The wait for Views was really, really painful. Tardiness aside, let’s start with the skyrocketed hope for an album that instead plummeted with a false alarm: the passable-but-might-be-pile-of-throwaways otherwise known as If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. A cruel travesty at the least. Yes, “Know Yourself” might have singlehandedly sparked the Summer ’15 W.O.E. movement and repeated PARTYNEXTDOOR features provided the ultimate shoulder for your feels, but let’s be real. IYRTITL was an untimely tease, totally random, and not Views.
And then there was the dry spell that ran from the rest of Winter to that following Fall ’15. Well, minus “Hotline Bling”, of course. Any dose of Drizzy—whether accompanied by the raspy-voiced king of unconcern, Future (see: WATTBA; it’ll change your life/how efficiently you’ll clean your house) or a dancehall collab with Rihanna–we swigged like parched fangirls. When closely examined, the preoccuDRAKEtion really is frightening.
And in the midst of all that waiting, tension, and growing distaste for the OVO singer’s flexible take on deadlines, we remained obsessed. Eating up every Insta post, collaboration, basketball game appearance, and meme, our lurking means love; there’s a generational affinity for the man.
And Drake knows it. It’s why he reveled in our wait, and continues to bask in our love. And feels absolutely comfy in a grandiose, James Bond ambience that couldn’t more appropriately roll out the intro to Views. “You sit and you pray hoping that the stars align/ My luck is a sure thing cause I’m living right”, the 29-year old sings, over espionage fanfare, drumroll, and an invisible throne. It’s the right homage to an 8+ year run.
Emotion runs rampant on Views, with enough moments of absolute goosebumps to sink you into the feels for longer than seems comfortable (“Fire and Desire”, “U With Me?”) and side-eyed shade (“Redemption”). Throw in the cocky brushoff track (“Grammys”), add Future, and you get a Drake who [momentarily] casts his feelings to the wind. And there’s enough of that residual, thorny bitterness for the ones who missed out—like the slickly produced “Weston Road Flows”: (“Used to have secret handshakes to confirm my friendships/ Nowadays they’re just shakin’ my hand to hide the tension…”), blended beautifully with a circa ’94 Mary J. sample.
Views is a lot like Drake’s Instagram: a quirky collage of too much greatness to contain. A compilation of dabbling in things that look fun; dancehall and the Caribbean aesthetic, to name a few. In these moments, he and his guest stars shine. Collaborations–at any given time–just feel right, from Rihanna’s assist on the jungle-drummed out “Too Good”, to a PND-Jeremih falsetto combo on “With You” that steals R&B lovers’ hearts and doesn’t let go.
The thing is, most ventures are natural for Drake, whether it’s joining Jamaican dancehall vet Popcaan on possibly the brightest, bounciest cut on the album, “Controlla”, or rapping over a full-church chorus on the title track. Acting, singing, laying down the bars, or reinstating his softness on “Faithful” while a drowned-out Pimp C sample circles chipmunked choir vocals…nothing’s un-pull-offable. And somehow, he always gives the proper thanks: (“I gotta talk to God even though he isn’t near me/ Based on what I got it’s hard to think he don’t hear me…”), never totally losing his head. He’s well beyond the victory lap, and knows it. And we’ll continue to devour whatever he gives us.
Buy it on iTunes here.