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October 04, 1995 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-10-04

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8- The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, October 4, 1995

RECORDS
Continued from page 5
Air Miami
Me. Me. Me.
4AD/Teenbeat
Mark Robinson just can't sit still, it
seems. The founder of indie-rock he-
roes Unrest spent the year following
that band's breakup running his
Teenbeat record label, putting out a
Teenbeat compilation CD, recording
an album with Jenny Toomey in Grena-
dine and preparing to release the Unrest
box set "b.p.m."
Fortunately, Robinson also found
time to team up with his former Unrest
bandmate, singer/guitarist Bridget
Cross, to concoct this delightfully
breezy LP.
While Robinson, Cross and new
drummer Gabriel Stout still play their
delicious pop hooks at warp speed, Air
Miami functions as far more than a
reincarnation of Unrest. Cross's role in
the band is greatly expanded on "Me.
Me. Me." Her breathy alto soars solo
through the spacey, trance-inducing
"Seabird," the samba beat of "After-
noon Train" and the echoing jangle of
"The Event Horizon." Even her backup
vocals sound more assertive, as on the
sweet little gem "Special Angel."
Robinson's crooning, almost femi-
nine voice adds a smoothness to the
driving album opener "I Hate Milk"
and the dizzy disco swirl of "World
Cup Fever." The abovementioned songs
show a significant break from the Un-
rest sound, but Cross and Robinson do
return to their mutual roots on the

album's second half with "You Sweet
Little Heartbreaker," "Neely," "Defi-
nitely Beachy," and the wordless, dron-
ing "Sweet as a Candy Bar."
Cross and Robinson have fashioned
a terrific new album, one that manages
to sound lighter than air, but still satis-
fies.
- Jennifer Buckley
Various Artists
The Show Soundtrack
Def Jam Records
Even if the documentary was awful,
at least someone can make some dollars
off of the soundtrack. Even though the
movie was a no-sell, the CD is without
question a must-buy. Featuring perfor-
mances by almost everyone who is any-
one in today's hip hop industry, as well
as a couple ofperformersjust starting to
make a name for themselves, this 27-
cut release (10 of 'em clips from the
movie) is definitely worthy of the title
"The Show."
Who's on this LP? Who isn't?
Bone has outdone itself with "Every-
day Thang," a laid-way-to-the-left-side
cut. It'll make you want to throw on
your baggiest pair of Tommy Hilfiger
jeans and no drawers just for the feeling
of lettin' yo' nutz hang. South Central
Cartel Productions' "Sowhatusayin" is
decent, as is L.L. Cool J's "Papa Luv
It." Tupac Shakur continues in his re-
cent rap metamorphosis from gloating
and showboating to teaching and rais-
ing people's consciousness with his
realistic portrayal of everyday life in
"My Block."
Warren G Productions' "Still Can't

Luna orbits Alvin's in Detroit
It's the entrancing pop of Luna, fronted by ex-Galaxle 500 leader Dean Wareham (far left). The band also includes members
from such notable indie groups as the Feelies and the Chills. Luna's output has been consistently good and consistently
trippy since the band's inception in 1992. The band's albums, which include "Lunapark," "Bewitched," and their newest,
"Penthouse," all feature a distinctive blend of Velvet Underground drone and Wareham's sweet, slightly goofy voice. The
result is sound that's sophisticated but nevertheless warn and inviting. "Penthouse" n particular finds the band going into
full pop narcotic mode; it's a collection of sweet, sleepy songs that take their own sweet time in unfolding. Luna and their
gorgeous music float languidly into Alvin's tonight. Opening for them is none other than Mercury Rev, one of the coolest
bands that's never made it to the area until now. Their newest and strangest album, "See You On The Other Side," is chock-
full of weird melodic goodness. For anyone who's into psychedelic-drone-pop, this is a gig not to be missed. Hurry, though;
tickets are going fast. Doors open at 8 p.m. and tickets are $8 in advance. Call (313) 832-2355 for more information. Go,
and trip out Into Interstellar overdrive with this spacy double-bill.

