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October 25, 2017 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily

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album, P!nk nears 21st century

spunky singer’s latest release,
Beautiful Trauma, delivers to
fans all of P!nk’s characteristic

contradictions; it’s joyful and it’s
angry, it’s bright and it’s dark,
it’s beautiful and it’s traumatic.
Some music connoisseurs may be
skeptical of the singer’s raw pop, as
some tracks lack substance and are
plagued by love song cliches, but
even the snobbiest of music snobs
won’t be able to resist stomping
their feet to Beautiful Trauma’s
energetic anthems and indulging

in the album’s moving ballads.

From the get-go, the Beautiful


the tone of the record with an
irresistible pop anthem. The song
has everything a pop track needs:
a strong chord progression, an
empowering beat and a melody
dynamic enough to be musically
engaging while anthemic enough
to be a sing-along. When the

The Michigan Daily — michigandaily.com
Wednesday, October 25, 2017 — 5A


P!nk returns with ‘Beautiful Trauma’
New ‘Beautiful Trauma’ is
P!nk with her perfect pop

Angry, bright, dark and poppy — P!nk’s back and better than ever


For the Daily

chorus hits, it’s pop — it’s slightly
corny, but it’s good.

P!nk also took a page out of

the 21st Century female pop
star playbook by featuring a

edges rapper to give the album’s
second track some grit (e.g. Taylor
Swift’s “Bad Blood,” with Kendrick
Lamar). In this case, that rapper
is Eminem. The track “Revenge”
features an infallible “My Name
Is”-esque hip hop beat blended
with modern synths to develop
an overall bright sound, one that
contradicts the song’s lyrics that
depict a messy and unhealthy
relationship, an interesting and
slightly comical technique that
both P!nk and Eminem have
deployed in the past. The song is a
head-bouncer, and Eminem’s verse
approaches The Marshall Mathers
LP-level crudeness with the final
line, “You’re a whore. You’re a
whore. This is war.” P!nk did not
miss on Revenge by bringing on the
king of brutally honest tracks about
relationship struggles.



Trauma is its current relevance.

turbulence within a relationship
to turbulence within the United
States in 2017. “What About Us” is
both a meditation on a struggling
couple and an analysis of modern
political and social turmoil. In the
second verse, P!nk sings, “We are
problems that want to be solved
/ We are children that need to be
loved / We were willin’, we came
when you called / But man, you

fooled us, enough is enough.”
In the context of a pop song, a
listener could take these lines as
a description of broken promises

relationship, but P!nk’s use of
the words “we” and “children”
hints at a deeper meaning, one
that relates to a nation of people
looking for answers. As Billboard
writer Patrick Crowley notes, P!nk
has not shied away from political
commentary in the past, as she
actively shared her objection to
the white supremacist rallies in
Virginia and was vocal about her

support for Hillary Clinton. “[I]t’s
not far-fetched to think that the
double meaning was intentional,”
Crowley wrote, and in a time of
racial struggle and frustration over
political inaction, P!nk deserves
some credit for making music
bigger than herself.

Now, do not be mistaken —

Beautiful Trauma certainly has
its cliche moments, but what
pop album doesn’t? In the track
“Whatever You Want,” the line,
“I feel like a ship’s going down
tonight, but it’s always darkest
before the light,” will have many
listeners groaning and rolling their
eyes, and unfortunately there is
no shortage of these cheesy lines

throughout the album. P!nk can get
away with these eye-roll-inducing
lines, though, because her brand
is essentially relatable heartbreak,
and there is little one can do to
avoid sounding corny or mushy
when meditating on love and its
consequences. As a listener, just
remember that pop with a universal
appeal has its base consequences,
and take P!nk’s shallow lyricism
with a grain of salt.

Beautiful Trauma has another

cliche characteristic, but this one is
less likely to make listeners cringe.
P!nk sprinkles her album with
classic, heart-string-pulling ballads
that reveal the singer’s status as
more than just a pop star, and
exhibit her expertise as a vocalist.
These slower, piano-driven songs
may be basic and slightly hackneyed,
but they speak on the ever-relatable
topic of the struggle for love by
including some of the shallow but
accessible lyrics aforementioned,
and P!nk’s impressive vocal range
and emotional vulnerability make
these songs even more powerful.
The love-ballad is alive and well on
Beautiful Trauma.

