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November 18, 2014 - Image 6

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6 - Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Michigan Daily- michigandaily.com

6 - Tuesday, November18, 2014 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

6

Pink's 'pom pom' id

COLUMBIA
What's their hair-product-to-pull ratio?
SFr' a move in
the right direction

One Direction not
quite grown up on
fourth album
By MELINA GLUSAC
DailyArts Writer
What makes One Direction
beautiful? Well, to start off: them.
It's undeniable that Zayn, Niall,
Harry, Liam
and Louis
have evolved
into dapper Four
young Brits,
copious One Direction
amounts Columbia
of tattoos
and all. Their look is definitively
edgy (Harry's new tresses are a
point of debate for Directioners
worldwide), and on their newest
record, Four, they strive to
emulate this newfound badass
energy.
But what really makes them
beautiful is their vivacity -
something that was introduced to
the world on "What Makes You
Beautiful" but has weaned ever
since. 1D's newest installment
in their let's-leave-our-lyrics-
generic-to-make-girls-think-
our-songs-are-about-only-them
empire tries to let life and edginess
drive it, simultaneously. The
result is an inconsistent, lovelorn
explosion of arena ballads and
acoustic melodies alike, both in
desperate need of a little more

oomph.
Their first single, "Steal My
Girl," is one of the livelier ones -
it's an interesting, piano-laced jam
a la "Faithfully" by Journey, with
a huge drop at the chorus and a
catchy hook. Similar to "Where
Do Broken Hearts Go" on the
sheer epicness scale, it sounds like
it could be blasted in Ford Field,
which is always a good thing.
But it also sounds like *NSYNC
could've done just as an effective
job with the song, and that's not
good; Queen Elizabeth's quintet
still needs to hone its own style.
Regardless, the boys needed these
two tunes to beefup the album.
They take a country turn on
"Ready to Run," which actually
works for them, but it falls into
the hole of familiarity, safety
and boredom. "Fools Gold" and
"Spaces" follow suit, blending in
with all other acoustic ghosts of
years and albums past. There's
simply nothing unique about these
ballads anymore; the five Brits
scored a hit with one of them,
"Story of My Life," a few years ago,
but it's time to move on now. They
say they're "ready to run," but are
theyreally?
The band gains a bit of
momentum on songs like "Girl
Almighty," a wake-up call for
the album, to be sure. It's got an
inventive sound, yearning lyrics
and pop-punk pacing - a little
dose of electro-shock therapy like
this can never hurt the listener.
But, alas, Ed Sheeran creeps

in with his unplugged guitar,
narcotics and a night light, and the
listener has no choice but to sleep
again. Co-pennedby Sheeran, "18"
is blissfully unoriginal, slow and
just too freaking innocent. "Night
Changes" takes the same turn, but
it has a few drumsato give it at least
one direction (pun intended but
not proudly).
God save the Queen! Finally, the
listener rejoices with "No Control,"
a sexy, pop-punk number that
sounds like pre-2010 All-American
Rejects. The band needed the grit,
but it's unfortunate that it took the
whole album to get there. And on
the kitschy "Fireproof," peaceful
drums and sweet falsetto in the
chorus help it power through.
"StockholmSyndrome"radiates
with its nifty metaphor, sultry
guitars and an incredible beat in
the chorus, it's undoubtedly the
best song on Four. It sounds like a
hit, like One Direction of the future
- slightly electronic, modern,
rock-y and just plain old cool. The
album exits with a bang; "Clouds"
is another rock-infused, layered
arena anthem with the bestkind of
chaotic energy. Finally they gave us
somethingtoworkwith.
Four is a triumphant attempt, an
album with about as much edge as
Harry's butterfly tattoo - a tattoo
at least, so they get street cred for
that - but the subject matter is
still abit safe. They're almost there
- almost grown up, musically.
Though boring at points,Four is a
tiny step in the right direction.

