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April 10, 2001 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-04-10

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8 The Michigan Daily - Tuesday. April 10, 2001

Just Push Play, Aerosmith;
Columbia Records
By Christian Hoard
Daily Arts Writer
If you've flipped on MTV, tuned
into Top 40 radio or wandered a
shopping mall at any time during the
past few weeks, chances are you've
heard "Jaded," the first single from
Aerosmith's 13th studio album. And
if at first it sounded less like a new
chart-buster and more like an Aero-
smith oldie - some soundtrack con-
tribution or an old album track
heretofore stuck on the fringes of
classic rock radio - that's because
"Jaded" is in many ways the con-
summate Aerosmith single: A pitch
to a young flame wrought with a
dash of heartache, a string section
and a chorus so big it makes Creed's
hits sound like cocktail jazz.
Like "Jaded," Just Push Play is
classic Aerosmith fare, which means

it's full of the sex-crazed histrionics concessions to the MTV set, meant with its cascading riffs and a sturdy
and red-blooded stomp they've only to give the impression that these funk groove, and "Under My Skin,"
turned out (with varying success) for lifelong mega-sellers are breaking a trippy number in which Tyler con-
28 years. Produced by front man new ground. fesses he's become smitten with the
Steven Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry In truth, Aerosmith has no use for wrong girl while Perry and Brad
with help from songwriting collabo- progress. They've really stuck Whitford trade guitar licks.
r a t o r s around When Aerosmith misfires on Just
M a r k for so Push Play - as they do on the
Hu d s o n.1 o n g dopey "Avant Garden" or "Fly Away
a n d because From Here," a ballad nearly as egre-
M a r t i Ameri- giously sappy as "Don't Want to
Frederik- c a n s Miss a Thing," their huge hit from a
sen, it n e v e r few years back - you cringe, but
d oestire of only for a moment, it's easy to for-
include robust, give the AOR schmaltz. In fact, we
its fair tuneful pretty much learned to take Aero-
share of rock 'n smith's good stuff with their bad
fashion- roll, and stuff around the time "power-ballad"
ably a la J u s t entered the rock 'nroll vocabulary.
m o d e P u s h With three members now in their
touches: Play has fifties, Aerosmith are twice as old as
C h i c that in most of their hit-making contempo-
retro riffs and vocoderized singing, spades. With "Jaded" serving as the raries. But does that mean they're
plus a horn section, electro-percus- requisite Top 10 hit, Aerosmith too old to rock? Dream on.
sion and new age-y synths. But those ploughs through equally-solid throw-
accoutrements sound mostly like backs like "Drop Dead Gorgeous," Grade: B

ThugsAre Us, Trick Daddy;
Atlantic Records
By Dustin Seibert
Daily Arts Writer
The biggest issue with reviewing
hip-hop music that seperates it from
anything else is the fact that the
music itself is by no means unilater-
al; that is there are numerous differ-
ent kinds of hip-hop music. For
example, I cannot rate a Master P
record with comparison to a Roots
album, as fans know that they cover
opposite sides of the rap spectrum.
Seeing as I am a true fan and I
appreciate ALL kinds of rap music,
I have devised a seperate rating sys-
tem for each genre of hip-hop, so
then there will be no discrepancy or
comparison when I give Mos Def a
B+ and I give Silkk The Shocker
something along the lines of, ... oh,
I don't know ... an F-, maybe?
Liberty City native Trick Daddy's
third full-length album, Thugs are
Us, falls under the "Dirty South"
music category. Like most of the
rappers hailing from Georgia on
down, Daddy Dollars has both the
southern drawl accompanying his
flow, and the slow-pounding beats
that properly accent any system
with substantial low end capabili-
ies. The lyrical content of the
album is not surprisingly non-pro-
lific ... it essentially covers being a
thug, drinking, smoking dank, and
fucking (perhaps I should move to
Florida. What am I doing here?)
:atncr in crime Trina makes
rimerous appearances on the
,eord. Fans should recognize her
fiatm Trick Daddy's very first single
Sensation "Nann."
Honestly, 90 percent of the track's
appeal comes from the production.
Its getting nice and warm outside,
"and for that reason, tracks like the
-album's current single "Take It To
The House," using a sample of KC
snd The Sunshine Band, will com-
pT iment the springtime weather
-nicely. The first track, "I'm a Thug,"
rties entirely too hard to capitalize
'In something that Jay-Z accom-
,plished with his "Hard Knock Life."
The rest of the album maintains
the general sound that is synony-
sous with his genre of music -
nothing very special or outlandish
.dlere.
I am not a huge fan of Trick
Daddy's music, as he along with
most of the Southern rap artists
simply don't appeal to my tastes.
However, this album serves it's
purpose well, and is not altogether
deplorable. Sure, if I were cruising
in my little red Focus with the win-
dows down on a day like last Sun-
day, I may very well be inclined to
,sove it into the deck and go down
"bottom for just a moment! It's not
fpr everyone, but pick it up if it's
for you.
Grade: B-

