By Kent Wong, May 19 2016 —
Toronto-born rapper Drake returns from his 2013 studio album Nothing Was The Same with his latest full-length album Views. The three official singles, “Hotline Bling,” “One Dance” and “Pop Style” prop up the 20-track album.
Views takes a thematic approach. Some songs are more emotional, while others are dance-focused and lack Drake’s moody tendencies.
Drake is seemingly attempting to remain commercial and include radio-friendly dance songs instead of his signature ballads
Dance hall-inspired tracks like “One Dance” or “Controlla” contrast his verbal assault towards critics in more emotional tracks.
Views opens up with “Keep the Family Close” which features Drake’s sometimes unwanted singing and revolves around the rapper’s trust issues with his friends. The title states his stance on the issue, and this perpetual sadness is more of the same from Drake. That’s not to say the song lacks depth — the lyrics are profound and stinging.
Views often feels like more of the same from the artist. Drake doesn’t take many risks in the album, leaving it feeling like a missed opportunity.
Drake does attempt to push the album with guests spots such as Future and Rihanna, but the tracks fall short.
Like his prior albums, the topics of his songs don’t tend to move much past personal relationships.
As a fan of his work, I can’t help but feel a bit frustrated.
That’s not to say all of his collaboration efforts were lost. “One Dance” for example, features vocals from Nigerian rapper Wizkid, whom he previously collaborated with in 2015 to remix his track “Ojuelegba.”
“One Dance” reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It’s Drake’s first number one as a solo artist, which deserves some praise.
Views is an album that isn’t entirely memorable, but does carry some potential for a summer dance playlists. It’s an alright effort worthy of its commercial success, but ultimately falls short of expectations.