April 29, 2016


Drake's 'Views' Album: Instant Track-by-Track Analysis

Melissa Renwick/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Melissa Renwick/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Drake's 20-song, 82-minute Views finally premiered on Thursday night (April 28), and you know we were right there with Apple Music blasting, running through the 6 with Aubrey D. Graham all over again. And you also know we've got our instant track-by-track analysis ready for you. As with our track-by-track for Beyoncé's Lemonade, consider this a premature evaluation—an avid, loving and critical one—and a heads-up for what to expect as you begin spending time with Drake's Views in your life.

1. “Keep the Family Close"
"It's a little chilly out there," a female voice chatters at the blustery beginning of this Toronto-themed, season-inspired album. (Said Drake, to Zane Lowe on Beats 1 in the intimate pre-premiere interview.) Then the man of the hour shows up to croon like Frank Sinatra Has a Cold–era Sinatra doing a smoky soundcheck with an orchestra that's maybe been sipping lean with Future:

"All of my 'let's just be friends' are friends I don't have anymore / How do you not check on me when things go wrong? / Guess I should've tried to keep my family closer / Much closer."

The swooning instrumentation hits some big punches to get the blood pumping, but this is very much an "Over My Dead Body"–style melodic invocation—with a little bit of "Tuscan Leather" chipmunk soul sprinkled around at the end. Zach Dionne

2. “9”
After the dramatic, soul-baring opening of “Keep the Family Close,” Drake ratchets up the intensity on “9,” a buzzing, insular track about the lack of peace in his current life. Drake has used the second track on albums as a bridge from the intro to the first major radio look (see: “Shot for Me,” “Furthest Thing”), and “9” seems to serve the same function. Jason Lipshutz

3. “U With Me?”
A jolting sample of DMX’s classic “What These Bitches Want” kicks off this murky piñata of sing-rapping, song interpolations (hey, Chief Keef!) and #feelings. “You toying with it like Happy Meal,” Drizzy spits, recalling the hashtag rap of his early records while later swimming in the howling emotion of his most recent R&B offerings as the song winds down. –Jason Lipshutz

4. “Feel No Ways”
Fans of “One Dance” and “Hotline Bling” will enjoy the smooth, shiny atmosphere of “Feel No Ways,” which masks a tale of choosing independence over love (“I had to let go of us to show myself what I could do") with lush keys and a stuttering drum. –Jason Lipshutz


5. “Hype”
Views’ first certified banger has some questionable lines—Drake mispronounces Juelz Santana’s name and declares “Views already a classic!” in the span of 10 seconds—but it heats up when The Boy starts taking shots at an unspecified person whose first name might be Meek and whose last name might be Mill. “You shouldn’t speak on me, period,” he snarls in a way that’s actually damn convincing. –Jason Lipshutz

6. “Weston Road Flows”
Cozy up to this expertly laid sample of Mary J. Blige’s “Mary’s Joint” and stretch out to Drake’s Origin Story, in which he reflects on his humble beginnings, talks about how much hard work he put in to become a star, offers advice and literally drops a “What are thoooose?” Drake used to live in the 6; now, he resides in the Internet. –Jason Lipshutz

7. “Redemption”
“Redemption’s on your mind when you think about me,” Drake asserts in the first slow-burner that burns very bright on Views. “Redemption” is a carefully constructed standout, a woozy meditation on a lifestyle that doesn’t allow for long-term relationships but still contains a yearning for something secure. –Jason Lipshutz

8. “With You” feat. PartyNextDoor
After Drake scratches a frustrating itch on “Redemption,” he has PartyNextDoor help him out with a song about commitment that slithers over dense percussion. Stick around for the secret Jeremih contribution—it’s very much worth it. –Jason Lipshutz

9. "Faithful" feat. Pimp C
“On my way from the studio so get undressed / Let’s do the things that we say on text,” Drake spits in a very millennial fashion, after the old-school king, Pimp C, hovers over Drizzy as UGK so often has throughout his career. With OVO Sound signee dvsn added onto the track to bring some heavenly vocals into the finished version following a leak, the new “Faithful” mixes feigned sensitivity with real swagger for a dynamic compound. –Jason Lipshutz

10. “Still Here”
Drake doesn't get enough credit for the weird-ass beats he raps over; he just drops the songs and we accept them as the new sound and pace and vibe of rap. (See: "Started from the Bottom.") So let's let it be known that "Still Here" is a weird-ass, bubbly, staticky beat by Daxz, who busted out the GRAMMY-nominated "Back to Back" at the age of 20. (In-house OVO god Noah "40" Shebib co-produced "Still Here"; he handled or co-handled 10 of the album's 20 tracks, btw.) And Drizzy, per yewzsh, bodies it. The way everything clicks for the final third might be the most viscerally satisfying, throw-your-body-in-the-nearest-direction move since Chance the Rapper goes "UHHHH" on Kanye West's The Life of Pablo opener "Ultralight Beam."

