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February 16, 2005 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2005-02-16

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Wednesday
February 16, 2005
arts. michigandaily.com
artspage@michigandaily.com

ARTS

4

8

e

WELL
BE.Lo
AVERAGE

4

THE HOTTEST PICKS IN ENTERTAINMENT
FROM A DAILY ARTS WRITER

S

Bill Cosby - Walking through Meijer at midnight on a Thursday, I dis-
covered a copy of Bill Cosby's "Himself' in a bargain bin and purchased
the DVD for a mere $10. Twenty-four hours later, I could do nothing but
watch again and again. Cosby's delivery and expressions knocked me off
my feet - he can easily destroy the majority of today's comedians.

MICHIGAN RAPPER FORGETS TO
BRING COHESIVE LYRICS
By Khepra Akanke
Daily Arts Writer
In an industry in which diamonds and dollars reign, it's hard to show
proof of substantial knowledge and still reach the masses. Few rappers
can be considered socially conscious and achieve success outside of
the underground rap community of beat-hungry back-
packers. With S.on.o.g.r.a.m., Pontiac native One. One.elo
Be.Lo gets lost somewhere between BET and the
underground on the aesthetic road. His lyrics are a S.o.n.o.g.r.a.m.
little juvenile, rife with bad similes and reliant on cli- Fat Beats
chds. One.Be.Lo sounds as if he creates sentences just
to link together words that happen to rhyme.
One.Be.Lo broke away from his group Binary Star prematurely, but he
might have just enough raw talent to hint at a promising future. Look-
ing to artists like Nas and Common - who can to blend witty and even
erudite lyrics into tightly woven narratives - might be just the thing to
set him on path to lyrical greatness.
One.Be.Lo possesses the blueprint to write great songs, but he loses
power during construction. "Used To Be Fly" recalls an intimate
romantic experience with easy, clear language. Unfortunately, he gets
lost on most of the other tracks, trying to create a rhyme instead of
concentrating on telling the story. Lines like "I used to be a connois-
seur / Now I kind of get sore" run rampant on S.o.n.o.g.r.a.m. On "The
Ghetto," he dwells on the already dead subject of hardships on the
streets while regurgitating the same rhymes about violence, rats and
narcotics that audiences have heard time and again. Territory like this
hasn't just been covered; established rap giants like Mobb Deep have
set up shop there.
While the vocals occasionally fail, One.Be.Lo's beats are often sub-

American Hockey League - With the current lockout, minor league
hockey has seen a huge boost in popularity. Even with the lack of show-
Sstopping players and uncanny offensive strikes, the AHL All-Star Game
was unbelievably interesting. After a grueling overtime and a do-or-die
shootout, Planet USA rallied against Team Canada to a 5-4 win.
Menomena - Their debut album, I Am The Fun Blame Monster, has
been shafted by critics, but it showcases the best aspects from a plethora
of genres: pop melodies, R&B bass lines, hip-hop beats, rocking gui-
tar riffs and ambient keyboard drones. At first listen, this combination
could be a jumbled mess, but Menomena succeeds on every track of
this phenomenal album.

I

2

The Grammys - Even though they haven't gotten anything right in
nearly 30 years, giving Kanye West only three out of 10 awards was a
start. The Grammys got a few other things right as well. Brian Wilson won
Best Rock Instrumental Performance for "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow" and Best
Alternative Performance went to Wilco for A Ghost Is Born.

Courtesy of Fat Beats Records

When an-escalator breaks down, it's stairs.

dued and refreshing. He opts for piano- and trumpet-heavy rhythms
that channel the laid-back, jazzy feel of A Tribe Called Quest, and the
easygoing beats blend well with his voice. Soothing arrangements are a
respite from his tiresome and clouded verses. But sadly, even the breezy
melodies aren't strong enough to make up for his inept lyrics.
One.Be.Lo should head back to the lab and refine his style. His sloppy
vocals and muddled storytelling will fail to draw listeners into repeat
listens. If he finally learns to say something without such opacity, he
may earn a little notoriety. S.o.n.o.g.r.a.m. captures the sound of an MC
struggling to develop a persona and attract an audience - but such inde-
cision rarely makes for a convincing rap album.

I

"Constantine" - Although it
hasn't yet been released and
may simply be jumping on
the comic book-to-movie
bandwagon, "Constantine"
looks astonishing. Its special
effects and religious themes
may garner "The Matrix"
references, but this looks
like a credible film. Apart
from the stunning visu-
als, "Constantine" casts a
boyhood hero of mine,
Gavin Rossdale of Bush,
in a major role.

