Arrested Development | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Arrested Development 

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Zingalamaduni, Arrested Development's second album, is well on its way to becoming an industry metaphor for failed expectations after an acclaimed debut. But that's not entirely the record's fault. For one, it's been two full years since 3 Years, 5 Months and 2 Days in the Life Of . . . had its peak, and the perfervid pop environment of the time has only grown in the interim: part of AD's appeal was its novelty, and it's no longer new. Second, industry dirt has it that the record has been massively mishandled by the higher echelons at EMI. Still, the album is a disappointment. On the first record leader Speech seemed an almost visionary moral force in a sometimes disturbingly amoral musical genre. Now not only is he less elevated, he seems to be a bit of a crank. In "Mr. Landlord" he stultifyingly explains why racism is bad. And then there's "Warm Sentiments," the already notorious song in which the singer chastises his girlfriend for not consulting him before having an abortion. The problem isn't that it's an antiabortion essay, as some have (incorrectly) said; the problem is that it's a lunkheaded, posturing, condescending piece of paternalistic drivel. All that said, the album's not bad: chorus after chorus it satisfies more than it should, and when Speech is in good form ("Ease My Mind," "United Front") he touches universalist themes with a musicality approached by few in pop music today. The College Boyz open; note the early starting time. Saturday, 6:30 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 549-0203.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Shelia Turner-Atlanta.

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