From top to bottom, P!nk’s latest

release is a well strung together pop
project. The pleasantly abrasive
pop star successfully delivers to her
listeners a unique blend of grit, love
and political commentary, a breath
of fresh air in today’s pop music
world. With relatable content,

features and P!nk’s undeniable
talent, Beautiful Trauma is worth
the listen for both pop-lovers and


It’s a bad show
‘Superstition’ is laughable

Series combines bad acting and bad visuals to make a bad show

At the risk of sounding overly

cynical, I hope I’m not the only
one who has ever watched a
series and immediately thought,
“Wow, this absolutely sucks.”
It’s only happened a few times
(see: “Taken”), but it’s almost
comical when it does. To have
such a glaringly and obviously
terrible show is hilarious to me
— it always leads me to try and
imagine simply how and why
the series was greenlit in the
first place. I mention all of this,
of course, because this was my
exact reaction upon screening
the pilot of Syfy’s “Superstition.”


“Superstition” ’s excuse of a
premiere, I was in a sort-of
shitty mood from our loss to
Penn State Saturday evening.
I was exhausted, down and, to
top it off, my buddies at Penn
State were flooding my phone
with texts about their blowout
victory. I needed a reprieve from
my grief and, oddly enough,


“Superstition.” As I settled in
and began taking notes during
my viewing, I had to force myself
to stop ripping every element of
the show because it was getting
exhausting. Instead, I took a

and started focusing on how
hilariously bad this episode is,
but even that wasn’t enough
to redeem this masterpiece in
garbage television.

For “Superstition,” its issues

are rooted in its downright awful
writing. The series is centered
around the occult experiences of
the Hastings family, who operate
a funeral home in a quaint

Georgian town. Aside from the
overdone Southern gothic trope,
this basic idea isn’t awful in and
of itself, but its already weak
storyline is hardly propped up
by its dialogue, which is stiff and
awkwardly phrased.

In one especially horrific


Officer Westbrook (Demetria
McKinney, “House of Payne”),
speaks at a murder scene to
a local Satanist, who claims
to Westbrook: “We brought

Westbrook.” The line was so
forced and cringe-worthy that

I had to restrain myself from
doubling over with laughter.
In what world does a regular
person, let alone a Satanist, call
a police officer “Chief”? Maybe
I’m harping on one word, but
the entire line reeks of being
one of the most boring and
awkward-sounding things I’ve
heard on television in a while.
And that’s saying something
considering that I saw the trailer
for “Geostorm” this morning.

Next on the laundry list


“Superstition” is, like most bad
television, its “acting.” In fact,
the only actual acting happening
in the series is its cast pretending
that they’re actors — yes, it’s that
terrible. Playing the Hastings
family patriarch, Mario Van
Peebles (“New Jack City”) is
entirely unconvincing in his

plethora of clichéd wisdom and
obvious desire to be a cop in
another life. As the prodigal son
returning home, Brad James
(“For Better or Worse”) isn’t able
to arouse any sort of emotion
or sympathy for his character
from the audience. Rounding
out its utterly disastrous cast
is McKinney, whose tone-deaf
performance begs us to ask why
Hollywood assigns police officer
roles indiscriminately.

As awful as its acting remains,

“Superstition” ’s visuals are
somehow nearly just as bad.
Armed with a camera that I
would guess is from the 18th
century, the series offers zero
sense of visual appeal. With

“Superstition” seems perfectly
content to stay indoors, despite
its bland set design. Exemplified
by the Hastings house, the
sets of each scene are hastily

causing me to believe that the
only research the writers did
for this show was to read “To
Kill a Mockingbird” and hope
that Southern stereotypes of
grandfather clocks and creaky
mansions were still in-vogue.



astounds even me, but it also
makes me glad that sites like
Rotten Tomatoes exist to give
each new movie or show a
single, simple review score so
as to punish these lazy artists
and push viewers and their

hasn’t learned its lesson about

(unfortunately) not sure it ever
will, but at least audiences can
steer clear of “Superstition” and
let Hollywood’s latest small-
screen blunder fall flat on its
Satanic face.


