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September 07, 2004 - Image 49

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-09-07

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ARTS

The Michigan Daily - New Student Edition - Fall 2004 - 3D

ALEX
WOLSKY

Halcyon Days: Bootleg epitomizes excellence
April 2, 2004
By Alex Wolsky .
Daily Staff Writer'
Music REVIEW__ _ _ _\

Bozo Dionysus Revisited

"It's just Halloween - I've got
my Bob Dylan mask on. I'mn mas-
querading."
Bob Dylan was always an enigma.
On October 31, 1964, to an adoring
crowd of faithful followers, Dylan per-
formed at New York City's most presti-

March 16, 2004 -
et me preface this by stating
that I never bought Jim Morri-
son, neither as the Lizard King
nor the poet. Since the 30th anniver-
sary of Morrison's death, there has
been a mid-level revival of the Doors.
Morrison's popularity has become
glamorized and iconic, as a typical
mode of operation for rock 'n' roll
stars. In an era bent on the guttural
exhibitionist, antics of reality televi-
sion and the loss of culture and sophis-
tication in art, Morrison's resurgence
is all but expected.
Morrison was always a jerk. At 10
years of age, he rubbed dog shit in his
little brother's face and later put cello-
phane over his brother's mouth, nearly
suffocating him. His brother had
chronic tonsillitis at the time, and
impeding his breathing for such a long
period of time nearly killed him. Mor-
rison pissed on himself, would threat-
en to throw his body out the car
window to gain attention from his par-
ents and constantly ridiculed para-
plegics. Once, while tobogganing,
Morrison even barricaded his two sib-
lings in the front of the cart where they
couldn't move, got up to a good speed
and aimed the shackles towards a
cabin. Surely this man is a god.
In the fall of '66, when the band
went in to record its first album, Mor-
rison covered the building in chemical
fire extinguisher foam. Around the
same time, he packed a taxi full of
people and drove out to Elektra
Records president Jac Holzman's
apartment in the middle of the night,
where Morrison ripped out carpet and
vomited all over the lobby.
This is the type of behavior that
was accepted, if not encouraged by
people. Granted, reality TV stars
aren't always whipping out their
genitalia in public (except Richard
Hatch on "Survivor"), but we, as a
society, are encouraging them to be
as vile and inept as Morrison. If he
cared so little about his life and was
so willing to make it one big joke,
why should anybody care, if not for
shameless, trashy entertainment?
Morrison was a failure as a musi-,
cian and one of the most overrated
people in music. He couldn't sing, he

couldn't write a single note of music,
he never played on any of the Doors'
records and his lyrics were pretentious
bullshit. Most reality TV stars today
can't act, they can't write and they
sure as hell aren't winning any
Emmys.
Morrison's life and death should be
written off as a blueprint to the pathet-
ic "artist as a star" system. The very
idea that stars, whether they be TV
rubes or rock 'n' roll dropouts, are
somehow a race apart and thus able to
piss on their wives, trash hotel rooms
and commit unthinkable acts of socie-
tal taboo is beyond me.
One of the more ridiculous claims
I've heard is that somehow curbing
this exhibitionism would be detrimen-
tal to their art and their creativity. The
ironic thing about this (despite the fact
that it assumes that they have talent in
the first place) is that the tolerance of
such acts contributes to them eventual-
ly drying up as artists. How could you
truly emote when you have absolutely
zero input from the real world,
because everyone around you is cater-
ing to and sheltering you? Morrison
couldn't, and the very thought that he
would be alive today, singing about
chaos and revolution is laughable,
much like the idea that any reality star4
will be whoring themselves on the
small screen a decade from now.
If he did indeed die in a bathtub
in Paris, it was a suitable ending
for a narcissistic parody of '60s
rock like Morrison. He belonged in
a day care center for counterculture
casualties, another one of those
children ruined by drugs and left
scratching for some kind of author-
ity as a significant artist.
Rock critic Lester Bangs branded
this type of glamorized, moronic
behavior "Bozo Dionysus," the ami-
able blend of divine grace and bozo
idiocy. Morrison wasn't a poet or a
god. Instead, he was a drugged and
drunken maniac - a propitious male
prostitute who lives posthumously as
an icon for the vapid and inane.
- While Jim Morrison may not appeal to
Alex, ClayAiken sure lights hisfire. Send
him mail at wolsky@umich.edu

gious venue at
the time, Philhar-
monic Hall. The
year had been
tumultuous for
the folk icon: His
wife had left him
and he had just
completed his
first national
tour, only to

Bob Dylan
The Bootleg
Series Volume 6:
Concert at
Philharmonic
Hall
Columbia

return home disenchanted in folk
music and preparing to make a sea
change into the world of rock 'n' roll.
The crowd that attended the per-
formance had the highest expectations
for its young poet laureate. As opposed
to the figure he would become in later
years, Dylan was still seen as the voice
of the civil rights, disarmament and
anti-war movements in America - an
honorable voice of protest.
The Bootleg
Series Volume 6:p
Concert at Phil- #
harmonic Hall is,
thus, more essen-
tial than it is per-
fect. In fact, its
imperfections
show the openness ,a
and comfort with
his audience and
Dylan's youth
more than any-
thing. He appears
to be slightly ine-
briated, forgetting
lines, dropping his guitar pick twice
(once he stops to pick it up and the
other he just continues on without it)
and often bursts out in laughter with-
out reason. He appears, on the outside,
comfortable with the home crowd
after a long year of touring. Converse-
ly, he also seems to be preoccupied
with making the turn into more per-
sonal, introverted songwriting.
The solo Dylan played stark, pow-
erful renditions of favorites ("The
Times They Are A-Changin' " and
"Don't Think Twice, It's Alright"),
political songs ("Talkin' John Birch
Paranoid Blues," "Who Killed
Davey Moore?" and "The Lonesome

