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November 23, 2010 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - 7

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - 7

The dream of
reality stardom

wisted, antastic Kanye
The controversial Kanye West makes the
finest album of his career
By Jeff Sanford I Senior Arts Editor

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he American dream used tion for "For the Love of Ray J," I
to be simple: make a gushed about howI was in need
decent living, move to the of findinga "real man." I told
s, get a dog and raise 2.5 the casting directors of MTV's
ut that "MADE" howI always wanted to
is no be a famous actress and see the
lust to world, but my small hometown
y and hindered my dreams. I've always
- now made a point of not singing out-
t to be side my car or shower, but maybe I
too. could be the next "American Idol."
real- I did everythingI could to make
and the myself sound more interesting,
t have CAROLYN touting myself as an adventurous
easy KLARECKI and spirited academic. Though to
one me, an adventure was a weekend
me a of filing out forms for reality
:y - just look at Antoine shows, and "academic" was just a
, the sensation behind nice way of saying "nerd."
truder Song." Every year, Shockingly, I never heard back
on and the Internet cre- from any networks or casting
s-to-riches stories about directors. I never even got a rejec-
people America's next tion e-mail. I'm too reserved for
del, next top chef, next top "Real World," not slutty enough
er. Or if you don't want for any VH1 dating shows, too
at route, just auto-tune tidy and well dressed for any TLC
f-funny news story for makeover shows (yet, still not
stardom. enough for my mother). I'm too
uple of summers ago, I got well off to make for any inspiring
eyed. I entertained visions stories, yet not well off enough
and fortune, or at least to make for entertainment in the
ing that would makea style of "Laguna Beach."
ood story to tell at parties. I'm too real for reality TV,
etermined to landa spot which is really not surprising.
lity TV show - any reality Sometimes I wonder whether the
w - and prove that even I people on reality TV exist in real
ke it to the top. life. I don't know anyone close
nt a weekend in front of my to the types of people I see on
these shows, but audiences want
to watch people like them. In
realits earliest years, television was
oo real for dedicated to a sense of realisms
reaityTV. and relatability with live variety
reality Tshows and family sitcoms portray-
ing "regular, everyday life," and
leaving escapism and fantasy to
er, filling out form after films. Over time, producers found
id sending e-mail after the value in the abnormal, begin-
However, my aspirations ning with shows like "Bewitched"
were quickly clouded by a and "I Dream of Jeannie," and
ruth. I'm still underage. So carrying on into sci-fi and adven-
ams of finding love on "The ture shows.
r" were out the window. The rise of reality shows
have actually taken that returned to this fascination with
ition seriously, too. Who reality in the most paradoxical of
want a rich, attractive ways. Rather than watching peo-
nd? pie who are actually like us, we
feet 9 inches, the qualify- watch non-actors, unscripted -
ht for "America's Next and that's supposed to be enough.
sdel," but Ilam not skinny Obviously it's not, and it turns
to make it on that show, out not everyone can be a star by
light to qualify as a taking the reality TV route - but
zed model" and about 100 it's entertaining stuff. Instead of
too light for "The Biggest complaining about how fake real-
ity TV is, we should just view it as
uld not be in Los Angeles, a meta combination of the real and
rk City or surround- unreal.
as in the given times for Though I never ended up on
y Feud," "Who Wants to camera, I still get casting e-mails
illionaire?" or "The Price from time to time. Am Ia hot
." My passport expired a young nurse living in the Los
months before this reality Angeles area ready to show the
, so "Amazing Race" and world the thrilling life of nurs-
or" were out of the ques- ing? Am 130 and about to become
:now how to use a sewing a grandma? No, and odds are,
e, but it took me a month neither are you, but theoreti-
a coat and there was no rally these people exist and from
'as going to be able to make them we get our reality - and our
lio for any of the fashion absurdity, too.

Kanye's My Beautiful Dark
Twisted Fantasy arrived like a hur-
ricane. A green swirling monster
on the radar, the
anticipation was
mounting months
before it struck. Ka West
You could see it
seething on the My Beautiful
horizon, swal- Dark Twisted
lowing ships and Fantasy
gaining momen- Def Jam
tum as it surged
toward shore:
G.O.O.D Fridays, "Most disgusting
moment of my presidency," Matt
Lauer. Kanye knows how to stir
things up with natural disaster-like
efficiency, so it's hard to fathom
how his music can live up to the
larger-than-life personality behind
it. Well, it does and it doesn't.
Twisted Fantasy could very well
be the best thing Kanye has ever
done, and that's saying something,
considering his body of work. Every
track boils over with inspiration,
and even though there are six dif-
ferent guests on every song, the
album remains a distinctly indi-
vidual statement. 'Ye spits verses
alongside Jay-Z, Pusha T, Raekwon
and Rick Ross, and trades hooks
with Rihanna, Fergie and John
Legend. Yet it's ultimately the
Kanye show. Only Mr. West can go
toe-to-toe with such big names and
emerge the most compelling figure.
It's not even close.
But, of course, it's all by design.
You can hear it in the grandiosity of
each track: ideas piled upon ideas,
the concluding three minutes of
distorted, Auto-Tuned droning on

