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September 06, 1995 - Image 34

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-09-06

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16B - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 6, 1995
Sex-change film has nothing to 'Hyde' [a

By Michael Zilberman
Daily Arts Writer
... It shouldn't come as a surprise
that popular culture these days is*
utterly obsessed with the idea of a
conscious and safely reversible iden-
tity switch, a "makeover." "Dr.
Jekyll And Ms. Hyde," while not
even attempting to make any coher-
ent social statements, showsjusthow
deeply the concept has penetrated
our minds: as we all have come to
know, the ultimate public accep-
tance of a new idea occurs when
Hollywood starts to crank out lousy
comedies about it.
In case there's a question, you
.7 PI 1

Dr. Jekyll and
Ms. Hyde
Directed by David Price
with Tim Daly and Sean
At Showcase
can forget about Robert Louis
Stevenson's original schizophrenic
fable right now. The movie, "sug-
gested by" the book, is more of a
brainchild of some imaginary high-
concept pitching seminar: here's a
classic formula. There's a modem
twist. Behold the monster. "Darkman"
meets "Switch" meets "The Temp"
meets "Young Frankenstein"... .
The plot is exactly what you'd
expect it to be: the great-grandchild
of Dr. Jekyll, Richard, who works
for a perfume company, stumbles
across the good doctor's notebooks
and decides to pick up where his
ancestor left off. In an attempt to rid
his prospective alter ego of "exces-
sive male aggression," he amends
the formula by raising the estrogen
level. The result is, well, Sean
Young, who promptly infiltrates the

company under the guise of a temp
and consecutively sleeps, cheats and
even maims her way to the top,
wrecking Richard's life and career
in the process.
At this point, as the script shakes
off the burden of the obligatory setup
section, a string of the film's most
energetic sequences - some of them
mighty offensive - start to unspool.
Then Richard launches into an all-out
battle with his alterego, and the movie
happily disintegrates into generic slap-
The cast is filled with talented
minor players, among them Jeremy
Piven, Stephen Tobolowsky and
Harvey Fierstein, who by now does
ironic takes on his own boy-am-I-gay
shtick. The principal, Tim Daly, is a
properly bland good guy whose only
distinction is that he does, in fact,
look like a male version of Sean
Young. And Young herself, whose
career appears to be in anundeservedly
sorry state, hams it up as if the whole
thing were an S.N.L. skit.
Unfortunately, too much of the
film relies on the mechanized situ-
ational "kinkiness" - like Richard
waking up in torn lingerie, etc. Add to
the mix numerous unimaginative and
largely unsavory effects: the transfor-

Dr. Jekyll drinks the magic potion, and ...

mation can occur at any given time,
and the filmmakers seem to get off on
an image of Young suddenly sprout-
ing a mustache at a party or Daly
growing a pair of breasts in the middle
of a job interview. At this point, most
of us suddenly realize that we are
dealing with a fairly queasy subject.
It's also around the same time
when it starts dawning on us that

this "Dr. Jekyll" skirts around a
genuinely scary zone: as I mentioned
earlier, a voluntary identity switch
is considered cool - well, how about
a sporadic involuntary one? One
could easily imagine, say, John
Waters or the Coen brothers fid-
dling with the concept. But David
Price and Co. make no attempts to
elaborate on it, instead opting for a

farcical grand finale (involving a
fire, a race against the clock and an
inexplicable wordless cameo by
Robert Wuhl). For all its cult potenn'
tial, this movie is too busy giggling
at its own premise - miss Hyde!
Get it? Get it?-to take a look at the
absurdities of the world and culture
where the existence of such a
premise is possible.

Shazam! He's a sweet transvestite.

Continued from page 14B
Don't be fooled! "Disk" is more
than an ordinary single. It's an en-
hanced compact disc that contains
both normal audio tracks as well as
k CD-ROM elements accessible by
either Mac or PC.
Moby's music on this single tends
towards airy techno, extremely dif-
ferent from his harsh live act. "Feel-
ing So Real (Ecstatic Mix)" is prob-
ably the darkest track, as the overly
delicate female vocals found promi-
nently on most of the other tracks is
lower in the mix. At the same time,
the track contains some engaging
keyboards and some kicky drum-
machine work. At the other end of
the single's spectrum is the previ-
ously unreleased "Shining," remi-
niscent of a piano bar keyboardist on
speed with a flutist feeding him the
pills yet still with a distinctive "I
decorated the bar with ferns, wanna
make something of it?" feel. And
everything else on here fits between
these two descriptions to some ex-
tent or another.
Unfortunately, the CD-ROM in-
terface is muddy. Navigating "Disk"
is like searching the bowels of a pig
for a channel changer in the dark:
Messy, but you need to do it to see
some interesting stuff. From a lim-
ited option to mix different songs
together as if you were a DJ to inter-

