For those wondering, the difference between an album REFLECTION and an album REVIEW deals with the content of the writing for my break down. Reflections typically will cover general thoughts about songs but more about the artist’s trajectory or feelings the album left me. Reviews typically will be song by song breakdowns. Now, “More tune for your headtops.”
Let’s get the most obvious out-of-the-way. Drake is the most popular artist of our time. He has broken continuous records in the digital age and has mastered marketing to Jedi levels. Everything Drake does is strategic and exemplifies his understanding of popularity in the digital age. From title, catch-phrases, song structure, “tricks”, features, and cover art are carefully chosen to maximize catchiness and harness the power of the internet.
Case in point are his cover arts. Kanye tapped into an amazing situation with Yeezus. By him not having an official cover art, he allowed for fans to create their own visual representations of his work. I even wrote a post with the Yeezus cover arts back in the stone age. A level of fan interaction and connection makes albums so easy to go viral. Now, with Drake, simple album covers allow for excellent memes, being funny and great promotion for Drake.
Note: I’m going to include some of my favorite fan art in the post and a slide show of others at the end.
Drake has turned his popularity into swarms of internet soldiers fighting using hashtags and flower emojis when last album had prayer hand emojis everywhere. For that, I completely commend him in every way possible. Bravo man from Toronto, you will go down in history for your accomplishments. Now on to the music.
Overall, the album is typical Drake. He has given up the idea of putting out albums and switched to calling them “playlists” for a reason. With a bloated 22 songs, the “playlist” lacks the cohesion or focus of an album but each song sounds expertly crafted. Producer 40 and the rest of the OVO producers are great. Also, nothing here sounds forced as Drake has grown comfortable putting on each sound he adopts.
‘Aubrey’ has mastered Atlanta Drake with his trap sounds, Afro Drake with afrobeat, Jamaican Drake with his atrocious accent but great dancehall vibes, Spanish Drake with a J-Lo sample, London Drake brought all his friends and the occasional Toronto Drake appearance. In short, if you have ever liked Drake, you will find at least one song dedicated to your fandom. My personal favorite Drake on this album has to be Dancehall Drizzy with a little Afrobeat Aubrey. These seemed like the most easily enjoyable songs on the album.
Passionfruit, Get It Together, Madiba Riddim, and Blem are the perfect summertime songs that will dominate the airwaves just like Controlla, One Dance, Hotline Bling, Too Good, and Work did before them. Just prepare yourself now. Jorga Smith sounds absolutely amazing on Get It Together and the Jorga Interlude was hitting all the right spots. They all fit very well with similar soundscapes, feel and lyrics. I know it’s been said before but with an album called More Life with a flower emoji as the symbol, I would have been happiest if he would have done an entire album of that (but only 11 tracks tops).
Trapper Drake and Grime Graham find home next to today’s US and UK stars such as 2 Chainz, Young Thug, Travis Scott, Quavo, and Griggs. 2 Chainz sounds as great as he has done in the past year, no complaints. Who really surprised me was Young Thug on Sacrifices when he enunciated every word. He sounds reminiscent of B.O.B. and it was easily the best verse on the track. He gives Skepta and Sampha enough room to do what they want with their respective tracks (Skepta Interlude and 4422) and I can’t complain.
He also hits fulfills the Toronto Drake quota with lines about ex-girlfriends, paranoia, and smokey slow beats with Nothings into Somethings, Teenage Fever, Lose You, and Do Not Disturb. Each of these songs sound like throwbacks to Nothing Was The Same or earlier. These are the songs that will let old Drake fans still feel at home. I’m glad this Drake made an appearance because it sounds like he feels a little better and rings more genuine.
My negatives for More Life tend to be the composition and small things here and there. I will easily declare this better than Views without a second thought but fails in comparison to his earlier works. The playlist concept seems a little forced as he included random soundbites, conversations, phonecalls, and interuptions to make it seem less like an album and more like a radio show. Execution needed a little more work but I get where he was going.
A lot of this album seemed like a checklist. A random super famous sample (a-la Jennifer Lopez and Teenage Fever), Dancehall, Trap, the random gospel breakdown opening the album, memeable cover, emoji symbolism, hashtag ready title, popular artists from X or Y, a couple random location shout outs, PARTYNEXTDOOR song, Majid Jordan song, IG caption-worthy lyrics, and I know I can’t be the only one upset about Lil Wayne saying one sentence and disappearing afterward.
Also, I wanted to hand out the award for the most infuriating song of 2017, Glow featuring Kanye West. Why? Because two of the most popular artists of the 00’s, some of the richest rappers on the planet talking about their about to glow up? Total checklist song if I ever heard. “What are the kids saying these days? Glow up? Let’s do a song about that Kanye!” I never want to hear that again but every false hated person in the world is gonna play it for the next six months.
Overall, More Life was solid project musically that was entirely too long, with poor sequencing, and schitzophrenic sound/concepts that make the project seem like he is trying to please everyone instead of just be himself. Aubrey is an actor and found a way to reverse Will Smith himself. Will Smith left rap and became one of the biggest movie stars of all time, while Drake left acting and became the biggest rap acts of all time. He has settled into that idea and it is evident here. He makes a great product, but More Life seems like More of the same Drake. Maybe that’s what he wanted to say the entire time?
How do you all feel about the album reviews/reflections? Do you like them? Do you really want “more tune for your headtops?” How did you feel about More Life? Where does it fall in your Drake catalog and why? Leave your (constructive) thoughts in the comments below.