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December 14, 2004 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-12-14

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December 14, 2004
arts. michigandaily.com





A closer stalk with me

Courtesy o Oet Jam

Cigars are for grown-ups.


By Evan McGarvey
Daily Arts Writer
Music R V1 w
The most shocking rhymes on The Red Light
District have nothing to do with the following:
girls, weed, parties and gigantic asses. Ludacris
has started rapping about pay-_
ing taxes: "Don't play with
that IRS man, I'll swear / ain't Ludacris
nothin' more embarassin'." The Red Light
This, and other unexpected District
and altogether nice jumps in Def Jam
maturity make The Red Light
District Ludacris's most cohe-
sive, listenable and polished effort to date.
Make no mistake; Ludacris hasn't turned his
entire focus to 401k accounts. He gambles the
budget of a small European nation on "Put Your
Money" and drops some smoked-out verses on
"Blueberry Yum-Yum." The signature moves

of his songs - the rowdy percussion, bubbling
whistles and uncanny vocal tics - remain
intact and absurdly delightful.
The album has a variety of highlights, from
the dirty funk of the Timbaland-produced "The
Potion" to "Pass Out" and its delirious, boom-
ing party chant. The absence of skits doesn't
hurt, either. The Red Light District also has the
first great album closer of Ludacris's career:
"Virgo" is a free-form rap circle with Nas and
beat-box legend Doug E. Fresh. There's no mel-
ody, save for Fresh's transcendent beat-boxing,
and Ludacris sounds like an honest-to-good-
ness rap star - cartoonish and skilled at the
same time.
He is now the first rapper of his kind (Nelly,
Fabolous, etc. ... ) to make the jump from sin-
gles charts to full fledged artist. In the process,
he's talked about sexual taboos with wonder-
fully low brow humor and made a larger than
life persona who might just be the funniest rap
character ever. Yeah, Ludacris has matured, but

that won't stop him from talking about "making
plans bigger than Serena's booty." And yes, he
samples the theme song from "Austin Powers"
and spits some jaw droppers about shagging
and eating pancakes.
The past two years hit Ludacris hard. His heir
apparent, Chingy, left the Disturbing Tha Peace
label in a highly publicized spat; Chicken and
Beer never had a good follow up single and talk
show host Bill O'Reilly attacked Luda enough
to make Pepsi cancel a commercial deal.
The Red Light District isn't just a disc of
redemption and maturity; it's also just god-
damned fun. Instead of leveling an unnecessary
wave of vocal mortars at his antagonists, he puts
on the same game face as when he's blowing some
greenery. Now that Chingy is self-destructing
and O'Reilly has a sexual harassment suit, Lud-
acris doesn't even have to get angry. "Respected
highly, Hi Mr. O'Reilly / Hope all is well, kiss
the plaintiff and the wifey," he raps. Point, set,
match: Ludacris.

I'm a stalker. No, not one of those
scary people who end up scaling
someone's privacy gate just to get
a glimpse; I'm just an online "stalk-
er," an information miser or simply
"pathetic" as one of my roommates
delicately phrased it. But once you've
started on that downward spiral, it is
hard to stop, as I'm sure many Face-
book addicts will freely explain.
"Stalking," as the word is often
used on campus, refers to getting
someone's personal information with-
out their explicit knowledge. For past
generations this merely meant looking
in the white pages, but with the rise of
the Internet, there are a vast number
of resources that many students use
Using the Internet to find friends
that have fallen out of touch is pretty
common. I have a roommate who has
even looked up old teachers online.
Most don't go to the lengths that I
have, though, such as searching most
of Michigan's top universities just to
check and make certain a particular
person did not transfer. I mean, if
someone's information doesn't show
up on the directory, who would sim-
ply assume they value privacy or that
they don't want to deal with the likes
of stalkers? It is much more likely
that the guy just transferred schools.
It has taken quite a bit of soul-search-
ing for me to admit that I am an online:
stalker. No, I'm not just someone who
occasionally Googles her friends from
time to time - I only really stalk one
person, a high school acquaintance
with whom I haven't spoke since grad-
uation. Circumstances have come to
light recently, and I would like to speak
with my old acquaintance about them,
which I think is reasonable enough.
After all, I haven't made a rendering
of what our children would look like or
anything - yet.
See, it all started out earnestly
enough. After talking to a few people
who had recently shared a lucky word
or two with him by chance, I decided
to seek out this guy. Of course, I turned
to his school directory first - hoping
above all else to find an e-mail address.
Apparently he's taken precautions
against people like me; there was no
entry. My dreams of finding the cache
of information that anyone can access
on the University's online directory
were dashed: I hoped to uncover his

