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November 18, 2003 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-11-18

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November 18,2003



Out of da club and into the charts

By Hussain Rahim
Daily Arts Writer
With the hip-hop group all but
dead, what remains is the practice of
one established superstar engaging in
cronyism and giving all his old boys,
usually sub-par rappers from round
the way, major label shine. Following
in the suite of Nelly and Eminem,
hip-hop's it-man, multi-platinum
artist 50 Cent throws his hat into the
ring of instant group success with the
G-Unit's Inter-
scope debut.
Much like D- G-Unit
12's Devil's Night Beg for Mercy
release, where The Telegraph
the listener is Company
drawn in to hear
Eminem who then steps back to let
his crew shine, 50 does the same here,
splitting everything pretty equally
between the three. While noble on
50's part, that doesn't necessarily
make for a great CD. The G-Unit that
completely took over the NYC mix-
tape circuit is nowhere to be found as
one-third of their group, Tony Yayo,
was locked up for gun possession
charges. The result is replacement
member Young Buck, a refugee from
the Cash Money era, whose southern-
style moves in and out of sync with
the East Coast hardcore sound G-Unit
50 steps up as the executive pro-
ducer and employs a slew of collabo-
rators such as Hi-Tek, Megahertz and
even Dre and Em to help spread out
the sound. While some of the beats
are hot, some fall into monotony and
expose the true mediocrity of the
lyrics. If you're picking up a G-Unit
album there is little doubt what the
songs are going to be about. Cocky

Courtesy or rocus reaures

I wanna be a tragic literary figure when I grow up!

Courtesy of The Telegraph Compay


Still got beef, Ja?

By Vanessa Miller
Daily Arts Writer

"Sylvia" is truly haunting and captivating with its cin-
ematic palette of beauty and color. The film dissects the
uneven suicidal reality and exquisite love that embodied
the revered poet Sylvia Plath (Gwyneth Paltrow). The
life of Sylvia Plath, like the poetry which earner her crit-
ical success after her death, has always been surrounded
by obscurity. The film portrays her
ill-fated life with an edge of hope
and truth as it explores the secret life Sylvia
she lead with her poet husband Ted At The Michigan
Hughes (Daniel Craig, "Road to Theater
Perdition"). Focus Features
This dark portrait is filmed with
true respect for the works of Plath, who committed sui-
cide in 1963 by resting her head in a gas oven. Death is a
ghostly figure in the film, always hovering over Plath,
even throughout the early passion-filled years she spent
with Hughes. This spectre continues to haunt throughout
her the years of her motherhood and into the demise of
her marriage. In the film Sylvia says, "Dying is an art,
like everything else. I do it exceptionally well;" this is a
line from one of Plath's poems.
"Sylvia" weaves together a marvelous biography in its
integration of fine acting and art direction. Paltrow
assumes Plath's tortured personality by playing both a

free spirit and a depressed artist, always struggling with
herself and the questionable fidelity of her husband. In
"Sylvia," Paltrow re-establishes herself as a fine actress,
compensating for some of her recent ill-chosen roles, as
in "A View From the Top."
Craig, on the other hand, works within the constraints
of the script and gives a one-sided portrait of Hughes
that focuses only on his faults as a husband. Craig plays
Hughes as rumors supposed him to be - a dashing Eng-
lishman who stole Plath's heart with his poetry, but
whose arrogance and achievements drove her to her
death. Together, both actors create an alluring chemistry
that conjures the true oddness of the pair but still cap-
tures the love that lay at the basis of their tumultuous
The achievement of "Sylvia" rests in the art direction
and production decisions of the newly established direc-
tor Christine Jeffs. The transitions and cinematography
greatly impact the viewer's ability to glimpse Plath's
angst-ridden life. From ocean waves to the fields of
northern England and the classic architecture of Cam-
bridge, beautiful images fill the movie.
"Sylvia" is captivating because of the evocative nature
of Plath's poetry - there is gentle recitation throughout
the film - and because of the way it portrays the glow
of life even when death is imminent. The film presents
Plath's life in the form of a poetic memoir, a form that
may not exactly exemplify the woman she was but
which continues to cast an elusive shadow over her
mysterious abilities and thoughts.

singsong hooks and a hot bass line to
pull you in, while "My Buddy" is the
obligatory Scarface-inspired gun bal-
lad. On the second half of the album
there are some half-baked
love/groupie songs that seem aimless.
At times it sounds like an album
rushed out to capitalize on the still
rising celebrity of 50. Although
respect is due to the fact that there are
no features and that 50 was given
freedom to develop his group, by the
end of the album you're thinking Dre
and Em should have done much more
of the production, what happened to
Lloyd Bank, and that they should
have waited for Yayo to keep the for-
mula that made G-Unit the street
heroes they were in New York.

lyrics are expected, as is flashy car
talk and the fact that a lot of people
will get shot in various ways.
The new materialist anthem "Stunt
101" uses all the 50 trademarks of

Rock'n'Roll Animal: Meta-author
Pollack takes aim at punk classics

By Alexandra Jones
Daily Arts Writer

Neal Pollack sometimes masquerades as the Greatest Liv-
ing American Writer and sometimes as an excess-prone rock
critic, but he always delivers smart, razor-sharp social criti-
cism. Taking on authors with bloated egos and reputations -
Mailer, Updike, DeLillo - Pollack parodied the big guys

