BY DREW LACOUTURE
Coming off the most successful year of his career, Drake manages to maintain the attention of everybody while not impressing anybody on “Views.” Meant to be a homage to his home city of Toranto, Drake decides to indulge in the moody yet seductive subject matter and instrumentals that made him successful including singing… lots of it. This and a lack of fantastic tracks (despite there being 20 tracks) might make this album polarizing for many people.
Drake over the past year has been dropping music back-to-back and just about all of it has landed a bullseye. While this album is without a doubt satisfactory, the Drake camp might be suffering from artist fatigue. All of his music has been so great on a pop and hip-hop level (“If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late”, “Back to Back” and “Hotline Bling”) so because this album is just good, it makes the album worse than it is. This is mainly due to View’s lack of distinction with several questionable decisions.
What people will remember most about “Views” is his inclusion of dance-hall inspired pop songs with “Controlla, the single “One Dance” and “Too Good” all coming off the success of Rhianna’s “Work.” Speaking of Rhianna, her feature on “Too Good” is spectacular plus the hypnotic instrumental make it a highlight. While these tracks might settle well with all of Drake’s fans, “Too Good” alone makes this experiment worth but “One Dance and “Controlla” will likely be inescapable this summer.
Unfortunately the overhyped “Grammys” with Future sounds like a B-side from “What a Time to Be Alive, with both artists talking about their success behind a lackluster instrumental. The real banger on here is ironically “Hype” that has one of his most braggadocios lyrics “I don’t run out of material/ you shouldn’t speak on me, period, you try to give ’em your side of the story/ they heard it, but they wasn’t hearin’ it.”
The opening tracks on “Views” actually start the album off strong with the emotional and cloudy “Keep the Family Close” which sets the tone of the album incredibly well. “9” has an incredible beat and is the only track strictly about his city. However, he never really explains why “I turn the six upside down, it’s a nine now.”
The album alone suffers because of “With You” where Drake uses PARTYNEXTDOOR and Jeremih both entirely outshine him and sounds more like an interlude then a full track. However, the situation is flipped on the next track “Faithful” where Plies and dvsn are underused. Plies only says a few lines while dvsn sounds fantastic on this track and his outro should have been re-written as the hook of the song.
There are just so many tracks that are just good, and nothing more that. Drake is most ear grabbing on the Fetty Wap inspired “Still Here” with his second verse (“I gotta talk to God even though he isn’t near me, Based on what I got it’s hard to think he don’t hear me”). The beginning of “Childs Play” gives so much promise but falls off half way through. Drake spits some nice bars on “Weston Road Flows” but the sample used is too loud and is quite distracting.
Love him or hate him, Drake is one of the only artists in history that makes sexy, lush songs but are really break-up songs or him struggling with love. This is especially true with “Feel No Ways” and ethereal “Redemption” that are both harken back to “Take Care.” What other artist can do that while still crushing Meek Mill?
The real question of the century though is why he put “Hotline Bling” on the album and not “Summer Sixteen.” The reasons why this move does not make sense is almost endless. “Views” should have been the actual closer because of its grand instrumental and great reminiscent lines ( “Running through the 6, thumbing through the contracts/ I’m possessed, you can see it under the contacts/ They think I had the silver spoon but they’ll get it soon/ I still got something left to prove since you left me room”)
To the credit of Drake and his producers (and possibly ghostwriters), the record does not feel like an hour and thirty minutes. The songs for the most part at least decent enough to vibe with. This is not to say that some tracks should have been cut for “U With Me,” and “With You” mentioned earlier. “Fire and Desire” is barely redeemed by the genius use of a sample from Brandy.
Drake as an entertainer did not disappoint on “Views” but his work ethic recently work against him here for outside of his dance hall tracks, Drake does not do anything incredibly noteworthy. If Drake waited a bit longer to release this to give listeners a break, and focused more on quality over quantity, then this album might have been more successful on a musical level. Despite this Drake still deserves credit where it is deserved and this album will not be seen as a misstep in the future.
The Flyer gives “Views” by Drake a 6/10.