view clips of Moby himself, the spe-
cifically multimedia section is inter-
esting to Moby fans of any level.
Including tracks on the CD-ROM,
this disc has around eight songs. That
and its interactive nature probably
justify the over $10 price tag, but only
for you technologically hip kids.
- Ted Watts
Angry Southern Gentleman
Pointblank Records
This promotional CD shares a
striking resemblance to the Southern
R&R we're all accustomed to, except
there's one little difference; Terrell
comes out of Beverly Hills, CA. Still,
there's no doubt that Terrell's roots
lie heavily in bluesy based guitar riffs.
His powerful voice, combined with a
melodious acoustic background,
makes way for a refreshingly pleasant
The band impressively uses all
different kinds of instruments which
simply add to its versatality. The har-
monica, acoustic, electric, and slide
guitars, the piano, violin, dobro, and
rhodes all mesh beautifully within
one's ear. The first track on the
album,"Let's go for a ride," allows
the listener to get acquainted with the
mellow tunes provided on this 12-
song CD. Terrell revisits this soft,
dreamy style about once every other
tune, alternating with uptempo, in-
your-facejam sessions inwhichyou'd
think you were at the bar listening to
them live. "Newhope" is a perfect
example of such an exciting track and

it is superbly followed by "Angry
Southern Gentleman," the sweet title
track ballad. "Toystore" is an inter-
esting piece of work in which Terrell
pays tribute to many famous artists in
a Bob Dylanesque kind of way.
The majority of the album pro-
vides the listener with foot-tapping,
head-bobbing music with a pleasant
break during the slower, laid-back
tunes. Terrell is a very talented band
with a bright future ahead.
- Aaron Huppert
Trisha Yearwood
Thinkin'About You
The harder country music produc-
ers work, the more they just seem to
get in the way of good music. Much
like producer Garth Fundis on Trisha
Yearwood's new "Thinkin' About
You," many of them like to put every
musical detail in its perfect (i.e., per-
fectly predictable) place and then
polish over these details so that they
all blur together in the background.
Thankfully, though, Yearwood is
a supremely confident singer who
realizes that ifherproducer can't make
her music flesh-and-blood, she's got
to do it herself. And that she does on
most of "Thinkin' About You," in-
vesting a rich handful of songs (none
of which were written by her) with the
strong emotions that they deserve.
In "On a Bus to St. Cloud" and
"Those Words We Said," both snap-
shots of lovers in states of transition,
she finds her way to the wounded
hearts of the people she sings about
and perfectly articulates their pain.
Also, there's more depth of feeling in
the tiny catch in her voice in the
chorus of the title song than there is in
a whole album's worth of Whitney
Houston's crazy-in-love songs.
Her simpler side is just about as
good. "XXX's and 000's (An
American Girl)" is the country equiva-
lent of the great car radio pop song -
unafraid to leave all significance be-
hind in pursuit of a big, fat melody.
Its hook may be played by a fiddle
ratherthanaguitar, but don't be fooled
- this is country music that's very
comfortable with the conventions of
pop. The same goes for the infectious
"I Wanna Go Too Far," which cel-
ebrates pushing limits with a reckless

grin on its face. ("Somebody draw the
line so I can blow right past.")
Trisha Yearwood easily rises
above the slick, generic production
treatment her songs have been given
on this record, and in so doing proves
her worth as a singer.
- Brian Duignan
Vertical Hold
A&M Records
Vertical Hold (lead singer Angie
Stone, David Bright and Willie
Bruno) came together about a de-
cade ago in New York. As such, it is
expected and understandable that
some R&B and funk influences from
the 80's would be found in even their
most modern release. But this is ri-
diculous. All twelve songs on "Head
First" sound like rejects, from the
Reagan era. The black musical cui-
sine has changed so much since the
days ofthe Fat Boys and Chaka Khan,
yet the members of Vertical Hold are
in a state of denial, refusing to ac-
knowledge that their works are ar-
chaic at best. This sophomore LP is
really no different from the group's
1993 debut, "A Matter of Time." It
continues to hold onto a long-dead
musical era while not trying to inte-
grate itself into modem-day tastes,
Angie Stone's obvious lack of
vocal talent weakens this CD to a
point beyond salvagability, and the
outdated beats which accompany her
offer no respite to the weary listener.
Save yourself the headache.
- Eugene Bowen
Thick Records
One needn't even listen to the self-
titled debut by this quartet from the
Windy City to get an idea of what the
music's like. One glance at the album
sleeve says it all: the exotic carousel
horses, the song titles ("tangerines
and gingerale," "vibrochamp and the
galactic solution" etc.) - like the
band name, all in lower-case letters,
mind you. No, there's no doubt about
it. This is definitely gc& to be pre-
cious, over-refined. e siell pop.
"calliope" makes a Vw, derful case
for the merits ofjudgng a record by