Aside from all the beat-wizardry, Drake wants you to know that, as the 6 God, he's so omnipotent he's still here...and he's back. And that he "don't need no pill to speak my mind." –Zach Dionne

11. "Controlla" feat. Popcaan
Drake tumbles further down the dancehall rabbit hole on a song that attempts to replicate the ocean breeze of “Hotline Bling” and mostly succeeds. What a slick, arresting way to kick off the second half of the LP...although where’s Popcaan, who appeared on the leaked version of the track? “Controlla” still knocks, but his disappearance is curious, to say the least. –Jason Lipshutz

12. “One Dance” feat. Wizkid & Kyla
With this late-April release of Views, Drake has more or less officially solidified "One Dance" as the Song of the Summer 2016 with the track feeling like the more danceable version of his Rihanna-featuring "Take Care." While the slightly dancehall-inspired, sorta house-inspired cut might boast that cringe-worthy moment when Drizzy adopts a fake patois ("when you get the text, ree-plyy meh," he tries on the second verse), it more importantly indicates Drake still is looking for more sonic spaces to conquer. Summer '16's looking very melancholy and very danceable. —Jeff Benjamin

13. “Grammys” feat. Future
What a time to be alive, still. Drizzy and Future Hendrix jumped on another beat by Southside—the Future-iest DJ who isn't Metro Boomin—to keep their loose, rad rapport going. Drake informs us he's going "plat, plat only" and that he's "top five, no debating." Future shows up halfway to bust out some classic...Future stand-up comedy about the GRAMMY Awards? 

Like at least half of WATTBA, it's fun, empty calorie ATLxOVOxFBG action. It's one you might skip on headphones but would never dare skip in the whip. –Zach Dionne

14. “Childs Play”
Another fun beat! More melodic melodic-iness! More shit you can dance to—but this time with some serious, slice-of-life, I Miss the Old Drake bars. What is this, if not the new Great Drakian Novel?

"Why you gotta fight with me at Cheesecake? / You know I love to go there / Say I'm actin' light-skinned / I can't take you nowhere / This a place for families that drive Camrys and go to Disney / They don't need to know all of our business."

Beyond the lyrical treasures, though, it's a sound-buffet. There's a Coldplay-ish arena singalong fragment. Drake hits the flow he used on "6 Man," a very bright light from If You're Reading This It's Too Late. And he reaches down to Lil Wayne's native NOLA for an underlying obscure sample of "She Rode It Like a Soldier" by New Orleans Bounce. ("It" is...a penis.) –Zach Dionne

15. "Pop Style"
More of a “Drake feat. Kanye West and two bars from Jay Z” song than an actual Throne reunion, “Pop Style” was released as a summit of legends… and now the album version has zero Kanye West or Jay Z. Honestly, it’s okay, and makes for a more compact punch to the mouth than a disappointing reunion. –Jason Lipshutz

16. “Too Good” feat. Rihanna
The arrival of Rihanna here—with the breathless line “I don’t know how to talk you,” a very Drakian confession—feels like a hot shower after an hour of chilly emotion. It’s not “Work” or anything nearly as hypnotic, but consider “Too Good” a sequel to the crackling dysfunction of “Take Care.” –Jason Lipshutz

17. “Summers Over Interlude”
Let's just give into the sexy old-school Jackson 5–esque slow-jam of "Summers Over Interlude." There's no denying the smooth, reverby interstitial, which serves as a capable connector between "Too Good" and "Fire & Desire." There's the sexy electric guitar and the Michael-like vocals that croon, "Summer is over," even though we've just begun. "I already told you I don't feel the same / Anywhere I go," Drake sings. And it's true—nothing was the same. –Emilee Lindner

18. “Fire & Desire”
Melt into the R&B of Drake with "Fire & Desire," which puts his woman out in front. "You're a real-ass woman, and I ain't never want to fight it," Drizzy raps over the slow-jam beats. His love interest is the main focus of this echoey track, which has Aubrey pining over a hardcore crush while mixing in the melodic raps that we've come to love. –Emilee Lindner

19. “Views”
Drake and Maneesh—who's being ordained God Producer as these words are typed—team to close the album as powerfully as they opened it with "Keep the Family Close." It starts with an extended, joyful sample of the '80s-founded Detroit gospel group The Winans before Drake starts laying down the very last lines in the very full journal that is Views. They're "thoughts too deep to go work out with a therapist," he confides. Before letting Maneesh wash Views away with summery waves that couldn't be more opposite than the chilly winds that opened the LP, Drake cuts the beat to ensure us, "If I was you I wouldn't like me either." And that's the mic-drop on Views. (It's so well done that we can't even hate on its resemblance to "0 to 100 / The Catch Up"'s "Imagine how it feel to watch another n---a at the top / You know that if you wasn't you, you would be dissin you, dawg." This is that line's 2.0.) –Zach Dionne

20. “Hotline Bling”
While it's technically a bonus track, we have to say we were a little surprised to see Drake finish off Views with his viral hit. He's been known to make poignant choices for his album closers like "The Ride" on Take Care or "Thank Me Now" on Thank Me Later. No matter whether you think it's jarring or not, the song still bangs. —Jeff Benjamin

Watch an episode of our digital miniseries The Drake Effect, this one detailing how Drizzy changed the mixtape game forever: