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November 19, 2002 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-11-19

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8 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, November 19, 2002





By Joseph Utman
Daily Arts Writer
Repetitive beats that betray any
musical anonymity that the producer
could ever seek? Check. 'Melodies'
merely made by looping distorted
synthesizers and frenetic drums?
Check. Hastily composed lyrics
stuffed with cliches? Check.
Dynamic emcee whose charisma
permeates this record and almost
salvages it? Check.
The last of the previously enu-
merated attributes may seem
incongruous with the rest given
the pejorative nature of the first
three. However, Missy Elliott's
Under Construction is an uncom-
mon record worthy of such an
uncommon distinction. With 1.1 of
the album's 14 tracks produced by
Timbaland, those familiar with his
previous work should already

know what to expect from Con-
struction; there are, indeed, many
songs which feature crowded
bongo riffs and melodies consist-
ing of recurring, patterned noises.
Additionally, Missy's lyrics are
generally bland, and those listeners
who are already inoculated with
descriptions of "the club" and trite
rhymes will find their respective
attentions immune to Elliott's
words. Yet, the album is not a com-
plete waste.
Hip-hop has often been
described as an appropriate avenue
for its creators to express them-
selves, and Missy is a perfect
example of an artist who fully
grasps and appreciates this oppor-
tunity. From Construction's open-
ing, on which Elliott explains that
"Under Construction simply states
that I'm a work in progress," to the
final songs on the record, like her
tribute to Aaliyah, "Can You Hear
Me," Missy makes it clear that the
album is mostly a chance for her
to indulge herself. Listeners
should bear this caveat in mind

By Joel M. Hoard
Daily Arts Writer
Let's start off by setting things
straight about the popular Dave
Matthews: He is a semi-talented
songwriter and a competent per-
former - but his personality is just
annoying as hell. That pseudo-
stoned 35-year-old frat boy bullshit
- well, it's just
plain stupid.
But more than
even Dave himself,
its DMB fans that
are irritating.
females ages six- 4
teen to twenty-two
and their baseball-
boyfriends are the
only people who
can possibly find
Dave's shtick
endearing or humorous. If those,
fans aren't nauseating enough,
Dave also attracts plenty of young
wannabe hippies (the ones who
wear patchwork clothes but still,
shower regularly) and Christian
teens who wanna rock but not so
hard as to upset their parents.
All that said, let's get down to

Dave's latest release. Live at Fol-
som Field - recorded at the home
of the University of Colorado Buf-
falo's football squad - includes
twenty-one tracks spread over two-
and-a-half hours for an average of
seven minutes per song!
Needless to say, the band can't
keep its shit interesting for 150
minutes. One can only take so
much acoustic guitar-violin-saxo-
phone-whatever jamming before
boredom sets in and you have to
start playing Nintendo.
DMB include plenty of the, uh,
"classics" in their set like "Crash
Into Me,'
"Recently," "Two
Step" and "Ants
Marching," but
none of 'em are
any good. There's
also some newer
stuff including
"B a r t e n d e r,"
"Everyday" and
"Digging a Ditch."
None of those are
any good either.
When you get
down to it, I guess
what I'm trying to .say is that this
record just isn't any good. Dave's
songs are all middle-of-the-road
pop-rock shit and the jams are
mind-numbingly long. Now that I
think about it, maybe I do hate
Dave Matthews completely.


because the album, in conjunction
with the image Elliott has cultivat-
ed, really depicts a charismatic,
ruminative, and creative individual
who unfortunately seems content
to only please herself and her
friends with bad music. When not
making generic garbage like
"Funky Fresh Dressed," Elliott
articulately advances ideas con-

cerning female sexual liberation
and thoughtfully pays homage to
hip-hop's past.
However, these moments of
insight are too few and mostly
obscured by too many otherwise
unremarkable tracks. Elliott gets
five stars; her album does not.
RATING:* * '



By David Strauss
For the Daily
Big up rude boy. An explosion of
reggae music has once again hit
America with artists like Beenie
Man and Bounty Killa hitting the
charts, and another bomb has been
dropped with Dutty Rock. As
opposed to the
politically con-a
science and mes-
sage motivated
music of earlier
crossover reggae
artists Bob Mar-
ley and Peter
Tosh, Sean Paul
conveys a shal-
lower but over- 1
w h e I m i n g I y
popular message
for all ladies to
get on the floor
and shake it.
In that context, the record does its
job with tracks that invoke an array
of ass movements from a slow grind
to 1000 r.p.m. (rear-thrusts per
minute). Unfortunately, the LP has a
hard time living up to its lead sin-
gle, "Gimme the Light," but to Sean
Paul's credit that song is a certified
club banger, and has remained at the
top of the charts for weeks now.
By Todd Weiser
Daily Arts Writer
Sadly more famous to many mem-
bers of the general public for her
Oscar night "swan-dress" than her
music and com-

The struggle of keeping pace with
the lead single seems to rest mostly
on the shoulders of the producers.
As Sean Paul's music does not rely
heavily on depth of lyrical content,
it is purely his voice tone and deliv-
ery over the beats that make the
songs on this album.
This is probably one of the rea-
sons why Sean shines more on col-
laborations with Rahzel, Busta
Rhymes and Tony Touch as they
help to carry the lyrical weight.
Overall, if you
like to dance, and
you want a
change from the
generic and simi-
lar sounding
dance groove of
American pop
artists, Dutty
Rock is an excel-
lent change of
The grungy
and sometimes
downright dirty
beats of Dutty are
sure to get much respect from selec-
tors at clubs everywhere. Add to the
beats the shallow in content, but A+
style and delivery from Sean Paul's
mouth, and a party in Ann Arbor is
liable to feel like a dancehall in the
heart of Kingston. I can smell the
smoke already.
songs, her beautiful soundtrack to
Lars Von Trier's "Dancer in the Dark,"
most especially leaving out the mag-
nificent Thom Yorke duet "I've Seen It
All." However, the album partially
makes up for such misses by including
the hard-to-find in America "Play
Dead" and the newly recorded "It's In
Our Hands."
With a song
order that
. ; seemingly has
no explana-
tion (chrono-
logical order
has been
thrown out
the window),
one would
expect the
usual lack-of-
flow on a
"best of" to
be even more
obtrusive but
somehow the
tracks run


By Joseph Litman
Daily Arts Writer

Talib Kweli shits on emcees.
He doesn't light them up like 50-
Cent or defame them like
Eminem. Talib simply illustrates
their shortcomings through his
own lyrical brilliance; other rap-
pers suffer through comparison.
On Quality, Kweli puts his distin-
guishing intelligence and a vibrant
sound on display for all to hear,
and the results are mostly pleasing.
His first truly solo effort has plen-
ty of interesting music and well-
crafted versus with Talib's
otherwise-apparent superiority
only tempered by inconsistent
Even when not at his best, Talib
Kweli is better than almost all of
his contemporaries, though.
Tracks like "Rush" and "Shock Body," two mediocre
efforts that become moderately repetitive, feature dynamic
horn riffs and arrangements that put many other beats to
shame. Similarly, other songs that fail, like "The Proud"
and "Where Do We Go," contain contemplative, emotional
rhymes. Even the most disappointing track on the record,

"Guerilla Monsoon Rap," boasts appearances from the
outstanding Black Thought and Pharoahe Monch.
(Thought, Monch and Kweli - a "Most Underrated" tri-
umvirate - rap over a beat that can be best described as
an annoying amalgamation of strings.)
Griping about the album's shortcomings - songs that are
still better than many - only further illustrates how good
the best of Quality is. On the jazzy "Get By," Talib com-
ments on the unfortunate phenome-
non wherein impoverished people
can stagnate in misfortune. This
II EW*Llsocial conscience can be found on
many more of the album's bangers,
and Kweli's amazing employment
of metaphors and similes will keep
fans closely engaged. The unique
sounds on tracks like "Gun Music".
and "Good to You" will also delight.
After hearing Quality a few
times, listeners will realize that the
success or failure of many songs is
predicated on whether the music
complements Talib's style. "Joy"
has a bass line; and drums which
. sla enhance Kweli's tightly construct-
ed rhymes, while the DJ Quik-
produced "Put It in the Air" has a
lazy funk to it that doesn't mesh
well with Talib's flow. Luckily, more often than not, the
beats are on point, enabling Talib Kweli to be at his best.
And even when his beats fail him, Kweli still makes
everyone else seem inferior.



