Review by Nick Erickson, Staff writer
The music scene has spent the last two weeks mourning the loss of a pop icon, Prince, and praising Beyoncé’s newest diss album on her husband, Jay Z. Out of the blue, the world has been graced with a new record from the Toronto rapper Drake. “Views,” which was “Views from the 6” less than a week ago, is an impressive 20-tracks, which unfortunately are anything but that. Drake’s fourth LP is largely stagnant, with a few highlights and guest artists scattered throughout.
Intro track “Keep The Family Close” hits listeners with some spacey synth chords and heavy reverb. Drake brings well-known trust issues to the table, singing prominently versus rapping. From an instrumental standpoint, the track is quite relaxing, with airy strings and a smooth bassline. Despite this, Drake’s voice sounds too overproduced. As his voice flows throughout the verses, there’s the subtle tinge of computerized pitch correction, and it’s hard to look past the annoying, robotic nature of it.
“With You” features rapper PartyNextDoor, arguably one of the highlights of the album. His voice is silkier than Drake’s and intertwines and compliments Drake’s effortlessly. At barely three minutes, it’s the album’s shortest song, but the production and beats on this track are undoubtedly well-written, executed, and downright groovy.
Sadly, a majority of the remainder of “Views” is hardly distinguishable from his last three albums. Not to say that this a bad thing, but it simply feels all too familiar, and as each track progresses, the diversity becomes sparse. Rihanna’s feature on “Too Good” overshadows Drake’s abilities. As she jumps in on the second verse and belts throughout the chorus alongside Drake, her high timbre is enjoyable, although it’s still nothing too special compared to her own material.
Drake is notorious for rapping about being heartbroken and reassuring his heart to his lover, and this theme continues to be his go-to on “Views.” “Faithful” sounds like it could be a B-side to Drake’s 2011 “Take Care.” Singing of being faithful to the woman he loves, (who would’ve guessed), it’s catchy and emotional but just doesn’t add up against anything he’s released before.
“Child’s Play” has a pretty stale beat, but the lyrics, while nothing to write home about, are pretty hilarious. Drake raps about fighting with girl at a Cheesecake Factory, and his unintentional humor in this track somewhat makes up for its otherwise emptiness.
Concluding the album is Drake’s hit “Hotline Bling,” which broke charts last summer. At roughly eight months, it’s safe to say it’s still one of his most memorable tracks, and its infectious nature isn’t losing radio play any time soon. Ending the album on a familiar note might have been a smart move after all, as much of what came before it is forgettable.
Drake is without a doubt one of the biggest names in all of music right now and that isn’t likely to change anytime soon. With that said, there is little to be found on “Views” that feels worthy of making the Top 40. While Drake might be pouring his emotion and tender broken soul into his art, after the nth time it’s been done, what is really left to say? If you’re looking for something fresh, steer clear from “Views.”