|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
A & E editors rave about their '97 faves
By Jamie Lynn
Five favourite albums:
1. Radiohead O.K. Computer: Not just the album of the year, but the best recording in many years. In an age of automated confusion, Radiohead managed to perfectly bridge computer-generated paranoia with their warm, passionate songwriting that's filled with hairpin turns. A major step forward from England's finest.
2. Greg Keelor Gone: A surprisingly subtle affair from Blue Rodeo's "grittier" frontman. The album is an absolutely wonderful collection of songs that creep under your skin and leave you weak in the knees. With the aid of Sarah McLachlan on backing vocals, this is the year's most beautiful album.
3. U2 Pop: A vastly underrated album that proves U2 are, in fact, more relevant now than they ever were. While the album is completely varied, it remains true to the earnest qualities that the band have come to endure. They just refuse to stay stagnant!
4. The Super Friendz Slide Show: Perfect pop that has even more rewarding qualities than their previous record. Those glowing harmonies and tight rhythms reveal they actually have some pretty amazing songs underneath all that tasty jangle. They will be missed.
5. The Crystal Method Vegas: A rocking "tour de force" album that was the most invigorating electronica album of the year. Varied enough to provide for a deeply satisfying listen from start to finish. Other techno bands take note.
Best single of '97: "Bittersweet Symphony" The Verve, "Stereo" Pavement
Best Live Show(s): U2's Pop Mart, Radiohead
Best New Artist(s): Crystal Method, Tuatara
Best Video(s): "Karma Police" Radiohead, "Electrolite" R.E.M.
Biggest Musical Disappointment: Bill Berry leaving R.E.M., The loss of Jeff Buckley (R.I.P.)
I wish they'd go away in '98: Boring "rock" bands like the Wallflowers, Matchbox 20 and [yes] The Rolling Stones. Also, '80s bands revisited like the Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls and Hanson.
Best Film(s): Grosse Pointe Blank, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, The Full Monty.
Worst Film(s): Air Force 1, Batman and Robin.
By Carey Weinberg
Five favourite albums:
1. Radiohead OK Computer. I considered The Bends one of the best albums of the '90s. Radiohead managed to one-up themselves with this album. It takes a couple of spins to get used to because of the diverse songwriting. It's like a Kandinsky painting: chaos, control, chaos, control. And they make sweet transitions between. Radiohead is undeniably the band of the '90s.
2. Fiona Apple Tidal. This late '96 release took me by surprise. Apple put together an intelligent low-key album with a slow funky groove comparable to Luscious Jackson. What's also impressive is she's 19, so if she manages to stay sane she's got a long career ahead of her.
3. Portishead Portishead. The follow up to the mega-successful Dummy which almost wasn't made because the band feared they wouldn't be able to measure up to the first. They did.
4. Yo La Tengo I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One. Yo La Tengo goes all over the place on this album. The track "Moby Octopad" has a bass-line that crawled inside my head, nestled in some crevasse and rarely vacated all year.
5. Perfume Tree Tide's Out. Listening to this band is an ethereal trip into uncharted territory. Out from B.C., Perfume Tree is one of the most underrated electronic bands sending blips into your brain.
Other noteworthy albums include: King Cobb Steelie Junior Relaxer, Plug Drum and Bass For Papa, Aphex Twin Richard D. James, Ron Sexsmith Other Songs.
One of this year's best movies: Contact is not perfect, but the opening three-minute sequence could be the topic of a Film 20 class discussion for about two weeks.
The biggest entertainment item of note is the creation of The Comedy Network. I had all but lost hope for television with the exception of The Simpsons, A&E, Discovery and Bravo normal television truly bores my feces out of its comfy rectal habitat.
The Comedy Network is batting about .750 with their programming. Possibly one of the funniest comedians I've ever seen, Jeremy Hotz, delivered brilliant material in a maniacal fashion in his routine entitled "Cana-duh!" You should also watch the cartoon (new to Canada) called Dr. Katz. Its really clever dialogue and humour takes you by surprise.
Happy Holidays and remember, tip your waiter, Christmas shopping causes cancer and entertain yourself until you're sore.
By Lisa Weaver
Five Fave Albums:
1. The Murmurs Pristine Smut: This disc has been in my CD player for months. A good mix of soulful-country-rock stuff.
2. The Seahorses Do It Yourself: It's good to know that even though the Stone Roses broke up, they will still be around in some form or another.
3. Sleater-Kinney Dig Me Out: Finally, some good grrl rock is getting the attention it deserves. Now I'm waiting for Team Dresch to make it on the airwaves.
4. The Verve Urban Hymns: This disc is incredibly depressing but intensely poetic.
5. The Sundays Static and Silence: Nice.
Honorable Mentions: Hazel Ariana, Bran Van 300 glee, Catherine Wheel Adam and Eve, Portishead Self-titled
Best live shows: Bif Naked's tour with Raggadeth and Face the Pain, Corey Hart (because he played all the old stuff we loved when we were kids).
Best new artist(s): Holly McNarland, Mollies Revenge.
Best video: Chemical Brothers "Setting Sun", because it captures the mood of the song so well exactly how videos should be.
Biggest musical disappointment(s): The Cure, for putting out a singles album instead of the proposed B-sides and rarities. Also, entertainment media and promoters for continually exploiting the "women in rock" label.
Best Films: Contact (the best sci-fi film especially because they didn't attempt to show aliens or spaceships), All Over Me, In the Company of Men
Worst Films: Bean (this movie really was the ultimate disaster, it consisted of scenarios already seen in the Mr. Bean series), Playing God (David Duchovny will only ever be Mulder) any Disney animated films about "true" stories
Extraneous comments about '97 Arts & Entertainment in general: 1997 was definitely the year of the pointless music festival (Ozz Fest, Another Roadside Attraction, even Lollapallooza, to name a few) and the media-generated music genre (they gave us "electronica"). Also in 1997 we got prepackaged, biologically perfect, no-talent bands like the Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys, and Take That. I was almost beginning to miss the New Kids.