Fade It" and The Dove Shack's "Sum-
mertime in the LBC" continues in the
name of the G-Funk dynasty. Everyone
knew that a Redman/Method Man duo
would blow up big. With "How High,"
everyone has been proven right, and A
Tribe Called Quest ("Glamour and
Glitz") has shown itself once again to
be one of the most imaginative and
innovative groups in existence toay-
R&B artist Mary J. Blige's appearance
("Everyday It Rains") addsjust a smid-
gen of variety to an exclusively hip-hop
LP meant to show off the best both the
East and West Coasts can offer.
But, sometimes the worst came
through. I've always enjoyed Domino's
rap style, and "Domino's in the House"
is no exception. I only wish he'd try
using a non-"Sweet Potato Pie" beat
every once in awhile. Oxyx's "Live!!!"
is not the best song, but I always knew
these guys were just a fad. This cut is
substance-less shouting, sorta like a
Michigan football game. With Suga's
attempt to hang wid da big boyz
("What's Up Star"), the branch broke.
As for Jayo Felony, what in the hell is a
"Zoom Zooms and Wam Wam," and
why does it suck so badly?
Further, the interludes which are
slapped in your face every time you bat
an eyelash will begin to work your last
nerve after awhile. Worse yet, the
movie's theme song, a Stanley Clarke
piano repertoire, was cut pitifully short
as if it was nothing. Yet these lacks of
common sense shown by Def Jam are
relatively small compared to the great-
ness ofthe package as a whole. Too bad
the same can't be said of the movie.
(You knew I was goin' ta take one last
pot shot at the movie, dincha?)
- Eugene Bowen
Sven Vath
The Harlequin - the Robot
and the Ballet Dancer
Eye Q Records
Well, it's a sort of ambient concept
album. The first track took about four
minutes to say the album's title And
laugh, after which birdsounds and What
sounds like someone taking a whizz go
for a while as someone seems to be
muttering in German. Groan.
Well, the album goes on and on in
boring techno grooves for extremely
long intervals that are made longer by
the poverty of the material. And there
are three fairly distinct kinds of bore-
dom found on the disc. The harlequin,
the robot and the ballet dancer kinds.
That's right, each part of the concept
has it's own sound. Like "Peter and the
Wolf' for the '90s. Well, at least it's a
diverse load of spunky noodles.
Little else needs to be said. Ifyou just
want some background music f6bra
cheap sci-fi movie, look into this. Ifnot,
pass it by.
- Ted Watts
Various Artists
Black Music Sampler
Warner Bros. Records
As the owner of various labelslike
Giant, Maverick, NPC and Iceberg,
Warner Bros. has spearheaded the pro-
duction of various outstanding black
releases, and a few not-so-outstanding
ones. "Black Music Sampler" is atesta-
ment to this correlation of good,bad
and hideously ugly in African-Ameri-
can popular music released under
Warner Bros.
Deserving of its position, the first
song on this 12-cut release is The Man
Formerly Known As Prince's newest
single "I Hate You." Continuing in his
tradition of weirdness, Prince doesn't

write the word "I" choosing instead to
use the picture of an eye. "I hateyou
because I love you. But I can't love you
because I hate you," Prince says at the
song's end. This dichotomy is as true as
it is strange as many of us in relation-
ships can attest. In this song, Prince
shows how truly thin that line between
love and hate is.
Former Hi-Five member Tony Th-
ompson lets his lustful desires out of an
already open bag in "Handle Our Busi-
ness," further explaining why his debut
solo LP was entitled "Sexsational."
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think
Thompson and Usher are alter egos of
each other. Of course, there also had to
be a party rap featured, and A-Town
Players' "Wassup, Wassup!" is it. In
the R&B arena, Tamia's old-school
performance of "You Put a Move on
My Heart" is grade A. Silly me thinking
Rachelle Ferrell had no equal.
The supreme cut on this album is
without question The Winans' "The
Question Is." Now this is a song. This is
the most singingest-to-the-Lord fain-
ily. My granny once told me that no-
body can praise God like black folks. I
think I'm starting to understand what
she meant.
"Black Music Sampler" does feature
some garbage it could do without, how-
ever. Foremost is the newest single by
Hammer. (Can someone help me? I
can't remember if this is the month he

Air Miani's Bridget Cross encounters some turbulence ... and likes it!