'Resurrection' documents life of Tupac

By Justin Weiner
Daily Arts Writer

Many will view "Tupac: Resurrec-
tion" as a film intended only for the
late rap star's friends. In truth, the
film has a surprisingly universal
appeal. One does not have to know
what it is like to grow up on the
streets of New _____._......_
York, Baltimore .a
or Los Angeles to TupaC:
a p p r e c i a t e Resurrection
Tupac's message. At Madstone
Even those who Paramount
would run at the
sight of Sage Knight - the enor-
mous four-time felon and CEO of
Death Row Records - should find
enjoyment in "Resurrection."
The documentary-style film covers
Shakur's life in such detail that any-
one can become an expert on the
Machiavelli. "Resurrection" is pieced
together from interviews, news
footage and videos of Shakur. The
narration comes from interviews and
comments made by Tupac, making it
seem as if Shakur is directly telling
the audience his life story. Incredibly,
the narration fits the film perfectly,
as if Tupac recorded it specifically

for the film.
The former rap and film star's life
makes for good entertainment. His
rapid rise to stardom is incredible to
behold, but this documentary is more
than a "Behind the Music" chronicle
of a star's rise. Tupac was surprising-
ly well-read, and had a strong under-
standing of the world around him.
"Resurrection" shows how this
knowledge allowed Tupac not only to
reach a diverse audience but also to
create meaningful, sometimes pro-
found lyrics. Because the film is
essentially narrated by Tupac, it gives
the audience a first-hand lesson in his
philosophy on poverty, racism and
the plight of inner-city blacks. His
views are both fascinating and
enlightening. At a school where a
class in "Race and Ethnicity" is a
requirement, "Resurrection" should
be mandatory course material.
With a run-time of almost two
hours, "Resurrection" can seem a bit
cumbersome. At times the movie
seems to drag a bit, especially as
Tupac's life becomes troubled. The
first-person style narration invests
the viewer in Tupac's life; one wants
to see him succeed and flourish. This
makes watching his occasional
brushes with the law and his feuds
with other rappers disconcerting for

within an inch of their literary lives in
American Literature." In "Never Mind
the Pollacks," his most recent work, he
adds a soundtrack to his literary excoria-
tion of rock and punk's biggest names.
Accompanied by Dakota Smith and
Ann Arbor musician Jim Roll, Pollack
lampoons Lou Reed, the Stooges, the
Ramones, the Sex Pistols and the Velvet

Underground. The three came together to record the sound-
track, which was originally lyrics written for "Never Mind the
Pollacks: A Rock & Roll Novel," in about five hours. Since
the album appropriates the structure of recognizable songs,
there isn't much innovation on the part of the musicians, but
the trio maintains the drive and youthful abandon of the origi-
nals with steady beats and solid riffs. Pollack's harsh vocals
easily imitate the sneer of the bad boys he criticizes. The
album kicks off with the straightforward "New York City," in
which he enumerates public figures and entities who are
"pile(s) of shit" (Andy Warhol, Donald Rumsfeld, jalapeno
bagels). Suddenly, snarky, nasal Pollack spits out "Fuck you,
David Bowie! You're a goddamn suck-up whore ... pile ... of
... shit." It's a truly great moment in rock criticism.
Pollack goes on to mock Lou and the Velvets with "Memo-
ries of Times Square (The Dildo Song)." He replaces the cho-
rus of Reed's post-Velvets hit, "Walk on the Wild Side," with
"Heyo, dildos / Juggling dildos up in the air / Dildos, dildos."
The verses, interestingly, remain about the same as Lou's
originals, recounting slightly goofier tales of drug use, prosti-
tution and broken dreams on the streets of New York.
The highlight of Pollack's, "I Wipe My Ass on Your
Novel," renders the album's shortcomings - a few weak
jokes and repetitive lyrics - inconsequential. Out of
silence, Pollack hollers, "Look / It is the sigh / Of your
super-absorbent novel / clearing my grateful ass / Of the shit
/ Of your words." He invokes literary giants ("Thank you,
Joyce Carol, for a year's worth of three-ply") and speeds into
pogo-inducing punk choruses.

his "Anthology of
Neal Pollack
Neal Pollack
The Telegraph

Counesy ofParamount

Death isn't for the lazy.

Courtesy o, mTe Telegraph Company
Neal Pollack: definitely not a badass.
Though Pollack spends most of the album ripping on '70s
icons, his book and soundtrack contain a message directed at
those who follow and create rock today. Just because rich
bedheaded kids from New York or Detroit kids with a gim-
mick are trying to pull off this badass schtick by recycling
Iggy and the VU and the blues doesn't mean it's any good, or
worth bringing back in some bastardized form. The current
Scene is infected by the bullshit gasconade, material excesses
and false sense of importance that ruined rock music so many
times in the past - ridiculous for a trend that's barely been
around two years.
There's a big difference between a new sound and a fad,
and Pollack, despite the vitriol he spews all over rock icons,
knows that they were something worth writing about, and still
are. Thanks, Neal, for cautioning the world against taking fal-
lible, fragile and stupid rock 'n' roll too seriously.

the viewer.
This, however, is a film that should
push the viewer out of his comfort
zone. It should challenge one's ideas
of both society and Tupac himself.
"Resurrection" accomplishes this by
openly and objectively exploring
Shakur's life.

a Plenty of treasure, surprises
on Pearl Jam's Lost Dogs


By James Pfent
Daily Arts Writer

ground, especially when other band
members take over lead vocals.
Sometimes the weirdness works well,
but certain songs, like "Don't Gimme
No Lip," fall flat.
Such variety is admirable, but the
best stuff sees the band playing like
the great rock band they are. "Hold

Lost Dogs, the latest from Seattle's
last scions, is a career-spanning col-
lection of rarities, b-sides and unre-


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