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September 11, 2001 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-09-11

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9 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, September 11, 2001

Underneath, The Verve Pipe;
RCA Records

By Robyn Melamed
Daily Arts Editor
Just when you think The Verve Pipe
will be forever labeled a one hit won-
der, they come back with eleven new
tracks in Underneath. Unfortunately,
even after this album, the status of The
Verve Pipe remains the same.
The album gets off to an OK start
with the song, "Only Words." For a
brief moment you might even get into
this jam, and get excited for what is to
come. As the song gets going, however,
you'll realize the problem: It is quite
hard to pay attention to the lyrics when
you're anticipating the howlings of
Sting's sidecar on "Desert Rose," Cheb
Mami.
Next up on the album is the boppy,
poppy, "Never Let you Down." Once
again, at first it is deceiving to the ear.
You'll start to move in your seat and
maybe even get up altogether, but
slowly you'll realize that this song will
soon end up on the next Freddie Prinze
Jr. soundtrack. Complete buzz kill.
The song, "Underneath," for which
the album is titled, is one of the only
songs that saves this album from being
a perfect candidate for the dumpster.
It's a slow, ballad-like tune that brings
closure to an album that should've
closed about eleven tracks ago.
This album might be a perfectly fine
favor for a seventh grade girl's party,
but as far as quality, originality and
taste are concerned, it just doesn't do it.
And for the record, "The Freshman"
was a really good song.
Grade: C-
IKE TURNER
HERE AND Now
Here and Now, Ike Turner & The
Kings of Rhythm; Ikon Records
By Lyle Henretty
Daily Arts Editor
Sixty-nine-year-old Ike Turner has
been in the music business for a long
time. Like fellow near-septuagenarian
Little Richard, he has claimed that he
invented Rock 'n Roll. Here and Now,
his first album in years, proves that he
definitely did not invent funk-infused
jazz, nor did his back-up band, The
Kings of Rhythm. Not to say that the
album is bad, but for someone who
claims to be such a revolutionary you'd
expect something more than left-over
"Blues Brothers" riffs and passable
piano solos.
Turner himself plays piano, guitar,
bass and drums at various points on the
eleven tracks. His gruff voice would
make him perfect to play a blesman in
a movie, but he brings nothing new to
the genre. His fairly impressive horn
players are a treat on several tracks, yet
the band never surpasses the mediocre.
For the uninitiated, one could do worse
than Turner's highly listenable album,
but one should not go out of their way.
Grade: C-

Silver Side Up, Nickelback
Roadrunner Records

By Rob Brode
Daily Arts Writer
This is how the new Nickelback
album reminds me of every rock
record released in the '90s: Buzzsaw
guitars, studio slick drums and gui-
tarless verses, pushed by punchy
bass lines that explode into a guitar
driven chorus of raging testosterone
or flannel wearing insecurity.
If not for the name on the front of
the album and the lack of the Eng-
lish accent, one could swear that Sil-
ver Side Up was the new Bush
album (it'd be a step up from The
Science of Things). Not that Bush
patented the rock sound they flaunt.
They stole it from Pearl Jam, who
stole it from Nirvana who stole it
from the Pixies.
This album is every bit as good as
Pearl Jam's Ten but plagued by the
fact its 2001, not 1991. Countless
bands have ridden the same rock
wave to great success. Their sound
is old hat but they wear it well. If
you're not caught up in Radiohead
and can still appreciate a good guitar
rock album the new Nickelback
rocks, albeit in a familiar fashion.
Grade: B

The Blueprint, Jay-Z;
Roc-a-Fella Records

By Dustin Seibert
Daily Arts Writer

I have not once ever been moved by
an album enough to listen to it from
beginning to end without touching the
skip button ... until now. Imagine my
utter shock that resulted from being so
immersed in The Jiggaman's sixth solo
effort The Blueprint, a surprisingly
stunning follow up last year's dismal
Dynasty album.
I have been forced to shit on Jay-Z
for quite a while; he has always pos-
sessed so much talent that he, in my
opinion, chose to throw out the window
for the sake of the mean green. He has
dominated the commercial radio waves
for the past three-and-a-half years with
hit platinum-selling albums, making
himself and his Roc-a-Fella dynasty

household names. The sad truth, of
course, is that tons of airplay doesn't
necessarily amount to quality, and this
is why we have seen a pathetic, unchar-
acteristic showing from Jay-Z from his
last two albums. I think that, some-
where deep inside, he recognizes this,
and has made a conscious effort to rec-
tify the problem.
While his Hard Knock Life album
was more of a compilation than a solo
album, he manages to go thirteen tracks
(with two hidden) with only one guest.
No duil Mcmphis Bleek. No boring
Beanie Sigel. No tracks designed for
the commercial audience. It is as if he
completely discarded the formula that
made him rich and decided to go back
to the essence. It also seems as if he
knows what a quality track consists of,
and realizes that he hasn't been pushing
that quality material for some time now.
It's as if he said to himself, "Shawn,
you made this money. You won this

audience. Now it's time to take 'em all
back to Reasonable Doubt."
He describes this album as his life on
record (thus the title), and it is definitely
his most personal, heartfelt album to
date. Listen to him verbally decimate
rivals Prodigy and Nas in "Takeover."
Listen to him light up Timbaland's dis-
tinguished production in the banger
"Hola' Hovito." Just listen to the soul-
ful, unconventional "Girls, Girls, Girls"
and "Heart of the City" to fully under-
stand how Jigga is coming with his this
time around! Everyone's favorite angry
white boy even comes blazing as the
album's only guest lyricist in the moody
"Renegade."
The truth is, Jay-Z literally blew my
mind with this new release, and he will
undoubtedly develop an untouchable
status as a result, single-handedly com-
pensating for an otherwise disappoint-
ing year of music. It will be difficult for
anyone to top his album for the remain-

der of the year. Massive bootlegging of
the album, however, has caused him to
push the release date up one week, so
people ... do the honest thing and actu-
ally purchase this gem ... understand
that it is well worth it.

Sound-Dust, Stereolab; Elektra
By Gina Pensiero
For the Daily
British band Stereolab's new
album, Sound-Dust, is pure bliss for
any listener who is a sucker for cover-
art, European stuff and that relentless
indie mantra of experimentation.
Reminiscent of fellow euro-artists
Air or The Beta Band, the album
teeters between cheerful electronica,
melodic pop and elementary key-
boardscapes. Funky breakdowns and
standout percussion highlight Sound-
Dust.
Basically, it's Radiohead on prozac
with a French chick singer.
The instant hook song on the
record is the well-chosen first single,
"Captain Easychord," in which Seaya
Sadier croons the simple koan "let
live what must live/die what must
die" followed by a string of incompre-
hensible French phrases.
Another track of interest is the hyp-
notic "Double Rocker" which fuses
intertwining vocal tracks with a calm
and sleepy melody then surges into an
upbeat retro-tinged bridge.
Undoubtedly, Stereolab continues
their innovative existence as a band
on Sound-Dust, while providing feel
good grooves for any slightly off-cen-
ter listener.
Grade: A-

Grade: A

h' ti f i e l d ( ./ / i v e i ,:s y/p
worl

Envy goes both ways.
THE

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