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  • Writer's pictureLucas Friesen

Welcome back to The Full Page’s music corner. I’m glad to share some new favourites with you. This genre-spanning playlist is called “Chaos Theory.” Whether you’re driving, exercising, cooking or relaxing, I’m sure you’ll find some songs to really dig. Follow the link provided to find the playlist on Apple Music:

He has a new album out. It’s Drake. For All the Dogs gave us another chapter in the novella of Drake and PARTYNEXTDOOR collaborations. With a Drake album, songs often fit into a similar group with songs from earlier albums. “Started from the Bottom” was Nothing was the Same’s “Headlines,” which was Take Care’s “Over.” “Members Only” fits into a singing group of Drake songs with moody equivalents like “Since Way Back,” “Days in the East” and “After Dark.”

Troy Sivan is finally on a fame wave. I thought he showed great potential on Bloom and I’m glad he’s delivered with his new album, Something to Give Each Other. The club-ready single from the album, “Rush,” has a wild music video and an addictive chorus. Evidently, Sivan is embracing his gay-icon status for the Something to Give album cycle. Luckily, he’s pulling it off. Did you see him get spoofed on SNL?

Boygenius is poised for a big night at the Grammys. I’ve watched some of their candid interviews and live videos. They seem like charismatic girls with enviable chemistry. Their 2023 album, the record, mixes hipster radicalism with authentic rock, fun ballads and extensive emotions. If you can’t get enough boygenius and feel like staying depressed, I’d recommend Julien Baker’s song “Something.”

Last month, I was in an Airbnb bed with an inconvenient case of Covid. As I lay there with body aches and nasal congestion, I started deep diving into metal. My curiosity started with Black Sabbath. I listened to them previously, while touring an art gallery. Their devilish music stood in vivid contrast with the gallery’s religious art, which made for a thought-provoking experience. Deeper and deeper I went into the wormhole on metal and its origins. I have emerged with this initial collection of fiery songs.

Is there anything greater than George Michael’s vocals on “Careless Whisper”? The camp, power, skill and song progression are all perfect. I defy you not to feel something when Michael hits us with, “Tonight the music seems so loud, I wish that we could lose this crowd.” This is the 80s at its most 80s. What is the mix on this song? Why is it so quiet and yet it fills so well by the end. Oddly brilliant.

Yes, I did first hear “Big Iron” on Instagram under a Reel of cats that apparently run some sort of Western town. But I do love it and it’s a fun, story-time country song. “Chick Inspector” is enough to get any man cancelled today, but for 1973 it was just almost a top 50 hit. And how about Dion’s vocal runs on “Dream Lover”? He floats through the pocket of that beat, sounding fun, fast and fantastic. Labi Siffre’s “My Song” is another song that I found on Instagram. It was famously sampled by Kanye West on Graduation. On its own, “My Song” is sweet and sensitive with a gentle beat and excellent vocals.

Sometimes, when you’re travelling, the only English channel is the music video channel. This is how I found two of these songs. Edie Brickell’s tune gets better with repeated listens. For Simply Red, you need to be walking through an airport terminal, or taking the train, or staring out the window on a gray day, or be melancholically contemplating or be living off a bad sleep. It has vibey synths and stellar vocals.

We close the music playlist with the sophisticated and nocturnal moods of soft jazz. There are two beautiful piano pieces from Bill Evans and Don Shirley, and vocal jazz performances from wonderful singers: Peggy Lee, Astrud Gilberto, Blossom Dearie and Billie Holiday.

  • Writer's pictureLucas Friesen

One artist that had an immaculate run in the 2010s and, because of this run, became one of the biggest rap stars in the world is Travis Scott. His four solo albums in the 2010s were some of the most consistent and influential rap albums of the decade and the modern era.

Travis’s classics period began in 2014 with Days Before Rodeo, which showed Travis as proficient in creating a new vibe, with a lot of energy and uniqueness. The mixtape also gave us weird, spacey, Kid-Cudi-influenced songs like “Drugs You Should Try It.” Then there was “Skyfall” featuring Young Thug with production by Metro Boomin’, which is a classic (arguably, Travis’s first classic rap song). It was after Days that he was tapped by Rihanna to collaborate on her new single, “Bitch Better Have My Money.”

Travis followed this mixtape with his first studio album, Rodeo. This album brought him a great amount of critical acclaim. It had tons of bangers on it, including “3500,” “Nightcrawler,” “Piss on Your Grave” and one of the best party anthems in the trap rap genre: “Antidote.” This album also showed a more commercial side to Travis, with songs like “Maria I’m Drunk” featuring Justin Bieber and Young Thug, and “90210.” Then came the Houston, Tex., influence, on songs like “Impossible,” with its drugged-out, low-end beat, spaced out vocals and D.J. Screw influence.

Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight, Scott’s 2016 album, was his most polarizing, as some critics saw it as a step down from Rodeo. I would argue that Travis took a massive risk on Birds and pushed his sound to its limits, creating his first album that was front-to-back listenable. The album’s sound bottoms out in the EQ and finds comfort in the distortion, as one does when taking a party to its limits. This was the pinnacle Travis album of this era. The “yeah!” and “it’s lit!” adlibs are sprinkled liberally and loudly throughout. He was the king of the party’s back room, along with The Weeknd, during this period and cocaine references are everywhere, as well as popping pills and smoking weed.

