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January 28, 2014 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-01-28

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? :

5 - Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

5 - Tuesday, January 28, 2014 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycum

Gram mys 2014:
thing sucked

He looks like this now, just wayyyy grayer.
Comeback Crosby


20 yea
by isI
in th

after 20 years, While Crosby's solo material
r consistently falls short of his
rosby returns trio and quartet work, the '70s
groundwork still resonates, the
nth solid release words are still inspired and the
iconic harmonies breeze in flu-
By GREG HICKS ently. Despite Croz being a solo
DailyArts Writer effort, Crosby progressively lay-
ers the vocalization of tracks
er a 20-year writing and like "What's Broken" in a sort
ction hiatus - seriously, of "Twist and Shout" fashion,
ars of zilch - David Cros- minus the spunkiness and plus
back and the ambience.
I with a On an outset presumption,
of humor Croz is a voice-guitar-pia-
his cur- no-percussion package that
state of Croz remains stylistically consistent
ncy David Crosby to a monotonous extent. The
ie music diamonds are in the details,
:ry. The Blue Castle however, lying adjacent to
r Crosby, the record's foremost instru-
& Nash mentation. An unpronounced
stated that this indepen- synth, orchestra and flute wan-
released fourth studio der behind the John Denver-
1 would be strictly for self- esque "Morning Falling," a
ssion purposes, in jest, funky bassline is churned out
that the album would of "Time I Have" and a folk-
bly sell a few dozen copies. rock "The Clearing" dribbles

an unexpected synth over the
track's bridge.
Even at the ripe ole' age of
72, Crosby can still uncover the
dismal nature of the surround-
ing world, how "nobody wants
what's broken" and "even words
from a friend bring back pain."
At this risk of morbidly fixat-
ing on the subject of loneliness,
there are many turnarounds.
Suddenly we're asked to "Set
the Baggage Down" and take
"everything that's broken and
bury it in the sand" - a bit of
advice drawn from 14 years
of Alcoholic's Anonymous,
according to Crosby. Broken-
ness is a clear-sighted recur-
rence on Croz.
Low-sales expectation or not,
the casually thrown-together
record captures a more nuanced
narrative than most contem-
porary platinum-sellers of the
2010s. Lyrics tend to come in
bulk after 20 years-worth of
silent observations, after all.

The Grammy Awards rolled
around once again this past
weekend, and in the world of
music media, it forced writers
to do one of two things: react to
the awards as
if they con-
tained some
impact, or
justify why
the Grammys
aren't worth A
reacting to. ELLIOT
I find myself ALPERN
astride the
fence in between. The Grammy
decisions, just like any other
awards show, are absolutely
influenced by popularity over
talent (see Macklemore vs. Ken-
drick Lamar, later), and don't
offer a realistic judgment of
the best music produced in any
given year. But still, isn't it fun
just to see who gets to bask in
the glory of the spotlight, even
for a moment's notice?
I'd be remiss in my duties,
though, if I didn't first throw
out the classic disclaimer: the
Grammys love their winners
with a story, with a growing
following, with anything that'll
help an artist get sold.
The growing optimism I'd
felt from an Arcade Fire win
in 2010 was dashed two years
later as "Somebody That I
Used To Know" (a good, albeit
chart-topping song), Mumford
& Sons, fun., Kanye and Jay-Z-
took home the biggest awards.
Funny how the biggest hits tend,
to suddenly become the best
music of the year- Eddie Ved-'
der summed it up best when,
upon receiving his Grammy in
1996, he said onstage: "I don't
know what this means. I don't
think it means anything."
And, in keeping with that bit
of skepticism for the moment,
how can anyone be so infatuat-
ed with Macklemore over Kend-
rick Lamar - especially in light
of that resounding performance
T1 f-VZ T

