‘Views’ almost lives up to expectations, sputters

Drake’s latest lowers previous standard, quality

By Jshania Owens, Staff Writer

Don’t hold any big expectations for Drake before listening to “Views,” his latest LP. He’ll defy them all. Well, almost.

“Views” had the potential to be a classic for his career if he had stayed with those mid-tempo Caribbean-inspired tracks like “Controlla” and “One Dance” throughout the album.

But the low-tempo flow, that begins with “Keep the Family Close,” is always expected from Drake. Not that it’s a bad thing. Available exclusively on Apple Music and iTunes after its first week of release, the album can be purchased “explicit” or “clean,” and was released for streaming on Spotify on Friday.

Previously called “Views from the 6,” as announced in 2014 with the six referring to his Toronto hometown, the title was later shortened to “Views.” What listeners “view” on the album are personal lyrics that flow on heavy beats fading into each track. In “U With Me?” Drake poses important questions regarding his girl’s loyalty and reflects on the past, as well as her present intentions with him. Well, if his intentions with this track and album are to keep himself above everyone in terms of music, he comes pretty close to achieving.

Drake mesmerizes listeners with slow beats and gets personal on every track, but “With You” includes fellow OVO Sound (his record label) member PartyNextDoor.

Drake also samples the late Pimp C’s verse from “Tom Ford.” The group dvsn (pronounced “division”) is also featured on this track. The act is Drake’s newest artist signed with OVO Sound. These tracks are undeniably good, and they make up for “Views” being mellow, almost sleepy, up until the last half of the album.

“Controlla” finally lifts the album’s vibe with a dancehall-fused sound as he sings about regaining control of the relationship. Jamaican dancehall artist Beenie Man is sampled in what sounds like Drake’s perspective in “Work” by Rihanna, in which he is also featured.

Toward the end, the song continues onto the next track, “One Dance,” with another dancehall vibe on the album. Previously released as a single, “One Dance” questions everyone who could never call themselves a fan of Drake.

With artists Wizkid and Kyla’s hooks on the memorably danceable beat, this song gets the gold star on Drake’s project.

Listeners get back to Drake’s familiar hip-hop beats with “Grammys.” His low-tempo emotions are put on hold when Future joins him on this track. Although Drake has won one Grammy in his career, this song might gain him two, for the album and song.

And then there’s “Hotline Bling.” The album comes to a close with the lead single and one the most popular songs of his career. Although the song has been inescapable since its release, it feels wrong for it to be on the album. It just doesn’t blend in.

“Views”  might drag along with the first few songs having that signature monotone and low-tempo emotional Drake sound, but as he sings about his fame and relationships, the album suddenly becomes a Caribbean dancehall piece.

That said, those dancehall songs are worth playing a few times.