6 - Tuesday, February 26, 2013
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Autre Ne Veut
Avant-garde R&B of psychological disarray. the chorus of "Ego Free Sex Free"
From the futuristic cadence on masks the lyrical plea as Ashin
singer mixes opener "Play By Play" to the unset- cries, "Ego free, sex free / I can't
tling ambiance of closer "World feel my body moving." For all the
sensuality, longing War," Ashin creates an atmosphere airs of sexuality, Anxiety occupies
of discomfort throughout, artfully a more cerebral realm. It endeav-
By KENDALL RUSS exploring the various forms of ors foremost to understand the
Online ArtsEditor anxiety. "Play By Play" intoxicates emotional motivations behind
with Ashin's soaring falsetto tire- physical relationships and the fear
It's hard not to notice R&B's lessly working toward the arrest- of loss. It investigates not what
profound expansion in recent ing finale. When it arrives, Ashin happens in the bedroom, but the
years. Instead of the deep soul somehow sustains its high-strung people occupying it.
of D'Angelo or intensity for nearly three minutes, That the album's aggrandized
Erykah Badu, hypnotically repeating the chorus production belies its deeper the-
radios routinely over and over. In fact, Anxiety's matic concerns is no accident. "I
blare Miguel's Anxiety only fault is its inability to repli- like the idea of being able to fuck
silky "Adorn" or cate this energy across the full 40 with expectations," Ashin told
Usher's intense- Autre Ne Vein minutes. The bare and restrained Pitchfork, "and for the music to
ly personal, Software "A Lie," though a welcome respite be a Rorschach test, in a way." No
subdued but from the intensity of the first song embodies this pursuit bet-
compelling "Cli- few songs, sucks the energy out ter than "Counting," the excep-
max." But the phenomenon runs of the album, and Ashin never tional, cacophonous second track.
deeper, permeating the under- again reaches the lofty heights of Ashin's fragile falsetto grows in
ground scenes of more electronic "Play By Play" or "Counting." The urgency and blaring horns mar the
music. Artists like How To Dress remaining songs still impress but innocuous synth, while the mas-
Well, Purity Ring, Jessie Ware and ultimately lack the same maximiz- sive instrumentation and haunt-
even the xx released albums last ing urgency. ing vocals make for an intoxicating
year that combined the smooth- Thematically, "Play By Play" hook. And though it arouses musi-
ness and sensuality of R&B with lays the ground for the rest of cally, the subject matter - the fear
the nostalgic longing for intimacy Anxiety, exploring the crippling of speakingto a dying grandmoth-
that pervades indie songwriting. uncertainty and the competing er for the last time - couldn't pro-
This unlikely marriage worked physical and emotional states vide a starker contrast.
primarily because of its tendency of relationships. The harrowing In this light, "Counting" serves
toward a distinctly pop sound. backing vocals - a crucial compo- as Ashin's take on Usher's "Cli-
Arthur Ashin - the man behind nent of the album - serve as both max": Both are massive, infectious
Brooklyn-based Autre Ne Veut - anunnerving force and an internal songs seeped in sexual undertones
follows this example on his second voice, the psyche that Ashin tries with unexpectedly sorrowful
album, Anxiety. Raised on Ameri- to harness, examine and under- themes. While "Counting" isn't
can R&B and West African music, stand throughout. as popular or straightforward
Ashin toys with both the tradi- Ashin battles this existential as "Climax," both offer the Ror-
tional forms of soul and the angu- uncertainty throughout Anxiety, schach tests to which Ashin allud-
lar, avant-garde impressionism of issuing a stirring case study of ed, allowing listeners to formtheir
more alternative music, creating anguish and despair. The impres- own opinions and interpretations.
a sound as reminiscent of R. Kelly sive "Ego Free Sex Free" and "I And with its vast array of power-
as Panda Bear. But while Anxiety Wanna Dance With Somebody" ful, emotionally charged songs,
seems to follow from the bed- further illustrate the relationship Anxiety follows suit - it depicts
room vibes of its contemporaries anxiety developed in "Play By not an image or a feeling itself, but
- mainly due to Ashin's delicate Play." As on the opener, Ashin lay- the inherently diverse and con-
croon and the seductive rhythm ers upbeat and grand production stantly changing people who per-
throughout -the darker meanings with depressing themes, obfus- ceive them; above all, it represents
at work abandon the album's sexu- cating significantly an underlying a beautifully haunting, disarming
al connotations and strive instead aura of helplessness. The exhila- dive into the darker depths of the
for clarity and comfort in the face rating synth and production in human psyche.
