10 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, October 27, 1995
Heather Nova is
By Shannon O'Neill
For the Daily
Once upon a time, the music world was
filled with angst-filled lyrics and screech-
ing vocalists. Men waxed poetic about
self-esteem and selling out. Women just
wanted someone to stay, and, well, you
oughta know. Then, above thedin aunique
sound was heard: The voice of a woman
withgraceful vocal power, intelligentlyr-
ics, and the ability to play guitar! Breathe
easy music lovers, for she brings hope in
these clich6 times. So, move over PJ
Harvey and Tori Amos and make room
started out just playing gigs wherever I
could just with my acoustic guitar."
What? No magazine covers and inces-
sant airplay of the same song over and
over again? Yes, an actual woman in the
monotonous rock world who has not been
shoved down our collective throats as the
next big She Thing. Perhaps this rare
occurrence stems from the fact that Nova
and her music are relatively inseparable.
"I try to write both the music and the
lyrics together, from things that go through
my head, and things that I feel strongly
about," explained Nova.
Live performance is also a strong com-
mitment forNova whilepromoting"Oys-
ter." Since the album's release in Europe
last year, she has been the supporting act
for such heavyweights as Neil Young
along with Pearl Jam. According to Nova,
playing live is, "something I would say
I'm almost addicted to now."
what ofa necessity for Nova, it comes as no
surprise that her band is an intimate part in
the presentation of her music.
"The whole thing I want the band to be
doing isto be anotherelement expressingthe
emotion in the song," said Nova.
Yet, there is something lacking from this
near-perfect picture. A singer with an in
credible debut album, emotionally realistic
lyrics and a fresh sound is still a relative
unknown to the tired American scene. Nova
feels this reception is due to time. "The
album has been out almost ayearoverthere
(in Europe), and over here its just come out.
We just have to wait and see, really," statg4
So, why does she do it? The fame? The
glory? The MTV airplay?
"I think everyone should do, if they
can, what comes most naturally to them
no matter what it is. Because that's the
way you're going to get the most out of
life and contribute something as well."
If "Oyster" is any indication of this
contribution, then the music world may
just be heading for a very happily ever
Enen the cast of 'Copycat' are enthralled by its suspense.
'C ives up to its name
By Christopher Corbett
Daily Arts Writer
Early in "Copycat," Daryll Lee
Cullum (Harry Connick Jr.) hides in
a restroom. Helen Hudson
(Sigourney Weaver) hasjust finished
a lecture on her field of expertise -
serial killers. He surprises her, hoists
her up with a thin cord around her
neck,just high enough to begin stran-
gling her. She can barely reach the
toilet with her feet to keep from chok-
Cullum, with a wild, detached look
in his eyes, grabs her -bodyguard,
asking: "How should I do him? Cut
Having spat on
body and licked
his wicked blade,
he turns to her
and we know
his throat or shoot him?" She watches
in horror as he does both. Having
spat on the bodyguard's body and
licked his wicked, curved blade, he
turns to her and we know she's think-
ing, "Aww, dang!"
We feel the fear because Sigourney
Weaver has a way of getting us to
identify with her characters. Most of
us got the sense of desperation, of
anxiety, when Ripley defied all odds
to rescue Newt in "Aliens." Weaver
puts her emotions raw on her chis-
eled face and confident voice. Be-
cause we can identify with a Ripley,
Directed by Jon Amiel;
with Sigourney Weaver
and Holly Hunter
we can easily care about her.
In fact, Helen, a computer genius,
overshadows M.J. Monahan (Holly
Hunter), the detective searching for
the "copycat" killer; he imitates infa-
mous serial murderers such as the Bos-
ton Strangler, Son of Sam and Dahmer.
Opposite the convincing Helen, M.J.
comes across as just a stock detective
left over from any other suspense film.
Helen's life and predicament have
far more detail. Having become ago-
raphobic after surviving Cullum's
attack, she remains a prisoner in her
apartment. She has only indirect con-
nections to the outside world - she
plays chess on the Internet with other
shut-ins, who sometimes hit on her
between moves. She also agonizes
when her newspaper is a bit too far
from her doorway - she leans out
and struggles to retrieve it with a
Just as Helen interests us more
than M.J., the imprisoned Cullum
outshines the killer-on-the-loose,
Peter Foley (William McNamara).
Like Hannibal Lecter (in "The Si-
lence of the Lambs"), Connick's
character offers us the biggest scares
and the biggest laughs. In perhaps
the film's best sequence, Cullum -
through the monitor of a computer in
prison - offers Helen information
on Foley. In exchange, he asks in a
silly, aww-shucks, bashful voice for
a pair of Dr. Hudson's "frillies,"
autographed by her.
Connick's fantastic, maniacal per-
form ance leaves us wanting more. We
would have felt thrilled if his charac-
ter stalked Helen throughout the film
instead of Foley, who appears as dead
as flat champagne in comparison.
Nevertheless, "Copycat" has some
shocking and scary moments.
Cullum's attack is one. Another is
when Helen receives a video clip from
Foley. On her computer screen, we
see the crime-scene photo of a dead
girl in a bathtub. The body begins to
dance around, and soon transforms
into a red-headed girl. Foley had vid-
eotaped his next victim. The girl's
face turns into a nightmarish skull
with blood-red eye sockets.
Lack of originality, ironically, be-
comes "Copycat"'s main flaw. Direc-
tor Jon Amiel ("Sommersby") could
have given us a clever ending instead
ofa worn-out conclusion. Ifyou don't
kill your victim right away, but wait
until the drawn-out chase scene,
you're asking for trouble. Will
psychos never learn?
We accept such a cop-out because
Amiel has invested us with Dr.
Hudson, and wisely keeps her as the
film's focus. Our satisfaction comes
when Helen faces her demons. She
can no longer hide when the killer
brings her to that gleaming-white
restroom of the lecture hall.
Our stomachs wrench when Foley,
the rampaging killer, re-enacts
Cullum's attempt to kill her. He stages
a virtually identical - copycat -
scene, using the same kind of cord,
making her wear the same dress, put-
ting her in the same stall and repeat-
ing Cullum's questions to her. And
our hands clench when Helen sets
for Heather Nova.
Who is this fresh face on our music
scene, and where has she been all this
time? Her debut album "Oyster" has al-
ready sold over 200,000 copies in Europe
since its release last year. Resting com-
fortably between pop and rock, Nova's
musical debut is a tantalizing mixture of
poetic lyrics delving into the subcon-
scious, accompanied by a distinctly beau-
tiful voice which brings forth a healthy
dose of emotion.
According to Nova, music is the per-
fect place to showcase such emotion.
"Song writing, forme,is about communi-
cating all that stuff you're never able to
communicate. In day-to-day life, there's
nowhere that you're really real about
your emotions. So, for me, music is a
place for that," she said.
Citing Neil Young, Patti Smith and
Van Morrison among her major influ-
ences, it's obvious that Nova has trans-
formed her musical haven into an art
form. Spending most of her life on a
sailboat with her parents, Nova's intro-
duction to music was a more personal
"There was a lot of music around be-
cause we lived in the West Indies, so there
were always people playing music," ex-
plainedNova. "That's really when I picked
up the guitar when I was around 14."
Worry not, there are no teeny-bopper
skeleton-in-the-closet recordings. No
cheesy Debbie Gibson-esque turn for the
worse. Instead, Nova took the longer road
to musical kudos.
"I've been sort of taking myself seri-
ously for about six years," said Nova. "I
Heather Nova has a cool name and a cool album, "Oyster."
If you think you're pregnant..,
cal} us-We listen, we care.
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