Series premiere

Fridays at 10 p.m.



Daily Arts Writer


People smoke pipes in ‘1922’
‘1922’ has potential but
fails to land a decent blow

Stephen King’s ‘1922’ gets the Netflix treatment to mixed results

The last line, “In the end we all

get caught,” of Netflix’s new horror
film “1922,” sums up the film’s
takeaway in one sentence. The
movie, based on the Stephen King
novel, the line, spoken by Wilfred
James, the protagonist, (Thomas
Jane, “The Mist”), embodies a
central theme: You can’t get away
with murder. Despite Wilfred
James’s evasion of the law, he is
ultimately unable to avoid his guilt
and delusions, putting himself in
a sort of mental prison. Wilfred
eventually comes to represent the
paranoia that manifests from the
guilt after a crime, in his case, the
gruesome murder of his wife while
she’s in a blurred drunken state.

The film opens up without

hesitation to begin the exposition
of Wilfred’s obsessive plot to
murder of his wife to save his
money and land. He even convinces
his 15-year-old son, Henry (Dylan
Schmid, “Once Upon a Time”)
to co-conspire with him. The
plotting is coupled with the film’s
initial slow, ominous pace, as the
maniacal father son duo walk
through towering green cornfields
where the husks mask their faces
in an oddly ethereal fashion.
Director and screenwriter, Zak
Hilditch (“These Final Hours”)
uses very few artificial lighting
techniques and employs the use
of available lighting, which in
1922, truly only came in the form
of daylight, burning lamps and
candles. When Wilfred and Henry
hover over warmly-lit lamps on
their dark porch in the middle of
Idaho, the eeriness and tension is

heightened because the viewer can
only see within the parameters of
what is lit in the dim lights. This
leaves the viewer left to wonder
what extends into the darkness.
Overall, the direction was not
the film’s issue, and it was even at
times artful, where Hilditch plays
with blurring and focus of natural
elements on the ranch to tightly
control the masking of characters
from camera.

Like the title of the film, the year

is 1922 in Des Moine, where women
were recently granted universal
suffrage. But in this rural setting,
ranchers’ wives were expected
to keep a tidy home for their

husbands, with no room for greater
personal aspirations, a societal
hierarchy which Wilfred James
supports. When his wife, Arlette
(Molly Parker, “Deadwood”), a
gifted seamstress before she was
murdered, began talking dreams
of selling their land and moving to
the city to open up a dress shop,
Wilfrid began to get nervous. For
Wilfred, and like other men at this
period, this threatened his role as
the family’s decision maker, his
land and his masculinity. Wilfred,
with the assistance of his only son,
Henry, brutally murder Arlette
and throw her into the abyss of
a dark well without thinking of
consequences. Not shortly after,
rats begin to eat at her body and
emerge from her orifices, which
ultimately serve as a metaphor
for Wilfred’s festering paranoia of

the rats bursting out of crevices,
constantly reminding him of the
great deed he did.

The murder occurs within

30 minutes of the film, allowing
for no true narrative build up.
With the rising action of the film
completed at the beginning, it
leaves over an hour remaining of
watching Wilfred increasingly rot
from his turmoil and paranoia.
This narrative pace and structure
can be successful, but the slow-
burning, building mystery for
which Hilditch presumably strived
was sort of like extinguishing the
candle altogether. The direction
was dull at moments, but the true
problem was rather more the story
itself. The premise is not new,
which isn’t to say that every film
has to include a revolutionary plot
or theme. But for such a common
genre of small-town horror, it
necessitates something unique that
differentiates it from the rest, which
this film lacks. There are plenty of
acclaimed rural horror movies,
and adding this to the collection
doesn’t make a compelling push for
it audiences to watch. It is barely
terrifying or mysterious, and the
only jarring element was how foul
it was to witness rat infestations
and see their revolting tails scurry
across the screen about every ten

Lastly, Hilditch could’ve used

this film as an opportunity to
explore the larger picture of female
liberation and breaking out of
gender roles during this period,
which would have added an extra
narrative layer to augment its
staleness. But sadly, “1922” goes
into a large pile of attempts but fails
at true, nail-biting, hair-on-the-
arm standing horror.



For the Daily


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