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October 27, 2014 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-10-27

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Monday, October 27, 2014 - 5A

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Monday, October 27, 2014 - 5A

Who framed Roger Rabbit? I framed Roger Rabbit.
T-Swift transitions
Into pop on'1989'
Former country On the ironic "Blank Space," that has become classic Swift:
which follows "New York," that of little, personal details
artists sings about Swift directly acknowledges that accentuate the imagery in
these expectations and the her music.
moving to New York image of her that have been Part of what made Taylor
constantly perpetuated in Swift's previous work so
ByGIBSONJOHNS the media ("Got a long list of special were those instances
DailyArts Writer ex-lovers / They'll tell you I'm where she got so specific with
insane"). She's in on the joke her writing that, at least on the
Taylor Swift recently moved and she doesn't really care if surface, it appeared as though
from Nashville to New York you believe her or not. This we were present in those
City. She craved a change sentiment is also echoed on intimate moments with her.
in scenery the album's first single, "Shake Though we do get some of that
that would A It off," which is another on 1989, like on the building
match her direct call at her haters who, ballad "Out Of The Woods"
new outlook 1989 regardless of what she does, whenshe sings about "[moving]
on life: an will continue to "hate hate the furniture so we could
outlook Taylor Swift hate." dance" and "Remember when
devoid of Big Machine Most of 1989's standout you hit the breaks too soon?
famous moments are the ones during / 20 stitches in the hospital
ex-boyfriends which we hear Swift's voice room," there is markedly less
and full of famous girl-friends, in settings where we haven't detail here than on her past
an outlook that required' heard it before. O' "I Know efforts. Is this a result of
her to cuther hair and look Places," her voice is erie and Swift's heavy collaboration
effortlessly put-together at all pointed in its verses but as with pop mastermind Max
times, an outlook that saw her soaring and hopeful as ever Martin? Probably. But it's also
finally make the switch from in the refrains. "Wildest not necessarily a negative.
country to pop. And it's an Dreams" sees her channeling Sure, we all loved that knack
outlook that is not-so-subtly Lana Del Rey's enchantingly for detailed lyricism that
evident on her fifth album, drowsy vocalization in a call to characterized Swift's first
1989. past lovers to remember her. "I four albums, but what we
To be sure, Swift's Wish You Would," one of two get on 1989 is more honed-in
in-your-face approach to songs written with fun.'s Jack songwriting and more complex
her newfound pop persona Antonoff (who also happens to lyrical structure. We get songs
works tremendously well. be the boyfriend of Swift's pal that are more universally
Throughout 1989 we hear Lena Dunham), would fit right relatable. In other words, what
a Taylor Swift that is more in with the late '80s electro- we get is massive, glorious, no
confident, bold and self-aware pop that Swift said inspired holds barred pop.
than ever before. It's clear most of the album. Therewasalotridingon1989.
that she knows exactly what Perhaps the most Swift's break-up with country
she's doing. Her welcoming anticipated track on 1989, "Bad music was risky and had the
embrace of pop freed her from Blood," lives up to its hype. potential to turn away loyal
the constraints imposed on The foot-stomping, hand- country fans. The aggressive
her by the "country" label, clapping, anger-fueled track marketing and social media
she's experimenting with was written about a fellow presence surrounding its
new sounds, intonations and female popstar, who's all but release implied that there is
writing techniques. confirmed to be Katy Perry, something to be wildly excited
The 13-track album begins that apparently scorned her about. The troubling decline
with "Welcome To New York," unprovoked (something tells in music sales this year only
a love song co-written with me John Mayer, an ex they increased that pressure (as did
Ryan Tedder that pays homage both share, had to do with it). the fact that Swift's last album,
to, you guessed it, The Big It's a clear single candidate Red (2012), is the most recent
Apple. If 1989 had been filled and represents a rare example album to sell over a million
with 13 songs like this, it on 1989 of Taylor doing what copies in a week). But, just like
would have been an uninspired we have come to expect from she knows exactly what people
disappointment - the lyrics her in the past - singing songs think of her and her image and
play on cliched ideas of being written about famous exes her music, Taylor Swift knew
young and independent in New (friends and boyfriends) in this. So she delivered.
York City and the production, a tongue-in-cheek manner, 1989 is as fresh a pop album
though technically sound, baiting us into guessing who as we'd ever hope of having the
presents nothing that new. they're about. The funky pleasure to listen to, especially
But by predictably opening "Style," another probable these days when producing
1989, her first pop album, single, also exemplifies this a cohesive album seems to be
with a song about moving to Swiftian tendency, albeit the last thing many single-
New York, Swift feeds into (again) not-so-subtly. Let's track-minded pop stars have
our expectations only to just say there's only one the intention of doing. It may
immediately turn around and member of One Direction have been inspired by an era
shut them down. "Took our that she used to date and who of pop that ended 25 years
broken hearts / Put them in a essentially shares a surname ago when Swift was born, but
drawer," she declares. And on with the song's title. While it brings something new and
the rest of 1989, though she 1989 excels by playing down somethingmuch-needed to the
opens that drawer a few times, this celebrity callout style mainstream pop landscape.
she proves that her heart is of song, what it's lacking is Taylor Swift: the pop star
anything but broken. another quality of songwriting who will never go out of style.
HEY HEY
YOU YoU

