The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Wednesday, November 4, 2009 - 5
By KEVIN MEYER choly reflection of what Cuomo
For the Daily fears he has become: another
30-something whose good times
With Raditude, Weezer has have drifted downstream.
taken yet another sidestep from Elsewhere, Raditude seem-
its classic ang- ingly drifts away from this ear-
sty geek rock *** nestness. Many of the tracks are
fare. Across chalk-full of feel-good beats and
the record, Weezer ditzy mirth. With simplicity and
frontman Riv- Raditude sarcasm, these tracks will find
ers Cuomo Rtheir ways into listeners' hearts.
takes initia- Geffen Raditude demands that ado-
tive and leaves lescence be celebrated because,
behind the pop-sensitive, cajol- after all, it is fleeting. The dizzy
ing music that marked Weezer's electro-pop on "(If You're Won-
past couple albums, replacing dering If I Want You To) I Want
it with pleasantly hilarious You To" and "I'm Your Daddy"
lamentations and parodies of are shining examples of the gen-
teenage naiveti. This direction uine yet jocular nature of Radi-
may seem both misguided and tude. Perhaps the most obvious
painfully simple, but Weezer moment of duality is ,the Lil
manages to succeed brilliantly Wayne collaboration "Can't
with a handful of whimsical and Stop. Partying." While appear-
memorable tracks. ing superficially to be just
With a hint of farce, Raditude
self-consciously begs listeners
to question both its validity and Facing adult life
sincerity. Ultimately, the album
proves to be both earnest and
sympathetic as it parodies ado-
lescent immaturity through a teenage years.
lens of genuine teenage nostalgia.
It's Raditude's delicate balance
between spoof and authenticity
that cements its greatness. The another head-bopping grind
transition from the collegiate with its shallow money-and-hos
tail-chasing, Patron-drinking lyrics and strange dance beat,
lifestyle to one of middle-aged the theme running behind the
maturity is obviously an evolu- song is one of sobriety and com-
tion Cuomo and crew have taken plaint.
with a grain of salt. Weezer contrives a painstak-
Though Raditude appears ingly complex parody of the way
light-hearted on the surface (its many teenagers live while main-
bizzare cover features a dog in taining a surprising sincerity.
mid-leap through a stereotypi- No longer are these men in the
cal American living room) the positiontobetakencareofwhile
album is much more reflective hedonistically living life to the
and somber than it superficially fullest, with a safety net below
seems. Tracks like "Run Over to catch them if they fall. Sud-
By A Truck," a fast-paced con- denly, the men of Weezer seem
dolence equipped with heavy to realize they have to grow
distortion and one of the album's up. Raditude manages to neatly
most poetically rhythmic cho- compile all the mixed emotions
ruses, express the despera- that accompany the transition
tion of Cuomo's growing pains. into adulthood. And, as Cuomo
Similarly, the song "Put Me describes, "I feel like I've been
Back Together" acts as a melan- run over by atruck."
White Castle: Cruel to more than just your toilet.
Welcome to Amreeka
'Amreeka' illustrates the
tribulations of struggling
immigrants in America
By EMILY BOUDREAU
Daily Arts Writer
"God bless America, buy hamburgers," says
the sign outside the White
-Castle where Muna (Nisreen
Faour, "For My Father") now *
works. She and her son Fadi
--(newcomer Melkar Muallem) Aireeika
are Palestinian immigrants At the
who have come to live with Michin
family members in America igan
(or as they call it, "Amreeka"). First Generation
Fadi and Muna have given up
stable jobs, friends and family at home in pur-
suit of the American dream.
But America doesn't end up being what
they expected. In the film, America has just
entered the war in Iraq, and Muna and her
family struggle against prejudice. Their new
life ends up being just as trying as life in Pal-
"Amreeka" seems to give a fair and honest
glimpse into life as an immigrant. The charac-
ters get homesick, have money problems and
struggle with learning and speaking English.
America does not make them happy. At the
same time, the family members don't go back to
Palestine or give up. As Muna points out, their
lives may not be perfect, but they would never
be perfect anywhere in the world.
When Muna and her family encounter preju-
dice, however, the struggle isn't as convincing-
ly directed as their other day-to-day struggles.
Whenever the family in the film is harassed,
it's always by a less-educated male from the
rougher area of town - the same archetype
This limited portrayal of the harassment the
family endures certainly doesn't paint a pic-
-ture of mass nonacceptance of ethnic minori-
ties in America. References are briefly made to
Muna's brother-in-law's clients leaving him on
the basis of his ethnicity, but the drama never
materializes on screen.
