Views, originally titled Views From The 6, is Drake’s love letter to his home city of Toronto. Since the album was announced way back in 2014, Drake has dropped a surprise mixtape If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late and collaboration album with Future What a Time to Be Alive. After two years of anticipation, with the album and the artist aggrandised to such an extent before its release, the eventual product is disappointing and underwhelming.
Drake’s insular and revealing lyrics persist in Views, rapping and singing about his family and friends, his city and his many, many ex-girlfriends. “This album, I’m very proud to say, is just – I feel like I told everybody how I’m actually feeling,” he told Zane Lowe in a recent interview, which is strange considering ALL of his previous work is based around telling us how he feels. The album’s problem however isn’t with his sometimes questionable lyrical abilities, it’s its length. Views runs at a bloated 82 minutes, which is far too long and self-indulgent. Lacking the drive and aggression that punctuated If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, and the cohesion of Nothing Was The Same, I find myself picking out tracks as opposed to listening to the whole album.
monotone raps over fairly unremarkable beats
Starting slowly and fairly boringly, with ‘Keep the Family Close’ and ‘9’, Drake appears to take no new direction, delivering monotone raps over fairly unremarkable beats. The third track changes this formula slightly, including a pretty cool DMX sample to get the beat going at the beginning of the track. ‘Feel No Ways’ is the stand out of the album for me, a spiritual successor to mega-hit 2013’s ‘Hold On We’re Going Home’. Produced by Jordan Ullman of Drake’s OVO signees Majid Jordan, the song features skittering hi-hats and a smooth synth that makes it a real chilled summer evening song. From this accomplished chilled out vibe, Drake fulfils his title of ‘Jumpman’ by jumping straight back into If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late mode with aggressive songs like ‘Hype’ that don’t seem to fit.
He moves back and forth too often, and the album only really hits a flow between tracks 6 and 12, meandering through more relaxed efforts like ‘Weston Road Flows’, and ‘With You’ featuring PARTYNEXTDOOR. The swaying dancehall rhythms of ‘Controlla’, single ‘One Dance’ and ‘Too Good’ (featuring Rihanna), inject a bit of pop and bounce into the album, but again at random points. ‘Single Pop Style’ appears towards the end of the album, having removed Kanye’s and Jay-Z’s verse’s to make Views a very Drake orientated show. Certain songs shouldn’t be on the album: definitely ‘Grammys’, a collaboration with Future that seems lazily thrown in. Similarly, ‘Hotline Bling’ seems tacked onto the end and adds nothing.
All in all, Drake’s newest album is frustrating in that it boasts some really good moments that get lost in the muddle of too many tracks. Kanye was guilty of including too many songs on The Life of Pablo, and Drake is here too. It doesn’t work as a whole, and my blasphemous advice would be to find the tracks you like, delete the ones you don’t, and enjoy your own cohesive version of Views.