A

Novel captures
grisly realities of war

By Lucille Vaughan
Daily Arts Writer

More than 60 years ago, waves of
freshly drafted soldiers entered a for-
eign land to battle the Axis Powers of
Europe. Nick Arvin's
"The Articles of War" Articles
details the harrowing of War
experiences of George
"Heck" Tilson, an 18- By Nick Arvin
year old who fights in Doubleday
France during World
War II. As Arvin describes the utter
devastation of the French countryside
and the havoc wrought upon the minds
and bodies of American soldiers, he
invites readers to ponder the nature of
courage and war's lasting effects on the
human soul.
Heck's somewhat reclusive person-
ality detaches him from the drinking,
swearing and coarse humor of the other
soldiers. When he's sent to the front lines,
the novel plunges readers into the ugli-
ness of war, addressing its crude realities
and the soldiers' emotional cataclysms.
In his first experience under fire, Heck

digs a hole in the ground, curls up into
the fetal position and sobs like a child.
His reaction is not cowardice, but a natu-
ral response to the bloody confusion sur-
rounding him. However, Heck's actions
result in shame and confusion as he tries
to be the ideal American soldier.
Later, Heck deliberately exposes him-
self to enemy fire so he'll be removed
from the front. While his fear and soul
searching invite sympathy, he exhibits
ambivalence, struggling to prove his
courage while trying to remain in one
piece. In his interactions with the other
characters, who are only briefly devel-
oped, Heck vacillates between a desire
for comfort and feelings of alienation.
He is forced to analyze his own behav-
ior and the institutional hypocrisy that
the war has generated. Heck's character
becomes a representative of every young
American soldier who struggles to rec-
oncile duty with personal morality.
Arvin's carefully researched portrayal
of France in wartime is both impres-
sive and disturbing. His prose is grim
and sometimes depressing, reflecting
the war's joyless setting. The sparse dia-
logue and rigidly structured interactions
between characters underline Heck's

Articles of War
NiCk Ar

DVD 'Full
By Doug Wernert
Daily Weekend Editor
MDIV D IRNw
When people think of corny fam-
ily sitcoms, "Full House" immediately
comes to mind. For over 190 episodes,

'I

the lovable Tan-
ner family pro-
vided tired jokes,
predictable plot
lines and lots
of hugs. Still,
its appeal came
from its simplic-

Full House:
The Complete
First Season
Warner Home Video

of hugs and laughs

youthful awkwardness, but sometimes
lack freshness and spontaneity. However,
Arvin captures Heck's aching loneliness
and his twin desires for self-preservation
and responsibility well.
Throughout the novel, Arvin addresses
the overwhelming misery of the French
civilians, both young and old, whose lives
are destroyed by the upheaval of war. Yet
he focuses on the American soldiers and
the seemingly endless nightmare of death
and destruction they face. Heck's charac-
ter is a grim reminder of the emotional
and physical devastation wrought by the
Second World War.

ity - viewers always knew they were
going to get a half hour of clean family-
friendly fare. The four-disc first season
DVD set reflects this idea, setting the
stage for eight seasons of harmless
entertainment.
The first season's plot is simple:
Danny Tanner (Bob Saget) is now a
single father trying to raise three girls,
so he recruits his brother-in-law Jesse
(John Stamos) and best friend Joey
(Dave Coulier) to help him. The three
grown ups, when not making fools of
themselves with the ladies, are clearly
out of their league when it comes to
watching over their younger charges.
Ten-year-old DJ (Candace Cameron)
is a frustrated pre-teen girl who spends

most of her time being annoyed at
her younger sister Stephanie (Jodie
Sweetin), who valiantly tries to be the
cute kindergartner that baby Michelle
(Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen) would
perfect years later.
Since Michelle, the show's real
breakout star, is an infant in the first
season, there isn't one "You got it,
dude!" to be heard. Instead, "Full
House" relies on the cartoon impres-
sions of wiseguy Joey and the PG-rated
rock-star exploits of Jesse to generate
the laughs. Fortunately for audiences,
Michelle grew up, Danny became a
neat freak and Joey and Jesse learned
to become real parents, as the first sea-
son's characters were bound to grow
tiresome.
The extras on the DVD set are
acceptable for a television show, but
they could have been so much more.
Executive producer Jeff Franklin pro-
vides commentary on two episodes,
and an additional episode has trivia
facts that scroll along the bottom of the
screen. However, other than a unique
unaired pilot with John Posey playing
Danny, the special features are nonex-
istent. Commentary by Saget, Stamos
and the rest of the gang would have
certainly made the set more appealing.
Even though today's viewers may
shake their heads in disgust over the

show's silliness, "Full House" still has
that likable quality that's impossible
to ignore. Whether it was the adults'
childish actions, the sappy conflict
resolution sequences or just the bad
jokes, everybody can get a laugh out
of it. And sometimes, that's all a show
needs to do.
Show: ***
Picture/Sound: ****
Features: **

I

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