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March 10, 2011 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2011-03-10

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4B - Thursday, March10, 2011

The MichiganDaily - michigandaily.com

4I D
on in 'Voodoo
Daily Arts Writer
What is soul music? We can w
trace its origins and try to define
it with adjectives, but when
it comes down to it, we don't
escape words. And they'll fail
us when we confront the new,
unexpected or unknowable. In
fear of unknowing, we retreat to HUiRY
genre tags, catchphrases and any
number of emotional cliches for COURTESY OF VIRGIN
safety. We hear a wild sound in

the dis
a little
and R&
us Mo
Sly, W
folks w
had go
then u
pop, hi
of Afr
ality di
deep ft
of an in
cotic d
from p
Goin' C
less '70
tive bla


tance, curious and maybe history will brand as some sab-
afraid with a "what was batical into the heart and history
- assuming safety from of black soul, D'Angelo released
n. Voodoo and pulled a disappear-
soul music's history is not ing act.
cable. Rather, it's long and Voodoo's 13 tracks display
tly American. As gospel an artist who acknowledges no
eB's descendant, with Ray boundaries, who eviscerates
s as ambassador, soul gave them without the slightestchintcof
town, Stax, Otis, Aretha, exertion. It treads ground that's
nder ... the beat goes ever old school but never maudlin,
dbytheearly2000s, alotof aimless but focused and trans-
vondered where that beat portative in the best sense of the
ne. Soul went funk. Funk word. You can sleep to it. Sex to
disco, disco went white, it. It's got the cosmic quality of
nderground. R&B turned free jazz, the personality of clas-
p hop ripped open a new sic soul and what Vincent Price
and the fond soundtrack would call on Thriller the "funk
iran American individu- of forty thousand years."
ug into niches a little too The songs can barely be tagged
or the average consumer. to Marvin Gaye's post-'60s wan-
missed was the soul music derings, Prince's furious slow
dependent mark: the nar- jams and the tense, drawn-out
eparture of Marvin Gaye funk of '70s Sly. They're druggy,
pop standards to What's intimate, distant. They vamp
)n, Stevie Wonder's peer- rather than pop, groove rather
s run, Roberta Flack, Gil than funk and dive deep into your
teron. It's the sound of a head without an indication of
ous unconscious, a self- force. Amid low-slung bass and
and powerfully introspec- distant horns, D'Angelo's voice
ck music that exudes and murmurs, shrieks and layers like
all at once. wedding cake, sweet and pil-
lowy but ready to collapse at any
moment. It's practically ambient,
nd the beat with D'Angelo musing impene-
trably on lovers new and old, spir-
goes on. itual crises and the arcane vapor
g of some black magic psyche.
Opener "Playa Playa" drips
and intoxicates; "Devil's Pie"
a Motown exec coined trips over a swirling arpeggio as
oul" asa marketingstrate- the ghetto collapses; "The Line"
kindle that nostalgic (and is four minutes of foreplay, a min-
ble) goodwill for all those ute of orgasmic exorcism. "Span-
ls. Given root by aimless ish Joint" is livid with rhythm;
content and some wistful "One Mo' Gin" is syrupy, rainy
e of authenticity, neo-soul day musings on love maybe non-
e "real deal," a "return to existent; "Africa".is a heartbeat
murmur lullaby of some mystic
ngelo's Voodoo stands spiritual self ... these songs are
most confounding and absorbed, not analyzed. Their
ing album born from this words are essential, meaningless,
I "renaissance." It is at timeless. These songs can be felt.
n appealing and inscruta- I'm going to run out of adjec-
ce of work, with a healthy tives.
pop mystique lent to its But the press didn't. Voodoo
In all, it is a landmark that went on to win two Grammys, go
nds pop boundaries with platinum and inspire a tour Rob-
lar vision of black music's ert Christgau deemed the return
and its future. of an "R&B Jesus" - a title that
Michael Eugene Archer YouTube proves is apt. And then,
trictly Pentecostal fam- within a year, DAngelo was
Virginia, it makes quite a gone. You can read all the cliches
sense that the man who and sketch some reality - tour,
SD'Angelo came to con- drug and alcohol abuse, multiple
'rince and Marvin Gaye arrests. A paralyzing obsession
sical fathers. Both artists with body image; the delayed
and groove with God and follow-up, ten years overdue. I'm
in equal measure, mutu- still waiting.
nest and sexual. With a Wherever he is, D'Angelo's
tape-turned record deal crystallized in Voodoo, and there
first album at 17, D'Angelo he'll stay. It's the sound of an
naves. He was surrounded artist realizing and speaking his
urderer's row of talent - voice, echoing in the history of
owers, Ahmir "?uestlove" its forebears, proof that you can
son, J Dilla, bassist Pino look back and move forward. It's
no and more. After five mystical, familiar, impenetrable.
f marijuana and what fan Voodoo, it's soul music.

