After two album releases in 2015 ‘If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late’ and ‘What A Time To Be Alive’, Drake’s new 20-track epic ‘Views’ says the artist is certainly not running short of inspiration, with himself acting as his favourite muse.
With the taste we relished in from earlier single releases ‘Hotline Bling’, ‘Pop Style’ and most notably the notoriously infectious ‘One Dance’; there has been much curiosity over what the Toronto-bred artist has had brewing in his studio. This was until the 82-minute montage of miserable self-pity commenced and the few tastes of catchy tropical islands were drowned by a tsunami of bitterness. Enter Views, an album that is characteristically Drake, however in this case his self-interest is what fails the compilation.
Like in most of Drake’s work, there exists a very real state of vulnerability in his raps about some brutally honest innermost thoughts. In the past this has proved to be intriguing and has contributed to his niche sound amongst other hip hop artists dominating the scene. Drake is selfishly philosophical on this album, discovering things about himself based on life experiences. Basically it is a Drake album all about Drake- which doesn’t veer away from common artistic inspiration, however Drake sounds more whinging then inspired. Even the album cover is very suggestive of the “self-discovery” Drake explores on the album, with an image of the artist sitting on a watchtower surrounded by a bleak sky.
The album as a whole is fundamentally slow and characteristically seductive, and whilst each track is commendable in its own right, the overall effect leaves you feeling a little groggy. At least the slow-paced icy vibe of the album with the occasional string and brass insertions (‘Keep the Family Close’, ‘Summers Over Interlude’, ‘Fire’ and ‘Desire’) allows for a seductive experience. It may not offer many noteworthy insights, but it will serve as an aphrodisiac.
Not surprisingly, the few infectiously catchy tunes on Views are those that are more upbeat and play with the tropical vibe. These are innovatively solid (‘One Dance’, ‘Controlla’, ‘Too Good’) even though they present an inconsistency to the predominantly depressive style of the album.
The fundamental tone of the album offers a very existential view on romance. Drake expresses constant disappointment with the opposite sex based on failed relationships that he doesn’t claim responsibility for: “Why do I settle for women that force me to pick up the pieces…Why do I want an independent women to feel like she needs me?” (‘Redemption’).
‘Too Good’ is refreshing in this instance where the collaboration with Rihanna offers a female voice that otherwise isn’t explored in his other tracks. “I’m too good to you, you take my love for granted I just don’t understand it”. After their hit duet ‘Work’ their sizzling chemistry affirms this bouncy jam as a more commercial hit.
All reservations aside, there still exists some noteworthy songs on the album that are destined to receive amounts of praise. ‘Pop Style’ while it is widely known, as an earlier single release is weirdly haunting with lyrics such as “Turn my birthday into a lifestyle” that will quickly become your new Drake-inspired life mantra, even if that just involves chanting to convince yourself that your swag comes naturally.
‘Views’ is a very modest title for an album that should be read as ‘Existential views on love and success with a hint of Caribbean flavour to keep you interested’. Every song is elegantly executed and the intriguing nature of the inner psyche explored should be captivating. Yet Drake’s self absorption is exhausting and ultimately repetitively boring.