After a three-album run, an artist can create a lot of hype for their next project, and no Travis album had more hype than Astroworld. Even with critical hate, Birds undoubtedly made Travis one of the biggest rappers in the world. In the summer of 2018, all eyes were on Houston, to see what Travis would release on an album named after his city’s 20th-Century amusement park. It barely had a single. In a fashion made popular by Travis, it didn’t list features. And I think every rap fan remembers where they were when Drake’s first “Astro” came through to open “SICKO MODE,” Travis’s biggest song to date and easily one of the best rap songs of this generation. The album also included some great Southern influence, which had disappeared a little bit on Birds. “R.I.P. SCREW” is a unique and great homage to Houston, the sound of D.J. Screw and to the late-night vibes that Travis has been so influential in curating.

Of course, after Astroworld, came the tragedy of the Astroworld Festival, in which 10 people died in a crowd crush during a performance by Travis in his home city. Travis had become known for his wild live shows and was one of the best live performers on the circuit, during the 2010s. I had the chance to see him open for Kendrick on the DAMN. Tour and he put on an electric performance.

Travis ended the 2010s in a kind of exile, out of the public eye, as he dealt with the legalities of the Astroworld Festival. He returned in 2023 with Utopia and it wasn’t as good as his last albums, showing that his classics run was done. Utopia isn’t bad, but it lacks the originality of his other albums.

Travis is one of the greatest curators of the modern era. He has an ear for new things and trends. He creates moments and backs it up with strong albums. Any artist should be pleased with making a great album. It’s truly something special when an artist puts out four great albums in a row.

  • Writer's pictureLucas Friesen

It’s the most exciting time of the year for hockey fans because the NHL playoffs are finally here! There are a lot of good first-round matchups this year, but one that sticks out to me is the New Jersey Devils versus the New York Rangers. The Devils ended the season in second place with 112 points in the Metropolitan Division and the Rangers finished third in the Metro with 107 points. In their season series this year, the Devils won three of four games, but they were all close games. In November, the Devils won 5-3. In December and January, their contests both ended in overtime (4-3 both times, one for the Rangers and one for the Devils). Then, in their final meeting, the Devils won 2-1. In all meetings this year, the teams played their starting goaltenders.

Vitek Vanecek, the 27-year-old Czech starting goalie for the Devils is currently listed as out but all signs point to him starting game 1 at the Prudential Center in New Jersey. He has a GAA of 2.45 on the season, which is eighth best in the league. The opposing goalie, Igor Shesterkin, the 27-year-old from Russia that made a name for himself in last year’s playoffs, is biting at Vanecek’s heels. Shesterkin has a GAA of 2.48, which is ninth best in the league. Vanecek played 52 games while Shesterkin played 58. Shesterkin has a save percentage of .916, which is better than Vanecek’s save percentage of .911. The Devils’ backups are Mackenzie Blackwood (3.2 GAA in 22 games) and Akira Schmid (2.13 GAA in 18 games). The Rangers backup is Jaroslav Halak (2.72 GAA in 25 games).

In front of these star goalies are some standout snipers. On the Devils, it was the career-best year for the 21-year-old Jack Hughes that led the team to a playoff spot. Hughes finished 12th in the league in scoring, putting up 99 points, with 43 goals and 56 assists. He scored four times and had six points in the four meetings these two teams had this season. Other players that have lit up the scoreboard for the Devils include 24-year-old Nico Hischier, who had a career-high 80-point season, and Dougie Hamilton. At 29 years young, Hamilton put up 74 points (career high) this year, including seven game-winning goals, and had a +/- of +23.

On the other side of the puck, the Rangers are just as skilled at putting the puck in the back of the net. Artemi Panarin led the Rangers with 92 points this year. This is the third time in Panarin’s career that he’s past 90 points in a season. Mika Zibanejad had 91 points this year, a career high, including 39 goals. Meanwhile, on defense, Adam Fox, 25 years old from New York, leads the team with 72 points and a +/- of +28. The Devils will also have to be wary of the Rangers’ enforcer, Jacob Trouba. He notched 218 hits this season, the most of anyone playing in this series.

There is an inconsistency in playoff experience between these teams and it may be important in this series. The Devils are making the playoffs for the first time since 2018 and it is only the second time in franchise history that the team has recorded more than 50 wins in a season. The Rangers, on the other hand, finished last season in the Eastern Conference Finals where they lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Zibanejad was a beast last year, putting up 24 points in the postseason. Adam Fox had 23 points and averaged 26 minutes on ice per postseason game last year. Meanwhile, this is Hughes’ first time in the playoffs and Hischier’s second (he played five games when the Devils made the playoffs in 2018 and recorded one goal). Vanecek played in the playoffs for the Washington Capitals last year and, in two games, let in seven goals for a GAA of 4.21. Shesterkin, meanwhile, played 20 playoffs games last year, had a GAA of 2.59 and a save percentage of .929.

No matter which way you slice it, I see this series going deep. I would be surprised to see anything short of six or seven games. Although the Devils have home-ice advantage, I have to go with the experienced team over the young guns. Give me the Rangers in 7.

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