Courtesy o Columoa

Jeez, I can't find my knees.
Death of Hattie Carroll") and protest
songs ("Talkin' World War III
Blues"). The crowd roared when
Dylan brought out Joan Baez, the
most socially active musician of the
time, to accom-
pany him on four
.songs, including
the anti-war dia-
tribe "With God
on Our Side."
However what
makes Volume 6
special is the fact
that Dylan, while
running through
these songs, had
one foot firmly
placed in the
future.
At the time,
nobody, including Dylan, knew how
much the next year would change
him, and that tension surrounds Vol-

ume 6. In some respect, Dylan had
already made his move by the time
he walked out into the Philharmonic
that night. His Another Side of Bob
Dylan had been released five months
earlier and included "My Back
Pages," which directly disowned the
moral absolutes of the folk and
political scenes that had already
staked a claim to his writing.
But in another respect, Dylan
seemed tentative about progressing
in that direction. He played a hand-
ful of new songs on Volume 6 and
introduced them all ad interim or
with ironic put-ons, as if he couldn't
quite fix his own intentions, or he
doesn't want to reveal them or how
they will affect the relationship with
his followers.
"Gates of Eden," he said, is "a
sacrilegious lullaby in D Minor"
and "a love song," while the dour
"It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleed-

ing)" is "a very funny song." The
tenor of his comment about wearing
a mask, which follows "Gates of
Eden," is almost comforting in this
context. He seemed to be reassuring
the audience that they could still see
him as the person they wanted -
for now.
In this context, it's almost unfath-
omable to think that 10 months after
Series 6 was performed, Dylan
would release both Bringing It All
Back Home and Highway 61 Revisit-
ed. Both would explode into the folk
scene and forever change the rock
'n' roll aesthetic. Some of Dylan's
fans would come along with his
move to rock; many would denounce
him as a Judas, and the atmosphere
on Volume 6 seems, thus, more
poignant than it did at first glance.
It's a snapshot of Dylan's storied
early years at their peak, one idyllic
last show before the storm.

OutKast keepin' it separated, real

September 29, 2003
By Hussain Rabin
Daily Staff Writer

M S ILVI
Double albums in hip-hop. You make
one when you want to die (Life After
Death, All Eyez on Me) or when you

want to die musi-
cally (Wu-Tang
Forever, Blueprint
2 and Bones
Thugs, yes they did
one.) So now one
of hip-hop's most
adventurous and
rritilAIl,, n l a 1 c

OutKast
Speaker-
boxxxlThe
Love Below
La Face

stream and easily palatable.
However, that doesn't nec-
essarily make it better. As
anyone who knows OutKast
expected, Andres album,
The Love Below, takes the
biggest risk and pays off the
most in the end. It probably
can't even be called rap, as
he turns in his MC card to be
an acid-funk/soul singer.
Starting off the album
with half serious/half farci-
cal Frank Sinatra crooning,
you can tell Dr6 is in a space
lounge about to take you
farther than anywhere
ATLiens took you. With
themes throughout the
album dealing with confu-
sion about love, including
intergenerational issues
("Pink and Blue"), fidelity
and eternal love, you can Courtesy of La Face
sense his confusion and We stimulate and activate your left and right brain.

cr ca y, as wel as
commercially, received groups ventures
forth with their very own double album
Speakerboxx/The Love Below.
The fusion of the group becomes
more evident now that they are sepa-
rate. These two completely disparate
discs show how they balance each other
out. The OutKast sound is pushed out-
wards by Dr6's penchant for experi-
mentation and kept
more in root by the Big
Boi's dirty south sound.
The album is pretty
much dictated by histo-
ry, personalities and
album titles. Big Boi
presents Speakerboxxx,
the rap album you can
play on the radio, evi-
denced by bangers such
as "Flip Flop Rock." In
true OutKast form, Big Boi focuses on
brass instrumentation and electro beats,
while throwing some reflective, con-
scious and street lyrics in the mix as
well. His album is definitely more main-

Help wanted at the bookstore

earnest disillusionment
towards relationships and women, some
of it stemming from a
recent relationship with
Erykah Badu.
The Love Below is as
diverse as they come.
The ecleticism dis-
played here is more
along the same vein as
early Wyclef, when it
was actual heterogeneity
and not contrived
attempts. Anyone who
uses Bach's "Concerto for Two Violins"
in the modern version of "Who's on
First, What's on Second," as well as an
incredible techno cover of Coltrane's
"Favorite Things," is a friend of mine.

With this album, the creativity,
thought and energy that were put in are
felt throughout. More than ever, Out-
Kast give a view into the personal, and it
works. So far, this is easily the best
major-label hip-hop album of the year.
Not only have they redefined their
sound, they have redefined the double
album. It is an extreme pleasure when
the hip-hop mainstream can move the
genre forward.
Would it be better if artists attempted
to be more progressive and experimen-
tal? Or would they sound like mere Out-
Kast epigones? Is that such a bad thing?
More than ever the question to ask is
what can these two do from here, and
will they come back together and do it?

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