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January 25, 2011 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-01-25

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8 - Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.cam

8 - Tuesday, January 25, 2011 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

FILM REVIEW
Say no to 'Strings'

Death glare of a lite-brite.
Beam
Iron & Wine's new
release diversifies
its gentle sound
By CHLOE STACHOWIAK
Daily Arts Writer
Samuel Beam is a man with
a raw, soulful voice, sporting
hearty facial hair and surround-
ed by some
mixed opin-
ions regard-
ing his sleepy Iron &Wine
southern music.
Known by the Kiss Each
stage name Other Clean
Iron & Wine,
the South Caro- WanerBros.
lina native has
been applauded by some for the
humble power that radiates from
his acoustic guitar. Many listen-
ers fall under the bearded man's
folksy spell with his soft, simple
strumming and the personal lyr-
ics he whispers sweetly into their
ears. To others, however, the
songsmith's rustic, understated

brings
style "justboring.
With the release of his new-
est album, Kiss Each Other Clean,
the negative press surrounding
Beam's down-to-earth vibes may
be extinguished. The album amps
up Iron & Wine's traditionally
mellow tunes with sounds and
instruments rarely heard from
the musician in his past endeav-
ors. From retro saxophones to
rhythmic synthesizers, the tracks
seethe with experimentation and
energy.
From the first eruption of digi-
tally enhanced vocals in opener
"Walking Far From Home," it's
clear Kiss Each Other Clean is a
dramatic turn from previous Iron
& Wine. The track moves with
the musician's usual' smooth-
ness, but it's matched with a
twinkling keyboard, harmoniz-
ing vocals, percussion, piano and
electronic effects - all building
on one another in a surprising
crescendo. Though this flurry
of instruments is atypical of the
musical minimalist, the lyrics
are as honest and haunting as
any other Iron & Wine song. He

beard, funk

counteracts sweet images of love
with brutal ideas, like "a car crash
in the country where prayers run
like weeds along the road." The
track is different, but not overtly
so, as it slowly eases the listener
into the changes that lie ahead in
the album.
"Me and Lazarus" is where
Beam's typical style really dete-
riorates. Second on the album,
the song is thick with a'70s funk
vibe, making use of a cool, laid-
back bass line, slick vocals and a
swanky saxophone. It's a bold but
catchy shift from the softer album
opener and is almost trancelike in
its grooviness.
While "Big Burned Hand"
and "Your Fake Name Is Good
Enough for Me" bounce with a
similar funky feel, other tracks
are infused with their own
styles. "Monkeys Uptown" is
one of these standout numbers,
relying on the deep tones of the
marimba and bass for its smooth
sound. These darker notes are
lifted by the rhythmic shak-
ers and percussion in the back-
ground, blendingto create a rich,

dynamic song that diversifies the
album.
As bold and interesting as
these instrumentals are, the
changes might inspire pangs
of nostalgia in longtime Iron &
Wine fans: The songs may be
energetic and upbeat, but they
don't sound nearly as personal
as his past acoustic music. "Glad
Man Singing" and "Half Moon"
may help satisfy these folksy
souls - these tracks sound the
closest to earlier albums like Our
Endless Numbered Days - but
with pianos and female vocal-
ists in the background, it's still a
hard comparison to make.
When Samuel Beam spoke of
his experimental freedom on the
Warner Bros. label, he wasn't
bluffing. Kiss Each Other Clean is
a storm of new instruments and
genres, linking together elements
of folk and funk in a single daring
album. It's difficult to pinpoint
the direction of his future music,
but as Beam moves away from his
typical mellowness, an inevitable
question arises: Will the beard be
the next to go?

