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November 16, 2011 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2011-11-16

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Te MWednesday, November 16, 2011 - 7A

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

'Camp'not childish

'Jack and Jill' falls hard

Donald Glover's
new LP struggles to
set itself apart
DailyArts Writer
There's something inherently
disarming about Donald Glover.
Sure, his stand-up can get a bit
dirty, but the
fact that he has ***
written for "30
Rock" and stars MiMdish
in "Communi- Gambino
ty" produces a
charming aura Camp
that makes
itself known Glassnote
every time he
melts into his toothy, childish
Yet Glover's rapping persona
mocks this assumption. With his
first label-backed album, Camp,
he moves beyond the embodi-
ment of the "childish" part of
the moniker, suggesting it's just
part of a darker identity. Though
Glover claims the name "Child-
ish Gambino" came from a Wu-
Tang Clan name generator, it's
obvious he keeps it for a reason:
to lull listeners into a false sense
of security before he brashly
unleashes the darker parts of his
It's easy to grow bored with
the familiar trope that is a rap-
per's identity crisis - here is yet
another young person who grew
up alienated and disrespected,
and is looking to music to rise
above the oppression of society.

But Glover didn't grow up in the
streets. He left Atlanta and went
to art school, eventually gradu-
ating from NYU.
To view Childish Gambino
through the confines of such a
common theme is like making a
kaleidoscope with one color: It
neglects the inherent richness of
his story.
The deepest parts of the
album are painful reflections of
how his identity clashes with -
and cannot escape - the stereo-
types of his race. In "Outside,"
he confesses a complex rela-
tionship with his upbringing.
He never felt part of the 'hood
culture, "They talkin''hood shit
and I ain't know what that was
about." Glover felt his upbring-
ing did not lead to camarade-
rie with his peers - instead, he
experienced alienation.
His parents ultimately decid-
ed to move away, but Glover
maintains the struggles weren't
left behind: "Truth is we still
struggle on a different plane."
Though he is surely surround-
ed by a fulfilling life, Glover
still wrestles with his race. To
emphasize the tragedy of soci-
etal pressures on identity, he
laments his relationship with his
cousin, who seems to have been
an early hero now consumed by
the callousness of the streets.
Unfortunately, the quality of
Camp's rich lyrics are not con-
sistently paralleled by the music.
He raps about creating a brand
of "black rock," but for the most
part, there's nothing that dis-
tinguishes his beats from what
we've heard elsewhere. Some

songs come together in a spe-
cial way, but more often the jazz
influences and sweeping orches-
tral and choral productions have
been thrown in without a char-
acteristic touch.
Perhaps "Sunrise" achieves
Glover's lofty goal. It's a sum-
mery coalition of rock and hip
hop, with a web of voices weav-
ing around Glover's in the form
of a rallying cry. It's a new form
of pop. "That Power" builds on
it, with the beginning forming
out of a dark, choral style of pro-
duction invoking Kanye before
the track mellows out into a jazz
Sadly, beyond "Sunrise" and
"That Power," Camp is disap-
pointing. Gambino is a new
entry to the constantly expand-
ing definition of "rapper," but his
music as a whole, with its gran-
diose plan of being a new "black
rock," doesn't feel as fresh. The
beats often seem recycled, and
listeners are left to puzzle at
how a creative genius like Don-
ald Glover doesn't offer any con-
sistent musical innovation.

Daily Arts Writer
"Jack and Jill" opens with a
fake Pepto-Bismol commercial -
something about wondering how
to stop diar-
rhea. The com-
mercial actually
proves to be an Jack and Jill
apt metaphor
for the remain- At Quality16
der of the and Rave
movie experi-
ence, as watch- Columbia
ing it involves
wondering how to stop the huge
stream of crap just radiating off
the movie screen.
The movie is about two twins,
Jack (Adam Sandler, "Grown
Ups") and Jill (Adam Sandler,
"Grown Ups"). Jack hates Jill but
Jill loves Jack and comes barrel-
ing into his life just in time for the
holidays. She's incredibly whiny
and annoying and has a pet bird,
but somehow, she's really just the
most wonderfully open-hearted,
loving person in the whole world.
It's up to Jack to reconnect with
his sister before it's too late.
Though its plot sounds fam-
ily oriented, "Jack and Jill" is
totally offensive to everyone. A
lot of the jokes, when not based
on race ethnicity, are about poop
and farting.Or they're misogynis-
tic cracks about how fat and ugly
Adam Sandler is in drag. There's
not much humor diversity, and
what's there isn't very clever
either. "Jack and Jill" isn't a step
up from Sandler's previous stink-
ers like "Chuck and Larry" or
"Just Go With It," and it certainly
isn't a return to the movies like

"Adam, what kisd oeta schmuck still plays multiple parts is his movies?"

the heig
days wi
They se
the migl
choice o
Katie H
plays Ja
ows ("SM
Depp ("
one of J
makes n
even les
sible Sa
feel sor
to help
make hi

