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November 29, 2004 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-11-29

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Monday

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arts. michigandaily.com
artspage@michigandaily. com

5A

TOP 50 ALBUMS OF THE NEW MILLENNIUM

The obsessive musings of every
music fan breed lists. Long, pas-
sionate and painfully labored over,
these lists lie in the dark caverns of
music geekdom, waiting patiently for
mini-milestones, prying questions
or any possible reason to blurt out.
As a result, the Daily music staff has
compiled its favorite albums of the
last half-decade (2000-2004). The
final product, presented throughout
this week, represents the tastes and
infatuations of a diverse staff, one
that spent weeks arguing the merits
of things like glitch-pop, indie-hop
and neo-soul. Enjoy the selections,
debate the omissions and tune in
tomorrow for the next installment.

Courtesy of Nintendo

I should have brought the Raid.

'Prime 2' continues
the epic space saga

50

49

By Jared Newman
Daily Arts Writer
With the large number of high-
caliber videogames hitting the
shelves just in time for the holiday
season, Nintendo is probably starv-
ing for publicity with their release of
"Metroid Prime 2: Echoes."
Unfortunately for the compa-
ny, "Prime 2" isn't popcorn gam-
ing like "Grand
Theft Auto: San
Andreas." Just Metroid
like its predeces- Prime 2:
sor, it is a rich, Echoes
complex game Gamecube
that requires both
patience and a Nintendo
sense of adven-
ture, and it will probably slip under
the radar this holiday season for
those reasons.
But those who loved "Metroid
Prime" for Gamecube will be pleased
to find out that "Prime 2" delivers a
similar experience: huge, continuous
worlds that mesh each locale together
and classic "Metroid" gameplay in
which players must use new items
to traverse old obstacles. The audio
runs in the same vein as the original,
and the graphics are only slightly
upgraded. The congruence between
tri two, titles might be a turnoff ;tr
some, but anyone who was addicted
to tle last installment will get those
feelings back after they lock on and
blow away a few alien zombies.
The big change in "Prime 2" is the
use of parallel light and dark dimen-
sions. The story behind this is that
a strange object once landed on the

planet Aether and split it into light
and dark worlds, and the inhabitants
of both are now at war. By open-
ing portals scattered around both
dimensions, the hero, Samus Aran,
can, for example, unlock a door in
the dark dimension and then travel
that pathway into the light dimen-
sion. It's not a groundbreaking idea,
but it is neat to uncover new areas
in the light world and then see how
distorted they become in the evil,
twisted dark world.
The concept of light and dark
extends to other areas of the game
as well. To better combat the foes of
each dimension, Samus can collect
light and dark cannons. If an enemy
is "dark," it is easily extinguished by
the light beam and vice versa.
The only problem is that these two
beams have limited ammunition. Not
only is it a sin to make Samus have
limited ammo on her beam weapons,
but the reasoning behind it - forc-
ing players to conserve ammo adds
balance - is flawed. Fighting a dark
foe with the light beam, for instance,
is too easy because the developers
have to compensate for the possibil-
ity of running out of ammo and using
the regular power beam instead. The
bosses, which were once a big part
of the series are less interesting as a
result. Often it's a matter of hitting
them with whatever works best rather
than forcing-players, wdevise tactics
using their entire arsenal.
These drawbacks aside, "Metroid
Prime 2: Echoes" is still a solid
extension of the last Gamecube title
and a worthy addition to the series.
However, gainers who haven't played
either installment should pick up the
original first.

No, we can't believe we made this bloody list either.

50 The Postal Service - Give Up
With Give Up, The Postal Service delivers.
The love child of Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie)
and Jimmy Tamborello (Dntel), the album plays like
a fairy tale: whimsical instrumentation, puffy cloud
synths and the subdued lullabies of Gibbard. The
orgasmic opener, "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight,"
finds the perfect balance between Gibbard's plaintive
voice and Tamborello's masterful layering. This jux-
taposition creates a hauntingly honest listen. Give Up
never quits. - Jerry Gordinier
4 9Elliot Smith - Figure 8
In my darkest of indie-rock fantasies, I see Elliot
Smith in a large boardroom surrounded by wolf-eyed
and bloated Dreamworks execs eager to strip Smith
down and take all of his mourning-call grace from his
historic Oscar performance and slap it into a cookie cut-
ter. The fayade of cynicism and fear usually lasts until
Smith sings/quietly sobs out "I Better Be Quiet Now."
The execs could never touch him. - Evan McGarvey
48 Manitoba - Up In Flames
Canadian DJ Dan Snaith, the creative force
behind Manitoba, has done the nearly impossible.
He has taken electronic music and made it as inter-
esting and accessible as standard, lyrical pop. The
soaring crescendos and psychedelic-influenced son-
ics found throughout Up In Flames make it a vibrant
and beautiful release. The album is crisp, dynamic,
clean and astonishingly well-made. The lightning-
fast pacing plays a huge role in its indomitable sense
of fun,,;- Jacob Nathan
47 Stephen Malkmus - SIT
Stephen Malkmus isn't SM any more - he's
grown up a little. The lovely hybrid of stoner rock and
twee-pop found on this alt-rock frontman's first solo
outing always lurked under the inscrutable lyrics of
every Pavement album - "Cut Your Hair" or " ... and

