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June 18, 2012 - Image 4

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Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2012-06-18
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Monday, June 18 2012
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
(Ti -fi **tAW

A free education

Monday, June 18, 2012
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Usher confesses to soul searchig

Edited and managed by students at,
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109




Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board.
All other signed articles and illustrations represent solely theviews of their authors.
Block the.vote
Strict laws make voting in Michigan difficult for some
he results of this November's election will have a major impact on
numerous policy decisions at the local, state and federal level. But
a new set of laws passed by the Michigan House of Representa-
tives threatens to deny voters the opportunity to express their views at
the voting booth. The House bills are clearly deliberate attempts to pro-
hibit many Michigan citizens from voting, including college students and
minority groups. In such a pivotal election year, Republican Gov. Rick
Snyder must veto these bills so everyone's voices can be heard without
unfair and unnecessary restrictions.

College courset
unless, of course,
An odd routine
life, and for
all you hun-
gry learners,
it may soon
enter yours..
Nightfall now
signals settling
in and signing
in - to class.
A class taught
by a Stanford
Professor with
a Stanford syl-
labus, graded
homework and,
enrolled in a Ste
learning progra
enrolled anywhet
I've been usingC
effort by five e
institutions - in(
- to provide onl
of charge.
When Coursers
in April, our Uni
outstanding press
were mentioned
eton, Stanford, tl
California, Berke
versity of Penns]
such as 'top-rank
and "groundbrea
al approach" as
unveiling, and ou
in the spotlight tt
glow. Furtherm
openness aligns]
the University'sv
though perhaps n
tially assume.
Coursera is
ground. It's hard
around an organi:
free courses wh
these same cours
available at expet
charging tuition f
and $55,732. La
institutions like
do not turn on a
ture into new ter
rather, they are m
freighters foreve
of their inertia a
revolutionary mo
be firmly grounde
statement and v
lest we veer off c
many areas of
vision statement
supports, such as
economic growt.
ment in Michiga
or, pointedly, Ja
remark that Mich
viding "an uncon
for the common n
One of Course
poses falls right
following staten

s are expensive -
they're free.
has entered my

vision statement: "We nurture
lifelong relationships with alumni
who span the globe." Martha Pol-
lack, vice provost for academic and

budgetary attairs, and Scott Page,
a University professor teaching
a Coursera class, agreed almost
exactly on the purpose of the pro-
gram: away to connect with alum-
ni and prospective students.
SMALLEGAN The landscape of
higher education
exams. I'm not
anford distance- is 1shifting.
m, nor am I
re this semester.
Coursera, a joint
lite educational All of this, however, is one spe-
cluding our own cific angle. As an outsider to the
ine courses free Board of Regents and the Office
of the Provost, the only way to
a was introduced understand the purpose and long-
iversity received term strategy behind Coursera is
for doing so. We through the material I have already
alongside Princ- brought to your attention. I have
he University of come to the conclusion that though
ley and the Uni- unsigned and unstated, the real
pilvania. Phrases impetus driving the University's
ed universities," progression has to be our commit-
king education- ment to "change, adapt and grow."
ccompanied the I think the University is getting
r University was involved with Coursera because
acatch the warm other "elite" universities are doing
ore, Coursera's it as well. It's the zeitgeist, the new
beautifully with direction of change. I have no idea
vision statement, what this means for the future of
rot how we'd ini- education, and from what I can tell,
neither does the University.
breaking new In no way do I mean to dispar-
to wrap my head age Coursera or the University's
cation that offers involvement. In fact, I love that I
en in the past am taking an Algorithm Design
es have only been and Analysis class for free and
asive universities enjoying high quality teaching and
between $25,204 having fun with it. My utopian ide-
rge, established als say this model should be the
the University model for all education: self-direct-
dime and ven- ed, few barriers on entry, results-
ritory every day; based instead of credentials-based.
sore like hulking Maybe it is the future, maybe it's
r at the mercy not, but we should be aware that
nd trajectory. A the landscape of higher education
ve like this must is shifting under our feet.
ed in our mission Down the road, will your
ision statement, degree mean the same thing that
ourse. There are it does now? For that matter, does
the University's a degree now mean what it did 20
that Coursera years ago? With the flurry of news-
, "We stimulate print that emerges every spring
h and develop- dedicated to chronicling the
n and beyond," gloomy climate of post-graduate
mes B. Angell's job searching, you have to wonder.
igan aims at pro- Regardless of what it means for
nmon education the future, Coursera exists.
nan." Talk about it, try it out and lis-
a's stated pur- ten to the sounds of flux.
in line with the
sent from our Michael Smallegan can be
reached at smallmic@umich.edu.

