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November 07, 2000 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2000-11-07

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1

9 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, November 7, 2000

INI

My Kind of Christmas, Christina Aguilera; RCA

By Jeff Dickerson
Daily Arts Writer

worthy purchase. If you pop in the enhanced CD into
your computer, you'll be treated to a music video of her
timeless rendition of "The Christmas Song." What really
makes the video inspirational as she belts out the holiday
tunes, is her tight, luscious red top. Amid a gale of swel-
tering candles, Aguilera looks as radiant as ever.

> . .1 .,,
._..,...

Eveiything and Nothing, David
Sylvian; Virgin Records
y Sheila McClear
Daily Arts Writer
Remember the last time you drove
through a city and saw a lonely, dapper
young man leaning over his balcony, star-
ing contemplatively into the distance and
listlessly smoking a cigarette? Well,
chances are, that was David Sylvian -
r at least that's the image that his music
eates.
Sylvian began in the early '70s as the
frontman for Japan, a glam-rock outfit
influenced by Bowie and the New York
Dolls. In 1981 he went solo.
Everything and Nothing is a compila-
tion of Sylvian's previous works, but not
of the typical "let's throw together some
hits and b-sides" variety. It's a massive
work, containing two CD's, more than 25
songs in all. Sylvian has re-worked some
the music, adding vocals and flourish-
,. glossing up his style of jazzy, wander-
ing pop.
Some songs venture into grooviness,
like "God's Monkey" and "Jean the
Birdman." "Riverman" is pure dream
music, a weird array of blips and feed-
back lurking underneath delayed guitars.
Relaxed "jazzy pop," however ambient,
can only take one so far - much of the
' se runs the danger of falling into the
sy listening category. For a musician
who started out tracing the template of
glam-rock, Everthing and Nothing is an
interesting perspective from a grown-up,
thoughtful bloke who is constantly striv-
ing to improve and expand his art.

She's hot.
Not much else is necessary to describe pop-queen
Christina Aguilera. Since the release of her 1999 self-
titled debut, she has enjoyed a series of awards and acco-
lades (one Grammy). With the world in the palm of her
hand, Christina is set to make our earth a better place
through her remarkable music.
What is it about the 19-year-old that has fans flocking
to her concerts by the thousands and purchasing an
obscene amount of merchandise? Perhaps it's her glori-
ous voice ... scratch that idea. Maybe it's her platinum
blonde hair, now accentuated by streaks of fiery red. Or
is it her modish wardrobe presented in each of her music
videos? Whatever it may be, those laborious years she
put in on the atrocious Mickey Mouse Club are finally
paying off for the teenage daydream. Look at her; do you
think her voice alone is responsible for the sale of over
seven million albums?
Staggering over her audience at 5'3", Christina's
stature is matched by few in the music industry. Her elfin
body would make any male's sweat glands work over-
time. It's the perfect weapon against the target market.
Oh yeah ... her new album. Christina's latest, My Kind
of Christmas, shows little ingenuity from a musical
standpoint. Don't worry, Christina fanatics; this is still a

Grade: D+

Halfway Between the Gutter and
the Stars, Fatboy Slim; Skint
By Luke Smith
Daily Arts Writer
Norman Cook's latest, Halfway
Between the Gutter and the Stars,
brings with it a feeling of flight, mim-
icking the title. Ambient and artsy,
the latest Fatboy Slim record floats
around on a gentle breeze of smooth
samples and a successful wall of
sound.
"Talking about My Baby," the
album's first track, opens with a
piano groove vaguely reminiscent of
Fatboy's smash hit "Praise You" and
then the vocals and samples cut in,
generating a wall of sound that effort-
lessly pushes listener along.
Heady "Star 69" ticks with tricky
piano rhythms and is driven on
pounding basslines. "They know what
is what/but they don't know what is
what/they just strut," reverberates
throughout the song, tracking it in a
void all wound with warbling elec-
tronics.
Halfway's anthem track is the third
track. Quaint keyboard changes with
sparking samples are held firmly in
place by the vocal sampling Jim
Morrison. The song induces the same
feelings that the album title does.
Feelings of a place between hit and
miss. Somewhere in between the red
and the green.
Macy Gray appears on two tracks
lending samples from one of her
tunes on "Lovelife." Fatboy lines the
tracks, creating a funk tune with a
deconstruction at the end over which
the bushy Brit singer repeats "I
wanna 'F' ya." A harping bassline and
spacey lyrics from Macy give
"Lovelife" one of the better kicks on
the record.
"Clockrock" is the only way to
describe the opening of "Weapon of
Choice." With an arsenal of sounds
The Dropper, Medeski Martin
and Wood; Blue Note
By Ben Oxenburg
Daily Arts \\riter
Order and chaos. Linking the two
would seem absurd. Yet the two mingle
on The Dropper, Medeski, Martin &
Wood's ninth album to date. The

and alarms, it vaguely calls back the
cash registers exploding on Dark Side
of the Moon. The Freddy Krueger-
esque vocals indicate that the glove
with long blades on them is probably
the weapon of choice in this case.
The piano riff on "Demon" sounds
strangely similar to "Lean on Me"
and when the piano cuts out, Gray
kicks it again, singing about feeling
like a cesspool. Despite the some-
times trite vocals on the track, the
theme of demons withering :away
gives the album a premature sense of
conclusion.
Yet the music continues with a
nine-minute opus to conclude dthe
record. "Song for Shelter" begins
with church organs humning
between two chords and slowly the
vocals of Roland Clark and, Rger
Sanchez set in. This epic vibes end
calls back beats, lyrics and samples
from previous songs on the record. It
serves as the definitive summauion
for the album. The strongest monent
may be when the piano melody from
the first song kicks back in. With the
opening piano riff in the final soAg,
Fatboy Slim cyclically brings an end
to the album.
Halfii'av Between the Gutter and
the Stars shines as bright as the sun
between the woman's legs on the d
jacket.