"Runaway," the "Hey, why not tack
on one more verse?" attitude. Every
track is so transparently the result
of Kanye trying to make the best
song of his career (and he just might
have succeeded with "Runaway").
You can almost hear him in his
Hawaiian studio: "Yeah, this one's
it, the hottest ever." But it's just so
Kanye of him to forget that there
can only be one best, that there's
just no room on one album for 1
He's stubborn. You can't knock
him for trying, especially when he
came so damn close. Each track
could easily be your favorite Kanye
song, depending on the week, the
day, the season. "So Appalled" is
furious, and the beat is more of a
battlefield than a drum track. Swizz
Beatz's existential hook ("Middle
finger in the air, if you don't really
care / It's like that sometimes, man,
ridiculous / Life can be sometimes
ridiculous") is at first disconcert-
ing, then a novelty and then finally
an indispensable mantra. "Blame
Game" makes superb use of Aphex
Twin's "avril 14th" for the album's
closest thing to a ballad, and "Devil
in a New Dress" is just pure, soul-
sampling Kanye demonstrating his
mastery of the form.
As the title implies, the album is
an attempt to exorcise some of the
creator's demons - or, if not to exor-
cise, to speak in tongues for 13 tracks
and get them to reveal some sort of
truth. Kanye knows he's a "douche-
bag," an "asshole," a "scumbag." He's
trying to be a better person; it's just
that he doesn't know how to replace
his vices with virtue. "Hell of a Life"

Taken trom Kanye's "Men in Black II" audition.

plays on the Dark Fantasy (or is it
Beautiful?) of being married to a
porn star. He raps, biting the hook
from "Iron Man," "No more drugs
for me / Pussy and religion is all I
need." On "Runaway," he says "I
could have me a good girl /And still
be addicted to them hood rats /And
I just blame everything on you / At
least you know that's what I'm good
at." He can see the light, but he's not
quite sure if he can get there. And
even if he could, would he want to in
the first place?
In this way, Twisted Fantasy is
mired in conflict. There's an apoca-
lyptic exuberance running through-
out the album, a self-destructive
instinct to celebrate the good life in
the face of the knowledge that it'll
eventually kill. It's embodied in the
bald-faced excess that defines the
album; the same overindulgence

that makes each track a soaring
musical statement also works to
undermine its merit. Can we really
believe that the album is a product
of genuine artistic inspiration when
it's so consciously designed to be
better than anything else out there?
Or, more important: Does it matter
what the product's ends are when
the thing itself is this fucking good?
But, really, it's a hip-hop album.
The best of the year - maybe the
best of the last few. Questions of art
and intention mean nothing when
you're singing along, for the 40th
time, "And I always find / Yeah I
always find something wrong."
Because with Kanye, you can always
find something wrong. But where it
truly matters - lyrics, beats, origi-
nality, humanity - there's so much
right, and no one straddles the
divide as boldly as Kanye West.

'Girl Talk's 'All Day' party

shows, let alone actually be
ough to compete in them.
I pressed on. I didn't know
y J was, but in my applica-

Klarecki is pissed that "Rock of
Love" never called back. To console
her, e-mail cklareck@umich.edu.

Daily Arts Writer
Girl Talk has been making top-
40 pop safe for music snobs for
years, and on
his latest album
All Day, Greg
Gillis (the man
behind the stage Gui Talk
name) contin- All Day
ues his quest Illegal Art
of reinventing
party mainstays.
Gillis is adept at crafting deliri-
ously triumphant dance albums,
scouring other artists' works and
refashioning them into a brand-
new sound. On All Day, Gillis res-
cues long-forgotten songs from
the dark recesses of music history
and mixes them with previously
unlistenable pop and other, more
respected tracks. The result is a
hodgepodge of genres and guilty
pleasures. And this is probably
your only chance to hear Willow
Smith open for the Rolling Stones.
That should be all the incentive
To avoid the legal nightmare of
attempting to sell an album that
samples an entire spectrum of
other artists, Gillis sidestepped
the traditional album release and
made All Day available to down-
load for free via his label's web-
site - aptly titled Illegal Art. As
a testament to Girl Talk's under-
ground popularity (the album
was released unannounced), mil-
lions downloaded the album on
the first day. Although Gillis split
the album into separate tracks,
the label website instructs fans to
listen to the album in its entirety.
And honestly, it would be impos-
sible to completely break down
this album. On each track Gillis
samples from a large pool of art-
ists and masterfully mixes them
until it is impossible to distinguish
Lil Jon from Arcade Fire.
Girl Talk induces a unique gid-
diness. Album opener "Oh No"
will cause listeners to laugh at
the shock value and marvel at its
inventiveness. On the track, The
Cali Swag District (of "Teach Me

