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July 26, 1999 - Image 12

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1999-07-26

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

kS
I pessed play and heard a
neon dam of rumors,
like the lavender flame
that danCes alone...

Co toes of RCA Records
Berg's music is as cool as her name.
Matraca Berg
Lying to the Moon and
Other Stories
RCA
It is rare in Nashville that song writ-
ers are given an opportunity to display
their artistic talents. With her new
release "Lying to the Moon and Other
Stories" Matraca Berg departs from the
industry cliche "Buy art, don't write it."
For years Berg has been the voice
behind some of country's most prolific.
female artists. But with this album she
gets a chance to show off her abilities as
both lyrical poet and vocalist.
It offers an intriguing mix of folk and
country pop songs. Her stories range
from strange feminist-edged love
poems to suburban housewife blue-col-
lar fantasies. Occasionally as with the
songs "Calico Plains" and "Lying to
the Moon" the words get tossed up
against a forgettable musical back-
ground making otherwise strong lyrics
appear rather bland. Despite this, the
real strength in "Lying to the Moon" is
in Berg's voice. No matter how odd the
lyrics or weak the musical accompani-
ment somehow she makes it come
together.
"Lying to the Moon" probably won't
duplicate the commercial success Berg
has had as a songwriter but it does pro-
vide a glimpse behind-the-scenes of the
Nashville song writing machine. It's
encouraging to see that not everything
that comes out of the city is as homog-
enized as the music often heard on
mainstream country radio.
Curtis Zimmerman
Heavy D
Heavy
Universal Records
Unfortunately, it seems like the big
sexy men trend died with Biggie. The
"Overweight Lover" tries a little too
hard to bring it back. When most peo-
ple think of Heavy D they think of mid-
dle school dances and, of course, "The
Boyz."
Now, in 1999, "Heavy" seems to feel
like he has to ditch his old school image
and include newer, modern lyrics -
such as "I like it when you do dat here."
The money-minded lyrics of the Puff
Daddy are also a feeble effort at being
modern: "I went from Timex to
Rolex..."
Heavv D was more fun and relaxed
back when he wasn't trying so hard -
back in the days of "We Got Our Own
Thing" or even "Black Coffee."

"Heasv does hie its strong points
Guest appearances from Cee-Lo, Q-
Tip, Chico Desarge. Big Pun an
Eightball greatly strengthen the albu''
"Dancin' in the Night" is an interesting
spiritual etort. Several songs contain
strong beats and lyrical flips.
Heavy D is still around. But if you're
looking for some good old Heavy D hip
hop, reach for your early nineties
albums. That was when Heavy was at
his best.
Alisa Claets
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Bang, Bang, Bang
DreamWorks
Session players rule Nashville. Few
fans recognize this, even though it's
made clear in the liner notes. That's
what makes "Bang, Bang, Bang" by
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band so extran
dinary for a major country band: they
play all their own instruments (what a
stretch). This gives the album a unique
feel and varied musical texture, some-
thing non-existent in mainstream
releases.
Beyond the fact that it doesn't fall
victim to the session player disease
"Bang, Bang, Bang" contains a solid
mix of country and rock with phe-
nomenal vocal harmonies. Songs lik
"This Ain't Love," "Southbound
Train," and "Dry Town" are all fast
paced country pop tunes which are
easy listen to and sing along with.
This is contrasted with the more
story oriented slow songs like
"Singing to the Scarecrow," "It's
About Time," and "Down the Road"
While this album doesn't have any
incredible tracks, there aren't any
weak ones.
Its encouraging to see The Nit*
Gritty Dirt Band still has the ability to
record a decent album. While not sur-
passing the greatness of the earlier
music it could be a good lesson for
younger bands (and established produc-
ers). It will remind them that unique
high quality music makes a great
recording not just one or two standard
hit singles.
Curtis Zttimertm
Codeseven
Division Of Labor
The Music Cartel
Codeseven's "Division Of Labor" is
easily one of heavy music's shining
moments for 1999. Right from the
first track, "Lights," the group hits
you emotionally and aurally with t
musical equivalent of a sledgeharW
mer.
The group is a master of juxtapos-
ing the heavy parts with gorgeous
melancholic melodic parts in uncon-
ventional but effective ways. You are
pummelled, then soothed with depres-
sion, then pummelled again only hard-
er throughout the course of the album.
Fans of everything of Dillinger
Escape Plan, Thoughts on Ionesco a*
The Deftones should pay close atten-
tion to Codeseven's intensely satisfy-
ing "Division of Labor."
Adin Ros/i

n

SOPHIE B. HAWKINS
Timbre
Features "Lose Your Way"

MOB t
Play
Features "Honey"

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