Carrot Rope," anyone? Stephen Malkmus shows us a
guy who now prefers Portland to New York, who layers
his music with more synthesized steel drums than caus-
tic guitar riffs, who'll sing about candy canes and toe
rings and someone named The Ess-Dog and make you
feel happy, not aloof and detached. The new SM likes
yoga. We like the new SM. - Alexandra Jones
46 The Decemberists - Castaways and
Cutouts
Somehow, a kid from a state with more cows than people
became an expert on the fantastic. Decemberists front-
man Colin Meloy, Montana's unofficial poet laureate,
imagines himself as a slew of exotic, antique characters
- the ghosts of dead babies, mythical Medusa-like fig-
ures and a million other fanciful sketches: Supported
by a gauzy film of accordion, organ, double bass and
acoustic guitar, Castaways and Cutouts isn't just a gor-
geous album - it's a collection of sound stories at once
haunting and enthralling. - A.J.
Talib Kweli - Quality
The greatest prophecy in underground hip-
hop is of the one emcee who can join the two worlds:
commercial and conscious. He must bring together
the square glasses of Def Jux fans and mold them
with all the rims and gold glocks of Cash Money. For
a fleeting moment, Talib Kweli held both worlds in
his hands. Kweli's darting croak brings everything
from the hip-hop experience into Quality and the
results are often unforgettable. - E.M.
Bjork - Medulla
Unlike most Bjork albums that raise a series
of questions, Medulla, whose sole instrument is the
human voice, provides answer after answer. Is beat-
box wizard Rahzel otherworldly? Yes. Is the human
voice still the most beautiful musical apparatus? Yes.
Does Iceland sound like the most sublime place on
earth? Yes. Is Bjork the greatest female musician of

our lifetime? Absolutely. - E.M.
43 3Johnny Cash - American IV
After 45 years and 1,500 songs, Ameri-
can IV could have been just another release to get
blended into Johnny Cash's vast discography. With
several tributes and guest appearances, this was cer-
tainly one of the singer's most admirable albums.
Garnering a Grammy and several other awards,
this album still did not get enough acclaim during
its prime. We all took a step back when the music
legend went to a higher place last year; America
went silent during his passing, and we all hung our
heads. - Trevor Campbell
The Drive-By Truckers - Southern Rock
Opera
The Drive-By Truckers' sprawling two-disc Southern
Rock Opera chronicles life in the real Dirty South and
explores "the duality of the Southern thang." George
Wallace, Bear Bryant and, of course, the great Lynyrd
Skynyrd get plenty of face time as the Truckers take
a drive along the back roads of Alabama with smart,
savvy, Skynyrd-esque guitar rock. - Joel Hoard
4 Coldplay - Parachutes
Before the packed arenas and overexposed
radio singles, before the celebrity marriages and
world politics, there was an album of delicate beauty.
Parachutes is filled with memorable hooks and beau-
tifully crafted songs. "Shiver" is still the finest song
that Coldplay has produced, its chiming guitars and
swelling vocals exemplifying the band's emotional
power. The record is sequenced beautifully, beginning
with the restrained arrangement of "Don't Panic" and
ending with the exuberant singalong, "Everything's
Not Lost." The lack of pretense on this album makes
it endearing to listeners, and its lovelorn ballads are
stark and compelling - a world away from their cur-
rent musical approach. - Matt Kivel

Taut thriller 'Enduring Love' defies conventions

By Jeffrey Bloomer
Daily Arts Writer

On a serene English countryside, a young couple
picnics as a hot air balloon, apparently out of control,
appears in the background. There is a young boy inside,
and several men nearby attempt to ground it by grasp-

ing the ropes on its basket even
as they are lifted off the ground.
As the balloon rises higher, the
men begin to let go, but one holds
on too long and falls to his death.
The stunning opening sequence
of "Enduring Love" is one of
the year's best. It juxtaposes the
beautiful landscape and the dis-

