The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, February 24, 1999, Page 12, Image 12

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    Paul Westerberg
“Suicaine Gratification”
Capitol Records
Grade: B+
The most affected group of
Replacements fans doesn’t read this
newspaper: 35-year-old boys and girls
of past and future drunken after-hours
parties who acknowledge alike
strangers while waiting in line at the
grocery store.
Wearing wrinkly, i 5-year-old T
shirts and holding a bottle of Canadian
Mist or a 12-pack of Falstaff, they nod or
quickly speak as if they were anony
mous VW Bugs whizzing by each other
on some nowhere gravel road.
“What’s up?” one might ask another
pseudo-rebel in faded Converse Chuck
“Nothing much,” the other would
typically respond in slightly nervous
These big kids are typical!^ heart
broken, overcomplicated or mystified
by their losses of love and familial con
nection, but still thirsting to pass up
tomorrow for a good time tonight.
It didn’t help the micro-generation
vt ivv^iuvviuvmo luiio, o
large underground social group shaped
bjsthe 1980s, when it lost its voice to
alcoholism and then sobriety. That voice
was Paul Westerberg, and its youthful
qualities that inspired so many will
never be heard again.
Westerberg is rightfully changing
with age and is now sounding a lot more
like a sober John Lennon than a cock
tail-swilling Johnny Rotten.
On Westerberg’s new recording,
“Suicaine Gratification,” the songwriter
still sounds like a walking struggle, but
yet more at peace than ever.
Furthermore, the album is mostly
low-fidelity recordings the Minneapolis
singer made at his house. This simple
and intimate approach is appropriate
because “Suicaine Gratification”
sounds like the songwriter taking a seri
ous step away from his inebriated,
overindulgent past
At the same time, Westerberg hasn’t
produced mesmerizing, rocking,
Replacements-like material since he
quit his night job as the drunk poet lau
reate of the north Midwest
Which brings us to an interesting
question: Is it time to stop judging the
songwriter in connection to the brilliant
yet-intoxicated discography he once
wrote for his old group?
No. To quit referencing his past
greatness would only cheat Westerberg
of his futureworthy potential. It would
only say that he can’t write great songs
without his now-defunct band and
booze habit It’s not only a horrible take
on the situation, but also now untrue.
un ms new aioum, wesieroerg
hasn’t sounded so real or artistically
sure in over a decade. Is his latest
offering another masterpiece, another
“Let It Be” or even “Pleased to Meet
No, “Suicaine Gratification” is not
his post-Replacements Mona Lisa. But
it sure beats the smarmy take on pop
for-pop’s-sake thing that he’s been doing
ever since the “Singles” soundtrack.
To its credit, “Suicaine
Gratification” is the closest thing to
Lennon’s “Imagine” LP that Westerberg
has ever done.
For instance, “Bom for Me” is a
strong, Lennonesque, unabashed love
song aided by the back-up vocals of
Shawn Colvin, known for her “Sunny
Came Home” pop fame.
More importantly, the rest of the
album represents Westerberg starting to
find that compelling, new voice within
his old one, that slight re-invention he’s
been aching to find for a decade now.
For instance, the album’s 10th song,
“Actor in the Street,” makes good use of
a synthesizer line that the songwriter
wouldn’t have touched in past efforts.
The lyrics, on the other hand, share
similar, personal content with
Westerberg’s “13 Songs” and the last
Replacements record, “All Shook
Down.” The new songs of wit and regret
will be heartwarming to old fans
because they are better written than any
thing he’s put out on his last two albums.
“It’s a Wonderful Lie” kicks off his
latest record with a nice update on noth
ing new.
“Get up from a dream and I look for
rain. I take an amphetamine and a
crushed right brain. It’s a wonderful lie -
I still get by on those,” he sings..
It’s always interesting when a prod
uct of the ’80s American punk scene
goes the God-believing way of Johnny
Cash on the subject of religion. And
Westerberg shows more leakage of gen
uine spirituality than ever on “Suicaine
The record’s single “Looking Out
Forever” sounds real in its soliloquy to a
capital-G divinity.
