Drake Drops an Ambitious New Album with VIEWS
    • MONDAY, MAY 02, 2016

    • Posted by: Mike Montemarano

    Drake's newly released album, Views, is a totally unexpected addition to his catalog. His instrumental melodies undergo some serious risk-taking, as things go from a cinematic orchestra to totally glitchy, noisy beats that embody an unequivocal 80's influence at times. Like his previous albums, he has tangential and snarky monologues about his love life, but he's improving how he expresses those sentiments. What seems to be a changing form of retrospection, actually reveals more vulnerability than ever before.

    With age, comes wisdom and Drake's work is a reflection of his maturation. The lengthy album, comprised of 20 songs, raises the bar for standard pop music, with smooth and gliding tracks that transform questions into explorations. In the process, he uses his pop icon accessibility to make some changes in the conversation, plain and simple.

    Views opens up with a cinematic, orchestral mantra, totally free from typical EDM qualities, which was a weird opener for him as he often sticks to the more trancey, electronic soundscapes. Nonetheless, it doesn't clash with his always clean cut, smooth voice, and though he's basically on another rant about girl problems, the music doesn't lack his usual lushness.

    After Hotline Bling" completely dominated, the whole schtick about his soft side coming out because a girl isn't treating him right just seems like an extension of the track. His flow sometimes seems slow and disoriented, but then again, once the cymbals start crashing and the organ comes in, this track is by no means conventional hip hop. Though Drake is taking risks and some innovative approaches that shouldn't be discouraged, it's hard not to laugh out loud when the track goes to the dark side with a Darth Vader-esque feel as he soulfully goes on rhyming about a failed relationship, ending with a sound sampling of rants from a female stranger. This track is quirky as hell and hilariously done in a self-aware way that takes a bit of time to appreciate.

    "9" opens up with one of the sleekest beats that Drake has put together. It practically verges on the Chillwave genre, keeping things simple but super cool with its weird ambience. It's a track that's destined to fuel misadventures when people first roll out for a night full of debauchery. While painstakingly slow, it paints the mental image of the eye before the storm. It'll pummel the low end of your speakers as you terrorize the blocks you drive down with a wall of synth bass so thick you can cut through it.

    U With Me" opens up with a DMX sample and a thunderous beat the X himself would likely add to one of his mixes. Aside from that, there's a weird fusion of 80's throwback synths and harps that don't seem to make sense. There's some funny bars thrown into this rap, which is an anxious love song delving into why he fears incompatibility in a relationship due to his heavy-hitting lifestyle. Things seemed to mellow until Drake finally lets loose and breaks into singing with a lot of intensity.

    If the prior track wasn't 80's enough, Feel No Ways" unleashes some of the sleekest beats, with a totally upbeat fervor to them. This track showcases his ambitions to experiment with instrumentals and top-quality sounds.

    Hype" is the first triumphant return to that prolific and egotistical writing. The track has a spacious and trippy beat that takes things back to a more typical level, with much more fast-paced verses that make the track more of a tried and true form of rap. At a trap tempo, it's a fun track to jam to, as Drake demands his place as a legend against those who aim to taint his legacy in the rap game. It's not exactly a classic, but it's true to form with his over the top bragging.

    Weston Road Flows" takes on a much more old-school persona, full of echoing R&B backup singers that sound along the lines of California G-funk. It's a reminiscent and groovy track that definitely puts itself up on a pedestal compared to the more full-fledged raps heard up to this point. It also shows a major change in style midway through the album, as is common throughout the full listen; Views is versatile and dynamic.

    PARTYNEXTDOOR opens up With You" in a way that helps with moments of redundancy on the album, churning out hooks that have some definite chemistry alongside Drake's style. There's a lot of potential for each of these artists when they work alongside one another. The beat, in general, is weird and funky, proving to be one of the most danceable songs on the album, supplying Views with content that's hard to forget.

    Faithful" is another track that proves Drake's ability to find chemistry in what's truly a collaborative rap song. It's got a sense of humor and a wittiness that cuts through the gangster sensibilities injected into the mix by Pimp C and Dvsn.

    One Dance," by staying true to its title, adds a vibrant and fun jam into the mix where it lacked prior. It's got a cool little rambling piano slam that breaks through the noise in a very agreeable way. There's a weird element of Reggaeton that adds to the world-weary multiculturalism present within the album's theme.

    Grammys" incorporates some Future action to create the biggest party hit on the album. It's a simple but elegant jam that's nothing short of a celebration, and Future pretty much dominates on the track to keep things ridiculous.

    Child's Play" is a weird moment in which Drake negotiates his mainstream side with the more hood styles he delves into, in a way that's self-reflective and utterly bizarre. It's hard to understand what's going on here, but it's also pretty funny. Pop Style" seems like a comedic caricature of unhinged trap music in response to the prior track.

    Views" opens up with a charming gospel performance, only to transform into what might be the eeriest and powerful song on the album. It once again delves from simplicity into something totally elegant and unhinged as Drake fulfills his self-made prophecy, with his egoism and pride at the forefront as is classic Drake. It's got incredibly catchy but unique hooks that he owns as his trademark sound.

    Nothing other than Hotline Bling" could work as the finale to this album. It's a succinct way to tie everything together, concluding with the globally reaching hit that wraps things up on the lightest note possible. It's a simple voila," and the placement makes sense.

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