Volume 93, Issue 76
Tuesday, February 15, 2000
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Tina effort tries for Young blood
Twenty Four Seven
Like Madonna, Cher and Rupaul, the artist formerly known as Tina Turner will now be known as simply "Tina." And like Cher's recent hit, "Believe," Tina is attempting to attract a younger audience with this new, funky album. Unfortunately, this effort is headed for the $2.99 bin in a hurry.
Her voice, a mix of raspy vocals and soft whispers, continues to be easily recognized and she's still stellar at covering other artist's songs.
However, parts of this album seem a little too familiar. For example, "When The Heartache is Over" boasts a beginning which is a carbon copy of Cher's aforementioned hit. Even its message of living without someone hits a little too close to home. The opening chords of "Falling," seem borrowed from TLC's sultry '96 hit, "Waterfalls."
In fact, Twenty Four Seven seems to be influenced by more of Tina's contemporaries than herself. In any song, one can easily identify the trademark sounds of artists such as Celine Dion, Whitney Houston and of course, Cher. It may be hard to find traces of Tina, but when she does allow her true self to shine through, the tracks glisten.
There's the catchy opening track, "Whatever you Need," the sullen "Go Ahead" and the Ike and Tina-esque "Twenty Four Seven" to satisfy die-hard fans. One only wishes her producers felt more compelled to let Tina be Tina, as opposed to offering just another cheesy attempt at re-invention.
Tina still has something to offer, but for the most part, the songs on Twenty Four Seven belong to someone else.
No Limit Records
In 1997, a rapper out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was introduced to the world by No Limit commander Master P through "How Ya Do Dat," a single from the indie film I'm Bout It.
Bleed went on to release his first album, My Balls and My Words, the following year.
Despite often being mistaken for an unoriginal No Limit prototype, Young Bleed's style can be described as the complete opposite of his No Limit and Cash Money brethren. He drives Cadillacs instead of Hummers and raps about his struggles to find his next meal over his next piece of platinum ice. In short, Bleed raps about the same struggles from which rap was born.
My Own is eerily reminiscent of the critically acclaimed Nas debut, Illmatic. It hits the listener with only a few powerful offerings and leaves them hollering for more. Bleed spits vivid rhymes of the thick-aired, hot and isolated Bayou marsh of his childhood, similar to the way Nas spoke of the cold and hustlin' streets of New York City.
The bluesy lead track "I Couldn't C' It" masterfully schools the audience on chilling on the front porch, while "Time and Money" features Sir Too Short and conducts a lecture in Pimpology 101 over a bouncy, distinctly Southern beat.
The tag team motif reappears on "No Disrespect," which features Bleed and newcomer Da Youngtymaz displaying their fast-paced triple-flow skills in front of a well-produced, rice shaker-laced background.
One of the only flaws on the album is Bleed's sometimes monotone voice, resulting in a low amount of tempo variations. However, despite this relatively small shortcoming, My Own is a good sophomore album which effectively portrays Bleed's life in the deep South.
Neko Case & Her Boyfriends
Furnace Room Lullaby
Those who feel country music was at its best before moving in its current "alternative country-rock" direction will definitely want to check out Neko Case & Her Boyfriends' latest album, Furnace Room Lullaby.
Case, a former punk drummer for the band Maow, is backed by a group of over 10 musicians on this effort, her second album. The CD features several guest musicians, the most notable of which is famed Canadian folk artist Ron Sexsmith. Sexsmith contributes writing, guitar and vocals to several tracks on the record. Like The Virginian, Case's first album, Lullaby is a classic country record which incorporates elements of folk, bluegrass and rock.
Unlike many country artists, Case has gone out of her way to keep her music country through and through. She has refused to buy into the alternative country-rock scene pioneered by artists such as Sheryl Crow and Shania Twain, while still managing to keep her style hip and varied.
Songs such as "Set Out Running" and "Guided by Wind" are clearly traditional country-western songs (often bordering on honky-tonk), while "Porchlight" and "We've Never Met" hold a slower, more melodic folk sound.
Lyrically, Case sticks to the country basics. She yearns for her hometown, cries over lost love and complains about the heat. Fortunately, what is lost in sub par lyrics is made up in her musical talents.
Enthusiasts of Case's country expertise may find fault with the fact the 12 track album runs just fewer than 40 minutes, which may leave them feeling unsatisfied.
All in all, Furnace Room Lullaby is sure to raise some eyebrows in the country-western world, but those looking for a new contender in the alt-country genre should keep looking.
Copyright © The Gazette 2000