Love rrom Mars, Ben Harper 4
the Innocent Criminals; Virgin
By Luke Smith
Daily Music Editor
Jam funk band the Innocent Criti-
nals and their hippie revivalist front-
man Ben Harper dropped a double
disc set onto record store shelves and
college kids began nicking them off
the shelves immediately. Critical dar-
ling, and college kid alterna-lu
fave Harper and Co. take the stage at
the Mars to a huge crowd.
Harper and the Criminals' cruise
through a massive set the likes of
which DMB and Phish would surely
envy. The 25-song two-disc eruptign
of Harper-penned tunes and a few
surprises for trainspotters is recorded
well, and crowd noise is kept gst a
minimum. Breaking out Gaye's "Sex-
ual Healing" to a transfixed crowd
just four songs into the set, Harp,
and friends aim to please the sure-
capacity Mars crowd. Seven songs
into the set, Harper pulls out radio-
slick mainstream crossover "Steal
My Kisses," a song he performed live
on Lena to a frantic crowd. The reg-
gae-inspired tune was met to afron-
zied response on the CD as well.1t
pays to write hits.
Harper concludes the first di
with a cover of Led Zeppelins
"Whole Lotta Love" given the Crimi-
nal-style makeover. The second disc
continues through "Waiting on an
Angel" and "Roses from my
Friends;' and eventually finds itself
somewhere in a Dick Ashcroft song
which seems ominously out of plage
and reminds the crowd "The Prugs
Don't Work."
Harper's live set two-disc release is
flying off the shelves as quick 9
"Steal My Kisses" flew up the charts.
However, there is nothing spectacular
on this disc, and it may be better to
save the $20 towards a Ben Harper
concert - at least at the concert
you'll probably get a contact high.
Grade: C
Interestingly enough, the trac
"Lil' Nigga Ain't Mine" an ode to
the baby mamma drama featureis
rappers Castro, Duganz and Precisey
is probably one of the most enter
taining songs on the record, albei
the most negative one.
Jahiem has great producers, and
great guest-stars (Next, LII' Mo,
Miss Jones) backing his respectable
voice. The record is by no means
disappointing, despite his overused
image, and he definetly has a caree
ahead of him, so long as he can-pre-
vent himself from shooting upa
club, beating up his executive pro-
ducer, or being caught in a court-
room with weed in his pocket.M-
Grade: B