New album climaxes
into Usher-uncharted
SeniorArts Editor
The release of pop-soul phenom
Usher's newest album comes at
a time when pop music is largely
struggling to hold
on to any sense *
of craftsmanship
and genuine- Looking 4
ness. And with f
his last album,
Raymond v. Ray- Usher
mond, Usher
wholly bought RCA
into these fads,
releasing some of his most trite and
unimpressive singles. With Looking
4 Myself he transforms the trends,

bends and twists them to make
them his own. And the end product
is nothingshort of masterful.
But Usher isn't really looking for
himself - he knows who he is and
that's why he's a lasting megastar in
a genre where so many have their
brief, fiery moment in the spotlight
before flickering and fading. His
music has always been honest, and
Looking 4 Myself is no exception. In
fact, it's his most emotionally lay-
ered album since the sensational
But the album is not without its
missteps, and Usher still throws
on a few auto-tuned, Top-40-
esque tracks to guarantee radio
playability. The album's first two
tracks, "Can't Stop Won't Stop" and
"Scream," make absolutely no pre-
tensions, the former opening oh-so-
daftly with "Hey, what's up, this is
a jam / Turn it up," and the latter
featuring a too-familiar beat. When

will Usher learn that a song with-
out his sweet, lilting falsetto is like
a sugarless cake? The bonus tracks
similarly lack musical or emotional
depth: The intriguing classical vio-
lin sampling in "I.F.U" is overshad-
owed by forced "Birthday Cake"-y
The supporting cast Usher
employs speaks to the eccentric-
ity of influences at play on Looking
4 Myself In "Twisted," he teams
up with The Neptunes to create
a stripped-down funk jam that
blends a throwback, swinging beat
with early '00s soul, similar to the
likes of Gnarls Barkley. To create
an instant pop-house dance hit, he
turns to Swedish House Mafia and
their crisp, layered synth sounds.
Perhaps most bizarrely is his part-
nership with Empire of the Sun's
Luke Steele on the smooth titular
track, "Looking 4 Myself," that
spectacularly imbues Usher's soul

sounds with a bouncing, electro-
rock guitar line.
Alive and effortless, the lead sin-
gle, "Climax," remains the albums
most skillful endeavor. The Dip-
lo-helmed power-ballad features
delicate, ever-crescendoing synths
sprinkled amongst a brew of per-
fectly timed percussive sounds.
Usher's vocals are huge and vulner-
able all at once, as he wails around
a trilling string arrangement from
composer Nico Muhly. It might just
be one of the best breakup songs of
all time.
Usher similarly shows off his
pipes on "Dive," a lulling and under-
stated anthem that reaches Marvin
Gaye levels of vocal variation. And
there's "I Care For U," which opens
with a warbling bass and hollow
percussion suggesting another
lackluster club banger. But the song
unfolds into a beautiful electro-soul
slow jam with verses reminiscent of

Usher calls the genre of Look-
ing 4 Myself "revolutionary pop"
and considering the way the album
culminates so many influences into
a cohesive sound that highlights
the multi-platinum, multi-Gram-
my-winning artist's finest skills,
he might just earn such an enter-
prising claim. The album has the
crossover and sex appeal of Justin
Timberlake's FutureSex/Love-
Sounds, but whereas J.T. focused a
bit too much on bending the genre,
leaving the lyrics underthought
and gooey, Usher experiments and
still maintains an endearing level
of sincerity with his verses. He
doesn't redefine himself, because
he doesn't need to. Instead, he sug-
gests that big-pop doesn't necessar-
ily need to follow the crass Top-40
template and the genre isn't com-
pletely isolated from musical and
emotional breadth.

Mediocre variation of Rock' musical

If Gov. Snyder signs the eight-
bill House package, Michigan
voters would have to "present
photo identification when apply-
ing for an absentee ballot in their
first election or sign an affidavit,"
the Associated Press reports. The
House bills would also require
third-party voter registration
groups - including registration
groups affiliated with universi-
ties - to "register and receive
training." House Republicans
argue that these bills would
make voting more secure in the
state of Michigan.
Under the Higher Education
Act, universities have a legal
obligation to help their students
register to vote. For example, the
Voice Your Vote group here at the
University works to "encourag(e)
student voter participation"
under a "non-partisan" label.
Many University students will
be voting for the first time this
fall, and some won't know the
proper registration process or
other voting logistics. The House