with Imagine Dragons. Best
New Artist has been a sham
since Bon Iver somehow man-
aged to sneak onto the ballot and
fun. beat out Frank Ocean, and
Kendrick Lamar shouldn't have
even been eligible in the first
place. But Best Rap Album? The
Heist was fine, if a bit poppy, but
even Macklemore thought Ken-
drick should've won, addressing
the rapper through Instagram:
"You got robbed. I wanted you
to win. You should have."
But whatever, I'm not bitter.
As overplayed and, yes, success-
ful as "Get Lucky" managed to
become, which of the other five
choices wasn't a pop blockbust-
er? At least "Get Lucky" 's win
rewarded an artist who's prov-
en their artistic ability over the
course of a career. I would've
been fine with "Royals," too,
but I was begrudgingly hoping
for Daft Punk - and Lorde won
a pretty big one anyway.
Also, just taking a quick look
at the Rock categories - what
decade are we in? Black Sab-
bath, who I watched for what
I assumed was a final show in
2012, snagged an award, along
with Paul McCartney, while the
Rolling Stones and David Bowie
found nominations elsewhere.
And what the hell, Best Rock
Album? Led Zeppelin beats out
Black Sabbath, David Bowie
and Kings of Leon - Queens of
the Stone Age is the only band
keeping me from bashing my
forehead into this table.
This was definitely a down
year for rock, j ut isn't it weird,
that, outside of a Lifetime
Achievement Award, Zep had'
never won a Grammy before?
And doesn't it feel a bit unnatu-
ral, that the album they finally
win for came out over three
decades after Led Zeppelin IV?
Let me admit something:
It's rare that I actually watch
the entire Grammy ceremony,
or even most of it. The best
highlights - the mishaps, the
newsworthy events, the block-

buster performances - are
always clipped and online in
a few minutes anyway, along
with the winners. Why wade
through the rest?
And in keeping with that, did
anyone else see the three-sec-
ond swing where Taylor Swift
went from thinking she'd won
her 8th Grammy, the coveted
Album of the Year, to the soul-
crushing realization of defeat?
The girl cannot catch a break -
guess she'll just have to go back
to the rest of her gramophone
Good Kid:
Lastly, I enjoyed Mackl-
emore's performance of "Same
Love" - especially in that
opening segment, it can't be
easy breaking the silence of an
enormous concert hall with
just your voice and a soft piano
behind you. The mass marriage
was touching and, at the same
time, a bit unsettling - only in
imagining myself in the same
All of these couples obviously
wanted to go through with this
in a way they saw as momentous
or beautiful, which I completely
support and understand. But
would I get married with 32
other couples, all at the same
time? I guess if Macklemore or
Madonna is singing at my wed-
ding, it couldn't be that bad, but
I might be selfish enough to
want the event centered around
me, when or if that day comes.
Elliot is still smashing his
head against the table. To help,
e-mail ealpern@umich.edu.

_7 " f -1 A - 1 - . - - -_

FUA canceis zui'+ piiot season

Poppn' ta ps n holes
Niit:' Am I stl watchng ths.?

Daily Arts Writer
The best part of watching
slightly terrible TV shows is how
shrewd they make the viewer feel.
After binge-watching "The Good
Wife" over break, I was ready for
something less ... good. So when
Netflix recommended "Nikita," I
watched the have-handed trailer
try to stir mystery, drama and
good hair together. Itconly seemed
right for me to go down this rabbit
hole; bring it on.
Centered on Nikita (Maggie
Q, "Priest"), a rogue agent of the
shadowed government agency
Division, the show follows her and
her allies' attempts to bring down
Division. Nikita; we're shown
from the beginning, is a badass.
She goes through attack squads
sent by Division as if they were toy
Like her, these assassins were
picked from the prison system
for their lack of familial ties and
their low standing in society. They
were then brought to Division to
be trained as operatives, working
for their country to stop foreign
and domestic threats. But unlike
MI-6, the leaders of Division, cov-
ered by their secrecy, went astray
and started taking jobs for hire.
Enter Nikita, guns blazing, ready
to take out anyone and everyone
who was part of the dirty jobs.
The most frustrating part of

good at
son one
Walk t
best op
a dark
never o
will or'
I car
plate h
ment of
were ba
don't m
can eve
holes ti
time, bE
in thei

