Views: Track by Track Review
Views is here. For me, this album was long overdue. As a result, I had very high expectations - especially with the heat Drake dropped prior to its release, most of which ended up on the album (“Pop Style”, “One Dance”, “Controlla”, “Faithful”, “Hotline Bling”).
Views did not disappoint. The first listen was the best first listen I have experienced with any album, including all of Drake’s albums, despite the fact that both IYRTITL and WATTBA were absolute fire on the first listen as well.
One thing about Drake’s projects is that they always improve with each listen. It took six total listens for me to decide Views was his second best album, behind Take Care. But honestly, Take Care was much more underwhelming the first listen. Many people say Drake has been stagnant as an artist, but I think each album has a different vibe and Views is the salad bowl of his discography. It’s the most similar project he’s made to Take Care, with a little bit of every other album’s vibe poured in.
“Keep the Family Close” was the most boring intro track I’d ever heard . . . first listen. Yet when I dove into the lyrics and envisioned him performing it live to open up a concert, everything changed. The production and the instruments were amazing. Drake took a leap with this track and he nailed it – you just may not see that initially. He’s never created an album so instrumental, but I guess I made the mistake of doubting his versatility.
“9” was a disappointing follow-up. This song is as boring to me now as it was when I first heard it; it’s easily the worst song of the album. The point is clear, but had it been more upbeat, I would’ve felt the “turn the 6 upside down” more than I do now. I skip this song when it comes on at this point.
“U With Me?” is in my top five for Views. Drake is mastering this flow switch game. The initial vibe is lowkey, especially because the beat sounds like something he’d sing on, yet instead he gives us the rapper Drake that we want and love. And then he goes off. It may just be me, but I feel like artists typically put the best song on their albums as the third track. If that’s the case, Drake followed suit and I would entertain an argument for this being the best song on album. The DMX sample was also very well-executed.
I felt a NWTS vibe in the solid follow-up “Feel No Ways”. It was incredibly smooth. I love the relatable narrative here:
“I had to let go of us to show myself what I could do, and that just didn’t sit right with you”;
“Now you’re tryna make me feel a way, on purpose, and now you’re
throwing it back in my face, on purpose, now you’re talking down on my name on purpose, and you don’t feel no way, you think I deserve
Real life. Also one of my top 5 songs.
HYPE. “Hype”. Hypeeeeee. Drizzy found a nice beat, addressed the haters and then said he’s done. This track hit me hard with the banging beat and constant bars being thrown at us:
“Views already a classic”;
“They wanna be on tv right next to me, you cannot be here right
next to me, don’t you see RiRi right next to me”;
“My enemies wanna be friends with my other enemies, I don’t let it
get to me.”
I could’ve kept going with the incredible lyrics from “Hype,” but “Weston Road Flows” gave us just as many. I really felt the vibe of this. He gave us substantial background on his life. While his upbringing wasn’t all that rough, he lets us in on his life and thoughts, making it easy to connect to. Because who really knows what happens in Toronto?
The similarities to Take Care were obvious in the beat and flow of “Redemption.” It was “The Real Her” from Take Care minus Lil Wayne. It’s a strong vocal track; the message is real. This is the in-his-feels Drake that everyone probably thought this album would be saturated with. And as soft as people may try to make this song seem, it’s good. It’s deep. Don’t we all miss the feeling of someone missing us? We’ve all got someone who has redemption on their mind when thinking about us. Oh, and don’t forget to notice the flow switch at the end.
"With You" was the first song with a feature. It credited PARTYNEXTDOOR but left off Jeremih, who really only contributed two lines. This was 100 percent a PND and Jeremih track, which would’ve been great with only them. PND outshined Drake here. Sometimes your features are just better than you.
“Faithful” just missed my top five. It was a tough call though, particularly with the addition of dvsn in the album version. Pimp C could have been left off, as his verse contributed nothing to the overall theme of the song besides essentially insinuating he’s only faithful to Bun B. Nonetheless, Drake paid homage to a great. Dvsn switched the flow up so well and turned this song from Drake-y, midnight music you listen to before sliding into the DMs to the type that could make it on your sex playlist when bae finally comes over. Look out for dvsn. SEPT 5th is a great album. Back to Drake.
