Volume 93, Issue 25
Thursday, October 14, 1999
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Eve's sins forgivable on Lady
Ruff Ryders' First Lady
In recent years, the strong female M.C. has become prevalent in the rap/R&B genre, with women like Missy Elliot, L'il Kim and Lauryn Hill possessing the wealth of talent necessary to emasculate a largely male dominated profession.
Eve is poised to join these ranks with her latest effort debuting as the number one selling album in America. Out of the DMX-led Ruff Ryders camp, this Philly-bred sparkplug set summer radios on fire with her Latin-tinged hit, "What Y'All Want" from the Ruff Ryders Vol. 1 compilation album. Eve tries her hand at a solo effort which, although rough, shows a glimmer of future success.
The main weakness in the album is the same problem found in the first efforts of many other rappers. Simply put, Eve tries to tell too much of her life's experiences on every track, leaving much of the musical hooks by the wayside. By the end of the album, we know of Eve's early physical maturation and subsequent loose nature, her friend's abusive relationships and her lack of a father figure yet we have few marketable hits.
Trying to cash in a little more off the summer's big hit, Eve and newfound uber-producer Swizz Beatz remake "What Y'All Want," albeit horribly, with a tinny rumba backbeat. As for the first original hit on the album, the single "Gotta Man," represents the worst portions of the modern rap world clumsy, uninspiring lyrics broken up by a cheesy chorus apparently sung by a tone-deaf eight year-old. Imagine last year's Jay-Z hit, "Hard Knock Life," only much worse.
The album does pick up when Eve coaxes numerous guests to vocalize on some tracks, with notables like the Lox, Elliot, Beanie Siegal and of course, the original Ruff Ryder himself, DMX. In these efforts, Eve puts down her tough-girl-in-need-of-love persona and simply elects to rock the mike, exhibiting her notable skills to the fullest.
Sadly, these efforts are too few and far between to make the album a success. However, the world wasn't created in a day and even Eve can afford to listen to a few serpents and make a few slip-ups along the way.
Hello June Fool
Hailing from upper state New York, Madder Rose is one of countless alternative bands who have been toiling in obscurity since the grunge explosion shifted from college campuses to the masses.
Their first three albums leaned towards a mellow, folk influenced sound which gained the band some moderate success. With their new release, Hello June Fool, the band has decided to do some updating. The album presents the band as another guitar, samples and beats combo, apparently designed to catapult them to the top. Unfortunately for them, it doesn't work.
Over the course of the album, it becomes clear the band was so concerned with experimenting with different sounds, they forgot to actually write any decent songs. While nothing on the CD stands out as particularly horrible, there isn't anything particularly good either.
Hello June Fool's 11 tracks go by so mildly, it's hard to tell when the disc is over, let alone remember it was ever playing.
There is not a single memorable melody or catchy hook on the entire CD. Instead, there are long, drawn out loops and what one can only assume were intended to be funky grooves. The result is nothing less than boring. For all its use of sound manipulation, Madder Rose have created a remarkably bland album.
Lead singer Mary Lorson's indistinct, inexpressive vocals don't help the matter. On several songs, most notably the tedious "Hotel," she sounds as if she's as bored as the listener. Her wispy voice gets lost on many tracks, leaving the songs sounding like instrumentals only through repeated listening does one notice she is in fact warbling away.
The final nail in the coffin for this album is its lyrics. Guitarist/songwriter Billy Cote reaches some remarkable heights in inanity, a real embarrassment for someone holding the responsibility of lyric writing.
Hello June Foolis an example of a band desperately trying to stay afloat while moving in a new direction, but getting lost in the process.
Aaron St. John
Ever Revolving, Never Evolving
It is clear the latest release from 30footFALL, Ever Revolving, Never Evolving, is the band's attempt to evolve from previous efforts.
For some reason, however, the band fails to capitalize on this opportunity. In other words, they must not have grown too much, because the album comes up short.
Coming off a string of cross country tours this summer alongside bigger punk names like Pennywise and Face To Face, this foursome tried to parlay their momentum by quickly recording and releasing a third album. The result is typical fare for 30footFALL.
Ever Revolving, Never Evolving contains many of the same ingredients commonly associated with the band, namely a cup of comedy mixed with a teaspoon of serious lyrical content, all cooked in a warm broth of raw, punchy punk rock.
Filled with powerful harmonies, catchy guitar chords and decent lyrics, the first single "Better Off Dead" demonstrates the band's true potential. Other songs, such as "Plastic," a fast toe tapping melody and "Opposite Day," a punk-pop induced mocking of commonplace beliefs, are decent songs deserving a listen. However, none of these tracks are worth buying the entire album for.
The band's more comical side is blatantly evident in tracks like "Attack Of The Flaming Egos" and "How I Became The Jerk" which are modern day satires of people in the music industry. Unfortunately, both songs suffer by focusing too much on humour and not enough on music. The result is some quirky but unorganized and extremely sloppy tracks.
Moreover, large cracks and holes in the album surface in songs like "LoCash," "Metal Killed My Cat" and "Fuck Ya'll We're From Texas" which are all boring, low energy, four chord punk songs at their very best.
Overall, Ever Revolving, Never Evolving proves to be a disappointing effort. The lyrics are contradictory and by the end of the album it actually becomes hard to tell one song from another. Despite a few good songs, the album offers little to no advancement for 30footFALL and should be avoided.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999