Views by Drake Album Review - The Price of Expectations

When it comes to the entertainment business, everything is defined by expectations. It's weird and arguably wrong to look at art in such selfish fashion. Nevertheless, us humans are built like that. More often than not, our favorite projects are the ones we had no expectations about. In the same line of thinking, the albums that we were anticipating the most can end up being our biggest disappointments. Drake's latest record, 'Views', suffers from that exact issue. As soon as it came out, a big portion of listeners flooded the Internet with complaints, calling it 'horrendous' and 'atrocious'. I won't lie: I quietly was one of them. After I first played the album, I absolutely hated it. However, you can't digest art in one day. Multiple listens later, I'm finally ready to give my opinion on 'Views'.

Like always, I'll begin by talking about what the album gets right. To be honest, I have a lot of positive things to say. Throughout this whole review, you will find this thought: the album is not bad. At all. It has a many of fundamental issues that keep it from being the CD myself (and plenty of fans) wanted to hear, but that doesn't immediately make it trash. The first thing I enjoy is the theme.

This is the first time Drake really attempts to craft a concept album. Now, it's not as deep or powerful as some of the concepts other popular rappers are currently handling. There's not an insane amount of thought put into it, but I think that was the intention. The theme is light and not obvious to casual listeners, but Hip-Hop fans will understand it. "Views" is about Toronto. Specifically, it deals with the city's weather. The first half of the album takes place during the winter. Most songs are slower, softer, and with a lighter palette. After that, summer arrives, and the tracks get a lot heavier and colorful. I would describe it as music with a Caribbean flavor. Sadly, summer doesn't last long (similar to real life). Winter comes back, and the album wraps up with regular tunes. Not complicated, but a nice way to tie the package together.

Another aspect I loved was the production. There are a lot of producers in here, but the ones that left a mark on me are Noah “40” Shebib, Jordan Ullman, Boi-1da and Daxz. Still, the entire team was able to create wonderful pieces. From loud hitters full of drums and basslines, to slower songs full of live instrumentation. Every instrument is clean, crisp and properly mastered. The songs sound different, but everything feels modern and fitting. I love album that posses musical variety without it being an unorganized mess. The excellent beat selection often lead to fantastic musical moments.

The one thing everybody knows when you deal with Drake is the fact that he can make great music. This body of work is not the exception. I found a healthy number of standout tracks. There is an enjoyable balance between the vulnerable singer and the hard-hitting spitter. Bangers like 'Hype' and 'Still Here' had my car bursting into flames. The introspective, beautifully sampled 'Views' and 'Weston Road Flows' genuinely had me feeling nostalgic. I was also surprised by some of the more commercial tracks, including 'Hotline Bling' and 'One Dance'. What do all these things have in common? Drake sounds hungry and invested.

This is where we get into my problems with the record. To me, Drake is not one of those artists whose music you're supposed to put in the background while relaxing. In my opinion, you're supposed to listen. At his best, Drake is arguably my favorite rapper in the game. He's supposed to inspire, brag and connect with you through his music. However, at times the connection simply wasn't there. Again, the production was amazing, but there was something regarding Drake. Uninterested is not the word I'm looking for. I would say his delivery is intended to sound bland. Sonically, it reminded me of other artists, which is a very bad thing. Canada's premiere rapper has always been known to innovate and create new lanes. In 'Views', he's trying to make sure people understand he's the master in one particular lane, and therefore not switching it up. '9' is the perfect example. The beat is there, and the energy is there. Still, the flow he uses is extremely slow and lazy. Said flow leaves a huge space from line to line, and the song ends up sounding empty. 'Pop Style' and 'Fire & Desire' suffer from similar problems.

On the other side, this project is shockingly safe. From beginning to end, everything sounded like I'd expect Drake to create. He simply never stepped out of his comfort zone. This doesn't instantly turn it into a mediocre album, but it does hold it back from the greatness it is attempting to reach. The problem comes when the new songs are overshadowed by previous (and similar) entries. 'Keep the Family Close', 'With You', and 'Faithful' all feel like tracks the 6 God has made before, in a more clever, interesting way. The repetitiveness turns these ballads into skippable filler.

Finally, the project is too long. I say this far too often, but I will probably not love your album if it's longer than an hour and change. 20 melodies piling up to 81 minutes is too much material. It would be acceptable if there was a specific reason for such length. But considering the issues previously mentioned, you could easily take away 5 or 6 songs and transform it into a more cohesive, solid, and satisfying body of work .

Verdict: Drake has been hyping 'Views' for the past two years. For months, I've been hearing people say that he's cooking up a classic. And for a while, I believed it. There was this aura surrounding him, the one that only comes around once in a while. This was the perfect time for the new generation's Jay-Z to drop the record that would change the culture. Is 'Views' that album? Absolutely not. However, it's an enjoyable project that you should approach without the highest expectations. If you do, you will encounter good vibes, catchy melodies and great music.

Favorite Tracks
- Views
- Still Here
- Weston Road Flows
- U With Me?
- Summers Over Interlude

Least Favorite Tracks
- With You
- Faithful
- Pop Style

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