Arts Chorale is
bringing the love

DailyArts Writer
Two hours in an MLB audi-
torium may not
sound like a fun As
weekday evening,
but for students Chorale Fall
in Arts Chorale, Concert
one of the pre-
mier vocal music Tomorrow
groups at the 'U', at8 p.m.
it's a home away Hill Auditorium
from home. Free
"As a college
student doing a lot of work, it's
been a nice kind of safe haven,"
said choir president and LSA
senior Stuart Zeltzer. "It's a nice
break every week, every Tuesday
and Thursday, where you come
and just kind of hang out and sing
and don't think about anything
else for two hours."
Arts Chorale is a traditional
co-ed soprano-alto-tenor-bass
choir with about 60 students.
S Though affiliated with the School
of Music, Theatre & Dance, the
choir's participants come from
diverse corners of the University.
"I feellike it's more relaxed than
choirs that are with the school of

Probably not the best time to check your e-mail.

Music, Theatre & Dance," said
School of Nursing sophomore and
choir member Rebecca Chen.
Chen added that the musical
selections and vocal technique
are at "a pretty high level for non-
music majors, which is what I was
going for."
Zeltzer said the Arts Chorale is
ideal for those who want to keep
their vocal music training alive
while concentrating in other aca-
demic areas.
"The people you get here and
that stick with it are the people
that love to sing. You get such a
passion and such an energy with
The choir gears
up for its annual
Fall Concert.
this group because everybody
wants to be here," Zeltzer said.
"These people went out on their
own, found this group and said, 'I
want to be part of an ensemble, I

How To Dougie" fame) is spliced
with alt-darling Jane's Addic-
tion. Gillis certainly has an ear
for bringing together artists that
are often genres and generations
apart (for instance, Iggy Pop and
the Beastie Boys share the same
track). It takes true skill to craft
an album that will cause both you
and your mom to be hit with diz-
zying waves of nostalgia.
"That's Right" pulls from per-
haps the most ragtag group of
artists on the album. It isn't often
Miley Cyrus, Nine Inch Nails and
Dr. Dre work together so harmo-
niously. Toward the beginning
of the track, contemporary adult
crooner Peter Gabriel's painfully
sappy "In Your Eyes" plays softly
as Foxy Brown sings "Guess who's
back?" And she's right; Gillis
polishes these washed-up stars
and makes them gleam for a
whole new generation.
AllDay is a pure party album,
and the seamless transitions -
the songs melt into each other
- suggest that there will be no
bathroom breaks until Gillis
says so. His playful song titles
reinforce the sweaty, joyous
attitude the album works to
convey. "This is the Remix" is
probably the most fun anyone

as the
erly st
On "Tr
make E
a pain
Still, G
and an

compress into six minutes a matter of seconds, send listeners
likes of Lady Gaga, The back into musical nirvana.
and Lil Kim team up for an All Day is an intriguing album
ed dance party. Gillis clev- that makes listeners reconsider
arts the song with Diddy, songs or even entire genres they
ncing "This is the remix." may have written off. This album is
literally nothing new, but it is cer-
tainly fun while it lasts. On the last
.i i wtrack "Every Day," John Lennon
illis will tell closes the album with "Imagine."
He sings, "Imagine all the people
when to pee. / sharing all the world," as he joins
hands with UGK (metaphorically
speaking). Gillis makes this dream
not all of the mixes work. a reality, and in true diplomatic
'iple Double," his attempt to fashion finds common ground
Beyonce's "Diva" work with between vastly different artists.
x's "1901" falls flat - it's He creates a safe space for listeners
fully awkward 10 seconds. and musicians, where artists like
illis doesn't falter for long Soulja Boy and Radiohead have an
y misguided mix can, within equally valid voice.

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Learn more about the Denefits of Peace Corps service.
C Information Session: for Master'
Students intersted in Peace Corps
Tuesday, Nov. 23 at 6:30 p.m.
International Center, Rm 9
Apply by year-end for added programs leaving
in 2011 --Peace Corps' 50th Anniversary Year!
800.424.85801 peacecorps.gov/application

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