I am not a qualified music critic. Okay, now that that’s settled, let’s move on to Drake’s new album, Views. If you’re reading this, I’m assuming that you’ve already listened to the album. What’s that? You say you’re reading my review to see whether or not you should give the album a listen? Of course you should. It’s Drake. Read no further.
Now that you’ve followed my instructions and listened, here is my take on the Toronto-based MC’s new album. Views takes the listener on a tour of Toronto, with Drake as the guide. The album contains Billboard hits like “Hotline Bling” and “One Dance” as well as the classic Drake songs we so desparately need to help express our feelings in texts to our exes.
First, I’d like to address the album’s two hit singles, “Hotline Bling” and “One Dance.” Coincidentally (or not), these are the only two non-explicit songs on the album. In my humble opinion, these songs represent the beginning of the end for Drake. If he keeps releasing empty dance numbers whose catchy tunes are designed for naïve college students to pay $1.29 on iTunes, or smarter college students to download on their sister’s Spotify account, then we will soon be able to kiss the old Drake goodbye.
He will not be going back to back like Jordan in 1996 and 1997 (and 1998, as well as in 1991, 1992 and 1993 for those diehard NBA fans). Even if his accountant will continue to have trouble trying to count it, I think all of us old-school Drake fans should hope that he indeed gets hit with the R.I.C.O. (and that Lebron smacks his Raptors).
I’m only being harsh on these hits for one simple reason. Drake is capable of so much more! Drake at his best is as good as it gets! Let’s not forget all the masterpieces, notably “0 to 100/The Catch Up,” “Over,” “Forever” and “Headlines.” Even if the man didn’t truly start from the bottom (no, being Wheelchair Jimmy on Degrassi not is the bottom if you ask me), he possesses serious talent, and I would hate to see him get caught up in the Justin Bieber mindset of making music purely to sell records.
Here’s the good news: The rest of Views is pure artistry. The other 18 songs aren’t meant to climb to the top of the charts. The other 18 songs are vulnerable and honest. Arguably no other rapper can bring us into his or her head as well as Drake can.
The funky (and usually percussion-heavy) beats encourage us to focus on the lyrical content of his verses. That being said, it would be crazy to put these 18 songs into a single category. Other songs, like “Faithful,” with a posthumous feature from Dirty South Legend, Pimp C, are are tender, rich and romantic. They are all unique, but each one plays a substantial role in the overall makeup of the album.
Most of the songs lack an identifiable chorus (a necessary quality for a hit song). Drake clearly did not care about the Billboard charts when making most of this album (with the exception of “One Dance” and “Hotline Bling”). Even if most of the album doesn’t have the same appeal that some of his earlier songs and albums have, Drake is still Drake. The man is a poet. Give it a chance. Give these songs a second listen.