The production really made “Still Here” what it was. Drake was pretty repetitive here. The lyrics are good, but nothing profound. Perhaps he could give us a really dope video for it, though.
Controoooooooooolla. This is my song. Already a hit on the radio. Already bumping at parties and inducing a massive amount of twerks. Everybody loves “Controlla”. The only issue here is the removal of Popcaan. Drake adds his own material to replace it, but the song has a slightly different vibe. It seems like Drake wanted only strategic features for the album and wanted his self to shine more. Can’t be too mad about that. This video will be dope, I hope he gets RiRi in it. “That’s why I neeeed all the energy that you bring to me”.
I love “One Dance” just as much now as I did when I first heard it. Another radio banger and party banger. I’m glad he kept Wizkid and Kyla on this track, too. It’d be fire without them, but it’s certainly fire with them. I’d be on the lookout for more collaborations between them in the future.
I’d say “Grammys” is in my top five but this song says it for me, three times. It’s straight from WATTBA, it’s the Drizzy we love. He gets a beat and goes stupid on it. And, we love Drake and Future collabs. Future completely switched the flow, but he matched Drake this time as opposed to a lot of WATTBA where Drake was kind of leveling with Future. It seemed like Drake and Future had a lot of fun doing this track. “Man why you excited? What happened? Did you win the Grammy? He acting like he won the trophy, he turnt the f* up”.
“Childs Play” is a twerk song for sure. Top five for me, leaving one song left to be revealed. Drake’s creative lyrics and flow, plus a nice flow switch make this a unique song. Drake’s letting a girl know how childish she is in a really nice, musical way. Honestly if a girl roasted me with a track like this, I’d be cool with it. As long as it stayed between us.
“Pop Style” is great. It’s been great. Drake chose to leave The Throne (Kanye West and Jay Z) off of the album version. I guess he wanted to shine here, too. He added a solid verse in place of Hov and Yeezus, but I can’t lie and say the track is better this way. Yeezy honestly outshined Drake here and greatly improved the track. The flow switch helps even though the features are missing.
“Too Good” is too good. It was initially in my top five, and might deserve a chance to reclaim its spot. From “What’s My Name” to “Take Care” to “Work”, Drake and Rihanna linking up is always a guaranteed banger. The verse repetition and duet over the chorus is smooth. I got a “Hold On, We’re Going Home” vibe here.
The next track features Majid Aj Maskati, one half of OVO duo Majid Jordan. “Summers Over Interlude” is a phenomenal interlude despite Drake’s absence. I look forward to what comes next from Majid.
“Fire & Desire” is arguably my favorite song on the album. It’s the reason “Too Good” was ousted from my top five and why “Faithful” never made it. Drake nails it vocally, the vibe is smooth, the lyrics are real. Everything is just . . . real. Really good.
“Views” should’ve been the last song on the album because it’s a comprehensive conclusion to everything. He reflects on his life, where he’s at currently and what’s in store. It presents his typical Drake arrogance and everything that others might be afraid to say (“If I was you, I wouldn’t like me either”).
“Hotline Bling”, we will love you forever. It had to be on this album for the popularity it accrued. Nothing more to really be said. The Drake dance is sweeping the nation.
Great album. Worth the wait. I definitely hold firm to my belief that this is his second best album. Take Care is a classic and might always be Drake’s best project. We’ll have to see what’s up next. The critique here is that Drake is really at the peak of his career right now. He can only really remain at the top. So it’s hard to be “wow’d” by what he puts out. Not to diminish Views, which I love. I listen to every song besides “9” and “Hotline Bling”. I will defend its place as the best project of 2016 so far, that is until I hear something I think is better. But I know that's not likely. Thank you Drake. Don’t make us wait this long again.