2015 was Drake’s year: after releasing “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late” out of the blue in January to critical acclaim and fanfare, Drake went on to drop the hottest single of the summer, “Hotline Bling,” which dominated the charts, ether battle rapper Meek Mill with two diss tracks and release another album titled, “What a Time to be Alive” with Atlanta rapper Future. Now, his much-anticipated follow up “VIEWS” is finally here, and it is a total disappointment. While the production on this album is stellar, the album comes out to be a long-winded mess, with some of the worst songwriting I have ever heard. Example: “This pussy know me better than I know myself.” or “Lamborghini got me feeling like Christian Bale,” or “Got so many chains they call me Channing Tatum.” Ok, Drake. Ok.
Sonically, “VIEWS” marks a return to the soundscapes that dominated “Take Care”: The tracks have an R-and-B tinge to them, while using trap-influenced percussion, like sped-up kick-drums and hi-hats. Lyrically, Drake is focusing on the same tired subjects he has been rapping about since his first album: fame, money, relationships with women and reflecting on his past. Where “Take Care” was successful because of how forward his subject matter was, “VIEWS” just sounds trite and boring, showcasing the fact that Drake really doesn’t have much to say.
The largest problem with this album is that there is nothing that seems original: He is rapping about the exact same subjects since he first began, his R-and-B is gimmicky and even his flow schemes are the same. I posit that there isn’t a single flow scheme on this entire album that he hasn’t already done. Moreover, the weakness on the album comes solely from the weakness of his songwriting: The production is flawless. There isn’t a single track on here that could be layered better, or mixed better; the samples are incredible and the drums just pop, with a nice boom-bap feel. Moreover, perhaps every single one of the songs has some type of beat change that flows well with the entire album.
In many ways it’s difficult to review this album. While as an overall project it is incredibly weak, and the lows of the album really pull down even the better moments, there definitely are some incredible tracks on here. Perhaps the best track on the song, “Weston Road Flows,” has a beautiful beat, starting with a lo-fi soul sample, chopped over a simple drum beat. Drake’s lyrics on this track actually sound genuine and introspective, losing the gimmicky flair over the rest of the album. Moreover, tracks like “Still Here” and “Childs Play” (sic) bring back the trap sound that Drake has been working with so successfully on his previous projects, with blistering rhymes and hard beats.
While I personally did not enjoy this album, fans of Drake who are looking for material similar to “Take Care” will definitely enjoy it.
Rating: 2/5 Stars