down," the opening song,
sounds a lot like a younger brother to
Stone Temple Pilots' "Dead And
Bloated;" "Heaven & Hotrods"

Stone Temple
Pilots
No. 4
Atlantic Records
Reviewed by
Daily Arts Writer
Adlin Rosli

could have just
been called
"Cracker man
2;" and "Pruno"
is the sequel to
" W i c k e d
Garden."
Softer songs
on the album
also seem to be
lacking in soul.
The mid-tempo

a guitar and squeeze thousands of unique sounds out of it. With this release,
he maintains his status as a '90s guitar hero.
A major change in Rage's sound has been the emergence of a more notice-
able rhythm section, consisting of bassist "Y Tim K," and drummer Brad
Will Both are much more active on this album, and are nearly as prevalent
as Morello and De La Rocha. The track best exemplifying these newfound
voices is "Sleep Now In the Fire," which takes a simple blues lick and turns it
into one of Rage's tightest songs.

regular drug rehab patient, Scott
Weiland, also demonstrates quite
clearly how his creative well has run
dry. This is most evident on a num-
ber called "MC5" where he's be
reduced to singing banal lines sucW
as, "She don't like the way she
smiles / He don't like the way she
smiles / Son of a bitch." But thanks
to lyrics like that, Weiland has taught
us a valuable lesson: Drugs really
can mess with your head.
To prove it has run out of steam
with this album, STP provides many
half-baked attempts in other musical
styles and plays its fading grung
card often. In commemorating thi
move, the band have decided to
depict its fallen star on the cover of
"No. 4.

- -- -
,

._;

On "The Battle of Los Angeles," Rage Against the Machine proves that
they're going to still be going strong in the next millennium, and they're going
to raise hell while they're here.
As Zack De La Rocha reminds us, "Everything can change on a New
Years Day."

and poppy "Church on Tuesday" is
pleasant, but doesn't leave any
impression. On "I Got You," the band
tries its hand at country music and
fails miserably.
Stone Temple Pilots' frontman and

Bush falls short of expectations with 'Scien(

Hearing "The Chemicals between
Us," the first single from Bush's new
album "The Science of Things,"
you'd think there would be a possi-
bility of a unique album, or at least a
hint of one. The song combines tech-
no beats with the rough vocal quality
of lead singer Gavin Rossdale and
the band's simple guitar style to pro-
duce a successful blend and a rela-
tively strong comeback from the
band's three-year absence.
But the musical quality of the
album ends there. "The Science of
Things" is a pile of heavy, monolith-

ic guitar riffs, forced vocals and the
occasional electronic sound effect
into an uneventful, repetitive, almost
boring composi-
tion of tracks.
A depressed
** mood, sadly
Bush looking into the
bleak future is
The Science of Things r e f I e c t e d
throughout the
BMG album, and is
Reviewed by especially pre-
Dan Senatore sent in "Letting
For the Daily the Cables

e of Things'
Sleep," a slow, mellow track resem-
bling "Glycerine" from the band's
debut album. But this doesn't hit
nearly as strongly. Other songs, such
as "Warm Machine," "40 Miles from
the Sun," and "Prizefighter" hint at
Bush's musical abilities, but the
remaining tracks fall disappointingly
short of expectations.
In "Space Travel," a weak, para-
noid look at corrupted governments,
Rossdale explains "My future lies in
space travel."
After listening to "The Science of
Things" you may believe him.

Nightlife' moves Boys,
into new pop realms,

'Xpander' creates nuni-journeys

Pet Shop Boys have been making
transcendent synthpop music since I
was in diapers. With their new
release "Nightlife," the Boys appear
to be moving away from the person-
al, relationship-based tunes such as
old standards "Can you forgive her?"
and "A Red Letter Day" and into new
territory: Impersonal, relationship-
based tunes. To be sure, there are
characters on "Nightlife" that we
have not seen before. The Boys have
always embraced playacting, what
with their elaborate stage produc-
tions and costumed, extremely posed
pictures.
For the most part, this role-playing
works on "Nightlife." It's not as

Sasha has attained global recognition for his ability
to take massive crowds on a musical journey with his
extended DJ sets. Unlike "Northern Exposure" and
"Global Underground," albums in which he mixes the
work of other artists, Sasha actually produced the four
tracks comprising "Xpander."
Instead of a seamlessly mixed
collage of trance and progressive
house tracks that carry you for
Sasha 77 non-stop minutes, listeners
Xpander get a more traditional album of
unmixed cuts: The album's only
Ultra Records disappointment. These momen-
Reviewed by tary silent pauses disappoint
Daily Arts Writer because they function like an
Jason Birchmeier alarm clock, alerting you to the
fact that your dreamlike fantasy
has reached a conclusion.
No track lasts less than 10 minutes, and each pro-
gresses slowly, with numerous movements, build-ups,
peaks and releases. Unlike most of the trance songs of
the past 3 years that have become 'anthems,' the four
tracks on Sasha's album refuse to follow a familiar for-

