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April 16, 2002 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-04-16

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10A - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, April 16, 2002


By Scott Serila
Daily Arts Writer
Neil Young a soul singer? That
seems to be the strange-but-true
premise behind his newest 11-song
release, Are You Passionate? And
well why not; Young's tried just
about everything else in his almost
40-year career.
From the folk/country hybrid of
classic albums like 1972s Harvest,
to genre workouts of swing, rocka-
billy and yes, even techno in the
80s, to the blissful grungy, feedback
rock of his 90s albums like Free-
dom and Mirror Ball, there hasi4't
been much Neil was afraid to try. In
fact, when people say they're a Neil
Young fan what does that even
mean? Which Neil are they talking
Of course that's why Neil Young
is Neil Young. Even if his "never-
stay-in-one-place, never-get-com-
fortable" attitude has led to a score
of hit or miss records over the
years, his tireless efforts to always
reinvent himself have made him the
most proficient and reliable artist in
the history of roek n' roll, hands

Yet somehow even the man who
proclaimed "its better to burn out
than to fade away" has managed to
grow old in spite of himself. He's
aware of it too. Like Pete Townsend
grimacing every time he realizes
he'll still be playing "My Genera-
tion" when he's 80, Young doesn't
welcome aging, but at least he
seems to be realizing its still going
to happen.
So he buries the hatchet and
reconnects with Crosby, Stills and
Nash for a series of tours and here
he gets back to the music of his
youth by releasing Passionate. And
give the man some credit: He enlists
some talented friends who know a
thing or two about soul. Key-
boardist Booker T. Jones and bassist

Donald "Duck" Dunn were one half
of the legendary Booker T. and the
MG's, the house band at Stax
Records who played on just about
every song to come out of that sem-
inal label. They've toured behind
Young for years but this is the first
time they've joined him in the stu-
Young's voice has always been
something of an acquired taste.
Although Neil's thin tenor doesn't
quite sound like Otis Redding, he
makes due through the songs on
Passionate, sometimes dropping
into a low, Dylan-esque growl to
carry though the mid-tempo
groovers that dominate this record.
Of course mid-tempo isn't where
Young really belongs. He's usually
at his best when he's either rocking
hard upbeat or taking his time slow-
ly and quietly building something
soft and beautiful.
So for now Neil Young fans will
patiently roll their eyes a bit at this
album, hoping that good old Grand-
pa Grunge is only biding his time
and secretly gearing up to once
again kick some ass. Just don't be
surprised if we have to first listen to
an album of reggae or salsa in order
to get back to rock.

* * * * * CLASSIC

By Gina Pensiero
Daily Arts Writer
Llama is a band maladroit at anything other than taking
up time spinning in a CD player. They're not very good,
although they're not exactly bad either. Their musical
description files Llama neatly in the generic rock/pop bal-
ance listed closer to Matchbox 20 than Dave Matthews
Their debut album, Close to the Silence, takes no musi-
cal risks producing a sound found all too often on used CD
shelves. If listeners don't expect too much from what they
listen to, they won't be let down. Llama attempts to come
off as funand happy, their attempts are fruitless, through
Llama's lack of edge and defining characteristic. Once in
awhile they use a banjo.
It's hard to say what's actually bad about the band. Lead
vocalist Ben Morton does a good job and his voice could
be great, if the songs were exceptional.The songs aren't
awful, just uninteresting.
Llama is a great example of a band that evokes curiosity
about the actual details of their record deal. Questions like:
By Devon Thomas
Daily Arts Writer
The girl who delivered one of the most interesting
hooks in pop music history ("I hate you so much right
now") returns in stellar form on her second outing Wan-
"Young, Fresh 'N New" is definitely what describes
the sound and style of the album. Fresh with imaginative
subject matter and anew with a leftfield approach of
tackling a pop song, Wanderland shines like a revolving
diamond: Morphing into one vivid musical fantasy after
The sophomore jinx is never a term that dares to
frighten this record. Kelis pens a majority of the album's
material and displays a surprising array of charisma and
vocal growth. Already a household name overseas, the
Harlem-bred R&B-er has yet to receive the same love
stateside. Though widely remembered for her first single
"Caught Out There," she has an arsenal of work that
would put her contemporaries to shame.
Conceptually, Wanderland is a dizzyingly fun ride
through an alternate universe, one unlike those cluttering
the airwaves of urban radio. Equipped with a comprehen-
sive range, Wanderland leads the listener from the
heights of sonic pleasure to deepness of the albums two
sociopolitical pieces "Little Suzie" and "Mr. UFO Man."
Both songs serve as forward-thinking social commentary
on the chaotic situation of our millennial world ("What if
the holy Trinity was Christians, Muslims, Jews / Yet we
bomb each other for coverage on the news") - written
surprisingly before the attacks of Sept. 11.
In contrast, the elated erotica of the record is both rich
and playful. Kelis takes on many masks, from the
Blondie-esque rap narrative of "Daddy" to the pun-filled
frolic "Flashback" ("You make me come ... alive"). The
dichotomy of sex 'n' religion is one we haven't seen
pulled off so well since Prince.
Working first with the Neptunes when they were virtu-


"How the hell did they get signed?" will pop into listener's
heads. Furthermore, "how did they snag such a good
This music is boring. Someone give me some Modest
Mouse or a pina colada or ... something ... anythink.

* * * * GREAT
* * * FAIR

- If you missed a week
check the archives at
www.michigandaily. corn



al unknowns back in 1999 on her debut album Kaleido-
scope, Kelis continues the artistic camaraderie on Wan-
lerland. The Neptune sound doesn't define Kelis, if
anything it complements it: She molds her own unique
musical landscape alongside the Neptunes start-stop
The guest appearances on, Wanderland are fruitful and
noteworthy. Each featured artist adds their own distinct
element to the album's already fantastical vibe. Fieldy of
Korn provides production on the Eazy-E looped banger
"Easy Come, Easy Go." Gwen Stefani and the boys of
No Doubt offer backing to Kelis on the euphoric rock
track "Perfect Day." This album rolls along with goodie
upon goodie, never letting up until its finale.
With Wanderland, Kelis might finally be able to
achieve the same level of overseas love on her home turf.
And if she doesn't this time, we'll only have ourselves to
blame for not getting a ticket on this train.


RATING:* * * *


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