A simulated conversation to determine if Drake's newest project is worth your time.
Random Person: So, I hear there is new Drake music out.
Me: Ah yes, you mean the “More Life” playlist.
It’s basically just a new album, but he’s calling it a playlist. The reason for this might be because it’s just available on streaming platforms, or it doesn’t really have any structure like you would have on a typical album. It really is just a collection of songs he’s been working on that you realistically could just listen to in any other situation. Another reason could be that some of the songs don’t feature Drake at all.
Yea, in fact, one of the album’s best songs, “4422”, is essentially just a new Sampha track. Part of what makes the album fun is the wide range of artists, samples and influences that can be heard over its 22 tracks.
Ok, I’m going to stop your there. 22 tracks? That seems a bit excessive.
I won’t argue there. I’m in the school of thought that a tight 10 to 14 track record with no filler is the best way to go. However, Drake has never been one to make short albums, and luckily “More Life” has more tracks that stand out vs. those that just feel like tacked on bits.
Well how does it compare to “Views”? That album had a couple good tracks as well, but most of it just felt self-indulgent and mopey.
“More Life” is drastically better than “Views.” I’d actually agree with just about everything you said about that record. This new one has more life, more flavor. Many of the tracks are quite fun to listen to, and the whole thing feels like a tour through Drake’s own musical taste book as opposed to wallowing in his own anxieties and self doubt. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of tracks about struggling to get over old flames, navigating life as a celebrity, etc. but here they are packaged in a more musically interesting and exciting way than on “Views.” That album had an almost overcast and gloomy feel to it while this one mixes in a variety of influences and flavors that help it feel more colorful.
Ok, it’s definitely better than “Views,” that’s good, but how does it stack up to some of his other records?
“Take Care” is still hands down his best work, there is hardly a bad track on that one. As for second best, I would probably go with “Nothing Was the Same,” but “More Life” is certainly in contention for third or fourth best, depending on your thoughts about Drake’s mixtape “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late.”
As of now, what would you say are the best songs off “More Life”?
The songs that seem to stand out the most are the ones that either feature an exciting guest appearance or a creative sample. I personally really enjoy “Ice Melts,” which features something I thought I’d never hear in hip-hop: a Young Thug guest appearance where I can understand every word he says. The whole thing sound like something that likely would have appeared off Thugger’s “Jeffrey” record last year. As mentioned earlier, the Sampha track is great as well, offering a comfortably warm center to the albums track list. The album’s best sample might have to go to “Teenage Fever,” which pulls from a late 90s Jennifer Lopez hit. However, if you’re looking for a classic Drake tune off this album, you can’t do much better than “Can’t Have Everything,” which features a hard beat, slightly corny but perfectly simply chorus and voicemail placed at the end informing our man Aubrey that he shouldn’t have such a confrontational tone.
Any songs you think will become annoying in six months because they’ve been overplayed?
I don’t know; “Fake Love” is on the album and that already seems a bit overplayed. The track “Get It Together” has a catchy club beat and a fairly cheesy chorus which seems like a whining formula for the kind of song you’re talking about. It’s also safe to say “Passionfruit” will have the same fate, which is a tad disheartening considering, for now at least, that song has one of the more infectious beats I’ve heard in a while. It sounds like the kind of tune you’d hear playing in background of an old Nintendo game and, once mixed with some smooth sounding Drake vocals, becomes a refreshingly cool track that’s perfect for those hot summer days right around the corner.
What about lyrics? Drake usually throws out some lines that become part of pop slang for a period of time, any indication on what lyrics I’ll be hearing thrown around in the coming year?
Get ready to hear a lot of people saying blem.
Blem? What’s blem?
I don’t think I’m qualified to say, but it’s the subject of a whole track, club beat and everything. Whether people know what it means or not, they’re going to be saying it.
Alright, so I should give it a listen?
Of course. Who knows, in six months time, most of us might be sick of this album, but for the time being it’s delightfully fun, infectiously catchy and perfectly suited for that warm spring and summer weather.