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November 10, 2008 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-11-10

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Monday, November 10, 2008 -5A

'Renaissance'for one
of rap's old masters
By JOSHUA BAYER
Daily Arts Writer
With his a cappella tour de force
at the start of "Dance On Glass,"
Q-Tip - ex-
member of hip-.
hop powerhouse
A Tribe Called
Quest - proves x-Tip
his voice is the The
only instrument Renaissance
he needs. "Corny Universal Motown COURTESY OF UNIVERSAL MOTOWN
rap style niggas

/ They
pedigre
when tl
me Im
hamme
ly a sar
exquisit
intro. Q
has an
the pot
liding tI
teringly
On T
linguist
remarke
ing the
ears wi
Ar
SCOT
spends
album b
status in
hop, he
an MC,
of the p-
Whil
Amplife
alter eg
superfic
and bli
a welco
roots. O
"WeFigI
upon a
ing off
flows lu
vignette
ken ma:
ex-girlfr
married
ment in
subjects

lack the theory that men join the military
e / Deep waters they be in because they feel socially deprived,
hey just a manatee / Who, the song could serve as fodder for
unaffected, the whale, the an entire feature film.
rhead." This zinger is mere- On "ManWomanBoogie," Q-Tip
mple slice from the song's tosses government oppression,
ely metaphor-crammed racial barriers and gender roles
-Tip's lyrics are poetry. He together into an orgiastic melting
inexplicable know-how for pot dance party. "The bluest collar
ential energy of words, col- onthe brownestofskin/White,yel-
hem together in mouthwa- low, red too / They don't care who
fresh ways. it is / They're watching you / Con-
he Renaissance, he keeps his spiracy so you might as well dance
ic virtuosity popping with / Get down Zulu." Q-Tip's songs
able consistency, pummel- certainly have messages, though
brain while slathering the they're seldom clearly delineated
th rhymes. And while he or obvious. Instead, he opts for
the abstract, leaving lyrical bread-
crumb trails for listeners to follow
Tribe Called and form their own conclusions.
But, even if Q-Tip were rapping
guest alum aboutwipinghis ass,his stylewould
be just as captivating. His but-
res on return. tery flow morphs to wrap around
the structure of each song, the
words tumbling off of his tongue
effortlessly. Q-Tip doesn't rap over
a good chunk of time on the songs; he raps with them. His voice
boasting about his elevated becomes another instrument in the
a the lukewarm world of hip mix, lending the songs a cohesion
does so for good reason: As and authenticity sorely lacking in
he's been light-years ahead the world of modern rap.
ack for twenty years. On "ManWomanBoogie," Q-Tip
e Q-Tip's first solo outing, conducts a question-and-answer
d, found him shedding his session with a free-doodling bass.
o Abstract in favor of more On J Dilla-produced single "Move,"
Hal ruminations on booty his flow surfs breezily on a shape-
ng, The Renaissance marks shifting ocean of noise. With
me return to his cerebral psychedelic neon-synth drones,
n the narratively ambitious gurgling backing vocals and blips
ht/WeLove," he embarks and beeps that sound as if they're
thematic safari. Show- coming from a submarine control
his flair for storytelling, he room, the track exemplifies the
acidly among three linked vivid production throughout the
s The story of a heartbro- album.
n on a cigarette break, his With The Renaissance, Q-Tip
riend who is now unhappily proves he hasn't lost the slightest
i and his subsequent enroll- touch with his philosophical roots.
a the U.S. Army. Tackling At a ripe 38, it seems he's growing
as sprawling as fate and the even wiser with age.

"My name is McLSoin, and I'm an alcoholic."

Knowing9 their 'Role'
Sharp leads Rudd and Scott propel vulgar, heartwarming comedy
By Sheri Jankelovitz I Daily Arts Writer

Danny (Paul Rudd, "For-
getting Sarah Marshall")
is having a pretty crappy
day. His girl-
friend of seven *
years (Elizabeth
Banks, "Zack R
and Miri Make Role Models
a Porno") just At Quality16
broke up with and Showcase
him and his job, Universal
delivering inspi-
rational "stay off
drugs" messages to kids while pro-
moting energy drinks, just plain
sucks. He snaps and, along with his
partner in crime Wheeler (Seann
William Scott, "The Rundown"),
drives his bull-shaped car into a
high school's statue.
Rather than go to jail, the two
men are assigned 150 hours of
community service at Sturdy
Wings, a center where adults act
as figurative big brothers, or "bigs"
as thev're known in the filmto

younger children, or "littles." The
two men are each stuck with kids
formerly considered unwanted -
Danny gets Augie Farks (Christo-
pher Mintz-Plasse, "Superbad")
and Wheeler gets paired with
Ronnie Shields (relative newcomer
Bobb'e J. Thompson, "Idlewild").
Augie spends his days dressed
as a warrior from medieval times,
"battling" other people in the park,
while Ronnie is a foul-mouthed
hell-raiser who steals Wheeler's
car and slaps him in the face. Oh,
will these "bigs" and "littles" ever
learn to get along?
Even though the kids are total
weirdos, soon Wheeler and Ronnie
are bonding over their shared love
of boobs and Danny discovers that
Augie is actually pretty cool, despite
wearingacapeandpracticingsword-
play on rooftops. It's a cute premise,
but the film takes us nowhere we
haven't been before. It's "Kinder-
garten Cop" with an R-rating and

