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May 21, 2001 - Image 12

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2001-05-21

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12 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, May 21, 2001

R.E.M.
Continued from Page10
form a kind of chamber piece, a
song cycle informed and uniformed
by three old buddies who know,
intimately, how to make music
together.
This unsurprising reliability, how-
ever, is also the chief problem with
Reveal. The persistent mid-tempos
and first-person ballads give the
album a leaden quality.
Glancing at the lyric sheet of "All
the Way to Reno," ("You know what
you are/You're gonna be a star") the
listener anticipates a hip-shimmy-
ing, guitar-swiveling funtime of a
song like "Begin the Begin" or
"What's the Frequency, Kenneth?"
but is instead offered a meandering
mule-march through the low desert,
replete with sluggish spaghetti
western guitar licks.
Moving along with R.E.M.'s
career, matching their stylistic bobs
and weaves, has been a rewarding
journey for any rock listener. Reveal
holds the line; it manages moments
of real beauty, intelligence, and
innovation.

Axi
ARTS
2
AiL reps A and local sceim

The Thrill Is Gone,Athletic Mic The album serves as a showcase losing its focus on self-exprest
League; Lab Technicians Productions for the rhyme skills of all AML and instead replacing it with a le
members, but no one outshines any- bravado and faking. AML and In
By W. Jacari Melton one else. Their flows mesh well cible's point is well articulated
Daily Arts Writer together no matter what combination accurate.
of emcees appear on a track, a note- "Lyrictricity" is an exercisi
Given the high quantity of rap worthy accomplishment for a crew creative lyricism. Undergrour'
acts and the seemingly low quality that rolls six deep. One Man Army drops a verse
among them, I'm more than track that explores what
appreciative when something pens when electricity comb
worthy of purchasing surfaces, with lyrics and the results
This time, I didn't have to look explosive. Other highlig
too far with Ann Arbor's Athletic include "Beat Down" and
Mic League and their independ- "My Time" and "Non St
ent release The Thrill Is Gone. remixes.
The album offers lyrical creativi- I'm always led to believe
ty and track production that's hip-hop is not dormant w
equal to or greater than what's independent albums like
been found on a number of major Thrill Is Gone drop.
label releases. stands out because theii
AML consists of six emcees - tion to writing quality
that honed their skills in New Jer- ._ .clever lyrics is evident in es
sey before returning home to Ann K. l.j bar they spit. Coupled with I
Arbor. Since their homecoming, duction that's impress:
they've been regular draws at the regardless of their indepeni
Blind Pig, the League Under- status, the AML has creats
ground and other local venues gem worthy of recognil
and hip-hop events. Thrill marks The "Hip Hop Quotables" remix beyond the Ann Arbor and Del
AML's largest-scaled release to date features Ann Arborite-turned-Brook- area.
and features 17 tracks, five of which lyn resident Invincible. The track
are remixes of other cuts on the disc. criticizes "mainstream" hip-hop for Grade: A-
Wainwright Poses at Magic Bag

Listening to the new album, it's
hard not to hearken back to the days
when a fresh R.E.M. album meant
something a little more than origi-
nality and nothing less than
enchantment.
Grade: B-

EXCITER
Continued from Page 10
stand out individually or as an entire
album. "Enjoy the Silence," "Personal
Jesus or "Policy of Tmth" from 1990's
Violator come to mitid.
There just simply isn't anything on
Exciter which measures up to Depeche
Mode's history of musical originality
and excellence. Following the debut
track, there are three tracks filled with
dreamy (read: Dull) hooks, bad, cliched
lyrics, and what sound like whale and
race car noises. More uninspired music
and words follow. There are only two
tracks which seem worth a second lis-
ten: "The Dead of Night" and
"Freelove." You can't be sure, though,
if they are actually good, or only seem
so in comparison to the rest of the
album.
The main problem with this record is
that it leaves absolutely no taste in your
mouth. In the past, Depeche Mode was
capable of writing groundbreakingly
poignant and personal songs that we
could all enjoy. Now, it feels like those
same feelings have been repackaged in
an attempt to dupe fans into buying an
average album. The music, while not
outwardly reminiscent of anything in
Depeche Mode's back catalog, seems

I

Depeche Mode excited for Exciter.
like it's trying to hop on a kind of mel-
low Radiohead vibe. This is not really
Depeche Mode's territory, and it shows
on Exciter.
If I worked at Rolling Stone, I'd
probably receive some kickback to
describe Exciter as 'a sublime explo-
ration of new musical ground,' 'a
divine meditation on the futility of love
and the meaning of death,' or 'the stun-
ning result of musical restraint and lyri-
cal understatement.' But I'm not
getting any money or free stuff, so I'll
just tell the truth. Exciter is 'utterly,
completely, and in every way forget-
table'- and a big disappointment.
Grade: C-

By Japlya Burns
For the Daily
When I told my brother I was going to see Rufus Wain-
wright, he didn't know who the singer/songwriter was.
Diluting his essence for keen, clever writing and heartfelt
piano ballads into a comparison, I
noted "He's like a female Sarah
McLachlan." "I'm sorry," my brother
said dryly.
Rufus Really, though, there's nothing at
Wainwright all to be sorry about. Rufus' first
self-titled album was indeed a prima-
The Magic Bag rily somber affair, but his new album
May 15, 2001 Poses reveals his sense of humor.
The show opened with "Cigar-
rettes and Chocolate Milk," the first
r-(f single from Poses. Rufus amused the
audience with his dangerous desire
for extremes: "Cigarettes and choco-
late milk/these are just a couple of
my cravings."
"Greek Song" followed, a lush love letter to the sun and
beauty of Greece he has since left behind. Fans were won
over by the new songs, and their lyrics, with Rufus
singing longingly "All the sights of Paris/Pale inside your
iris" on "Tower of Learning."
Backed by a full band he transformed melancholy into
a fun affair, alternately between a rock star and sundry
folk artist, walking about in a red football shirt embla-

1 1
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Corner of 1st and Huron St.
Downtown AA
(734) 623-7400 "Exceptional!"
wwwdamatos.com Ann Arbor Observer
****Detroit Free Press
Piano Bar Thurs- Sat 9out of 10 Ann Arbor News

zoned with the name "Prettyman" and switching f
guitar to piano with his sister, Martha, providing sw
ing backing vocals.
The intimate crowd at The Magic Bag was mixed,
faithful, if geeky-boy fans, hip teenage girls and
urban hipsters comfortable alongside each other, sin
along to such standout tracks as "Foolish Love."
Rufus quipped in between tracks, as four Hieneken
ties stood scattered across the top of his piano, e
one by one. V
Poses is released June 5.

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