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March 27, 2003 - Image 18

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2003-03-27

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F eaturing silky-
smooth vocals and
graphed dance steps, the
Temptations were the quin-
tessential male group of

penned tunes, the record
captured the Motown
sound at its finest, show-
casing both Smokey's deft
hand at crafting flawless
soul-pop tunes and the
Temptations' superb vocal



t is Halloween in
Detroit circa 1968.
Onstage are the most
dangerous collection of
outlaws in music - two
months ago they provided
the soundtrack to the riots
at the Democratic National
Convention in Chicago.
They personify the vio-



the Motown era.
After forming
in 1961, the
group first
found success
in 1964 with
"The Way You
Do the Things
You Do," which
was composed

Sing Smokey

The album's
focal point is
undoubtedly the
timeless "My
Girl," with its
simple bass line
and guitar riff,
ebullient trum-
pet bursts and
sweet and inno-


lence of the days
of rage, and they
scare the hell out
of your parents.
They are the
Kick Out the


Kick (

by fellow Motown super-
star Smokey Robinson.
Banking on that success,
the Temptations were
paired with Smokey for the
whole of their 1965 fol-
low-up, The Temptations
Sing Smokey. Consisting
of a dozen Robinson-


cent lyrics like "I got so
much honey, the bees
envy me."
Continuing along the
same vein, the record's
11 other cuts burst with
the warmth and energy
that highlight the rest of
Robinson's hits.
Smokey's rich
orchestration and
simple but imagina-
tive lyrics certainly
stand up on their
s own. And the fact
that they're per-
formed by five of
Motown's finest
singers makes them
all that much more
- Joel M. Hoard

efore the senseless law-
suits, the out-of-control
egos and Diana Ross' rise
to fiber-diva status, the Supremes
were the centerpiece of Barry
Gordy's Motown empire, one of

the most
pop groups
around -
at their peak
they even
the Beatles
in commer-
cial success.

I Hear a

"Unchained Melody" are
included for good measure.
There was never any doubt that
the Supremes were Diana Ross'
group, but on I Hear a Symphony,
the group managed to strike as
much of a balance as possible
between Ross' sugary lead vocals
and Mary Wilson and Florence
Ballard's mellifluous oohs and
aahs - a balance that wasn't pos-
sible after Ross reached her true
divaness (divativity? divatude?).
Sure, I Hear a Symphony does-
n't break any new ground or
explore unknown territory, but
then again it never aimed to.
Motown in the '60s was all about
hit pop records, and in that aspect,
Symphony delivers in full.
-JoelM. Hoard

-- orld famous in his
own zip code,
Seger was a region-
al institution by the mid
'70s. But the Dearborn
native had little national suc-
cess to
show for Bob Seger
a decade
of gruel- Live Bullet
ing tour- 1976
ing and
recording except handfuls of
near breakthroughs and just
plain bad breaks.

The two legendary nights
at Cobo Hall in Sept. '75
captured on this double live
album wiped all that clean.
The loving hometown
crowds propelled their hero
through frentic rockers like
"Katmandu" and "Get Out
of Denver," and saw them-
selves in the passionate blue-
collar balads "Beautiful
Loser" and " Turn The Page."
When Live Bullet hit
stores, the rest of the country
finally caught up.

n the corner of
Eisenhower and
Packard, right here in
Ann Arbor, there once stood a
big, white, unsuspecting farm-
house where University of
dropout Iggyandthe
J a m e s Stooges
from Ypsi Raw Power
and his 1973
friends the
Asheton brothers settled to form
a band in '67. From that pristine,
pastoral setting inexplicably
came the crudely-inspired genius

of the Stooges, the most direct
and visceral forebears of punk.
Savagely reborn as Iggy Pop,
Osterberg was a violently explo-
sive frontman like no other, a
master at baiting the audience.
On this, their third and final, the
Stooges can be heard ripping
themselves apart, drowning in
drugs and nihilism through the
relentless title-track and blistering
"Search and Destroy." David
Bowie, who presided over the
chaos, has condemned the hap-
hazard mix, but 30 years later, the
reckless charm of the album
seems undeniable.

possibly the most frustrat-
ing part of Detroit Techno
is that it exists almost as
an enigma. Beginning in the
'80s Derrick May, Juan Atkins
and Kevin Saunderson released

of singles
that pushed
a com-
pletely new
sound into
the interna-
music con-

Carl Craig
More Songs
About Food

the boys from Belleville, and
his work illustrates not only his
influence but also his intense
drive to push the artistic and
sonic boundaries of the techno
genre. More Songs pushes the
edges of IDM, yet retains the
subtleties of the Detroit vision.
Tracks like "Dreamland" and
"Butterfly" hint at Craig's
Detroit roots. Yet other songs
break completely new ground.
"At Les" is a gentle, yet haunt-
ing, melody that slides along
your spine and creeps into your
unconscious. In a way it's a
feeling similar to the history of
Detroit Techno - a sound
deeply ingrained in Detroit
music and culture but largely
hidden from plain view.

