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Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Monday, January 17, 2022 — Houston, TX °

Jacob Pellegrino


A&E 1/11/22 10:50pm

Review: The Weeknd’s ‘Dawn FM’ is a purgatorial meditation on love and lust

There’s something surreal about seeing someone you listened to when you were younger perform with white hair and wrinkles. While this experience is typically reserved for people who have long graduated college, The Weeknd’s album cover and videos for his new album “Dawn FM” artificially accelerate this. To promote the album, Abel Tesfaye (The Weeknd) staged a livestream via Amazon of the album being played for a live audience where he stood in the center of a neon-lit platform, dancing and reacting to the music. Like his previous Super Bowl performance and the music video series for “After Hours,” he committed to the character created on the album cover, performing with the aged face and white hair seen on the promotional imagery.



A&E 10/19/21 10:18pm

Review: FINNEAS’s pervasive hopefulness and emotional songwriting shine in ‘Optimist’

“Optimist” expands upon FINNEAS’s melancholy songwriting and production skills to create a compelling and interesting debut album. FINNEAS is largely known for collaborations with his sister, Billie Eilish, who he produces and co-writes songs with. However, he also previously released an excellent EP, “Blood Harmony,” and an array of singles. FINNEAS’s first full-length album continues the lyricism seen in previous stand-out tracks like “I Lost a Friend” and “I Don’t Miss You at All,” albeit with a slightly different feeling reminiscent of Billie’s more introspective “Happier Than Ever.”



A&E 9/21/21 10:48pm

Review: ‘Malignant’ continually disappoints

“Malignant” has given me trust issues with director James Wan. With “The Conjuring,” “Insidious” and even “Aquaman,” I assumed any movie directed by Wan would be at least enjoyable to watch. Well, “Malignant” was the opposite of that. Filled with a storyline that drags on, predictable twists and a contrived plot, “Malignant” is a movie to stay far away from.



A&E 9/7/21 10:24pm

Review: “Candyman” provides resonant social commentary in the slasher genre

Nia DaCosta’s reimagining of “Candyman” provides strong visuals, sound and social commentary for an excellent viewing experience. “Candyman” follows artist Anthony McCoy as he learns more about the legend of the Candyman, a monster that appears and kills people who say his name five times while looking in the mirror. The movie is a sequel to the original 1992 “Candyman” movie and ignores the two initial disappointing follow-up films, finally providing a worthy successor to Bernard Rose’s visionary original.


A&E 9/7/21 10:21pm

Review: ‘CLB’ is a good listen but nothing new

On “Certified Lover Boy,” Drake continues to prove that consistency is key — at least for him. Essentially delivering the same type of music that he has for years, Drake created a highly polished and enjoyable listen, even if he doesn’t really do anything new. “CLB” is drenched in Drake’s perennial themes of heartbreak and braggadocio, along with the strong features and glossy production typical of his work.


A&E 8/31/21 10:03pm

Review: Kanye West sees a return to form with multifaceted ‘Donda’

“Donda,” Kanye West’s long-awaited tenth solo album, finally came out at 7 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 29. While covering his face and avoiding the typical controversial appearances expected of him, Kanye created one of the most talked about and sought after albums of 2021. For the album rollout, West took his experiment of a “living, evolving art project” from 2016’s “The Life of Pablo” to another level by bringing the creative process front and center to his audience through a series of record-breaking livestream events on Apple Music. Kanye’s iterative changes to the album were shown as it was played on a world stage in three listening events that moved from his birthplace in Atlanta to his childhood home in Chicago. This emphasis on home is made even more poignant with the title of the album, a tribute to Kanye’s late mother, Dr. Donda West, who is featured throughout the work.


A&E 8/24/21 10:24pm

End of an era: summer music in review

This past summer represented a shift after an untraditional year for musicians. Artists used to making their money from touring began to become more optimistic about their return to the stage. Tours were announced, albums were released and the music industry inched towards a post-COVID world. The emotions inspired by such a time, the hope, pain, dissatisfaction and excitement, all contributed to a unique roster of music and announcements. These smaller compiled reviews will hopefully help to convey this unique era in music.