Gilmore" he made during Of course, their celebrity
ht of his career. antics are useless. The script is
anyone remember the beyond repair and is filled with
hen Sandler was funny? product placements for Dunkin
em so long ago. Oh, how Donuts, Pepto-Bismol and Royal
hty have fallen. It's not just Caribbean Cruises - indeed, 10
- this movie was a bad minutes are spent exploring a
Royal Caribbean Cruise ship. As
a result of such blatant adver-
pail of 'vater tising, "Jack and Jill" plasters
Hollywood greed and corrup-
r this film. tion over every scene. It's obvi-
ously a movie that's trying to
make money rather than provide
n the part of many actors. At the same time, because the
olmes ("Batman Begins") film is so horrendous, it'spossible
ck's wife Erin. Tim Mead- to wonder whether or not Sandler
lean Girls") and Johnny is trying to get a point across - is
"The Rum Diary") have "Jack and Jill" some kind of com-
And Al Pacino ("Ocean's mentary on the state of the movie
n") has a larger role as industry? Is Sandler trying to
ill's suitors. His storyline show the world exactly how little
io sense and why he ever care goes into crafting wide-
to do this movie makes release movies? The answer is a
s sense. It's entirely pos- resounding no, as Adam Sandler
indler's celebrity friends probably doesn't operate on that
ry for him and are trying kind of meta-level and considers
him out by attempting to poop jokes a necessary part of
s movie suck less. sustaining a 90-minute movie.

How I fell in love, drifted and returned to the Decemberists

DailyArts Writer
About four years ago, I alight-
ed upon the love of my life. We
had been introduced by a mutual
* friend, and though the two of us
were caught up in our own sepa-
rate lives, there was an air of inevi-
tability to our acquaintance.
Still, the timing was inconve-
nient. I turned my concentrations
to my schoolwork, and though I
often revisited that piece of har-
mony that was our introduction,
I found I just couldn't donate
enough time for the two of us to
coexist. I consented to hoping
one day we might find ourselves
together again, with nothing to
stand in our way.
During my freshman year of
college, the object of my infatu-
ation slowly but surely seeped
back into my life. Coupled with
the resilient and opportune sup-
port of my friends, I resolved to

pour myself into the fortuitous aration shocked me so: The band
effort at hand. had consigned to a multi-year'
I began to listen to the Decem- hiatus, with no immediate end
berists. in sight. After finally attending
Now, as I look back on those my first show this past summer, I
golden days when I lolled in would be alone once again.
the grass with Picaresque softly Well, almost alone. See, though
caressing my ears, I am only able the focus of my desire fades away
from me as we speak, in its place I
have two parting gifts: an EP and
hatligh "an iTunes music session. At first,
I was fed up - betrayed, even.
I refused to accept these gra-
through yonder cious bequeathments and instead
album breaks? attempted to satisfy my lust with
inadequate look-a-likes: the Avett
Brothers here, Neutral Milk Hotel
there. But every so often I found
to sigh and reminisce. My re-ado- my mind wandering back to those
ration with the Decemberists was days filled with accordions, man-
sudden, but our relationship was dolins and Colin Meloy's irre-
so clearly built to last - hardly a placeable voice. SlowlyI warmed
day would go by that I could bear up once more to the Portlanders
to be without my beloved. And so and their most recent contribu-
that is why, when my bond with tions.IShad fallen out of love, and
the Decemberists could never be right back in.
stronger, that the news of our sep- In awayI never imagined, the

'band's departure was my imme-
diate benefit. The two collections
of music intended to cap off a
swift exit from the world of music
turned out to be just as fruitful as
expected. Long Live the King, the
collected leftovers of January's
rustic The King Is Dead, proves
that bobbing for apples on the
cutting room floor doesn't have to
be a futile effort. "E. Watson" and
"Burying Davy," both exquisitely
dark and brooding, are centered
on the procession of interment
and the finality of death. I get it,
guys - it's time to lay my yearn-
ing to rest.
So when I then turned to the
recent iTunes music session - an
assembly of eight songs re-record-

edliveinstudio --Iwas astonished
once more. The Decemnberists had
placed into my hands a veritable
photo album of our time together.
Snapshots from The King Is Dead
(consisting of "June Hymn" and
"This Is Why We Fight," two
of my favorites) evoked warm
memories of summer: sipping iced
tea, poised on my front porch as
Meloy's harmonica diffused out-
ward into the balmy July night.
"Shankill Butchers," from The
Crane Wife, brought back those
days during freshman year when,
with our affair rekindled, the fat
snowflakes would drift leisurely
past my bedroom window.
Nothing, though, could pre-
pare me for the flood of nostal-

gia that came with the few sweet
strums of the sixthrackk- I was
swept up in it, powerless against
the currents that pulled me to
and fro. For then came the mel-
ancholic "Shiny" - an obscure,
sepia-toned exposure -pulled
from the band's self-released EP
5 Songs. Over the years, the sands
of time had piled up, and eventu-
ally buried my fond recollection
of our beginnings together. And
as Meloy sang softly of "tawny
gypsy girls" and "bootblack fin-
gertips," I knew this breakup was
for the best. These songs, this
new material, it all helped me to
realize the special time we had
together, and the time we one day
might spend together again.

I 14 I q ,T - , - - I . .1 , I ,,,I ,, ,,I , I- ' , 1 .,-


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