mula or attempt to insight heart attacks with relentless
tempos. For the most part, these tracks remain true to
the concept of 'trance,' focusing more on subtle
moments of divine emotion and sensual bliss.
The first track, "Xpander,' is by far the most puz-
zling and inaccessible of the four. Over the course of
almost 12 minutes, "Xpander" never really reaches the
ecstatic summit it should, instead continually taking the
listener closer and closer before releasing them a bit too
soon. Yet by not satisfying the listener, "Xpander" actu-
ally functions rather well as something one returns to
over and over in search of the unattainable. The next
song, "Belfunk," will be familiar to those who have
heard Sasha and John Digweed's "Expeditions" album
where it can be found in the first set. This full-length
version restores the introduction and conclusion.
Similar to "Belfunk," Sasha's third track,
"Rabbitweed," can be found on Dave Ralph's new
"Tranceport" album. The final song, "Baja:' is undeni-
ably sublime. No human experience can be compared to
the feelings of intensity and calm explosion this track
reaches at its peak. Imagine yourself lying naked in warm
Egyptian sand caressing your lover underneath a full

Pet Shop Boys
Nightlife
Sire Records
Reviewed by
Daily Arts Writer
Erin Podolsky

strong an album
overall as their
immediately
previous effort,
"Bilingual." But
it has its own set
of standards
working for it,
not least of
which are a cou-
ple of smarmily
gorgeous tracks.

moon eclipsed by the Great Pyramid, and you'll get an
idea of what "Baja" can do for your senses and emotions.
Once again, it's too bad these songs are only mini-
journeys instead of a seamless extended one, because
once you surrender yourself, you won't want it to end.
Despite this minor flaw, the four tracks undeniably
prove that DJing isn't Sasha's only talent.

Roots make rap 'Come Alive' on release

OTHES
ROOTS

Why don't rap bands generally come
out with live albums? Because, in all
honestly, rap isn't at it's best when per-
formed live. The music and the rapper
are.almost never in synch, and it's
often difficult to hear the performer
ovethe loud speakers. Consequently,
onlya -handful of rap artists have put
liverecords out on the market.
ie Roots' new album, "Come
Aliu'" defies the aforementioned gen-
eralization with talent and class. The
Roots' talent lies deeper than song
lyrics and flow. They are a fully func-
tioning and talented band, and on their

new CD, they prove that they can jam
with the best of them.1

The Roots draw
influence in their
The Roots
Corme Alive
Okay Player
Reviewed by
Meghan Kennedy
For the Daily

from a heavy jazz
live shows. Each
song runs into
the next by
means of clever
keyboard segues,
and the set is
played out, non-
stop with perfect
precision, yet not
perfection.
This is the
beauty of "Come

Alive." The Roots show their humani-
ty. As you listen, you can not only hear
the music that the band is making, but
also the fun that they are having while
doing it.
The majority of the songs on the
album are from The Roots' latest
release, the epic "Things Fall Apart."
But for long-time fans, "Mellow My
Man", "Silent Treatment" and "The
Notic" add to the variety. The quality is
superb, lacking the hollowed-out,
singing-in-a-box sound that is charac-
teristic of many live CDs. "Come
Alive" is an experience that you

I

"You only tell me you love me
when you're drunk" sounds like
Hank Williams going out for beers
with Boy George; hearing a pedal
steel guitar on an entirely synthe-
sized album - save the presence of
the London Session Orchestra on
several tracks, providing an extra
sweeping push of harmonic strings--
is a brilliant stroke that could just
have easily gone the other way. It's
too bad there aren't more choices
like that on "Nightlife."
"Radiophonic" and "Vampires"
provide the requisite dance beats;
certainly there are other dancy tracks
here, but these two are the most suc-
cessful.
Oddly, the Village People rip-off
"New York City Boy" does not, as
most of Pet Shop Boys' anthemic
disco romps do, close the album.
Perhaps the Boys didn't want to get
too upbeat on us, for their gig has

always been to mask their sadnels
and longing for days and people past
with an irrepressibly high BPM.
Luckily, "Nightlife" has a hint of
the sublime. As they have done in the
past working with Dusty Springfio
and others, singer Neil Tennant sings
a duet with Kylie Minogue (come on,
we all remember that nasty cover of
"Locomotion" she did way back
when) on "In Denial."
Sounding suspiciously like it
belongs in a musical (and, indeed,
Pet Shop Boys have written a musi-
cal that they plan to produce some-
time in the near future), "In Denial"
is a beautifullyfconceived dialog
between a gay father and a curi
daughter as they try to understand
each other. It's melodramatic as hell,
but it's impossible to ignore the mag-
nificently lush orchestration and
production on the track.
"Nightlife" is not -the best work
that Pet Shop Boys have released.
There are tracks that need to be
skipped over from time to time to
prevent your patience with th
melodic tongue-in-cheekness fro
evaporating.
But the overall impression that
"Nightlife" gives is that despite the
fact that both Tennant and partner
Chris Lowe are technically ready fr
their midlife crises, they're pushing
ahead with computerized aplomb
and not going quietly into that good
night. They're going loud and clear,
with lots of life.
As

okay playerl
should not only go out to the store and
purchase, but one you should check
out in person the next time The Roots
come to town.

1(0 4~

w'-. ,
y. _.
s

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