“God, I know I’m going home... he
chased me with his kisses... wasted me
in my prime... replaced me with anoth
er... even me sometimes. ”
rretty straignt-iacea stun ror tne
guy wrote the lyrics to the 1984 EP
“Kids Don’t Follow”- a punk anthem
that gave its mostly middle-class listen
ers the courage to give the middle finger
to Mom, Dad and tomorrow.
Which leads us back to the in-his
younger-prime version of the rebel
without a clue.Westerberg, in his fear,
once postured with street smarts and
alcohol to become the anti-hero of a
black-holed, boozy pocket culture. But
now, on “Suicaine Gratification,” he
proves that his talent and honesty were
always more important than his
liquored-up lifestyle.
The opening line to the new album’s
third song best shows that Westerberg is
telling it like it is, and once again, acci
dentally speaking for a lost, micro-gen
eration he’s never met
“I was die best thing that never hap
pened,” he sings.
Play explores harrassment
Senior staff writer
What begins as a typical student
professor conference escalates into a
full-blown sexual harassment battle.
In the play “Oleanna,” David
Mamet explores the nuances of sexual
harassment, presenting a no-win situa
tion between two equally close-minded
The play, directed by Patrick
Lambrecht, opens tonight at die Lincoln
Community Playhouse.
about the course each character takes.
Rachel Komfeld-Lambrecht, who plays
Carol, said the characters have a num
ber of opportunities to take a different
path throughout the play. The play asks,
“What if John had not invited Carol
back to his office? What if Carol hadn’t
The play’s complex conflicts are
further complicated by Mamet’s lan
guage. His characters constantly inter
rupt each other, speaking in machine
gun-fire sentences, rarely completing a
thought or an idea.
“His DeoDle can eo on for a oaee
The play begins
with Carol, a stu
dent, visiting her
professor in his
office for help with
his class.
quickly breaks down
between professor
and student. By the
end of Act III, the
two are throwing
accusations back
and forth, trying to
Theatre Preview
Ha Facts
What: “Oleanna*
Where: Lincoln Community Playhouse,
2500 S. 56th St.
When: 730 p.m. Wednesday through
Cost: $7 for students and $11 for adults
The Skinny: Play explores the gray areas
of sexual harassment
and really not have
said anything,”
Lambrecht said.
“Shakespeare is
easier to memorize,”
Nielsen added.
The struggle,
Lambrecht said, is to
make the language
feel realistic and
human for the
In 1984, Mamet
won the Pulitzer
find out who said what. After an
avalanche of verbal abuse, the charac
ters move dangerously close to the
boundaries of physical violence.
With spellbinding terror, the play
traces the complicated gender relations
between Carol and her professor.
Mamet wrote the play in response to
die Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill contro
versy. But though it addresses the
volatility of sexual harassment charges,
the play is about much more.
“These two are pitted against each
other the entire time, trying to see who
will win,” Lambrecht said. “They both
have a strong case, but they’re both
incredibly stupid.”
Lambrecht said he hoped the audi
ence would come to an understanding
about the lengths people go to protect
“Sometimes, we end up hurting
ourselves,” Lambrecht said.
The play also promotes speculation
Prize for Best American Play for
“Glengarry Glen Ross.” His screen
plays include “The Untouchables,”
“The Verdict,” “Hoffa” and “Wag the
This production of “Oleanna” is
part of the Playhouse’s revived Gallery
Season, which has been dead for a cou
ple of years.
The Gallery Season is the
Playhouse’s venue for more contempo
rary theater. Since the Futz Theater
closed in April, Lincoln has been short
on venues presenting cutting-edge the
“The Futz dared to do scripts that no
one else will do,” Komfeld-Lambrecht
Cast members said “Oleanna” is a
great way to restart the Gallery Season.
Nielsen said you can’t walk away
from this play without a reaction.
“I want them to be disturbed,”
Nielsen said.
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