bills would make these groups
receive training from Michi-
gan's Secretary of State as well
as submit completed voter reg-
istration forms within two busi-
ness days in the last week of the
voter registration period, which
would greatly hinder the ability
for third-party voter registration
groups to help students with the
voting process.
The bills also are very likely to
be politically motivated. College
students and minority groups
usually vote for Democrats in
elections, so the Republican-led
House would naturally want to
reduce the number of potential
Democratic votes in a close elec-
tion. This tactic is unacceptable
since the right to vote is undeni-
ably guaranteed by the Consti-
tution. House Republicans also
claim that 1,000 dead people
voted in Michigan between 2008
and 2011. This is a false notion,
as they were "clerical errors,"
according to Michigan's Secre-
tary of State Office. It's clear that

voter fraud is not the problem
here, and Republicans are grasp-
ing at straws to-try to determine
who votes and who doesn't.
There is no reason the gov-
ernment should be intervening
to further diminish voter turn-
out as only 40 to 60 percent of
American citizens vote in nation-
al elections. Strict voter ID laws
shouldn't be established to turn
even more Americans away from
the polls each year. Instead, the
government should be working to
increase voter turnout, so that as
many American citizens as pos-
sible can vote and become part of
our nation's future.
Gov. Snyder needs to veto this
unjust bill in order to ensure that
as all Michigan citizens over
18 have the ability to vote come
November and have an impor-
tant say in our nation's future.
Moreover, the governor's veto is
imperative, as it could potentially
deter many minorities and col-
lege students from voting in the

By NOAH COHEN nor is the script lacking in feel-
For theDaily good moments and laughs, but the
romantic leads, Boneta and Hough
"Rock of Ages" spams the audi- have no gravity individually, and
ence with exactly the '80s glam approximately average chemis-
metal atmosphere to be expected try. The two resemble airbrushed
from a movie shadows of Patrick Swayze and
adaptation of * Christina Aguilera. Tom Cruise,
the eponymous meanwhile, resembles Tom Cruise.
Broadway musi- ROCk of Surprisingly, Russell Brand saves
cal, but some-Ag the day with his wide-eyed, Johnny
thing is lost in Depp-ish hilarity and a genuine
translation from At Quality16 investment in the Rock Culture that
theater to silver and Rave feels hollowly represented else-
screen. Or maybe where in the film. Brand, along with
the material upon Warner Bros. an oddly-coiffed Alec Baldwin, pro-
which the movie vide a fun emotional backdrop for
is based was never gritty or sincere the main conflicts.
to begin with.
The story follows Sherrie (Juli-
anne Hough), just a small town '80s hair too flat;
girl, tryingto make it big in a lonely
world (Los Angeles). An aspiring
singer, she begins looking for a day e o h z z.
job. She meets Drew (Diego Boneta)
at a bar, and after some romantic
interludes, he gets her a job. The The center stage plot arc regard-
quintessential misunderstanding ing the Mayor and his wife was
that ensues between the couple not a part of the original Musi-
leads to angst and ultimately, a clas- cal, and those who have seen the
sic reconciliation. A variety of sub- musical will note the absence of a
plots play out in the background cute romantic sub-plot. Addition-
as Hough dances her way through ally, the movie opts never to break
heartbreak. the fourth wall and speak to the
The cast is not lacking in talent audience, which is something the

original musical did constantly via
Lonny (Brand).
The music is pleasant, even if'80s
music is not your thing. It's difficult
to resist the upbeat tenor of the
hit classics, and there are no sour
voices in the batch, not even Tom
Cruise, whose high tenor is an odd
plus to his performance.
The movie aims for the camp of
"Glee" tuned to the dusky glam-
our of Adele, and the end result
could have been much worse. Par-

ticularly, there is a nicely produced
mashup of"We BuiltThis City" (the
1985 hit by Starship) and "We're
Not Gonna Take It" (the 1984 hit by
Twisted Sister).
Despite the flamboyantly unseri-
ous tone of the movie, its relentless
sexiness disqualifies it as a family
movie, and possibly as a date movie,
depending on your date. The super-
fluity of sex is also responsible for
broadcasting the shortcomings of
the leads, whose out-of-place inno-

cence doesn't lend itself to engaging
encounters and contrasts uncom-
fortablywiththe sexualease, which
the majority of the movie propa-
Mileage may vary with "Rock
of Ages" depending on the audi-
ence's history with the music and
the original musical, but even if
one hates the music, the bestbits of
the movie are the quirks. Taken as
a whole, the film is amusing but not

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