afilthysense of humor.
"Role Models" begs the ques-
tion: Why hasn't Paul Rudd been
given a leading role before? He has
all the charm for it, and shows it in
a scene in which he attempts to win
back his girlfriend by just quoting
romantic lines from other films
(even "Ghostbusters"). Seann Wil-
liam Scott has less to do, basically
playing a grown-up Stifler from the
"American Pie" franchise. But he
still knows how to deliver absolute-
ly dirty lines with giddy aplomb.
The two young boys more than
keep up with their older counter-
parts; Mintz-Plasse in particular
proves he can definitely play the
lovablenerd. It's uncertainifhe can
ever break out of such a role, but for
now, it works. In addition, every
scene with the recovered-drug
addict head of Sturdy Wings (the

scene-stealing Jane Lynch, "The
40 Year Old Virgin") is absolutely
hilarious.
Though the film is a faithful fol-
lower of typical "slacker boy" com-
edies (think "Knocked Up" and
"Superbad"),itstillmanagestocarry
its own weight. It achieves hilarity
without foraying into the gross-out
humor that's so prevalent among its
counterparts. It's cleverly written,
and pulled off by actors who appre-
ciate the artof a well-timed line.
The joke of the title is that these
two men are not even close to what
a role model should be. They're
crude, selfish and pretty much
straight-up douchebags. The best
part of the film is that, while the
men discover how to be good citi-
zens, they never fully change. They
remain gleefully vulgar, but with
bigger hearts.

Snow Patrol's latest
pleasant but bland
By JACK PORTER crack, every wall / Pick a side, pick a
DailyArts Writer fight / Get your epitaph right"
Snow Patrol isn't short on poi-
Like it or not, Snow Patrol's music gnant stanzas. In "Please Just Take
is everywhere. The Irish soft-rock These Photos From My Hands,"
quintet's songs have been featured Lightbody laments that his memo-
on the hit show "Grey's Anatomy" ries are "One gigantic fairy tale /
and in blockbuster "Spider-Man 3." Of friends I haven't seen in years /
Their doe-eyed Drinking 'til the daylight hurts."
ballad "Chasing Elsewhere the band tries to deliver
Cars" topped the a sequel to "Chasing Cars" with
iTunes down- the somnolent "The Planets Bend
load charts and Snow Patrol Between Us," but the attempt is
its album Eyes A Hundred too transparent - pianos and fal-
Open had strong Million Suns setto don't guarantee high-quality
showings on the Geffen songwriting. Sporting soulful and
Billboard 200 nuanced croons, "Lifeboats" emerg-
in 2006. Even es as a more successful cool-down
though Snow Patrol's earnest facade track.
deflects criticism, its market pres- But dreamy musings aren't the
ence betrays predatory instincts. only element on the disc. "Disaster
The band's accessibility guar- Button" is a rocker that sets itself
antees it'll be heard for decades apart with cryptic lyrics. What-does
to come - in romantic comedies, Lightbody mean when he says "I
malls, weddings and supermarkets. am just a ripped up ticket stub," and
Confined to the bland genre hell does it even matter? Another head-
of "adult contemporary," Snow scratcher is the song's instruction
Patrol is often compared to those to "Hit that button there / The one
bore-core charlatans, Coldplay. that just says wrong / We'll lose our
While Coldplay is an industry jug- lives to all our favorite songs." It
gernaut, Snow Patrol is likely an might be subversive, but it's more

# E 3
ft. ,
i
r
.......... ..... A '

-W E.D101 I

extended flash-in-the-pan. It's also
more down-to-earth, even when
crafting stadium-size singles. A
Hundred Million Suns sees the
band striving to capture the gran-
deur of U2 circa Joshua Tree in its
own "look what a sensitive dude I
am" sort of way. Thankfully, these
energetic pop centerpieces are just
emotional peaks in the band's new,
varied album.
"Crack the Shutters" is one of the
more cloying songs on Suns. Spew-
ing symphonic bombast and lyrics
about how pretty lead singer Gary
Lightbody's girlfriend is, it could
be stuffed perfectly into hour-long
drama programs during sweeps
week. On the heavier side, first sin-
gle "Take Back the City" is appro-
priately addictive - a power-popper
with hummable melodies from start
to finish. Even so, there's a strange
life-or-death undercurrent to its
lyrics: "Your city, your call / Every

The best music
you'll hear in a
supermarket and
mall near you.
likely just nonsense.
All told, Snow Patrol is above
par in the "adult contemporary"
domain, though that doesn't mean
much. Lightbody's voice is charis-
matic and his songs neatly balance
fluff and cynicism. But this tension
is also what confuses the album. A
Hundred Million Suns isas listenable
as it is disposable, and will likely be
irrelevant by next year. But people
will be listening to it for years to
come.

14

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