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November 25, 2014 - Image 6

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6 - Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
i

6 - Tuesday, November 25, 2014 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom ~

m

David Guetta will
get you to'Listen'

MUSIC COLUMN
We need to
hear the next
Miles Davis

Producer's new
album backed by
solid features
By MELINA GLUSAC
DailyArts Writer
David Guetta, Calvin Harris,
Avicii - they all mush together,
right? In a world dominated
by sharply
dressed, B
white male
DJs putting L en
their name on
songs sung by David Guetta
other people, Parlophone
it's hard to set
oneself apart.
Yet, French dubstep master
David Guetta has done a pretty
impressive job of running ahead
of the pack, churning out mega-
hits like the eloquent "Sexy Bitch"
with Akon and "Pitch Perfect"
staple "Titanium," featuring
Sia, that deviate nicely from the
dub formula. His latest album is
Listen, a14-songjuggernautofpop
superstars and new faces alike; on
it, he continues innovation streak
on many songs but too often falls
into the shackles of typicality.
Strongcollaborationsmake this
album shine - piano siren Emeli
Sande lends her magic to "What
I Did for Love," a sadder, slower
yet still epic tune that turns into
a dance anthem quickly, complete
with Sand6's soulful vocals. A
surprising partnership with The
Script proves halfway decent,
too, with lead singer Danny
O'Donoghue's scratchy-pretty
voice weaving its way through
nostalgic, optimistic lyrics and a
big arena drop.
"Dangerous," one of the
album's pre-released singles, is
the better of the two Sam Martin
songs on the album, laced with
interesting piano-turned-synth
hooks and streamlined vocals
from Martin. The other, "Lovers
on the Sun," sets itself apart with
its uniqueness - it gives off eerie,
Wild-West vibes in the verses,
with distant whistling in the

a

PARLOPHONE
"I am a God. Hurry up with my damn croissants. I am a Frenchman."

background and echo-y vocals.
But that trance is shattered when
the synths come in and the chorus
turns into a typical, wordless club
jam. Guetta works best when he
strays from the norm.
Sia makes two appearances
on Listen, and both fall into
the shadows of her luminous
breakout hit, "Chandelier." She's
too good to ignore, though, and
her distinct vocals are tailor-
made for the album's closing
track, "The Whisperer." This one
is different in its lack of a beat,
not to be mistaken for a lack of
structure - there's nothingwrong
with a piano ballad following
in the steps of -her emotional
classic, "Breathe Me." And it's
inevitable to compare these
two: Sia's more upbeat number
on this album, "Bang My
Head," disappointingly pales in
comparison to "Titanium."
Guetta tries reggae on for size
in "No Money No Love," a cute
homage to Marley's "No Woman
No Cry" (though the two couldn't
be more different). Initially, it's
jarring to hear a reggae song
underneath dubstep beats and
a giant, synth-laden drop, but
it works. Somehow it turns out
really badass. "Sun Goes Down"
follows in its ska footsteps with
the help of MAGIC!, the culprits
of this summer's most infectious
song, "Rude." The lead singer's
voice is like butter, and he steers
the verses in the right direction -
but Sonny Wilson takes the wheel
in the chorus with his vigorous,
weathered voice, and the two

men work to create a song that's
just too juxtaposed to create a
cohesive listeningexperience.
"Listen," "Yesterday" and
"S.T.O.P." all blend together in one
giant blob of dubstep purgatory -
it's pleasant but less than exciting.
Even though "Listen" and
"S.T.O.P." are graced withthelikes
of John Legend and Ryan Tedder
of One Republic, respectively,
their star power is not enough
to aid the mediocrity of these
melodies. "Lift Me Up" is
enhanced by snippets of Cady
Heron's favorite choral group,
Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and
this mellow groove is a bit of a
refresher.
Hipsters worldwide will
rejoice at "I'll Keep Loving
You," featuring Jaymes Young
and Bon Iver interpreter Birdy.
Without the electronic beats
this song would easily serve its
proper duty as the go-to wedding
song of trendy Brooklyn
twenty-somethings. It sounds
sentimental, smooth, emotional
- but thebeats on top of it make
it weird and dorky.
The best song on the album
is undoubtedly "Hey Mama."
There's a reason Nicki Minaj
rules the charts these days; she
brings a fresh, edgy energy to
everything, and with help from'
Afrojack and Bebe Rexha, this
song is fabulously contagious.
Guettahas assembled anotable
array of musicians, and they,
combined with his talent, make
Listen a solid step forward for
man - and DJ - kind.

The first truly shock-
ing scene in the
movie "Whiplash,"
Damien Chazelle's recent
film about a young drum-
mer and
his abusive
conductor,
comes when
Andrew E
Neiman
(Miles Tell-.
er) gets his
shot withA
the studio THEISEN
band, the
top perfor-
mance group at the conserva-
tory where he studies music.
As Andrew sits behind the
drumkit, he gives the song
his best, but is quickly cut
off. Fletcher, the condc-
tor (J.K. Simmons) initially
reassures Andrew when he
messes up. "Not quite my
tempo, no worries," he says.
Then he makes him do anoth-
er take ("You're rushing").
Then another ("Dragging
just a hair"). Again ("Rush-
ing"). And again ("Drag-
ging"). Finally, Andrew
seems to have it. Fletcher lets
him keep playing, nodding
his head as he walks away
from the kit. He calmly puts
his hand on a folding chair
and WHOOSH, lobs it at
Andrew's head.
Fletcher takes a deep
breath. "Why do you suppose
I just threw a chair at your
head, Neiman?" he asks, way
too calmly. "The tempo?"
Andrew offert. "Were you
arushing or wereyou drag-
ging?" Fletcher fumes. "I
don't know," Andrew admits.
Suddenly, Fletcher advances
on Andrew, orders him to
start counting time and slaps
him in the face on every
fourth beat until Andrew
gets the point..
I sometimes feel like
Andrew does by the end of
that scene when I don't show
the proper respect for True
Jazz. Don't get me wrong,
I really enjoy listening to
jazz, but I (like most of the
audience', I presume), had
no fucking clue if Andrew
was rushing, dragging, or if
Fletcher was just abusing him
for kicks. I played trumpet in
middle-school jazz band, but
that's all I have in terms of
formal experience.
I also mostly enjoyed film's
music, but I realized my
unfortunate ignorance when
I read The New Yorker's
Richard Brody, who dis-
missed "Whiplash" 's music
as "mediocre," and "A gro-
tesque and ludicrous cari-
cature" of jazz. And while I
agree that the movie is more
about competition than musi-
cality, and yes, the characters
are ultra-serious and prob-
ably distort the mythos of
Charlie Parker, what really
got me was Brody's thoughts
on Andrew's inspiration,
Buddy Rich, Not only does he

