The long anticipated follow-up project to his third studio album Nothing Was The Same and intermittent mixtapes If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late and What a Time To Be Alive (paired with trap royalty Future) is a satiating dose of the stuff I tend to appreciate from Drake’s musicianship. However, standing at twenty tracks, there are moments I can’t help but feel he has bitten off more than he could chew. The album starts with crashing orchestral accompaniment like a John Williams Star Wars number on “Keep the Family Close“, opening with signature whinging that feels good for the soul: “all of my lets-just-be-friends are friends that I don’t have anymore”. Say what you will about him but this is the fabric of an amazing introduction track. Throughout Views we continually hear Drake’s self-reflexivity on his own success, predictably categorised into its effect on his romantic, personal and financial affairs. “U With Me?” is a well-made ode to the loyalty of his partner in difficult times (think 50 Cent’s “21 Questions” with more singing and a heavy DMX sample). “Feel No Ways” is perhaps my favourite track on the album, complete with a punchy drumline straight off Kanye’s MPC and Caribbean neo soul vocals that make you commend his team of ghost writers. I dare you not to at least hum along.
Unfortunately, the album crescendos decisively in its first half and becomes increasingly difficult to listen to, with tracks like “Grammys“, a lacklustre Future collaboration that could’ve comfortably remained in the vault, as well as “Fire & Desire” – I mean seriously what the fuck was this. More power to Drake though – throughout his career he’s made himself the figurehead for emotional rap and opened doors for fresh-faced, expressive and vulnerable MCs (take the likes of Bryson Tiller & The Weeknd). Views is probably reminiscent of his second album Take Care, only narrated by a more musically innovative Drake who fuses dancehall with R&B and hip-hop like few before him. Whilst a handful of these tracks are susceptible to instant-skipping and the release will hardly thrill bandwagon fans of “Jumpman” or “Hotline Bling“, it’s an obvious must for fans of his earlier work, and sonically suitable for Perth’s most miserable winter weather.
Words by Michael O’Leary