Indie artist returns
with a trip into his
own subconcious
ByBRIAN BURLAGE
DailyArts Writer
There's a wonderful poem by
Wallace Stevens called "Tea at the
Palaz of Hoon" and it reminds
me of Ariel
Pink quite
frequently. It's
a poem about pOm pOm
self-discovery,
though not in Ariel Pink
any traditional 4AD
sense. The
speaker descends purple-clad
through lonely air down into the
depths of his mind. It's not really a
retreat so much as it is an inward
cerebral joyride. The speaker talks
of strange ointments, music and
a sea. "I was myself the compass
of that sea," he says, raising an
interesting thought: in the deepest,
most bizarre frontiers of our
imagination, who can guide us but
ourselves? And doesn't it make one
hell of a spectacle? "I was the world
in which I walked, and whattI saw /
or heard or felt came not but from
myself; / And there I found myself
more truly and more strange."
The last line of that poem has
always struck me differently when
I read it in the context of Ariel
Pink and the profundity of his
imagination. Through his own
specialized brand of psychedelic
pop, developed over the years in
places like his bedroom and garage
(Animal Collective picked him up
as anunsigned25-year-oldin2003),
Pink explores the regions of his
mind as though it were a constantly
changing planet without time and
without the seriousmeansto evolve.
As a result, his music is consistent
in that it's familiarly obscure. His
two prior albums,Before Today and
Mature Themes, are linked to pom
pom somewhatcthrough their sound
but mostly through Pink's honest
and whimsical introspection. They
are three distinct travel records into
the mind of a man who sounds like
he escaped from the North Pole and
is continuing to discover the tastes
and styles of pop music through
'80s horror flicks.
While Pink has often cited The
Cure as a major influence on his
work, and while the same synth-
curtain falls over most of the same
mouthy vocals and weary-toned
guitars, the band Love, in the era
of Forever Changes, is his more apt
predecessor. They are each, at heart,
natural musicians with a marvelous
talent for crafting light-sounding
pop anchored by its own unwieldy
subject matter. It can come across
as superficial and nonchalant, but

if you tune your ear to the right
frequency - their frequency - you
can hear the music's intricacies and
little pieces actively coagulate like
a sort of sun-pierced stained glass
window.
Pink and Love are also similar
in their pushing of listeners toward
self-abandon; that is to say, they
each tend to draw on images and
fantasies from the unconscious in
order to unsettle thelistener.Arthur
Lee, as the principal songwriter
for Love on Forever Changes, went
about this rather innocently and
self-mockingly, a good example
beingthe first two lines of"Live and
Let Live" in which he sings, "Oh,
and the snot has caked against my
pants /It has turned into crystal."
Ariel Pink on the other hand
takes serious pride in his effort to
subdue the listener's judgment,
making it more of a strategic ploy
than a stylistic flare. He recently
reflected on his music and echoed
this idea.
"Maybe by making people feel
uncomfortable, I tap into that
uncanny quality that is part of the
scariest, weirdest things that you'
remember happening to you as
a kid." As if the statement wasn't
overtly Freudian enough, he then
added, "I mine that territory more
than anything:the unconscious."
For Pink, little matters aside
from the place he takes listeners
throughout the album. From song
to song, he packs as many melodies,
jingles,bridges,hooks,cuesandriffs
as he can fit - all fuel for a rocket
launch overthe miiental divide and
into-the realm of the unconscious.
From the outset on pom pom's
opener he sets the scene, telling us
exactly where it is we'll go: "It's a
Tokyo night when you feel alright
/ The Arkansas moon's gonna shine
tonight / All over the world we're
gonna do it right." The catch is that
even though this trip sounds fairly
normal and fun, the place we're
really going is somewhere far less
identifiable, a place where people
wear "Raincoats in the big pig
parade."
The front side of pom pom is
deliciously overwrought with '80s
dream pop and psychedelic rock,
reworked and reshaped until old

familiar phrases and tunes become
clever quips for Pink's peculiar
agenda. The stretch of pop-rock
songwriting from"White Freckles"
to "Nude Beach A Go-Go" is one
of this year's best, crammed with
unusual turns of phrases that'll
stick in your head all day. "I'm a
hunter / I flash my teeth / I snuck
you into my dog nest," Pink sings
to a beat-driven, synth-screaming
chorus on "Lipstick." The way he
sings "dog nest" could easily be
heard as "darkness," which makes
a lot of sense for this record. This
sound on pom pom is darker than
much of Pink's recent work, if not
entirely more serious.
For example, "Picture 'Me
Gone" is probably the most serious
thing Pink has done. In October
he teamed up with the children's
group PS22 Chorus, to record a live
version of the song. If you can set
aside the ridiculously silly idea of
Pink being a lead choir boy, what
you get instead is a heartfelt song
about a father lamenting the loss
of his family's physical, hard-copy
photo albums. Instead, he's forced
to search through a computer hard
drive to "make a toast to glory
days.' Registering at 5 minutes and
41 seconds, the song is slow and
expansive, centered on a chorus
that's filled with pained emotion.
It's Pink at his weirdest:somber.
For the most part, pom pom is
a continuation of Pink's maniacal
thrust into the subconscious mind,
where there is both escape from
one's self and immersion in it. That,
I think, is the central problem of
Pink's' music: how does one soar
through the boundless territory
of the unconscious without being
completely consumed by what they
see? And as he remains dedicated
to finding an answer, he does
leave a little kernel of truth for us.
On the album's closer, "Dayzed
Inn Daydreams," Pink describes
his fascination with dreams and
dreaming,how they openup worlds
within worlds within ourselves.
But he also notes that imagination
breeds mystery, and in this mystery
we tend to hide ourselves. "The
story ends untold/My willsurvives
/ In a thousand future lives," he
sings, "And with that / Ibid adieu.'