I don't like that you're not writing for Daily Arts
e-mail akse@umich.edu
for an application

"Get tea-bagged!"
'Wick': A burnout

ByKARSTEN SMOLINSKI
Daily Arts Writer
Every year, big budget action
movies come and go by the
dozen, and only a precious few
deserve to be
remembered. C
"John Wick" is
notone ofthese John Wick
precious few.
It will almost Quality 16
certainly be and Rave
forgotten Summit
among the
dredges of
action movie history, atleastuntil
Hollywood decides to give it a
sequel.
John Wick (Keanu Reaves,
"The Matrix") is an ex-assassin
who just wants to grieve in peace
after an illness takes his wife.
Then the son of a Russian crime
boss steals his car and kills his
dog, who was a final gift from
his late wife. This spurs John
Wick into a killing rampage as
he tears apart the Russian crime,
organization in his search for
vengeance.
Audience members will
probably question the strength

of this motivation. Wouldn't it
make more sense if the writers
just had them kill his wife?
Sure, killing his dog was a dick
move, but does it really seem
like a good reason to murder 50
people? It's problematic because
the film obviously wants viewers
to see John Wick as the victim,
only lashing out in retaliation.
However, his massive body count
makes the scales seem a little
uneven.
John Wick mows through
faceless Russian gangsters like
they're blades of grass on his
lawn. He uses guns, but almost
always at close range. It looks like
kung fu infused with bullets and
feels exciting because he's always
running forward to shoot people
in the head from an inch away.
That said, there's nothing here
that elevates "John Wick" above
the masses.
JohnWickhimselfsuffersfrom
the oldest action movie cliche; he
has absolutely no depth to his
character. His only emotional
attachments get taken from him
15 minutes in, and from there it's
just revenge, revenge, mindless
revenge. Willem Dafoe's ("The

Boondock Saints") character, an
old friend from Wick's hitman
days who accepts a contract on
Wick's life, offers a glimmer of
hope for some internal conflict.
Then his character plays out in
the most predictable manner
possible.
Theonlyreallyintriguingthing
about "John Wick" is the world
it creates. Shady underworld
charactersexchangegold coins as
their main currency. An old man
runs a business cleaning up after
contract killers. A secretive hotel
called the Continental caters to
assassins with 24-hour medical
service and a strictneutralground
policy. Unfortunately, these tasty
side dishes fail to make up for a
bland entree.
Viewers who enjoy action will
love "John Wick." The relentless
rush of stylized action never
allows the audience a moment
to breathe. However, the thin
story and thinner characters
should deter anyone looking for
a semblance of substance. In
the end, John Wick comes off as
just another guy who really likes
killing people and is really good
atit.

Los Angeles Times D
Edited by Rich Norris
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