A - Monday, February 19, 2007
The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom
By CHRISTINA CHOI
Daily Arts Writer
For better or worse, Hugh Grant and romance
are the peanut butter and jelly of the chick-flick
world. Tried, true and down-
right satisfying, he and his
puppy-dog eyes triumph once * '*
more opposite a docile Drew
Barrymore in "Music and Lyr- MusIC and
This time around, Grant LynCS
("Love Actually") plays the At Quality16
quippy Alex Fletcher, a has-
been star of the appropriately- and Showcase
named '80s group Pop! who Warner Bros.
makes a living off his antiquat-
ed musical glory by performing
at assorted fruit fairs and high school reunions.
His mediocre singing career gets a shot at res-
urrection through mega-pop star Cora Corman
(newcomer Haley Bennett), a beautiful New
Age blonde who could easily pass for a runaway
Pussycat Doll. Cora bids Alex to write her a hit
channeling her devastating breakup from a two-
month long relationship, tobe titled "A Way Back
into Love," and he quickly finds himself in des-
perate need of a lyricist.
We can wait for this soundtrack.
Enter Sophie Fisher (Drew Barrymore, "SO
First Dates"), the temp who waters Alex's plants.
With a nervous innocence, a pinch of poetry and
a dash of hypochondria, Sophie's hidden ability
to write catchy lyrics becomes a lifeline for Alex
-and a convenient preamble for close proximity
leading to inevitable attraction, heartbreak and
reunion. Because - cue the Percy Sledge - when
a man loves a woman, well, you know.
While their chemistry isn't off the charts,
Barrymore and Grant's cumulative stock in the
romance industry is enough to create a whole-
some camaraderie that buoys the film's sunny
plotline. Theirs is the type of relationship that
always sails smoothly, as evidenced by the two-
minute argument that precipitates the movie's
climax. When Sophie's self-esteem is temporar-
ily crushed by Alex's harsh words, he must learn
how to croon his heart's song directly into her
wounded soul before she deserts him forever.
Cynics beware: This may not be your cup of tea.
Highlights of this songwriting tale include
Sophie's older sister Rhonda (Kristen Johnston,
TV's "3rd Rock from the Sun"), a fearsome moth-
er and a former diehard fan of Pop!. Her enthu-
siasm for Alex bests even the pre-teen throngs
that worship Cora - who, in accordance with her
"shanti shanti" salutations to the crowd, seems
strangely untouched by the corrosiveness of, say,
paparazzi crotch shots. However, this doesn't
stop her from wearing the customarily scanty
outfits and lamenting over the threat of being
outdanced by Shakira.
With winning supporting characters like Cora
and Rhonda, "Music and Lyrics" forms a solid
love-conquers-all storyline that bridges the gen-
eration gap between the teen and adult audience
for which the film is surely aiming. The result is
a polished and perfectly timed follow-up to the
hearts and flowers of Cupid's month. Whether
you're snuggling up next to your sweetheart or
nursing a smuggled pint of Ben & Jerry's in the
theater, "Music and Lyrics" is a reminder of an
idyllic love only Hollywood can get away with.
Doiron's awakening more of a snooze
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By RACHEL COMMON
Daily Arts Writer
Is Julie Doiron's Woke Myself
Up just another
indie-rack bore? *.
album's lazy mix Woke
of grainy vocals
and stripped- Myself Up
mentscandrowse Julie Doiron
you faster than Jagjaguwar
your 8:30 a.m.
With the thrown-together feel
that pervades Woke Myself Up, it's
surprising to learn that Doiron's
been doing the music thing for a
She started her career in 1990
at 18 playing bass in the Canadian
group Eric's Trip. They became
underground favorites before
signing with Sub Pop and finding
international recognition, tour-
ing widely. When the band split in
1996, Doiron began her solo career,
releasing six full-length albums
and two EPs through the years.
Woke Myself Up is her seventh full-
length album, a collaboration with
former and founding Eric's Trip
bandmate Rick White.
The album is entirely intimate
without sacrificing song-to-song
distinctiveness. On each track,
Doiron finds a new way to spell
out "vulnerable" with differing
tempos, keys and instrumentation.
"Untitled" is remarkably intro-
spective and restrained; "Don't
Wannabe / Liked by You" is gritty,
grungy and distortion-drenched.
These musical changes, though
subtle, are engaging.
The lyrics, penned by Doiron
herself, are unabashedly personal,
through the common love-and-
loss thread turns quickly from
melancholic to melodramatic. On
"The Wrong Guy," slow-motion
guitar twangs underline Doiron's
utter humiliation at a party. Open-
ing her eyes "in horror," she real-
izes she just kissed the wrong
person with everyone watching.
"Swan Pond," a waltz in a minor
key continues the emo half-whin-
ing as Doiron mumbles through
the words, "Oh swan pond please
set me free! / Hear my song and
please bring him to me."
What the album lacks is qual-
ity production. For someone who's
album marked by
been in the biz for more than a
decade, Doiron's choice ofagrainy,
demo-like finish gives WokeMyself
Up the sound of an unsure debut.
This is especially apparent on "I
Left Town." The simplistic do-re-
mi melody and tardy guitar strums
bring out the worst of the raw feel,
producing an amateur sound - a
record of ideas scrawled on pieces
of paper and recorded on a four-
track in her bedroom.
Doiron's creative range is evi-
dent. The album's recurring
themes of loss and love flow seam-
lessly between songs. Like a col-
lection of diary excerpts, Doiron's
songs are open, emotional entries
on relationships and their ups and
downs, romantic and otherwise.
And like the rest of the Tegans
and Saras of the indie under-
ground, Woke Myself Up boasts
careless production - intentional
or not. A little polish on Doiron's
part would signal artistic growth,
atleast outwardly.Itseems strange
that a seasoned musician as Doiron
would be content to continue on
with the same lo-fi sound of her
early-'90s stomping ground. But
she's already released six albums,
and she seems OK with it.
Stop by the Alumni Center (main lobby doors), 200 Fletcher St., at the
corner of Fletcher and Washington, to get up to six blue books for free!
All you have to do is show your student ID.
The building is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Questions? Visit www.umalumni.com
or call 800.847.4764
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
Uniting the Leaders and Best
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