Scott Serilla

alking Book, Stevie
Wonder's landmark
1972 LP, captured the
man's talents better than any
greatest hits col-
lection ever could.
Recorded at the Ste
height of Stevie's Wo
career in the early
1970s, when he Talkin
strayed further 1
from the Motown
pop-soul sound that made
him a star in the '60s and
more toward the robust,
thoughtful style that domi-
nated his subsequent work,
Talking Book showed Stevie
at the top of his game.
Whether it's a pretty, gen-
tle love song like "You and I
(We Can Conquer the
World)," featuring just
Stevie and his piano, or a
grooving funk piece like
"Superstition," with its


trademark ultra-funky clay,
Stevie's songwriting exhib-
ited unprecedented depth
and understanding.
Lyrically venturing where
few other Motown acts had,
Stevie tackled
issues of race and
le politics head-on,
der most notably on
"Big Brother," in
Book which he sings, "I
live in the ghetto /
You just come to
visit me 'round election
time." At the same time, he
proved he was capable of
writing sentimental lines like
"And I know that this must be
heaven / How could so much
love be inside of you?"
From political discourses
to tender love songs, ecsta-
sy to heartbreak, smooth
R&B to out-and-out funk,
Talking Book covers it all.

The group's 1966 record, I
Hear a Symphony, was
Motown pop at its purest -
irresistible melodies, honeyed
harmonies and pop hooks
abound. Driven by songs
from Holland-Dozier-
Holland, the songwriting
team behind many of the
Motown hit machine's
successes, I Hear a
Symphony is loaded with
classics like the title
track, "My World Is
Empty Without You" and
"He's All I Got."
Somewhat ironical cov-
ers of the Beatles'
"Yesterday" and the W

- Scott Serilla

But these artists didn't release
traditional albums - they made
limited-release 12" singles on
vinyl. In the mid-'90s, as the
European techno scene had
reached its critical mass,
May, Atkins and
Saunderson began to
release mix albums docu-
menting the history of the
genre they had created,
but there still was no
definitive artist Detroit
could call its own.
Enter Carl Craig in
1997 with his landmark
More Songs About Food
and Revolutionary Art.
Craig was an artist who
had grown up listening to

- Jeremy Kressman

Jams, recorded in front of a
raucous D-Town audience,
is the least elegant album in
the history of rock and roll.
The noise screeching out of
the Grande Ballroom
sounds like your own per-
sonal 11-car collision on
Woodward Avenue,
a series of dissonant
guitars followed by
shrieking vocals
complemented by
apocalyptic drum
strokes mixed in
with thunderous
bass lines and fol-
lowed by, you
guessed it, dissonant
guitars. At the
album's apogee,
"Come Together,"
1. ? and the Mysterians
"96 Tears" - Quite possi-
bly the single greatest key-
board line of all time.
2. Aretha Franklin
"Respect" - A Memphis
transplant, the Queen of Soul
does her adopted home
3. Parliament "Give up
the Funk" - George
Clinton is da bomb.
4. Madonna "Like a
Prayer" - Cross burning
at its best.
5. Insane Clown Posse
"Chicken Hunting" -
Killin' hillbillies is our guilt)
6. Mitch Ryder and the
Detroit Wheels "Devil
With a Blue Dress On" -
Frantic blue-eyed R&B tha
will rock any party, anytime
7. Grand Funk Railroad
"We're an Americar
Band" - "The wild, shirt-
less lyrics of Mark Farner
The bone-rattling bass o
Mel Schacher! The compe
tent drum work of Dot




T ynne Cheney hates him,
3 Tipper Gore hates him,
-. .gays hate him, feminists
hate him, Benzino hates him,
Vanilla Ice hates him, even his
own mother hates him. Screw
'em, kid's got skills.

Joel M. Hoard

in 2000,
w h e n
Eminem was
busy causing
instead of

The Marshall
Mathers LP

Em blurred the line between
satire and downright cruelty, spar-
ing no one in the process. His
mom, his ex-wife, Christopher
Reeve, a recently-deceased Sonny
Bono, Christina Aguilera, Will
Smith - all recipients of Shady's
wrath on both angry bangers
("Kill You") and pop-rap gems
("The Real Slim Shady").
Eminem showed his earnest
side on "Stan," told from the per-
spective of a disenchanted young
fan, and "The Way I Am," a song
about dealing with fame.
Since the release of The
Marshall Mathers LP, Eminem
has rightfully risen to the top of
the rap game as one of the most
talented and respected MCs.
Forget the controversy, forget the
haters; Em's done Detroit proud.
- Joel M Hoard

ometimes there's a thin line
between a compelling idea and
a flat-out gimmick. Proudly
walking that line is D-Town's favorite
divorced, candy-striped pseduo-sibling
blues-rock minimalists, Jack and Meg
A forceful
muddle of art The White
school/punk Stripes
ambition and
self-resolve, The White
Southern Stripes
folk/country, Tin 1999
Pan Alley the-
atrics, British Invasion pop and bare-
bones blues by way of the Nugget's
'60s garage collection, the duo's
deceptively simple sound hid a vast
gulf of music knowledge.
Before they cracked the top 40, bum
rushed the VMAs and even before the

British music press were slobbering all
over them, the Stripes unleashed the
full power of their primordial stomp on
their self-titled debut.
The epic bookends of "Jimmy the
Explorer" and "I Fought Piranhas,"
find Jack delighting in playing Page
and Plant at once, while Meg lays
down ridiculously simple, yet utter-
ly appropriate drumtracks. Covers
of Dylan's haunting "One More Cup
of Coffee" and Robert Johnson's
despondent "Stop Breaking Down"
confirm the Stripes' pitch-perfect
hipster taste, but the secert brillance
of the group isn't borrowed or stolen
at all. Jack's songwriting shined
through as the most promising
aspect of the record, particularly on
the big "bite-the-hand-that-feed-ya"
anthem and instant Michigan rock
classic "The Big Three Killed My
- Scott Serilla

talking about causing controversy,
his sophomore effort, The
Marshall Mathers LP, proved that
D-Town's favorite son wasn't just
a flash in the pan. His flow was
first rate, his lyrics were clever
and the beats produced by Dr. Dre
et al. were straight bangin'.


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