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I won; you didn't.
'Silver Linings' should
have swept the Oscars
By NATALIE GADBOIS
Daily Arts Writer
In my emotional, irrational
heart, I wanted "Silver Linings
Playbook" to win everything at
the Oscars this year.
Yes, Daniel Day Lewis was
towering and impressive as
Abraham Lincoln, but Bradley
Cooper embodied a good man
with bipolar disorder with such
range and poignancy.
So Christoph Waltz might
have been the only shin-
ing grace in the interminable
"Django Unchained," but Rob-
ert de Niro ("Being Flynn")
exuded an intense vulnerability
we've never seen before.
Yes, Quentin Tarantino, you
are a fascinating human speci-
men, but David O. Russell's
script had humor, whimsy,
grief and a stunning look at the
truths of mental illness.
Ben Affleck, you magnifi-
cent man, director and star of
Best Picture winner "Argo":
and inspiring. However, it was
another Oscar tale about amaz-
ing people doing historical
things and succeeding.
But "Silver Linings" defies
definitions and archetypes in a
way only real life can, surpass-
ing the tried-and-true formula
for successful Oscar winners.
It's been criticized as messy and
confusing - damn straight it
is. The lines aren't beautifully
clean cut nor the images stark,
like in "Argo" or "Zero Dark
Life isn't either of these films.
"Argo," and most of its Oscar-
winning predecessors (exclud-
ing "Ordinary People," the most
devastating movie about boring
suburban life you'll ever see),
are stories of the fantastical,
brilliant, evil or heroic excep-
tions to everyday human beings.
They express humanity either
at its finest, (the star-crossed
lovers of "Slumdog Million-
aire") or atits basest, like Javier
Bardem's terrifying and fasci-
try for Old Men."
This theme of choosing films
that look at life at its most
extraordinary is boring. The
joyful chaos of "Silver Linings"
refreshes and engages, while
still boasting an intellectual
script, heavy themes, phenom-
enal performances across the
board, and, you know, J-Law
herself. The Academy had a
chance to promote a film not
only deserving of an Oscar, but
capable of altering the way we
view fine film. Instead they
made the safest bet.
"Argo" was another smart,
well-done historical movie
about people who accomplished
impossible tasks. It's undeni-
ably a great film, an important
film, but it never surprises the
audience. My high expectations
were reachedafter watching
this film, but nothiogmore. "Sil-
ver Linings," on the other hand,
left me shaken and amazed.
Your movie was incredible nating murderer in "No Coun- .At least J-Law
Call: #734-418-4115 friendly.
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RELEASE DATE- Tuesday, February 26, 2013 I [I
Los Angeles Times Daily Crossword Puzzle
Edited by Rich Norris and Joyce Nichols Lewis
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It's embarrassing to refer-
ence that oft-used trope "art
imitates life" because I like to
think of myself as better than
that, but it's true. Life is funny
and sad and weird and con-
fusing and heartbreaking and
heartwarming and unexpected.
Just like "Silver Linings," life is
a wonderful mess. And I like it
I know friends and family
with mental illnesses so to me
this film is so much more than a
romantic comedy between two
quirky people, or a drama about
crazed sports enthusiasts. It's
not a humorous look at some
crazy people finding love in
their own weird way.
It speaks to the unbearable
sadness and guilt that fam-
ily members of the mentally ill
can feel. Furthermore, Cooper
stuns as a man who can have the
compassion to forgive a cheat-
ing ex-wife but be limited every
day by a disease that causes him
to hurt his friends and family
and sabotage his own dreams.
The Oscars this year have
already been decried as a jum-
bled, miscalculated and even
sexist mistake, made all the
more awkward by Seth Mac-
Farlane's joke referencing his
own presumed failure. Jen-
nifer Lawrence's win for lead
actress - I won't even get into
her adorable fall - is sadly the
only award "Silver Linings"
received, out of eight major
Maybe people just didn't
get it. Maybe all the Academy
voters are too blinded by his-
torical fanfare to recognize
such a unique, prescient film.
Maybe I'm just sad and bitter
and slightly in love with Brad-
ley Cooper (and let's be honest,
Jennifer as well.)
I guess all I'm able to say now
is "Congratulations, Ben."