" is how unwaveringly scheme: Division orders an opera-
nd unwaveringly bad each tion, Nikita gets the intel, she and
er is. Even when in sea- her friends save the day. Some-
Michael (Shane West, "A times, as a treat, it's a two-part
o Remember"), Division's plot and so Nikita doesn't save the
erative, catches Nikita in day until the next time, which is
alley, cornering her, he an excruciating cliffhanger.
take the shot - and you I don't hate the show. The peo-
nce question whether he ple are all really pretty, they fight
won't. really well and someone is always
n take the poor writing. trying to out-hack another. But
ngNikitasigh and contem- unlike "The Good Wife," or any
er own complexity doesn't other "great" show, there are few
rily take away the enjoy- characters that are bad people
watching her kill sixbody- who do good things - and even
with her bare hands (they fewer good people who have fatal
d, so they had it coming). I flaws. This results in an inherent
ind the constant one-step- lack of complexity and remorse
motif that never fails her. I within the characters, and within
n overlook the gaping plot the show.
hat show up from time to Good always trumps evil.
ecause I don't mind living Good never makes mistakes. If it
universe Craig Silverstein looks like someone who is good is
1. doing something bad, it's because
they're double-crossing someone
else, because they are good. Oper-
d is ating under these assumptions,
o bad, it's "Nikita"becomes aneasy, action-
packed watch, creating crazy
u y . scenarios with snappy come-
backs. It's dramatic, loud and dis-
tracting - but never subtle, never
knowing exactly whose Completely transparent, "Niki-
cheering for throughout ta" is a safe harbor in a tumultu-
easons is exhausting. So ous sea full of "Breaking Bad" s
aracters are sympathetic and "House of Cards" s. It's like
mists, or unreliable pro- the newest version of reality TV:
ts, that each episode blurs completelyunrealistic,completely
r into one systematic made up and yet, highly addictive.

DailyArts Writer
Over the last decade, we
said goodbye to Blockbuster,
VCRs and even DVDs, and we
lost our tendency to watch TV
shows with commercial breaks,
replacing those blocked evening
hours in our week with Satur-
days of Netflix binging. Because
of these shifts, major networks
are challenged to adapt. The
result has largely been greater
access to online streaming and
video on demand. FOX network
though, under the leadership
of Chairman of Entertainment
Kevin Reilly, is attempting a
new move altogether.
At the most recent Television
Critics Association press tour,
on Jan. 13, Reilly unveiled his
plan to skip pilot season this
year. This is a strategic move
intended to rebuild and revamp
what Reilly sees as an antiquat-
ed network calendar, with the
typical February to April pilot
production cycle. Instead, the
production and development
process will be on a year-round
time frame.
Well, what does this mean for
the industry? The answer is not
entirely clear. Pilot season has
been a definitive part of the TV
world, when production is put
on steroids. Every season about
70 pilot episodes are paraded for
TV execs in carnival fashion -
around 20 are ultimately picked
up. Finding actors, and good
ones at that, while testing con-
cepts and often half-developed
ideas, adds an enormous amount
of pressure to the process. Reil-
ly says, "It's nothing short of a

that ei
can b
out a
the o
time u
ting tl
sure to
a seri
what i
a gam
of ent
to the
ity an
high s
for as
fluid n
it mal

e that the talent is able to not financially motivated, FOX
ce anything of quality in will cut its losses on scripted
nvironment." development expenses by going
re is no way this process straight to series.
e entirely conducive to Whether other networks will
vity. It is arguable that follow suit is not clear. Reilly
re is a necessity to put didn't seem to be suggesting
good product, but it's not this was the right maneuver
nly way. Taking more for everyone. When producing
ap-front to focus on put- comedies, for example, pilots
he right pieces together, are of far greater necessity than
ut a time crunch, should when developing a drama series.
ce a result of equal, if not Other major execs of the indus-
, quality. It is risky for try, like Nina Tassler of CBS,
turn an idea directly into have openly disagreed with
es, but risk is sometimes Reilly's rationale, supporting
1 takes to be a pioneer and the argument that the pilot sea-
e-changer in the business son is in fact the most effective
ertainment - "Breaking way of creating great television.
is the perfect testament This is an experiment, and
power of the pressure- a bold one at that. The chances
r. that altering the process in this
way will lead to major failure
are slim, but the payoffs could
. be great. The pilot season is not
)X executive a broken system, and the fact
Reil that it will continue to be used
levin Reilly is good news for up and coming
directors, writers, actors and
other hopefuls taking a shot at a
career in the TV industry.
thi gs up. Still, TV culture itself is obvi-
ously not what it was in 1986,
when the pilot season came to
be. Why should executives feel
h the growing popular- married to outdated processes
d use of streaming, pilot and rules when the nature of TV
no longer has the same itself has completely changed?
takes that it once did in Preferences are different,
nining the exact audience technology has advanced, the
how. Viewership is more world is more efficient in nearly
ow, and preferences less all sectors and it is far more fea-
sulated by ratings alone; sible for people and companies
kes sense that networks to step outside of the box and try
I try to mirror the same new things. That's how progress
lity. happens. For that, we should be
top of that, despite Reilly's thankful for the Kevin Reillys of
nce that this change is the world.


side Im
three s
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