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March 26, 2014 - Image 6

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6A - Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

6A - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Reveling in the

DailyArts Writer
It's 2005. "Sahara," a movie
starring Matthew McCo-
naughey and Penelope Cruz,
screens for free at Columbia
College Chicago. After the
screening, the producers -
one of whom is McConaughey
- hold a Q&A session with
their audience. The theater is
Matthew McConaughey
enters the stage, and it's imme-
diately clear.
The man is higher than
He starts fielding question
after question about the movie
- for each one, McConaughey
replies with a crooked grin
and outrageous answer.
Then: "Matt, who's your
favorite actor?"
McConaughey pauses for In the hood.
a bit, considering, and says, of Wall Street" (2013) featured
"Me, in ten years. Cool ... yeah him in a much smaller role,
" but he was just as praised and
Fast-forward to today, and essential to the movie. As a
we really are about ten years matter of fact, the chest-beat-
later. McConaughey has "Dal- ing anthem hum was all McCo-
las Buyers Club" from 2013 naughey's idea. And as we go a
under his belt, complete with little farther back in time to
an Oscar for his role as Ron 2012, we have his award-win-.
Woodruff. The story, which ning titular role in "Mud." It's
has been circulating around been a slow but steady climb to
the Internet, has been debated the microphone on the stage of
on its veracity, but there's no the 86th Academy Awards this
doubt that Matthew McCo- month.
naughey has made huge What's strange is that
splashes recently as an actor. prior to 2012, most of McCo-
Some are calling it the "McCo- naughey's films were romance,
naissance." Some are calling it comedy or romantic comedy.
"McConaughey-day." Cast more for his set of abs
than acting chops, he would
have been an absurd choice
All right, all in 2005 for the role of an
AIDS patient in a biographi-
right all right. cal drama. McConaughey
*has been able to reinvent his
career and become one of the
most sought-after "serious"
In the past year, beyond actors today. Next up is "Inter-
"Dallas Buyers Club" and the stellar," a Christopher Nolan
Academy's acknowledgment film opening this year about
of his stellar performance, the exploration of space.
McConaughey has played a So how has McConaughey
critically-acclaimed starring achieved his new image from
role in the first season of "True rom-com hunk to dramatic
Detective" on HBO. "The Wolf A-lister? I think the transition

is less surprising than it ini-
tially seems, because McCo-
naughey was never necessarily
a bad actor. He was just con-
stantly typecasted, featured
in the same genre of movies
as the same kind of character
again and again. It's entirely
possible, however, to be simul-
taneously typecast and good at
acting, as evidenced by John
Wayne (macho gunslinger)
and Morgan Freeman (wise
old sage).
"How to Lose a Guy in 10
Days" (2003), for example,
includes perfectly timed
comedic delivery from McCo-
naughey, down to the careful
pauses between words and
subtle expressions. Though
the movie's story is nothing
groundbreaking - it's a run-
of-the-mill fluff piece on rela-
tionships - McConaughey
works as much as he can to
flesh out his character. Even
in his films from the 2000s,
we see a watered-down but
certainly visible glimpse of
McConaughey's true acting
potential. The McConaughey
of today is not a new person,
but rather a more ambitious
version of yesterday's.

"Does that say Slopez?"
Aging The Hold Steady
loses edge on new LP

Daily Arts Writer
Craig Finn,
Why did you have to get
older? For some reason, I always
thought of you
as my age, but
really, you're
more than Teeth
twice that. I
remember way Dreams
back when I The Hold
bought Sepa- Steady
ration Sunday,
your second Washington
album as sing- Square
er of The Hold
Steady, basi-
cally on a whim because I used
to read Rolling Stone back then
and they always gushed about
you. Separation Sunday fuck-
ing blew me away from the first
verse - you yelling the most lit-
erary lyrics I had ever heard and
the keyboards playing and the
two loud guitars and the com-

Email: dailydisplay@gmail.com

plete disregard for melody. Still,
more than any other album, I
love putting it on in my car with
the volume on full blast and
screaming along to every word.
I was so happy when I found
more of the same music with
your old band, Lifter Puller, and
I'm just as big of a fan of all the
other Hold Steady records. But
when I heard your last album,
Heaven is Whenever, a record
that had some perfectly crafted
songs but also a softened edge, I
started to brace myself for this.
Teeth Dreams, your latest
effort, is the inevitable aging of
a band that I've always wanted
to stay young. Instead of the
unhinged ranting about "the
scene" and the kids who inhabit
it, you're slipping soft rock into
your setlists now. Truthfully, it's
not all bad, but I still can't help
being disappointed.
You actually sing now, Craig.
You're less primal and, frankly,
less exciting. The Hold Steady is
playing more straight-forward
rock, and you've lost the thrill-
ing danger of not conforming
to old notions about vocals and
melodies. You're classic rock
now, not anything resembling
punk. It's quaint, and it's also
much more normal and play-by-
the-numbers. Lyrics that were
once so specific they made you
feel like you were there with the
song's characters are now just
vague "anthems." Even the first
two singles, "I Hope This Whole
Thing Didn't Frighten You" and
"Spinners," are less memorable
than the weakest stuff on Sepa-
ration Sunday.
I really hate to be the guy
who never wants the bands he
loves to change their sound, but
Teeth Dreams is a frustrating
album. It's just not charismatic
or emotional enough for the bar
you've set. However, that's not
to say this is all terrible. Right
in the middle, with songs like
"On With the Business" and "Big
Cig," you still prove you have
that attitude, that snarl. Sure,
you're getting older, Craig, but I
still love your voice when it's at
its best, spitting out portraits of
life around you like a Beat poet.

It's a little more restrained, but
that's understandable, and I
can't fault that.
It's hard to know if I should
judge the album on normal-
band standards, or compared to
your old stuff. Oddly, the singles
might be the weakest songs, the
ones with the fewest risks. It's
all fine rock music, but you guys
just have so much more to offer.
Even "Oaks," the closing track -
a spot on your albums that has
been home to some true classics
- can't match the power of the
old closers.
Maybe this album is a grow-
er. Maybe I'm rushing to judge
because this isn't what I was
expecting. I don't want anoth-
er album, though, where I can
listen and say "Oh, this song
sounds like Pearl Jam. This one
sounds like Wilco. This one
sounds like Tom Petty," because
when The Hold Steady is at its
best, you can't compare it to any
other band.
What gives me hope, more
than anything, is the second-to-
Growing up
isn't an artstic
death sentence.
last song, "Almost Everything."
It's an optimistic acoustic love
song - something I don't think
you've ever done before. I love
it. You still so enjoyably describe
the smallest details with pin-
point accuracy. I just feel good
listening to it, and I'm extremely
confident that you have so much
great music left in you, Craig.
Growing up isn't an artistic
death sentence, but it does force
you to adapt. Teeth Dreams is the
often-awkward sound of The
Hold Steady trying to navigate
this adaptation. As much as I'll
miss the tales of Suburban Min-
neapolis, I'm very excited for the
next chapter of your career.
Forever a Member of The Uni-
fied Scene


' 2(

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Apply to the Daily Arts section by emailing
jplyn@umich.edu for an application.



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