its cover.
Unfortunately, that's the only thing
wonderful about it. Sure, the first song,
the aforementioned "tangerines and
gingerale" sounds lovely with its
phase-shifting guitar, hushed vocals
a la a coherent My Bloody Valentine
and harmonica bit, but darn it if every
other song on the album isn't just a
poorly-developed blue-print of the
same song. Unless you hit fast-for-
ward on your disc-player, the tempo
won't even change.
Then there's the poncey, angst-
ridden "i'm getting quite fond of the
space between my heartbeat" chant of
"will i or never so." Then there's "a
taste for killing," which rips-off the
intro to U2's "Bad" but isn't half the
songthatits inspirationis. Thenthere's
- never mind, there are a lot of prob-
lems with this dissonance-devoid
shoe-gazer - saccharine monotony
being the most significant one.
- Thomas Crowley
Fear Factory
No matter how reviled or under-
ground a genre is, there's usually
one band that eventually connects
with a broader audience, gaining
acceptance for their style of music
while annoying genre purists that
scream "Sell-out!" Metallica, Nir-
vana, Green Day, and even Garth
Brooks broke radio and audience
prejudices, and allowed a flood of
other similar bands a fighting chance
to survive.
So what does this have to do
with a band called Fear Factory?
you might ask (if you've made it
this far and not skipped to the cross-
word puzzle). "Demanufacture" is
FF's third effort and a continuation
of the thrash/industrial hybrid from
their first two discs ... and quite
good. The combination of metal and
industrial is certainly trendy now
and a welcome addition to the tiring
thrash field, but with the exceptions
of Ministry and White Zombie it
has yet to reach radio impact (Nine
Inch Nails don't count, as they are
not really "thrashy" or "metal" ori-
ented). Fear Factory balance
headbanging with eerie sound ef-
fects, Goth keyboards and hateful
sci-fi lyrics ("Replica" being an ode
to "Blade Runner"), effective
enough to succeed where Godflesh,
Nailbomb, Monster Voodoo Ma-
chine and scores of other greats in
the field continue to struggle.
Maybe you won't turn on the
radio tomorrow and hear
"Pisschrist" or lyrics like "I am rape/
I am hate" next to TLC and Green
Day, but a man can dream.
-Kirk Miller

Ani DiFranco
Not A Pretty Girl
Righteous Babe Records
Another year, another album fo
alternacoustic singer/songwriter
DiFranco. "Not A Pretty Girl" makes
it lucky number seven in five years
fromAni and herown Righteous Babe
DiFranco grabs first-time listen-
ers with her unforgettable and unde-
niably unique style: intelligent, in-
sightful lyrics combined with her pas-
sionate delivery and intricate guitar
work. DiFranco keeps them coming
back by improving her sound through
subtle changes without shaking the
solid foundation of her music, as evi-
denced by the brilliant "Out of Range."
For "Not A Pretty Girl," Ani as-
sumes all bass guitar duties for the
first time and experiments with the
sounds of the thumb piano and per-
cussion for "32 Flavors" and the re-
make of "Coming Up." Andy
Stochansky stays on as the energetic
and ever-faithful drummer and some-
time back-up vocalist, perfectly
complementing DiFranco.
The contrast between DiFranc's
earlier, simpler acoustic sound and
her current richly supported stylings
is highlighted by such songs as the
endearing "This Bouquet" and the
CD's intense title track. The latter
relies heavily on Ani's echoing elec-
tric guitar and Andy's pounding drum
beats while the former features only
DiFranco's vocals and her acoustic.
DiFranco's lyrics remain brutally
honest and personal throughout, as
she speaks her mind on a wide rang
of topics. She holds nothing back i
herstory-telling, apologizing to a love
on the sadly beautiful "Sorry I Am,"
explaining, "I guess I never reall
loved you quite as well/as the way
you loved me." In "Crime for Crime,'
Ani expounds on the death penalty,
asserting, "You might not pull the
trigger/you might be out in the car
and you might get a lethal injection/
cause we take metaphors that far."
DiFranco's vocals successfull
change with each song to convey
number of emotions. On "The Mil-
lion You Never Made" though.
DiFranco gets carried away, scream-
ing in her rage against the evils of the
music industry. The song is more ef-
fective live.
And that is usually the case with
"Not A Pretty Girl." Ani records great
tracks like "Worthy," "Cradle and
All," and "Shy" well, but performs
them excellently. DiFranco never fails
to blow her audiences away.
My advice: buy the disc, then buy
tickets for DiFranco's nearest show.
You won't regret either purchase.
--Ella de Leon
See RECORDS, page 168

-- Eu


year. s*0

* We're the Featured Choir
at the American Choral
Directors' Convention
* We're performing at
Orchestra Hall in Detroit
* We're performing
Beethoven's 9th Symphony
* We're going to South

Rentals aval able to those 21 years ef age and older
438 W. Huron, Ann Arbor, 761-8845
U Uw

. plus a whole lot


a I

So what

are YOU doing

this year?



4vr~K~ 4110~
~21NM~Ii K~IG4(-5It





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