Drake – Views (First-Time-Listen ReVIEW)

After the long, 2+ year wait, Drake’s 4th studio album, Views, released on Apple Music, April 28, 2016. I (along with the rest of the world) was next to my phone, ready to listen to OVO Sound Radio, scheduled to premiere the album along with an interview with Drake and Zane Lowe at 10:45 PM EST.

Minutes went by and there was so sign of Drake nor Zane. Before the delayed show could even start, the album was released on Apple Music. Being the person that I am, I wanted to hear the interview before the album, in hopes that they would play some cuts in between the discussion. So much for that. Although I did get to hear Drizzy discuss some of the elements of Views, his relationship with Kanye West, and his current state with Nicki Minaj, it was driving me crazy that my Twitter TL was filled with comments about the album.

FINALLY, after two hours of excruciating eagerness, I pressed play. The first track, titled “Keep The Family Close,” had me a little off edge. The production hit me, but the song didn’t give me the “wow” factor I was looking for. I was in denial about my expectations not being met. I figured maybe I was just tired and out of energy from the wait, so just I kept listening. Together, the songs were pretty good and had great quality, but they still didn’t wow me. Usually, when I listen to an album for the first time, especially a highly anticipated one, I can FEEL the anticipation unraveling; Views just didn’t do that for me.

Now, my reaction was very rare because I go into everything with an open mind and I’m hard to “disappoint,” but, saying that #VIEWS didn’t blow me away doesn’t mean it’s bad. Drake is a phenomenal artist, but there’s a con to being the GOAT: Once you’re at the top, where do you go from there? (Down?) Since the start, all of Drake’s works already were top notch, and over time, they grew to some of the best projects in hip-hop that my generation’s ever seen. Because Drake is so great, I couldn’t see Views as a representation of his greatness declining, but rather as a new lane of sound. I just can’t rank Views with the rest of Drake’s albums: The sound of Views is unlike any other. The vibe is partially depressing because as explained in his interview with Zane, this album is more personal than ever. Another thing that he mentioned was that Views represents the change of seasons in Toronto, depicting it’s two extreme moods. Though, I mostly got fall/winter vibes from this album so I felt like the timing was wrong. Although we’ve waited years for this drop and were already boosted by his “Summer Sixteen” theme, if Views released this fall, the timing would have felt more accurate based on sound.  There was also more Drizzla (Reggae/Dancehall Drake) to fit with the summertime vibes of Toronto and a minimum amount of “go in” bars. As many say, change can be scary.

So on my first listen, of course, a small piece of me expected to be blown away because, I mean, IT’S DRAKE. But, I wasn’t surprised that my expectations weren’t 100% met because he’s already proven himself to me. By my third listen, I realized that the songs in Views were all are great in their own way and it’ll take several listens for me to be able to rank them against each other. With that being said, the album is still pretty dope.  I had a brief moment of disappointment, but once I realized why, I got over it and was able some nice aspects that Views had to offer. It’s not the best of Drake’s works, but it’s a pretty good collective.

First-Time-Listen Rating: 6/10

Listen to Episode 20 of OVO Sound Radio featuring Drake’s interview with Zane Lowe here on Apple Music and purchase Views now on iTunes.

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