By NOEMI GRIFFIN (@noemi_oriana)
Photo credit goes to theguardian.com.
Fresh off his collaborative album with Future and a series of features on songs by artists like Rihanna, Drake has dropped his fourth solo album -- not counting his mixtapes and other projects.
The project dropped amidst the excitement of Beyonce’s “Lemonade” and Chance the Rapper’s announcement of his third album, "3." The internet exploded with talk of “Views” when the album’s artwork was revealed, featuring the rapper sitting atop Toronto’s iconic CN tower.
Undoubtedly, Drake has positioned himself to be one of the most memorable rappers of the generation. He and his right-hand producer, 40, have created a sound that is laying a template for other artists and himself, as well. At this point everyone recognizes the tender, lush, soothing melodies.
But they’re not being used to express just romantic vulnerability. The rapper has found a way for this sound to be used not only for songs about heartbreak but also for songs about competitive stress, mistrust and fear.
“Views” is by far the softest project the rapper has put out since “Take Care.” And not to say that’s a bad thing. “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late” and “What A Time To Be Alive” were a sharp left turn from the emotionally lavish music on which he built his career. With “Views,” Drake is bringing his fans back to the music he won them over with in the first place.
"'If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late' and 'What A Time To Be Alive' were a sharp left turn from the emotionally lavish music on which he built his career. "
The album is dauntingly long, featuring 20 songs with collaborations from artists like PARTYNEXTDOOR, Wizkid, Kyla and -- of course -- Future and Rihanna. "Views" features frequent ruminations on the state of his emotions. On the opening track, “Keep the Family Close,” he lets us in on his disorientation with the state of his life.
“With my dad out in Tennessee is where I belong / Out here in L.A. I don’t know what’s going on,” he sings.
He might call Toronto home, but the rapper has been fairly nomadic since his career took off. Perhaps this is playing into the trust issues he’s rehashing on the album?
While the lyrics have a “blue and taken advantage” of theme, the album is still one of Drake’s most sonically vibrant. He mixes singing with rapping throughout the album, and many of the songs feature pop-y synth noises. The Toronto native also throws in some Afrobeat and dancehall waves to shake up the sound on the album.
Probable hits off the album include “One Dance,” “Controlla” and the Rihanna featuring “Too Good.” Negatively, Drake really is in a funk for most of the album. Which, to be honest, gets a little bothersome.
After “What a Time” and “If You’re Reading This” where he was all about himself, his hype and not about his hurt feelings, “Views” is a bit of a mood dropper. The album’s best moments are the ones that force Drake out of his personal funk, into other modes of being.