Grade: R+

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J

The Mindzi, Mastamind; TVT
Records
By David Edelman
Daily Arts Wtriter
Mastamind? Who does this guy think
he is? When do rappers from "the hard
streets of Detroit" incorporate instru-
ments in their music? The only relation to
gansta rap that I see is the excessive use of
his own name in many of his songs and
ns he picked up from more famous
rappers.
Unfortunately. he uses these words in
ways that make no sense. From a line he
dropped in his CD booklet, Mastamind
appears to feel "the wicket shit will never
die," but anyone who's subjected to his
music will wish it would.
The album concentrates too much on
the background instead of placing
phasis on strong lyrics. The lyrics just
get lost in the shuffle. His words almost
seem to fade out of the picture as back-
ground skits and electronics take over.
Don't expect to hear the Mindzi at parties
or booming from a car with its windows
down on the street. From my minds eye I
give Mastamind an ...
Grade: F

Dropper proves to
satisfying com-
pliment to Tonic,
their acoustic live
record released
last spring. This
new and often
ambient style is
immediately evi-
dent in the first
track, "We Are
Rolling."
A frenzied
John Medeski on
keyboards and
organ coupled
with a steady and
ominous drum
beat by Billy

be a different and

originates in the new and different
ways that MMW tweak and refine their
sound. This album is further attcmpto
include hip-hop grooves into- their
already complex and spontaneous
songs. There are a-few real gems ondhe
new CD. "Philly Cheese Blunt,- "asts
name hints at, is a thick steady gink
groove, while "Illinization," ijs'ry-
thing but relaxation with spacytec-
tronica noises and crashing cymbahl;
"Bone Dig er"
is also chock full
;The Dropp of foreboding,
throbbing samples
and threatenitg
keyboards."M ,W
continue to sur-
prise and chal-
lenge their fans
with each new
album, and this
S one is no excep-
tion. As with
countless other
bands, MMW is
tz"'best experienced
in performance
and no album can
do justice to their indescribable force
of spontaneity and improvisation.
Like Miles Davis, this band' is
redefining jazz and if you wish to Wit-
ness its continuing transformation, I
highly recommend seeing them live.
That said, this is nonetheless a very
good, very inventive record.
Perhaps the title was chosen because
these songs are capable of sucking you
in and then slowly letting you out, drips
by drip by drip.

<.,
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Love In The Time Of Science,
Emiliana Torrini; Virgin Records
America
By David Edelman
Daily Arts Writer
The calm, soothing sounds of
Emiliana Torrini's new album, Love In
The Time Qf Science, have the power to
subdue even the wildest beast.
Born in Iceland, Emiliana is a new
comer to the U.S. musical scene. Her new
album is only her first of four to be
released in America and Emiliana has
already caught the attention of Tears For
Fears producer Roland Orzabal. Critics
have begun to be compared her music to
established artists Bjork, K.D Lang and PJ.
Harvey.
Love In The Tne Of Science plays
almost like a subtle movie soundtrack.

Her songs evoke a feeling that they are a
collective work, telling a story as the
album progresses. What Emiliana does
not rely on are strong passionate vocals.
She purposely sings in a monotone fash-
ion that does not evoke much feeling from
her music. Fortunately, her style is accom-
plished without the same mundane, winy
sound that is commonly heard in this
genre of music. This may be contributed
to the fact that the album plays relatively
fast and contains only eleven short tracks.
Despite this, the album relies heavily upon
background and orchestra. the simple and
charming natural sound of which greatly
overshadow the album's vocals.
Love In The Time Of:Science provides a
mellow backdrop to whatever you're
doing. Pop this CD into your system and
you'll feel as if you're a character in a
movie. Emiliana's voice mixed with the
natural background sounds provide a

soothing, and mellow experience that one
should at least find relaxing, if not quite
thought provoking. The album is blissful
one moment, dissonant the next and com-
bines cinematic melodrama filtered
through Emiliana's unique musical style.

Martin makes for a new and interesting
touch on this and a few of the other
tracks on the record. One or two of the
trio's members create a solid founda-
tion for the song while the rest bust out
something crazy, unconventional and
powerful. As they continue with free
jazz dissonance, they also incorporate
all of their recognizable styles into
songs. The funky keyboards,jazzy bass
lines and tight fast and slow drumming
indicate the band's desire to hold onto
its roots.
The attraction to the band's music

Grade: B-

Grade: A-

Breaking Records Grade System

A - Excellent
B -Good
C -Fair

D - Poor
F - Don't Bother
www. michigandaily. corn

__
i

___________________r:

RE-ELECT
UNIVERSITY OF
MICHIGAN
RE GENT
REBECCA
"a r l !1 T T '

Food For Thought
Hanoi Jane
On April 18, 1999, the
Piedmont College
(Georgia) chapter of the
American Association of
University Women
(AAUW) presented Jane
Fonda with their
"Speaking Out For
Justice" award, where

I

," k . ,0

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