I

4A0

It kinda looks like he bathes in frankincense.

RELEASE DATE-
Los Ange
Ed
ACROSS
1 Italian scooter
6 Weird
11 "This is so
frustrating!"
14 Sharon of Israel
15 Old-timey
"Yikes!"
16 Coventry
bathroom
17 Like afata pan
19 Perrier, to Pierre
20 Casual Friday
top
21 FAO Schwarz
specialty
22Turn away
24_vivant
25 Tiny it
27 Daisy-plucking
words
33 Farm or home
ending
34 Trobles
35"Now me
downtosleep..."
37James o'The
Godfather'
38 Count Chocula
wear
39 Torn on apivot
40 Start of many
Internet
addresses
41 Actor Thicke
42"l can take!"
43To the point
46 Bonny girl
47 Owned
48 Hangottor
some 38-Down
51 Word spoken
while pointing
53 Short change?
se Month aftersavril
57 Not a likely
chance, and,
literally, a hidden
feature o17-,
27- and 43-
Across
61 Pre-holiday time
62 PartoBUSNA
63 "Keen!"
64 Twin of Bert
Bobbsey
65 Picketfenco
pats
66 Barbershop
band?

Call: #734-418-4115
Email: dailydisplay@gmail.com
Tuesday, November18,2014 I
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Ambitioni

ByJACOB RICH editor Tom Cross's ability to
DailyArts Writer seamlessly cut between Teller
and his ludicrously talented
"Whiplash" is the triumphant body double. "Whiplash" 's
battle cry of the modern student, drumming is sexualized in
a virtuosic film about virtuosos. rapid-fire sequences ofclose-ups
It's about of the instruments and the men:
the harsh, the sticks, the arms, the drum
stressful heads, the beads of sweat on
dog-eat-dog Whiplash Teller's forehead, are all imbued
battlefield State Theatre by expert lighting to seemingly
that is modern glow a radiant gold. The film's
higher Sony Pictures music is not only performed in
education. Classics audio form, but with video as
Anyone who's ever aspired to be an essential component. The
the best at something (this film editing rhythm moves and
is perfect for U-M students) will flourishes and crescendos with
be able to relate to its characters. and against the music.
"Whiplash" wholly encapsulates Immediately, Andrew
the vast range of emotions that develops a turbulent relationship
comewithoneofourmostessential withtheconductoroftheschool's
traits as humans: ambition. highest-level jazz band, Terence
Andrew Neiman (Miles Fletcher (J.K. Simmons, "Spider-
Teller, "The Spectacular Now") Man"). Utterly demeaning,
is a freshman jazz drummer at completely unpredictable and
America's most prestigious music impossible to impress, Fletcher
school, Shaffer Conservatory (a is the band director from hell.
fictionalized Julliard). The film's Through militaristic coercion
opening shot, out of focus and adhering to the school of R. Lee
distant, tells us through sound Ermey's infamous drill sergeant
alone everything we need to character in "Full Metal Jacket,"
know about him. The kid is Fletcher's toxic encouragement
good, and driven. He's more enslaves Andrew to his art,
than good - he's incredible. resulting in a fascinating
Better yet, he's alone, practicing teacher-student relationship
his heart out for his own good. that is less a mentorship and
Beginning to end, all but the more a desperate shotgun duel.
most expert percussionists Simmons, a typically comedic
will buy Teller's drumming, character actor, breaks out
thanks to the combined effort of his "J. Jonah Jameson" (or
of his gritty, utterly soulful "Cave Johnson" for the Portal
physical performance with 2 fans out there) typecast and

takes on a genuinely powerful
and frightening role that will
easily contend with the best
performances of the year. 4
The film is smart to not
morally justify the lifestyle
of its ambitious characters,
instead presenting a dichotomy
of human philosophy through
its supporting cast. Neiman
and Fletcher are the Spartan-
esque warriors who measure
worth unquestioningly by what
greatness they can achieve by
the time they die. Neiman's
father (Paul Reiser, NBC's "Mad
About You") and love interest
Nicole (Melissa Benoist, Fox's
"Glee") are the other side of the
coin, sweet and supportive, but
complacent in life. His dad is a
rather solemn single father, and
Nicole is an indecisive freshmaA
attending her safety school. The
film never decides which of these
pairs is in the right - it often
glorifies the virtuosic ability of
the musicians but occasionally
shames them for their elitist
philosophies in regards to the
more average characters.
The climactic scene has
dramatic elements that feel a bit
implausible,butdon'tdetractfrom
the overall point. "Whiplash" is a
great film, and at that, one that
asks questions important to all
of us alive right now: how hard
should we try to be great? At
what point is ambition harmful?
At the end, we're given an answer,
but not the answer.

I

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