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May 05, 2009 - Image 10

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2009-05-05

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

From Page 9
record's air of liberation. There are
no rules on Outer South. Include a
synth-tinged pop song about having
sex on an airbed sung by the band's
guitaristtSure, call it "Air Matress."
How about an Oberst-only folk
tune that could've fit right in on
Bright Eyes's 2002 effort Lifted or
The Story is In the Soil? Yes sir, and
name it "White Shoes" and damn all
if it seems to contradict why Oberst
relinquished the Bright Eyes name
in the first place. The fun these guys
are having can be heard all over the
album, and it's undeniably conta-
Oberst himself has obviously
matured, not only in his songwrit-
ing but vocally as well. Gone (most-
ly) are the irritating faux-wavers
and the obvious cop-outs when he
can't quite reach a note. He's sing-
ing confidently, still idiosyncrati-
cally, but without all the immature
posturing heard on his earlier work
(much like the Bob Dylan voice that
emerged on Highway 61 Revisited).
As a younger lyricist, Oberst

focused more on writing one or two
clever lines per song than rolling
out a more linear, cohesive narra-
tive. When they hit, they hit hard.
But after a while, building songs
around one incisive phrase becomes
lazy and ineffectual. It seems
Oberst has either grown out of that
phase or just learned to curb it,
because Outer South contains some
of his most unfrilled lyrics yet. This
doesn't mean they lack the poetics of
the past - there's still beauty in the
bare. Songs like "Cabbage Town"
and "Air Mattress" are straightfor-
ward odes to love on the road and
capture the feeling impeccably.
The most allegorical song on the
album, "Roosevelt Room," is a Yeat-
sian vision of an America in flames.
With lyrics like "And I'd like to write
my congressman / But I can't afford
the stamp," it's the album's only bla-
tantly political tune. It feels mostly
out of place on the record, but it's still
a hell of a protest song.
Outer South may or may not be
the definitive sound of the new
Conor Oberst (my money's on not),
but its definitely a worthy genre
diversion from a group of talented

Chatting with Kirk and Spock

Daily Arts Writer
Everyone loves a good "roots"
movie - the story behind the
story. Films like "Batman
Begins" take viewers to the ear-
liest, most pivotal moments in
the lives of some of film's iconic
figures. These films elucidate
the mystery surrounding the
characters and their actions.
With the new film "Star Trek,"
audiences will finally be able
to see the beginnings of argu-
ably the two most recognized
names in science fiction: Cap-
tain James T. Kirk
and Spock.
In the "Star
TV show,
Kirk and
Spock were
the com-
of the USS
a sophisti-
cated and
that navigated the
universe. While
the trials and trib-
ulations overcome
by Kirk and Spock
in their journey
to go "where no
man has gone

before" were an important pa
of the show, the two character
vastly differing personalities an
their underlying rivalry forged
friendship that was much of wh
made the "Star Trek" experience
memorable one. In the new movi
the teenage Kirk is played by Chr
Pine ("Smokin' Aces") and th
young Spock is played by Zachar
Quinto (TV's "Heroes").
"It wasn't like I ha
a sheet of Shatneria
characteristics th
I wanted to keep
Pine said in a phon
interview, referen
ing William Shatner
legendary portray
of Kirk on the T
show. "It was mo
about really pa
ing attention to th
script I was give
and making sure
did my best to brin
that character ...t
While it's troublin
at first to hear th
the new Kirk may nc
be the bold, rash lea
er so many TV buf
and sci-fi swamis ar
familiar with, Pin
quickly added tha
yes, the movie scrip
retained many c
Kirk's familiar cha
acteristics. But ali
that Kirk remains

rt young man searching for his place
s' in history.
rd "It's a time we get to see this
a character before he becomes the
at confident commander of the later
a years," Pine said. "He's a bit more
e, brash and arrogant and young
is essentially, but I think his jour-
re ney is to learn how to mold this
ry kind of angry energy into more
of a polished commander, leader
id of men."
'My version of
c- Spock is more
al unsettled.'
y- Kirk is indeed a natural-born
re leader, but he tends to rush into sit-
en uations instinctively when swept
I up in the moment. His First Offi-
rg cer Spock, on the other hand, is a
to completely different story. He is
half human and half Vulcan, a spe-
rg cies that discarded their emotions
at to be able to assess problems more
ot rationally and clearly. Spock's
d- internal quarrel - between the
fs emotional human and the distant
re Vulcan - is one of the focal points
re of the "Star Trek" series.
it, "My version of Spock is more
pt unsettled," Quinto. said. "He is
of less in control of the duality of
r- the goodness within him. He is
so much more in conflict:"
a Quinto continued, "I think
he is struggling with a lot of
deeply felt emotions: passion,
fear, anger. The core struggle
for me was containing all of that
- containing all this deeply felt
stuff and not really being able to
express it so humanly. It was a
really fascinating challenge."
Because the two men's fates
intertwine on one galactic space-
ship, Kirk and Spock obviously
butt heads when it comes to the
matter of how to tackle a prob-
lem. The dynamic between Kirk
and Spock is helped by the fact
that Pine and Quinto knew each
other beforehand. They grew up
in the same L.A. neighborhood.
Much of the focus of "Star
Trek" is establishing the relation-
ship between Kirk and Spock. If
the movie can at least success-
fully translate their quirky-yet-
resolute friendship from the TV
series to the big-screen, "Star
Trek" is bound for fame and a
direction no movie has gone

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