The Electric Mile, G. Love & Special
Sauce; Epic Records
By Adam Spindler
Forthe Daily
You've gotta wonder whether G. Love
knows something the rest of us don't.
How else has the Philly-born blues-rap-
per maintained such a high level of opti-
mism and energy over seven years and
four albums outside of the mainstream
spotlight? G. Love has made a career of
giving substance to the abstract ideal of
human happiness, which in his music
takes various forms, from the soul-
touching warmth of a lover's embrace to
the cool caress of a Spring breeze. Posi-
tivity is his creed, and never has he artic-
ulated it so eloquently as on The Electric
Mile, his fifth studio album with bassist
Jimi "Jazz" Prescott and drummer Jef-
frey "Houseman" Clemens, a.k.a. Spe-
cial Sauce.
Picking up where 1999's Philadel-
phonic left off, Mile is G. Love's most
fluid and melodic effort to date. The disc
begins with the reggae-soaked "Unified,"
a call for racial harmony that fondly
recalls the best efforts of Bradley Nowell
and Sublime. Where in the past he would

have opted for a spoken-word or rap
delivery, he is now stretching himself
vocally on songs like "Night of the Liv-
ing Dead" and "Still Hope (Outro)," the
latter of which is aided by a healthy dose
of sultry female backup vocals.
Longtime fans will be pleased to find
that the musical connection between G.
and his Special Sauce comrades is
stronger than ever. Prescott and Clemens
should be commended for the level of
restraint they exercise in their role as
rhythm section. At no point do they step
on the toes of their frontman, and Mile is
better for their judiciousness.
Ultimately, what we have here is a rare
specimen indeed: An album of thought-
provoking tunes without a hint of pre-
tense. G. Love is no Zack De La Rocha,

but he's got a message that gets across in
a convincing and endearing manner (see:
Neil Young). "I got no time to put the
other man down;' he raps on "Parasite"
a tune which decries the doublespeak of
politicians who "leech off of the people"
in this "flea-eat-dog world." At other
times he wisely opts for musical expres-
sion over the turn of a clever phrase. G.
Love is the kind of musician who recog-
nizes that a harmonica solo can say just
as much, if not more, than even the most
compelling lyric.
Much of G. Love's appeal lies in the
way he provides a socially-conscious
alternative to the tired, clich6-ridden
"bitches and money" rap music of today
while simultaneously offering up a
breath of fresh air for rock 'n roll fans
who are weary of hearing Fred Durst
repeat his favorite expletive over a
canned break-beat while radio and MTV
insult their intelligence by passing it off
as cutting-edge "rap-rock." On The Elec-
tric Mile, G. Love rocks harder with an
acoustic guitar in his hands and a smile
on his face than any of the rap-rock "pio-
neers" that currently rule modern rock
radio.
Grade: B+

Ghetto Love, Jahiem; Warner
Bros.
By Dustin Seibert
Daily Arts Writer
When I first took a look at the
cover of the new Ghetto Love LP by
Jaheim, I thought to myself,
"Another R&B singer trying to dou-
ble as a thug." Well, I wasn't alto-
gether off-base in my assertion, but
I will admit that Jahiem is not just
another voice in the seemingly end-
less shower of monotonous artists
who finally got themselves a record
deal.
He has an original singing voice
that is reminiscent of no other con-
temporary singers - a rarity in
today's R&B industry. He's got that
voice that says, "Baby PLEEEASE
don't leave me;" one that seems not
to be so prevalent in the "feelin' on
your booty" age of emotionless,
uninspiring ballads. Sure enough
though, he isn't beyond the stereo-
typical image that
So many are trying to stray away
from. The intro shows him leaving
jail to jump start his career, and the
rest of the record has that street-life
flavor that he feels is necessary to
have in order to maintain his image.

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2A

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LU
Ride t the Zoo!
on the
Culture
Saturday Q
April 14
FR EE
for UM students, faculty,
and staff
(leaving 10:00 am from the UM Museum of Art)
For reservations email:
culture.bus@umich.edu
Admission For more info go to:
for thwww.umich.edu/~arts
who bring
one canned Questions?
noodso Call 936-5805
food item. , atMichiga
Fond donations (.j atMicign
go towards the
Gleaner's 128 Michigan League,
Food Bank. Ann Arbor, M I 48109-1265. Tel734.764.5123 Fax 734.647.22
" "" ' arts@umich.edu e ".
N

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