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February 12, 2013 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2013-02-12

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*n hTuesday, February 12, 2013 - 5

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

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Why do we
0 .
ere at Daily Arts, differences as a simple case
we spend a lot of of "the past is the past." Mov-
time discussing the ies like "Blazing Saddles" and
ations of race or gender "Night of the Living Dead"
ality in popular art. And challenged racial stereotypes in
od rea- genres back before Kanye West
diver- was even born - so why is itso
ough increasingly rare for musicians
wing, to do the same?
ndeni- For me, this conspicuous
sue in absence of integration is most
d film. noticeable in my own favorite
hard music genre: rock. And the dif-
nd ference is especially noteworthy
iados, ELLIOT if we look at the golden roots of
ampion ALPERN rock 'n' roll - Fats Domino and
ty to Little Richard were the earli-
st of est harbingers right along with
ility. Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee
1 yet, strangely, I seem Lewis. Chuck Berry practically
e found a gap, a rather invented the guitar solo.
t form of segregation In fact, even as the classic
ems not only obvious, rock 'n' roll of the 1950s began
cepted as a standard of to die away, the generally
mmunity. The deeper we African-American blues and
into the history of the generally Caucasian beat music
, the same explanations were still heavily linked, draw-
o surface: "It's just a dif- ing upon each other for inspira-
e in cultures" and "That's tion. The likes of Muddy Waters
e way it's come to be." and Howlin' Wolf were so vastly
et's just come out and influential that we can find
connections to their music in a
popular musical genres later modestly successful band
gregated. known as the Quarrymen (or
sure that doesn't come the precursors to The Beatles,
ock to many - and for for the uninformed).
few who are genuinely So what happened after the
sed by that revelation, we exodus of the black rockers of
'a pretty simple experi- the 1970s, like Jimi Hendrix,
o test the theory. Take Michael Jackson and Stevie
avorite genre and think Wonder? What do we have now?
r top three favorite musi- Lenny Kravitz, of course, and I
or bands from that one suppose Ben Harper, but ... who
and then describe any else?
rities all three share. Now, this is the point in
w, I'm not saying that this this article where, though I
ays the case, nor should continue to bemoan the lack of
ut as far as trends go, black rockers with international
tend to have the same appeal, I still stress that the
I characteristics. Hip- role hasn't disappeared - it just
id rap artists tend to be seems to have faded away from
(ag in, all of t his year's~. the limelight.
my nominations for Best Especially in alternative
lbum or Song), and coun- circles, African-American rock
gers tend to be white is still very much alive. Though
uthern, along with metal the Brooklyn-based TV on the
angers and punk scream- Radio tends to experiment on
the periphery of alternative, the
band's music is still frequently
based on the uniform rock
re need more structure. And likewise, though
the Roots are one of the afore-
than just mentioned nominees for this
year's Best Rap Album Grammy,
iinem and the track "Star/Pointro" off of
2004's The TippingPoint was
H ootie. nominated for "Best Urban/
Alternative Performance."
Yet neither of those are the
stereotypical "rock band" as
of coarse there are defined in today's terms. And,
ions. Some of the best to be honest, I can only think of
arius Rucker and Emi- one conventional example that
re so successful because employs an African-American
efuse labels and buck frontman: The U.K.'s Bloc Party.
But it's hard to argue Lead singer Kele Okereke is at
gregation doesn't exist, the helm of what is otherwise a
'er unintentional the critically acclaimed (and seri-
may be. ously rocking) British outfit.
likewise true that the Check out the song "One Month
y of the respective genres Off" for the frenetic guitars and

gely responsible. Hip-hop the perfect match that is Oker-
and culture were born eke's voice.
ltivated in the predomi- Maybe things will change -
African-American area perhaps the next Jimi Hendrix
York City known as the is waiting on the horizon, ready
duringthe 1970s. And to shred his way into the mass
alone, a historian who appeal of the American Bill-
ntrates on country music board charts. But in the mean-
kely the only one of his time, Bloc Party and TV on the
says that country music Radio will have to make do.

Emotional second
album highlights
experimental sound
For the Daily
Darwin Deez'sSongsfor Imagi-
native People leaves your mind
bursting at the seams. The album
is excellently
produced, com- +
posed and writ-
ten, so every Songs for
track mesmer- Imaginative
izes you with
the way its lyr- People
ics, vocals and. Darwin Deez
tion fall togeth- Lucky Number
er in the mix.
It clocks in at
around 40 minutes, but it feels a
lot shorter.
Everything has been amped'
up since Deez's debut, self-titled
album. His simple recordings
of guitar and percussion have
evolved into richly woven mixes
that showcase synths and samples
on top of the usual instrumenta-
tion. As the tracks thicken with
new layers, so does his lyrical con-
tent with new themes and emo-
The synths Deez has added to
his arsenal create a more elec-
tronic vibe and a science theme.
This new flavor comes out in the
first track, "(800) HUMAN,"
on which electronic drum kits
support his part-sci-fi, part-
existentialist lyrics. He goes full
nerd on "Redshift," a song full of
musings about the Big Bang and
the Doppler effect. It definitely
works - "Redshift" is the cli-
max of the album and arguably
the best song. It rises and falls
throughout, led by a powerful
falsetto and featuring a kick-ass

Deez dazzles with 'Songs'


"Nice wig, Janis. What's it made of?" "Your mom's chest hair!"

