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March 16, 2009 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-03-16

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8A - Monday, March 16, 2009

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

8A - Monday, March 16, 2009 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Weirdest Publisher's Clearing House winners ever
A dolorous disc

From Page 5A
uncooperative and unruly, and the school proves itself
many times to be ill-equipped for dealing with them.
Eventually a story emerges around Souleymane
(newcomer Franck Keita), a loudmouth Malian stu-
dent who is threatened with expulsion after a heated
exchange of insults in the classroom spirals out of
control. What complicates matters is that Frangois is
not a complete bystander in the situation; there is a
possibility that the frank and unorthodox methods he
uses to speak to his students caused him to overstep
his boundaries.
Theviewer isultimatelyleft tojudge whatthe proper
course of action should hdve been, and the decision is
not an easy one. Souleymane's story is an embodiment
of the disconnect between students' personal lives and
From Page 5A
unbearably memorable tune is an earworm worth let-
ting in.
The album hits an early low point on the laughable
"47," with its fragmented melody and embarrassing
refrain of "I called you 46 times /And you answered on
the 47th." The awkward lyrics and disjointed rhythm
make "47" Fight's least worthy offering.
n The band hits the road with overzealous guitars
and double-kick drums on "Truck Stop Blues." The
song nearly spins out of control until a toe-tapping
chorus grooves its way into a reflection on the way
"highways and telephone lines" are the only things
connecting touring rock stars with their loved ones.
This . simplistic but lasting metaphor is certainly
nothing new from a road-worn band, but lead singer
Jordan Pundik's sincere croon deserves an empathet-
ic response.
"I'll Never Love Again" showcases guitarist Chad

their teachers' strike-hard-and-fast disciplinary phi-
losophy. And there are many unanswered questions
about what would have been tfe best way to approach
Souleymane's situation.
The original French title of "The Class" - and the title
of the novel from which it is based - is "Entre Les Murs,"
which translates to "Between the Walls." It's a fitting
description, as the vast majority of the film takes place
within the walls of Frangois's classroom. The cramped
space provides a revealing look at how students inter-
pret the world. In one instance, a black girl rightfully
chastises Frangois for only using "white" names during
his grammar lessons; in another, a discussion of soccer
teams devolves into a flurry of racial stereotyping.
Despite all the drama, by the end of the school year
many students have learned from Frangois and from
each other. "The Class" is thankfully just optimis-
tic enough to suggest that most of them have bright
futures in their sights.
Gilbert's shredding skills, which complement Pundik's
devastating lament on the prospect of rio longer being
able to partake in relationships. "Reasons," a con-
trast to its predecessor, follows by opening with an
easy acoustic line that fades into the background as a
confrontational Pundik informs, "You can cut off my
tongue / I'm speechless / and -I'm wasting away / to
nothing at your feet."
Not Without a Fight solidifies NFG's position on top
of the pop-punk throne, The guitar-driven.tunes have
an angst and energy that were hardly perceptible on
its predecessor, the more pretentious, piano-plagued
Coming Home. Reverting back to the sound heard on
Sticks andStones (NFG's most commerciallysuccessful
effort) has worked in the band's favor. The members of
NFG are not musical geniuses, but their emotive songs
continue to serve the purpose of entertaining and
sharing common feelings with a loyal fan base.
It's no secret that pop punk's glory days have long
since passed. But NFG refuses to be another casualty
of a vanishing genre. New Found Glory shows no sign
of slowing down now - at least not without a fight.


don't w
the N
and tho
matic l
that ig
bring h
ated K
ous for,
of the
on with
low ma
tence, C
band of
of its pa
down h
ject of

irsive's newest past decisions (namely those of
the sexual variety) and 2007's
is a complex Happy Hollow attacked estab-
lished religion and its role ' in
e'n'roll catharsis small-town America.
On Swollen, Kasher finds him-
By DAVID RIVA self looking at the world through
Daily Arts Writer a much broader scope. He takes
on the human condition and its
't want to live in the now / innumerable faults and short-
ant to know what I know," comings. "The ego of mankind
ices a stirs in us all," a line from "Mama,
Tim I'm Satan," sums up this senti-
on "In ment, expressing the self-cen-
ow," the tered nature that drives humans
g track of to their selfish ends.
I'm Swol- Mama, I'm "From the Hips," the album's
Cursive's Swollen lead single and strongest track,
full- Saddle Creek is vintage Cursive. Penetrating
studio lyrics ("I hate this damn Enlight-
Discon- enment / We were better off as
by a dysfunctional society animals") and a pensive buildup of
se who inhabit it, the enig- subtle guitar strums and weighty
ead singer makes a claim tom hits crescendo into a discor-
norance would, in fact, dant, frenzied middle section of
im bliss. But the opinion- the song. The cacophony then cli-
asher can't remain oblivi- maxes into a primal scream. The
too long; on the remainder song cheekily argues that intel-
album, he confronts his ligence is a curse that hinders
entioned grievance head- human nature's tendency toward
h no sympathy for his fel- carnal pleasure.
n. In "We're Going to Hell," an
ughout its 13-year exis- initially barren soundscape is
ursive has been a concept substituted for a feeble string"
sorts, loosely basing each section and high-pitched piano
ast three releases around a plinks to create a sinister and
le topic not easily pinned ominous feel. The song might
n four-minute rock songs. be expressing the consequence
Domestica tackled the sub- of creating a sacrilegious album
divorce. 2003's The Ugly like Happy Hollow. If this eter-
commented on regretting nity thing is indeed true, Cursive

could be in deep trouble.
"What Have I Done?" matches
an ambient organ tone and sober
guitar with a remorseful Kasher
looking -into his past in bitter
regret as he sings, "I spent the
best years of my life / waiting on
the best years of my life." This
emotionally charged closer is a
tearjerker for any longtime Cur-
sive fan. It marks a moment where
Kasher realizes his relentless and
unyielding opinions on the world
are insignificant and that, in the
grand scheme of things, his music
is meaningless. It's a rare moment
of vulnerability from a hardhead-
ed front man, and the song even
gives an unexpected shout-out to
Ann Arbor to boot.
Ultimately, Swollen falls short
of the lyrical potency and mas-
terful musicianship present on
Cursive's previous two albums.
As each song progresses, Kasher
sounds more frustrated and less
convincing. The album's focus
on the wretched nature of man-
kind makes for the darkest sub-
ject matter that Kasher has ever
Mama, I'm Swollen might be
tough to listen to with its depress-
ing musical and lyrical nature.
But in a world overflowing with
electronic-based music con-
taining lyrics ranging from the
impersonal to the meaningless, a
cathartic rock'n'roll record with
complex song structures and con-
temnlative ideas is a nice change.


New Found Glory: almost as cool as Smash Mouth.



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Clinton Townshi
Grand Rapids
Traverse City


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