Enduring
Love
At the
Michigan Theater
Paramount Classics

our tesyU r r m, ut

I like to watch.

are secondary to its primary focus: Joe's psychological
downfall. Before the accident, he is a university lecturer
on the eve of an engagement to his girlfriend. After, cat-
alyzed by Jed's ominous presence, he becomes obsessed
with his involvement in the accident's grisly outcome
and the motivations of his stalker. Joe begins system-
atically alienating everyone in his life as his obsession
leads him through a variety of subplots, none of which
feel extraneous or unnecessary. His mental journey
proves the most fascinating aspect of the film.
Michell favors silence over action. His low key,
subtle style is prevalent throughout his body of work.
"Enduring Love" is no different; it is characterized
by its quietly disconcerting score, dim lighting and
straightforward visual storytelling. Michell works
with actors he is familiar with, but casts them in
roles that are of stark contrast to those in his previ-
ous films. Most notable is the transformation of Ifans,
best know for his turn as the underwear-clad oddball
in Michell's own "Nothing Hill." He delivers a bril-
liant performance as the confused and disturbed Jed,
a man whose seemingly boyish innocence makes his
behavior all the more alarming.
"Enduring Love" concludes along the same coun-
tryside in which it opened. The long, scenic shots of
the denouement give the audience a chance to reflect
and speculate on the film's story arc. Though no
definite conclusions are likely to be reached, there
is one thing audiences can be sure of: The haunt-
ing images of "Enduring Love" will stick with them
long after it's over.

Do You wAw TTo SEE SAMUEL L JACKSON IN
MTV's NEWEST FILM, "COACHs CARTER?"
THE DAILY WAS FREE PASSES./
DROP 8Y 420 MAYNARD ST~ TO PACK ONE UP TODAY.
y,

turbing accident to full dramatic effect. The film that
follows triumphs as a skillful psychological thriller
filled with suspense.
Roger Michell ("Changing Lanes"), "Endur-
ing Love," adapted from the novel of the same title
by Booker Prize winner Ian McEwan, directs a taut
and evocative character study that doubles as a thrill-
er with great success. It considers the effects of the
balloon accident on one of its survivors, Joe (Daniel
Craig, "Sylvia"). Initially, he is remarkably calm in
the wake of the events that occurred. His sentiments
change as another survivor, Jed (Rhys Ifans, "Danny
Deckchair"), begins to turn up in his daily life a bit

too often to be mere coincidence. It becomes clear that
Jed wants something from Joe, constantly suggesting
that there is a bond between the two men. Much to the
dismay of his girlfriend (the superb Samantha Morton,
"In America"), Joe quickly becomes obsessed with the
outcome of the accident and his stalker, whose pres-
ence becomes increasingly disturbing.
On one level, "Enduring Love" is a skillful but con-
ventional take on the stalker-victim genre. It is effective
in this sense because Jed's motivations are never quite
clear to the audience. He often speaks of God's will, yet
also appears to have a homoerotic attraction to Joe. The
film does not fear ambiguity, allowing for many of its
events to remain open-ended, which in turn creates an
eerie atmosphere. Still, the thriller qualities of the film

Superman's formative years revealed in 'Smallville' DVD

By Abby Stotz
Daily Arts Writer

D DREVW
Before he moved to Metropolis and
became a full-time superhero, Clark
Kent was a nice country boy trying
to make it to graduation. The high
school days of this
mild-mannered
reporter are chron- Smaliville:

Clark must also cope with the blue-
blooded Luthor family, led by father
Lionel (John Glover) and his bald son
Lex (Michael Rosenbaum). Lex is the
more interesting of the duo, as he has
some intense daddy issues and, at this
point in the series, has an on again/off
again friendship with the future Super-
man. The show takes itself overly-
serious, but due to the supernatural
circumstances, the melodrama is toler-
able, and, at times, even welcomed.

editor of the Daily Planet.
The features on the set are plentiful.
There are lots of deleted scenes, a mak-
ing-of documentary, a featurette called
"The Chloe Chronicles," a gag reel
and commentary on selected episodes.
The commentaries are hilarious, with
the actors, directors and producers
openly mocking their overly-serious
show. Rosenbaum is the star of these
commentaries, observing that his head
looked greasy in the credits and saying

that he missed his old love interest who
had "lips like briefcase handles."
"Smallville" is a good show that
adds a whole new dimension to the
Superman legend. With a quality show
and oodles of extras, "Smallville: The
Complete Third Season" is a DVD set
well worth the price.
Show: ***
Picture/Sound: ****
Features: ****

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