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Burn Movie Review

Sizzlingly Odd
In his debut feature, writer/director Mike Gan has created a small film that, if there's justice, will attain a cult-like status. "Burn" takes place in the course of one evening and entirely within the confines of a rural, out-of-the-way gas station shop.
It's the kind of place that loners might wander into for a hot cup of coffee at 3am. Obviously this is not a big budget film, but Gan squeezes an awful lot of goodness out of it. Maybe we should call it badness.

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Drake - Care Package Music Album Reviews

This odds-and-ends compilation features tracks originally released between 2010 and 2016, and presents a more vulnerable version of the pop colossus we know now.

During his creative peak, from 2011’s Take Care through 2015’s If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, Drake processed his memory through his music. He plumbed the depths of his skyrocketing stardom, processing it all with a weary stream-of-consciousness. It was almost as if he was rapping names, places, and scenes as a way to remember them. (Never forget Courtney, from Hooters, on Peachtree.) Some songs included snippets of voicemails from irritated girlfriends. Others felt like rhyming notes to self, including one where he spent four minutes apologizing to his mother.


Drake will be 33 in October, and he’s no longer that person. His music has become more of a narrative running alongside his celebrity than the main product. Yes, he still breaks records, but his albums and songs now seem to be in service of the bigger, more lucrative business of being Drake.

But when his breakthrough mixtape So Far Gone turned 10 earlier this year, Drake decided it might be time to relive some formative memories. Or at least, to remember—and reap streaming royalties from—them. His OVO imprint celebrated the occasion with a physical release and digital release, and So Far Gone made its debut on the Billboard albums chart, hitting No. 5. In that same spirit comes Care Package, an odds-and-ends set that collects tracks that were originally released between 2010 and 2016. It’s an accessible time capsule, a concise document of his growth as a musician and a primary source for his OVO imprint’s signature sound, which has since anchored multiple careers. For Drake, who has had a relatively quiet year musically, now’s as good a time as ever to reflect on where he’s been.

While many of the songs on Care Package had logistics-related reasons for never seeing wider release—for instance, “Dreams Money Can Buy,” “Girls Love Beyoncé,” and “Draft Day” all contain expensive samples—they were all easy to find online, and quickly emerged as fan favorites. (Drake, a seasoned product pitchman at this point, described the release as “Some of our most important moments together available in one place.”) Many of these songs find Drake dredging up his rawest emotions while utilizing R&B textures and moods, speaking to a broad audience while still maintaining a singular perspective. There are tracks here that winningly delve into vulnerability, defeat, fear of failure—subjects his music rarely addresses anymore. Several songs once served as warm-ups for eventual full-lengths, musical mile-markers from a guy overflowing with great ideas. Drake could hardly miss during this period, a fact that Care Package definitively underscores.

“Paris Morton Music,” the oldest song on the collection, is a throwback to the time immediately before the entire radio started to sound like Drake featuring Drake, with a blurry-streetlight score that would become a rap radio formula for the first half of the decade. It’s a huge sound, by design—in producer Noah “40” Shebib’s production, Drake could easily find pockets to rap, pockets to sing, or both.

Throughout the compilation, from the after-the-afterparty trap of “Days in the East” to the versatile performance and soft-bellied synth twinkle of “The Motion” to the music-blog-friendly “Dreams Money Can Buy,” Drake is also presented not only as a versatile pop vocalist who could impress himself on almost any trending sound, but also as someone who could add a new dimension to that sound. His appeal as a pop musician was growing, and songs like “Club Paradise,” released a few months before Take Care, previewed Drake’s forthcoming leap; candid and funny, the song served as self-indulgent, status-update music way before “mood” was a hashtag.

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Certainly, there’s a few corny or dated moments—listening through Care Package, you’ll hear hashtag rap (“I got that Courtney Love for you/Crazy shit”), epically cloying vocal runs, and overly cutesy wordplay like, “Brunch with Qatar royals all my cups is oil.” However, the best songs here stand up with Drake’s best music. Take “Trust Issues,” perhaps the most meta moment on an extremely meta release, a song where Drake echoes his own hook from the DJ Khaled hit “I’m on One,” casting a shadow on all of its implied excess. Or 2013’s “Girls Love Beyoncé,” featuring a “Say My Name” sample that Drake and 40 reorient as a lonely plea for connection. “You know how this shit goes,” Drake sings, over soft drum claps and sampled vocal snippets. “This isn’t like four years ago.” The version of Drake that Drake is referencing on that song is the Drake of 2009, a guy with humbler ambitions. A guy that was gone, but not totally forgotten.

The Drake of 2019 has moved into the future—he now owns an eSports team. He is likely no longer driving his girlfriend through the snow so she can make the bar exam. He’s far more protected, far wealthier, far more inaccessible. As opportunistic as the release of Care Package is, the reminder of Drake’s work at the margins during his most prolific creative period is a timely one. The compilation layers history upon history, creating a dense nostalgia. We may no longer have the Drake from five or 10 years ago, but we’ll always have the memories.



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