major, his e-mail and any e-mail group
affiliations, which are usually very
Of course, I've tried searching for
him on Instant Messenger, but that was
fruitless. I actually even looked up my
own name and didn't even find a damn
thing. Go figure. This is disappoint-
ing because Instant Messenger is one
of the easiest ways to figure out what
a person is up to; away messages are
wonderful, wonderful things.
Next, I tried to Google my old
acquaintance, but my disappoint-
ment only forced me to search other
engines, like Altavista and AskJeeves.
com. TheFaceBook.com was my next
stop, but the last time I checked - and
I do so about every month, despite not
being a member myself - he does not
have an entry there, either.
Online tools like TheFacebook.com
are critical enablers for stalkers like
me. It is an easy way to check in on
old friends and acquaintances, or even
to find out about that boy who always
sits in the third row of your English
lecture. You can look at who is affili-
ated with your class to find him - yes,
even if you don't know his name yet.
And once you've built up the courage,
you can message him, or even "poke"
him, which is as pointless, though not
as dirty, as it sounds.
It appears that everyone has taken an
interest in TheFacebook.com. Every-
where I turn people are telling me that
I must join. For some, it has turned into
a popularity rating system, where you
can compare who has more friends,
and then follow up on whose are cooler
based on their affiliations. For others,
it is used to gather precious, though
mostly useless, facts while putting off
more important work. Ahem, not that I
know anyone who does that....
The Internet has made many more
things available, and for me it has
been the ability to keep in tuch with
and try to keep track of a few old
friends. Unfortunately, the search for
my old acquaintance will have to end.
Despite the seemingly overwhelming
odds, there is little information cur-
rently available online about the guy
others have affectionately dubbed
"my obsession."
-Melissa already knows your
name, number and the last time you
had sex, but e-mail her anyway at

Hits compilation doesn't do Young justice

By Aaron Kaczander
Daily Arts Writer

The first snow has already fallen,
and the consumers of Black Friday
rang in big numbers for retailers
nationwide. For the
innumerable value- " "
hungry shoppers, Neil Young
this can be a great Greatest Hits
time to cash in on Reprise
holiday gifts. It can
also be a great time
for record companies to cash in on
superfluous compilation packages
featuring any number of its valuable
Thus is the case with Neil Young's
aptly-titled holiday grab bag Great-
est Hits. Now, this is in no way a pot
shot at one of the finest rock song-
writers in history, but rather a cri-
tique of this simplistic and lowbrow
effort to compile songs from more
than 25 years of Neil Young's amaz-
ing career.
Greatest Hits covers nearly three

decades and five Young musical
endeavors, chronologically span-
ning his most popular material
from Crazy Horse, Crosby, Stills,
Nash and Young and his collabora-
tions with Stray Gators and Pearl
Jam. Musically, the songs are still
beautifully crafted, and capture the
soul-drenched folk and bluesy riff-
ing that has made Young a hero in
the landscape of rock'n'roll stardom.
Obviously, no harm can be done with
the eerily twanged 1970 tune "Ohio"
or the ultra-classic "Cinnamon Girl."
The politically charged anthem
"Rockin' in the Free World" voices
the musical antidote for a free-spirit-
ed generation of music lovers. It's not
Young's material, though, that makes
Greatest Hits a mediocre offering.
Surprisingly, this is Young's first
hits compilation in more than 25
years, so the pressure of slimming
down his incredibly vast catalog
of tunes proves to be too daunting
a task. The tragic flaw of this hits
compilation comes in the lethargic
pacing and odd sequencing of the
album's tracks. Placing his most

for the casual Young listener, but if
chronological order is the goal here,
where are the classic songs from
1975's Tonight's the Night? Granted,
a Young enthusiast could go on for
hours about what should have been
included, but why not take a bit more
consideration in sculpting a cream-
of -the-crop compilation for one of
the most influential music icons
ever? In addition, the album's pack-
aging, though showcasing a wonder-
fully expressive photo of a youthful
Young, comes off as abruptly and
clumsily thrown together.
Greatest Hits will succeed as a
holiday moneymaker for Reprise,
and will undoubtedly please the
casual Neil Young fan. Yet, because
of the lack of bonus material - save
the music video laced, sub-par DVD
extra - like rare or unreleased tracks
for the loyal Young follower, this set
falls short. Greatest Hits could have
been executed more fittingly for an
incomparable voice of folk and rock

popular songs chronologically poses
an annoying and strangely paced lis-
ten, leaving the loyal Young fan to
ponder the highlights and lowlights
of the three-decade collection. On a
more positive note, the album boasts
a "Because Sound Matters: Highest
Quality Audio DVD" feature that
proves to be a sonically pleasing
transfer from the superior vinyl sound
quality of Young's early years.
The song choices are standard


Ulysses create breakup
album with bo-fi appeal

By Lloyd Cargo
Daily Arts Writer
If The Apples In Stereo were try-
ing to be The Beatles, 010 would be
Robert Schneider's Plastic Ono Band.
Ulysses, a side-project for the Apples
In Stereo frontman, spawns a suc-
cessful to-fi breakup album with Sch-
neider's vitriolic

_ _ __ _

_ _.

separation songs
that are gloriously
Rather than
basking in self-
pity or wallowing
in memories of

Eenie Meenie

careening anthem "The Falcon," a
blast of staggered guitars and fren-
zied drumming. Schneider proves
he's also capable of slowing down
with "Change," a Stephen Malkmus-

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