LIT MAGS Blueprint, started within the
College of Engineering, employs a
From Page 1B complex mathematical formula to
determine its submissions.
"A lot of people in the RC, "I'm still not sure I completely
there's a stereotype of not being understand it," Perng admitted,
familiar with computers," she but he brought it up on his laptop
said. "But (we) taught each other and showed off the graphs and
InDesign and Photoshop and all reams of data to many oohs and
these layout tools and we lay it out aahs from the others around the
ourselves." table. The formula involves grade-
weighting the score given by each
Submissions editor based on his orther editorial
standing, as well as a threshold of
When you're finally ready to how many words the magazine
hand your masterwork over to plans to accept.
the unknown, keep in mind that Internal data reveals which
each magazine takes a different editors were most critical toward
approach to the submissions pro- submissions and which were the
cess. nicest.
Though it's published through "We kind of just made fun of
the Residential College, the RC each other, like, 'Oh my God,
Review has accepted submissions you liked that work? That was so
from students at Eastern Michi- bad!' " Perng said.
gan University and Washtenaw "Have you considered pub-
Community College. An RC alum lishing the graph?" Kinzer asked
who graduated in the mid-1970s Perng, half-jokingly to Perng's
submitted pages composed on a response that would be unveiled
typewriter to a recent issue. at Blueprint's release party.
Fortnight has found a greater
audience than ever before thanks Disputes and Controversies
in part to its more substantial
online presence. A non-student So let's say your piece man-
from Australia even submitted a ages to grab the attention of one of
poem to the publication after find- these editors. They see something
ing it online. about your submission - maybe
"It was amazing. We just had to it's concerning a subject matter
publish it," Doukakos said of the that college students don't often
poem. "It was just one of the most write about, or maybe it explores a
gorgeous things I've ever read." well tread campus topic in a differ-
There was also the novel ent way. But perhaps there's some-
abstract the magazine received thing holding your piece back: a
from a retired University profes- grammatical goof, a clumsy meta-
sor who was apparently confused phor. Is that the end of your jour-
about the size limitations of a ney to publication?
monthly, less than 20-page, sta- There is a debate among the
pled student publication. different editors about the best
"It was terrible. It was a mess. way to handle less-than-perfect
Something about lotuses, I don't submissions. The RC Review and
know," Doukakos said with a Xylem will contact the writers
laugh. of pieces and work with them to
While it may be easy to turn improve submissions, while Blue-
down a novel for publication, print and Fortnight feel it is not
deciding among the piles of other, their place to do so.
more legitimate submissions is a "We wouldn't discount a piece
far more daunting task. The RC because there was one tiny thing
Review, Blueprint and Xylem each (we didn't like)," Jaquith said,
has its own anonymous submis- noting that Xylem is sometimes
sions format, which allows the met with resistance from authors
editors to rank each entry unen- unwilling to make changes.
cumbered. The submissions with Doukakos, however, questioned
the highest rankings pass the test. whether such editorial sugges-
tions were wise to make.
"Is that our right to do some-
Literary magazines thing like that, to kind of impose
campusour views of what we think is sty-
Ofl listically appropriate for a story?"
she asked.
THE BLUEPRINT Kinzer was against the idea.
Representative: Powell Perng "I find it kind of troublesome to
Anually ssend an e-mail, like, 'We like this
Undergraduate students, faculty and poem but there's too much allit-
staff on North Campus eration, cut it out,'" he said.
www blueprintlm.com This is but one point of conten-
tion between the editorial staffs of
FORTNIGHT Xylem and Fortnight. Both Xylem,
Representatives: David Kinzersand which is published annually,
Sarah Doukakos and Fortnight, which has a print
Monthly run every month, are published
Undergraduate students through the Undergraduate Eng-
www.fortnightlitpress.wordpress.com lish Association (UEA), and they
hold joint readings and writing
workshops. Nevertheless, their
THE HIPPO editors claim there is a "friendly
Representatives: Priya Rajdevsand rivalry" present, which manifests
Owen Albin itself in the occasional staff over-
Medical school students lap and Kinzer's claim that the
www.the-hippo.com UEA cut Fortnight's funding in
half the previous year while keep-
ing Xylem's intact.
RC REVIEW Then there was the case of a
Representative: Jackie Cohen controversial photography sub-
Anually mission: a picture of two nude
Mostly RC students female bodies from the waist
No website down, lying on the beach, their