Livonia's own, His Name Is Alive
play the kind of eclectic, inspired
soul music that indie rockers are said
to be too stiff to muster. Multi-instru-
mentalist Warn Defever creates a
jazz-lounge backdrop for the sultry
vocals of Lovetta Pippen. The musi-
cianship is consistently excellent, but
their reliance on covers - everyone
from Hendrix to Ida - and their ten-
dency to sound like Natalie Merchant
doing bad jazz will leave a sour taste
in your mouth. * *
-Andrew M Gaerig


RATING: * * * *

monly per-
ceived as just
plain weird to
those uncom-
fortable with
entering and
accepting her
deeply emo- ~
tional lyrics and ~
foreign sound-
ing tongue, ~
Bjork has let
her fans them-
selves select the
tracks for the
creatively titled
Bjork's Greatest
Hits album. Via
the Internet,
songs were cho-
sen for what represented the best of
her post-Sugarcubes collection.
For the most part, the compilation
does a masterful job of appealing to
the uninformed newcomer or the die-
hard devotee. The majority of the sin-
gles are here including the bassy
techno of "Army of Me" and slow sen-
suality of "Possibly Maybe," with the
most notable exception of "It's Oh So
Quiet" from her second solo release,
Post. The voters also fumbled with the
exclusion of any song from Selma-

. ;

By Sean Dailey
For the Daily
With R. Kelly behind bars, Prince
M.I.A. and Beck crying in a country
bar somewhere, the world of
R&B/Funk is in need of a new lead-
ing man. Har Mar Superstar could
very well be that man. Known to
break-dance in his underwear while
on stage, Harold Martin Tillman (Har
Mar Superstar) has become the buzz
of the indie scene, touring with the
likes of The Anniversary and The
Strokes. He was even sighted as
Kelly Osbourne's date to the MTV
Music Awards. With the release of his
second full length album, Har Mar is
looking to spread his gospel to the
world via his Ron Jeremy looks and
sexy smooth voice.
Not unlike Andrew WK., this Saint
Paul native doesn't take himself too

seriously. You Can Feel Me is chock-
full of cliches, from obligatory fan
shout out, to the usual tales of kinky
sex and drugs and the textbook soul-
ful ballad. The album is incredibly
over the top and self-indulgent. And
Har Mar Superstar executes it beauti-
fully. His lyrics are instantly catchy,
and the beats, while terribly trite and
over-done, still have a certain charm.
"Power Lunch" starts the record off
right, an ode to the working woman
full of office metaphors. On the title
track, Har Mar explains his intentions
with the line, "Well it's not love that
I'm lookin' for / I just want to be
adored/From the back seat of your
car / To the bedroom floor." And
"One Dirty Minute" has this dynamo
"Puttin ladies on layaway / Makin
very sexy installments." He even goes
as far to implement the dreaded
Cher/Daft Punk vocal effect the
world has come to loath. Har Mar
then turns around and shows his sen-
sitive side on "Love Jam No. 1,"
emoting about the loneliness of the
road and contemplating "digital

love." It's satire, that's for sure, but
it's damn good too.
Even the most-jaded indie rocker
can't help but shake his little ass to
the good word of Har Mar Superstar.
He has the potential to blow up and
invade the mainstream with his
seductive jams. Look for him stealing
your girlfriend this winter on tour
with The Gossip.
RATING: **** N


... ... . . ..

I.... x

_____ _ s uperbly.
alien in appearance and with a style
quite foreign to the mainstream,
Bjork's techno-poetry with a touch
of strings has an emotional effect
almost unrivaled in the music indus-
try, save her country mate's Sigur
Ros, and a less-than-perfect greatest
hits CD still has the power to com-
pletely move a listener as much her
songs apparently arouse the per-
former herself.
RATING: * * **

By Jeremy Kressmann
Daily Arts Writer
Carl Cox brought us a critical and fan favorite with
his first Mixed Live compilation, recorded live at Cro-
bar nightclub in Chicago. Not only did soulful house
track selection cater to the local crowd, the mix also
showcased the intensity of a live Cox set complete
with crowd feedback. This time around, the man other-
wise known as the "three-deck-wizard" brings us
another installment in the Mixed Live series straight
from this past summer's Area 2 concert in Detroit.
What really seals the deal with an artist like Carl
Cox is that he puts on a much better live show than he
makes studio albums. Carl's second effort does not let

On her R and B solo debut, This is
Who I Am, Heather Headley offers
soulful inspections of relationships and
emotions. Her beautiful yet simple
voice rings painfully clear on "I Wish I
Wasn't," a track about a helpless girl
infatuated with an unkind lover. "Like
Ya Use To" and "Fulltime" offer feel-
ings of a stronger woman, the latter
declaring "If he ain't man enough to
see / Then you gotta roll gotta go gotta
leave." Both match the anger and
strength of any track off Jagged Little
Pill. Unfortunately, her more light-
hearted pieces, such as "Fallin' for
You," don't do her voice justice and
end up sounding trite. * * *
- Mary Fitzpatrick
Future Groove's Compilation is 12
British Club tracks from artists such as
Deadbeat Society and West London
Deep mixed by a trio of blokes known
nC TfP~crt Tt4 all *tnn £rv ilaio ,xwithouit



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