ByBEN VERDI
DailyArts Writer
With Valentine's Day fast
approaching, significant others
everywhere will soon be scram-
bling to find
ways to express
their love for
their part- NoStrings
ners. But if any Attad
couple's Valen-
tine's Day plans At Quaity16
include seeing and Rave
"No Strings
Attached," Paramount
odds are that
couple won't make it past St. Pat-
rick's Day - no man could possi-
bly enjoy this movie.
A presumptuous statement,
yes. As presumptuous as saying
that the Earth rotates around the
Sun.
"No Strings Attached" was
written by an uncreative woman
for even less-creative women.
It's got period jokes. It's got girls-
eat-when-they're-upset jokes.
It's even got an ill conceived dig
at Lil' Wayne for the one black
woman the producers thought
would accidentally wander into
a movie about Ashton Kutcher
("Killers") and Natalie Portman
("Black Swan").
Despite how scandalous this
moviethinksitis, it's essentiallya
horribly thought-out, poorly cast
and even more poorly modern-
ized "When Harry Met Sally."
Kutcher plays a promiscuous
douchebag who inherited his
money and sense of entitlement
from his father, and - totally
coincidentally - attended the
University of Michigan, where
he was a member of a fraternity.
Portman plays his love interest -
an over-protected, innocent bal-
lerina who ominously descends
into madness as it becomes clear
she might not be as innocent ...
wait,justkidding, she plays atotal
slut.
For a movie whose trailers
and general storyline promised
sex, sex and more sex, this film

surprisingly underwhelms in
that area (if any horny fresh-
man was still planning on seeing
this movie, hopefully that last
sentence turned him or her off).
Seriously though, despite the
alarming number of people on
Facebook who think this film is
called "Sex Friends," there real-
ly isn't that much sex. At least,
there isn't any more than one
would expect from a movie fea-
turing Kutcher.
Beside its lack of sex, "No
Strings Attached" honestly wants
us to believe that the relational
dilemmas produced when people
have sex without commitment
are new and previously unex-
plored. It also wants us to believe
that Kutcher is funny doing any-
thing but smoking pot in a base-
ment on "That'70s Show."
The biggest mistake made by
the creators of this filmis assum-
ing that our generation thinks of
relationships as having the same
pitfalls that films like "When
Harry Met Sally" detailed so well
for previous generations. The
concept of "No Strings Attached"
just isn't a funny or accurate way
to depict a contemporary rela-
tionship.
There's no sex
attached, either. ,
That's not to say that we
know any more about love or
sex than our parents did, it's
just that by now - one would 4
hope - humans understand
that monogamy and promiscu-
ity are two different things. And
while people our age still get
caught between wanting both
at once, we've suffered through
enough outdated jokes, enough
video footage of Woodstock
and enough chick flicks to know
that, in the end, sex and love are
not the same.

~qP
=J ERNST &YOUNG
Quality In Everything We Do
Day one
and we're in this together
Bring your experience and ideas. Day one is waiting and so is your team.
At Ernst & Young, you'll find an open and diverse environment. You'll tap
into your life experiences. Give fresh perspective to your clients and
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Download your OR code reader by texting EYQUIZ to 22333.
Then snap a pic of the code and take our quiz.
e5

NIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN

0

WHAT DO
IHODES/MARSHALUMITCHEJL
SCHOLARS'
DO AFTER THEIR STUDIES
Well, this guy became
president.

-

What will you do?
Anything you want.
You've written your own game
plan so far in life. Why not take.
it one step further and become
a Rhodes, Marshall, or Mitchell
Scholar?

0

the United States of America, 1992-2000

Come to a Rhodes/Marshall/Mitchell Orientation Session:
Monday, January 24, 2011 9 5:00-6:00pm
Koessler Room, Michigan League, 3rd Floor
Thursday, January 27, 2011 " 5:00-6:00pm
Pendleton Room, Michigan Union, 2nd Floor
Tuesday, February 1, 2011 " 5:00-6:00pm
Pierpont Commons, East Room
SPECIAL SESSION:
How to Write a Rhodes, Marshall, or Mitchell Essay
Monday, March 14, 2011 + 5:00-7:30pm
Vandenberg Room, Michigan League, 2nd Floor
To learn more, please contact the Provost's Council on Student Honors at
734-763-8123 or visit the website at
www.provost.umich.edu/scholars/

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