Last Friday, Canadian-born rapper Drake released his highly-anticipated new album and the follow-up to his critically-acclaimed 2013 album, “Nothing Was the Same.” “Views,” formerly known as “Views from the 6,” features Drake addressing his critics, and rapping about his many relationship issues, and the 416, his hometown of Toronto, among other things.
Many of the best songs on the album are, in fact, about those relationship issues. “Too Good,” which features pop heavyweight Rihanna, is about how Drake (and Rihanna) believes he is being taken for granted by his significant other and is fed up with all the unrewarded effort.
“Childs Play,” quite possibly the very best song on the 20 track album, is about an argument the Toronto-native has with his girlfriend at the mall. The track also features a hilarious shout-out to The Cheesecake Factory during the first verse that just adds to the large amount of personality the song already has.
“Views” not only features brand new songs but some older ones as well. Previously released singles, “Pop Style,” “One Dance,” and “Hotline Bling,” appear on the album, although, unfortunately, the version of “Pop Style” appearing on “Views” no longer has the Kanye West and Jay-Z features in it. This small misstep is one of the few Drake makes on his new record.
“Views” also contains a vibe unlike what is shown on Drake’s recent mixtapes, “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late” and “What a Time to Be Alive.” The LP is very somber and tenebrous, which the album’s beautiful cover art serves well, as the cloudy exterior of Toronto surrounds a lonely Drake sitting on CN Tower.
While many of the songs are quite mellow in their nature, there are a couple that features a more upbeat and angry Drake, like “Grammys.” This song, while coincidentally being one of the worst on the whole album, features common collaborator and co-creator of the mixtape, “What a Time to Be Alive,” Future. Sadly, Future lends a chorus that is ultimately too repetitive and unappealing to really launch the song into any sort of popularity.
“Views” also shows off Drake and his producers’ ability to sample with excellence. Songs like “One Dance,” “Too Good,” and the title track really display solid mixing skills that culminate to create great melodies and beats.
Speaking of beats, many on the record are very minimalistic, but this works to the album’s advantage as the most appealing aspect of the entire LP is its ability to create atmosphere. The album manages to make the listener understand and relate to Drake’s feelings of isolation and frustration that he attempts to convey. Tracks like “Keep the Family Close,” “Pop Style,” and “Fire & Desire” truly exemplify the mood this album creates.
In fact, “Keep the Family Close” is one of the best examples of a song that creates an atmosphere well in 2016. With meaningful lyrics and an incredible build-up that does not really lead to anything great within the song, it is still a great lead-in to the next song on the tracklist, “9,” an interesting sort of love-letter to Drake’s hometown.
“9” features a very interesting and immersive beat that invites the listener to sit back and relax while listening to Drake tell his stories, and Drake is quite the storyteller.
While he can go on tangents on occasion, it is very easy to understand and interpret his words in this album, as it is one of the most straight-forward records that Drake has ever concocted.
“Views” may not be the album that fans have been looking for, but it certainly deserves merit, as, while the creator is only 29, his new album feels like a magnum opus of sorts.
Overall, “Views” is one of the best albums of 2016 so far, and likely one of the best on Drake’s discography. Within one day it sold over 600,000 copies which cement its becoming of an instant classic, although, to be fair, most albums Drake has created have become classics.