Bon Jovi
These Days
Mercury
Hmmm... how does one go about re-
viewing a Bon Jovi album? It would be
far too easy to simply rip it to shreds.
Although the band is constantly finding
new converts in skate-kids disenchanted
with less-hip acts like Dogg, Dre, Love
and Vedder, as their new video would
have us believe, the fact of the matter is
that Bon Jovi's fanbase has decreased
considerably in size since their big seduc-
tion of teenage America in the late '80s,
and few would rush to their defense. At
the same time, Bon Jovi are far from
worthy of receiving plaudits claiming
that they have come up with a "solid",
"mature" rock 'n' roll record. Let's not
forget that this is the same group who
initially put apairofmammary glands on
an album cover and titled it "Slippery
When Wet". A band must be judged not
only by the achievements of others, but
by their own merits- or lack thereof-
as well, and Bon Jovi have quite a slip-
pery slope to climb before they reach the
plateau of musical decency, let alone the
summit of excellence.
So here we go: Bon Jovi have shed their
spandex, grown facial hair, grown-up a little
bitmaybe,anddonetheirangst-ridden,"loss
of faith" album. From the opener, "Hey
God" on through "Something to Believe
In", tragic Jon croons dolefully about the
profound emptiness he feels as a result of
witnessingsuch-and-suchasocialill,which,
no doubt, mega-stardom has brought him
into contact with. He's angry with heroin
and the Pope and himself. He doubts the
existence of God.While it may be improper
for me to take up issue with the specifics of
BonJovi's faithatthistime, Ifeel compelled
to say that if MTV's willingness to put his.
videos on heavy rotation is not evidence of
a merciful God, I'm not sure what is. In any
case, the New Jersey outfit's attempt to
produce a piece of work comparable,
content-wise, to the feeling-crummy
themes employed by the artistes that

supplanted Bon Jovi as "Voices of a
Generation", has resulted in twelve
tracks of preposterous, even comical
melodrama. Take for instance, "My
Guitar Lies Bleeding In My Arms".
The title says it all.
This melodrama manifests itselfmusi-
cally in the form of guitarist Richie
Sambora'snew-foundpreoccupationwith
Cult-esque licks and pseudo-funk, as well
as in corny keyboard intros that rival
Whitesnake'sinterms ofshameless kitsch.
As far along as the sixth track, the red
hot and funky "Damned", in which Jon
plays the role of the tortured philanderer,
one hastroublestoppingthe flow ofvomit.
"Damned if you love me, Damned if you
don't," he belts out with all his heart in the
chorus. Damned if this track doesn't lay
to rest all doubt that Bon Jovi's escape
from the fate suffered by the majority of
their hair-band contemporaries isn't one
of the century's most disgusting miscar-
riages of justice.
Far too easy to rip "These Days" to
shreds, but only because Bon Jovi make it
so.
- Thomas Crowley
Gangsta Pat
Sex, Money & Murder
WRAP/ Power Artist Records
Aaarrrrgggghhhh!!! If I have to listen
to one more damnable recording by some
nobody kindergarten rapper with that same
old "I'm a gangsta; hoes love me" per-
sona that can be found out in its fakeness
as easily as that Hair Club for Men crap
and who thinks that rapping simply means
using words that rhyme, I swearto Godby
all that is good in music that I'm going to
shave all my hair off, dress in burlap,join
Our Lady of Perpetual Help monastery in
Grand Blank, Michigan (Yes,thatis areal
town. I am as perplexed as you.) and ask
Sen. Jesse Helms if he wants to hang out
and listen to Sinatrauntil somebody kind-
hearted grabs a.38 and puts me out ofmy
misery.
- Eugene Bowen

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