The film tackles sensitive subject matter
and the actors do an admirable job handling it
delicately. Faour, however, carries the film and
gives the movie its emotional weight.- Muna
manages to find humor in her struggles. She
starts selling herbal weight loss supplements
she saw online in order to earn more money,
and unfortunately sells them at White Castle,
learning too late that Americans do not like to
be called "fat."
Given insufficient screen time to develop
their characters, the film's young perform-
ers stfuggle. Alia Shawkat (TV's "Arrested
Development") plays Fadi's cousin and takes
her role to the extreme. Shawkat comes off a
bit too brash and Americanized to the point
where she doesn't mesh well with the family,
even in the scenes in which she's supposed
to do so. It's unclear if the director is trying
emphasize hoss America isolates immigrant
children from their heritage or if it's an actual
flaw in the film.
Writer and director Cherien Dabis (TV's
"The L Word") is also able to coax the script's
nuances to the surface, calling attention to
the darker moments in the funny situations as
She makes the, audience notice American
flags and the "Support our Troops" signs and
then connects the images with troops in the
West Bank and the flags wavingthere. Despite
the serious tone, Dabis manages to keep
humor running throughout the film, making
sure it doesn't get too dismal. It should be pos-
sible for a film to be both funny and edgy, but
"Amreeka," while enjoyable, is not as biting as
it could be.
Dabis's characters all hold onto the idea that
America will solve all their problems and they
become increasingly upset when this doesn't
happen. The film remains unsure of the point it
wants to make about modern-day immigrants
in America. "Amreeka" presents an idealized
picture of America that, at the same time, seeks
to tear this idealization down.
Tegan and Sara's divine collaboration
By KRISTYN ACHO
Daily Arts Writer
By making- their big debut at
nated Lilith Fair
Festival, Cana- Tegan and
dian twin sisters Sala
Tegan and Sara Sainthood
Quin cornered Vapor
the "girl power" indie genre. But
with Sainthood, the Quin twins
yearning. Not only does the col-
laborative venture mark the band's
most unified album to date, but it's
also its most tragic - the sisters'
raw emotion is exposed by dark,
deep-cutting lyrics that go beyond
the act's typical bittersweet break-
But this isn't to say the band has
let go of the bubbly, throwback
sound that earned it its massive
following. On Sainthood, the duo
gradually reveals a more mature,
nuanced side of itself that should
captivate a wider range of listen-
"Air Bud: Over-the-Hill Rock Band"
to prove they're capable of ers.
ran just tampon rock. This departure from the band's
starters, Sainthood marks conventional pop persona began
t time the sisters have writ- with 2007's The Con, produced by
usic collaboratively - as Death Cab for Cutie's Chris Walla.
d to composing the songs On that effort, the duo awkwardly
and the result is the most experimented with wallowing
e album of their career. vocals and intense drum beats that
long tour for their previ- get muddled along with a largely
melancholic demeanor. Sainthood,
which enlists Walla once again,
The t'wins continues to display an edgier
side, but in a more focused, cohe-
sive manner that never forsakes its
)W off a more girl-pop roots.
ianced side. Perhaps the most appealing
element of the record is its matu-
rity. In "Night Watch," supposedly
written about the sisters' parents'
ease The Con, they seclud- divorce, the duo vents its frustra-
mselves from the outside tions over aggressive electronic
holing up in a random city beats. With divisive lyrics like, "I
isiana to write tracks for need distance from your body," the
ould become Sainthood, twins say goodbye to the teen-pop
ough some of the tracks facade that has been synonymous
omposed together didn't with their band for so long.
on the record, the under- Still, the album is full of tracks
indicates the duo's serious- inside the band's lovesick comfort
writing music dealing with zone - "On Directing" conjures up
x issues like loneliness and images of a lth-grade girl scrib-
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Canadas newest fashloebreakthrough sripes
hling love letters in her notebook
during study hall, with cutesy
lyrics like "Go steady with me / I
know it turns you off when I get
talking like a teen." The song has
an undeniably addictive beat and
a message of unrequited love that
waxes nostalgic for the poppier
tracks of 2004's So Jealous.
"Paperback Head" is a bitchin'
slice of 'lOs disco that's a dead-
ringer for early Madonna. Sara
even boasts of "a material girl" in
the track's hook, as if the electric
beats and new wave sound weren't
obvious enough. Fans nostalgic
for the girl pop of Tegan and Sara
circa So Jealous will be instantly
With Sainthood, Tegan and
Sara compose an emotionally
laden album with the self-assur-
ance of indie veterans. Tegan and
Sara powerfully end the album
with "Someday," revealing their
uncertainty regarding a post-
break-up future: "I don't want to
know what you'd do without me /
I don't want to know what I'll be
without you." The track perfectly
concludes the album's emotion-
ally palpable tone.