feminine regions covered by two
XYLEM strategically placed piles of sand.
Representatives: Dena Cohen and When Fortnight selected and pub-
Cecilia Jaquith lished it as the cover image for one
Anually of the magazine's issues last year,
Undergraduate students a student member of the UEA
www.xylemliterarymagazine. decried the piece as pornography.
blogspot.com Then the same piece appeared
again - in the following issue of




Top: LSA Senior Sarah Doukakos is co-editor of Fortnight Literary Magazine.
Bottom: LSA senior Dena Cohen is copy chair of Xylem.


gy to re
old sou
pop dis
was th
as the
once ar
ble pie
bit of
a singu
to a s
ily in
bit of;
sider P
his mu
ally ho
and hit
made w
by a m
Herb P
years o

Xylem, to which it was also sub-
Doukakos pulled out the issue
with the offending image on the
cover to show around, and both
Perng and Jackie Cohen declared
they would have absolutely pub-
lished it. Jackie Cohen noted that
the RC Review often receives erot-
ica submissions - though they are
often met with stranger reactions
when presented at readings, the
genre is accepted just as any other
would be.
Get a Job
Congratulations - your piece
has been selected for publication
in one of the University's very
best forums for creative expres-
sion. Go ahead and ride that high
that comes with being a pub-
lished author. Submit more pieces.
Maybe join a staff. Maybe you're
thinkingnow about actually doing
this for a living ... if so, you might
wantto think twice.
"I used to want to have a career
in literature, and now this has con-
vinced me out of it," Jackie Cohen
admitted, to a chorus of laughter
and sympathetic reactions.
Doukakos and Dena Cohen are
still interested in the publishing
industry, and Kinzer wants to be
a writer. But at the other end of
the spectrum is Jaquith, an aspir-
ing high school French teacher -
though she said she would jump at
the chance to oversee the produc-

tion of a similar literary publica-
tion at whatever school she ends
up working at.
Despite their different voca-
tional interests, all of the editors
were quick to list ways in which
their roles have aided them in
their future career goals -regard-
less of what those goals might
be. As Medical School students,
Rajdev and Albin most likely won't
be pursuing careers in literature
to pay off student loans. But they
noted that their roles at The Hippo
have still taught them valuable
skills about the world they're pre-
paring to enter into.
"Working in a group and sort-
ing out differing opinions is cru-
cial to working as an effective part
of a health care team," they wrote.
Regardless of what each indi-
vidual's futures hold, all of the
editors are steadfast in their opti-
mism about the future of campus
literary magazines.
"I think that magazines will
always have a future on campus,"
Perng said. "Until the day when
everyone uses Kindles."
But even when that happens,
the urge to create - and, for edi-
tors like these, to present - will
still be very much alive. And if you
have the drive and something to
show for it, there will always be a
place to accept your submissions.
Co-Editorial Page Editor
Michelle DeWitt is a.former
editor-in-chief of Xylem.

From Page 3B
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Kalick is still at Frida Banditos,
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