There's also plenty of emo-
tional conflict in the album.
"You Can't Be My Girl" bites
with strife: It references a debate
about Gorbachev and features a
couple of hi-octane, Jack White-
style, whammy pedal solos. Not
too shabby. "Free (The Editorial
Me)" clearly tries to make some
serious social commentary.
Unfortunately, a final message
is not entirely evident. YouTube
hits, however, show that this
song has twice as many plays
as any other song on the album,
so listeners are definitely trying
hard to figure it out. He ends the
record with "Chelsea's Hotel," a
story of contentment and desire,
set in a seaside town whose
image he burns into your mind
through rich lyrics.
It's not all serious, though -
"Alice" is a straight-up love song,
and it gets a little sappy. Feel free
to listen to this if you have a far-

away lover, or if you want a cute
tingly feeling in your stomach.
"Moonlit" came straight from
the 1980s, and it grooves like it's
still there. Deez's usual meander-
ing mixes give way to a tight beat
that grinds hard on the backbeat.
Deez has been practicing,
too: He rips through some gui-
tar solos that didn't seem pos-
sible in the last album, and his
falsetto soars to new heights
with new clarity. His playing,
on "You Can't Be My Girl" sur-
prises with its technical skill,
but he really experiments with
his guitar on "No Love." The
track fills with different layers
- there's a plucky bass line in
the low register, an airy rhythm
guitar, an aggressive lead and a
cool, slurred riff that sounds like
his fingers are tripping over each
other down the fretboard. His
falsetto impresses at the front
end of the LP, shines in "Red-
shift" and shows its softer side

in "All in the Wrist."
Songs for Imaginative People
is fresh and will snag new listen-
ers just as it will impress fans of
the. last album. Its main downfall
is that it doesn't really shove any
memorable melodies into your
head on a first listen. Deez doesn't
have a "Bad Day" this time - a
song that will stick with you for
days until you just want it to be
gone. There's plenty to catch on to
after a day or two, but the vocals
might not be able to reel in the.
casual listener.
Darwin Deez released an
exclusive stream of the 'record
through NME, and he decided
to accompany it with a full, self-
written track guide. It seems a lit-
tle counterproductive that Songs
for Imaginative People comes with
an explanation for every song, but
maybe he's just accommodating
those who are less imaginative.
With or without the footnotes, it's
worth a listen.

'Identity' robs leads' potentia
Daily Arts Writer -
When you first heard of "Iden-
tity Thief," you probably had one
of two thoughts about this road- '. 5;
trip comedy: 1. ' _
Woah! Jason i r
Bateman and
Melissa McCar- Identity: a
thy! Together?! Thief
This is going
to be the best At Qualityl6
movie ever! or 2. and Rave
Oh my God, how Itvsa
are they going to Universal
waste these two
great comedic talents? IVERtAL
If you thought the latter, you "It's like seeing a dog walk on its hind legs.
were on the right track.
Sandy Patterson (Jason Bate- car's OK." You can probably guess "The Guilt Trip" come to mind, that will quickly fade from the
man, "Horrible Bosses") is a hus- what's not OK after the next shot just to name a couple recent ones) memory of most viewers.
band and father of two, with one - clich, predictable, a joke that's
more on the way, awaiting a pro- been done countless times before.
motion that his elitist boss (Jon The script also does no justice to
Favreau, "Iron Man") doesn't want Bateman's character. It's one of the
to give him. Just when it looks as fundamental facts of the film that
though things are looking up for he is a sucker, but come on, he's
Sandy, he realizes that his credit going to continually leave his keys
card is empty thanks to Diana in the ignition or out of his sight
(Melissa McCarthy, "Brides- around a woman who has already
maids"), a con-woman who has stolen his identity and attempted
stolen his identity. Threatened to stealhiscar?It just doesn't make
withthelossofhisjob andhisgood senseforacharacterthatcomes off E $isodes n the I
name, and discouraged by the lack as quite intelligent for much of the
of police effort, Sandyflies to Flor- film.
ida to convince . Diana to return The subplots spawned from
with him to Denver, where he will three characters (the most annoy-
trick her into confessing her crime. ing of whom is portrayed by rap- F ROH


o America "as a south-
enomenon" of European
I refuse to chalk up the

Alpern is searching for the
next Jimi Hendrix. To join,
e-mail ealpern@umich.edu.



to cap
great p
man at
lazy w
ing -
edly d
a car

per Clifford "Tip" "T.I." Harris -M u4tU it r
Jr.) trying to capture Diana feel
eCarthy can empty and forced in order to add E A PA
excitement and action to the story.- a ile ColeiateProfessor Of RACKHAM AMPHITHEATE
d beThe backstory behind their pur-Hstory andWomen's Studies
do better. ypTe .vrst f ignollg
sut is never explained, and the of LiteratureScience, andt rts
only way these bounty hunters are resents apleture and reception
able to keep track of their target For more i call74,15.6449
at you get with "Identity is through lucky and unrealisticy-
is a comedy attempting coincidence -like overhearingher
'italize on the consistently whereabouts while driving by the
erformances of Jason Bate- site of their car crash on the high-
nd the rising star of Melissa way, as if the witness of the crash
-thy. But the film doesn't is speaking in Dolby Digital Sur-
its full potential, due to round Sound.
riting embodied in a sloppy One must wonder why Bateman
and several jokes that don't and McCarthy (who hasn't been
the laughs you're expect- able to come close to matching her
screenwriter Craig Mazin breakout performance in "Brides-
Hangover Part II") repeat- maids" from 2011) agreed to starin
ishes out disappointing and "Identity Thief." Sure, it will make
:iye punchlines. you laugh a few times, especially at 6
bestexampleofthisiswhen the very end. But all in all, it's just
rthy comforts Bateman after another in a long line of duo road- -
crash, "At least the rental trip comedies ("Due Date" and p a

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