call R
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ich "a loud and insen- could somehow latch onto
technical whiz, a TV these artists and productions
nality, not a major jazz as gateways to full-on jazz
ration" (insults that music, instead of just look-
I more like they could ing back and focusing on the
out of Fletcher's mouth' former legends, we could
I think he realizes), he have a full-scale jazz revival.
so in no more than a Instead, it feels like too many
thetical. fans of jazz approach the
agine I'm writing a col- music with the humorlessness
on guitarists, and when and obstinacy of the charac-
ig up Jimi Hendrix, I say ters in "Whiplash." Later in
eas a flashy showman, the film, a driven, arrogant
e was overrated, never Andrew is asked at a dinner
guitarist," and then table how the music competi-
y leave it at that. Brody tions work, since "isn't music
king an admirable larger subjective?" "No," is his flat,
by stating that Andrew harsh reply. The message he
trayed as working hard and the jazz gatekeepers are
physical aspects of sending is clear: if you don't
ming but never appreci- sound like one of the old
he music itself, but in greats, get out. In the same
ase that could easily be way, Brody denigrates anyone
ed over by accident, he who thinks Buddy Rich might
sses a drummer who be worth imitating, as if
(including myself) con- there's only one specific style
to be one of the greatest of jazz one can enjoy.
time. Buddy Rich is just I know how easy it can be
nor celebrity?" Buddy to dismiss seemingly "lesser"
ng Rich? Watch a Buddy music. After watching videos
drum solo. Yes, he's of Buddy Rich and other jazz
ng to the crowd, and yes, drummers, I snorted when
oud, but that his style. I saw someone online call
e he's not being sensi- Led Zeppelin's John Bonham
n the way that other the greatest drummer of
solos can be, but the all time. "The big lunk just
ng is still breathtaking pounds away. He doesn't have
speed, the precision, the technique that you need
amina are all practi- for jazz," I thought, before
unparalleled in music. realizing I was just echoing
certainly not quiet, but Brody's dismissal of Buddy
uickness and sheer jaw- Rich. All that accomplishes
sing virtuosity make up is keeping people away from
sy lack of delicacy. Tran- exploring jazz. Even if it's
lent talent isn't always not an ideal representation
e-' of the genre, if "Wliplbash"
w i+ .briangs more young peope to
jazz, it's unequivocally a good
We need to thing.
It can be fun to feel supe-
scover jazz's riorespecially after being
turned on to new music,
ture house- but so much of the beauty
of music comes when it's,
old names. shared. Sure, I've put on Kind
of Blue on solo drives home
late at night and felt like a
supercool secret agent, but
dy's snobbery, for lack jazz is also amazing when it's
etter word, is indica- " social and fun. In "Whiplash"
f a larger problem in director Damien Chazelle's
rn jazz. It's too bad that previous film, "Guy and Mad-
ates to Jazz Apprecia- eline on a Park Bench," we
re seemingly padlocked see young people connecting
ple times over, because through jazz, drinking beer
ifled the genre. The and tap dancing and playing
st household name for each other's enjoyment.
azz has produced Doesn't that seem fun? For
Miles Davis is Kenny that to happen in real life,
artist who's probably though, jazz needs to become
ooned more than he's more accessible. People who
cted. I'm not sure peo- like OK Computer should be
en realize how influ- steered toward Bitches Brew,
i by jazz some of our and Norah Jones and Adele
popular modern artists fans should discover Billie
Norah Jones, Adele Holiday. But more impor-
adiohead, to name a tantly than that, we need
because many jazz to discover the current jazz
of today seem focused so musicians, the future house-
on old "true and pure" hold names who are produc-
nstead of recognizing ing incredible art and make
enres can evolve and sure that they're playingfor
ove. more than a small, curmud-
e success of musicals geonly few.

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reference set
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67 Undergrounds
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t

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Chicago" prove that
e still like jazz, even if
don't listen to it regular-
the Jazz Establishment

Theisen is still too youngtoget
into Cliff Bell's. To console him,
e-mail ajtheis@umich edu.

SOME NEWS
PUBLICATIONS
-WILL USE BIG
FONTS TO DIRECT
YOUR ATTENTION
TOWARD USELESS
INFORMATION.
WE'RE NOT ONE
OF THEM.

1.0 - QC 7A T Al

W W WCHURCHS 'RE - NTL

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52 s3 54 ss5
56 s7 58 59
60 61 2 63
67 68 69 THESIS EDITING. LANGUAGE,
organization, format. All Disciplines.
By Peter A. colins 11/25/14 734996-0566 or writeon@iserv.net
02014Trribune Content Agency, LLC

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