Sunday, January 15, 2012

Album Review: Drake Take Care

It's been a while since I've done an album review, but I figured what better way to get back on the horse than reviewing @Drake's latest album. I know I'm a little tardy on the review, but better late than never. Those of you who visit my site on a frequent basis know how passionate I am about Drake's music, so the main reason I've put off the review for so long is because I knew it would be a big time commitment. Why can't I do a simple, short album review you ask? Because accountability to me is not doing a half-assed review of a quality album. As a result, I tend to be long winded with my album reviews and try to give back as much detailed opinion as I can possibly give in one post. #ConciseRhymesWithNotNice

To shake things up a bit, I tried a different approach to the organization of my review. For starters, I categorized the tracks on his album into two tiers and reviewed the tiers as a whole.
Top Tier (Top 7 Tracks):
1. Take a Shot
2. Over My Dead Body
3. The Motto
4. Take Care
5. Make Me Proud
6. Buried Alive (Interlude)
As you know by now, I'm not one to shy away from writing about Drake tracks, especially tracks of his I really like. As a result, it shouldn't be a surprise that I've previously done a post on most of my favorite songs on Take Care. The best decision Drake made when constructing the tracklist was to lead with Over My Dead Body and Take a Shot. When trying to live up to enormous expectations, leading with two tracks that weren't singles, but were still standout tracks, was a great move.

With so much of the sound of the album being shaped by @OVO40, Take Care was able to take on a unique sound that is more comparable to So Far Gone than Thank Me Later. Even better, relatively unknown but extremely talented up and coming artists like @Kendrick_Lamar and @theweekndxo were able to get their chance to shine throughout the track on features. Hands down the most awe inspiring verse on the album came from Kendrick Lamar on the Buried Alive (Interlude). It's rare that artists use interludes for anything other than filler material on an album, but every interlude on Take Care was well done and provided contrast to the @NickiMinaj and @liltunchi tracks that were singles and subsequently garnered the most attention. For the people who really listen, it was cool to see that the album was chalked full of unique sounds, samples and features rather than high profile cameos. I really think Take a Shot will end up being a top 5 all time Drake track for me. The contrast of a subtly bitter, but proud tone lyrically gives the track an added layer of depth that isn't noticeable without listening closely. With all the ways to relate to the track it's no surprise that Weezy felt that same sort of personal accessibility to Drake's story...

Second Tier (8-13):
8. Headlines
9. We'll Be Fine
10. The Real Her
11. Crew Love
12. Underground Kings
13. Cameras Good Ones Go Interlude
Headlines ended up being a great way to get pop culture's attention as a lead single, but in the grand scheme of things there were a many more tracks I liked better on the album. In my ranking of second tier tracks, you'll find a few tracks that you may have skipped over, but I personally liked a lot. For example, We'll Be Fine an Crew Love stood out as tracks that I found myself gravitating to the more I listened to the album. We'll Be Fine is a mellow and upbeat and Crew Love is about as close to a ballad as you're going to get from Drake. I have to be in study or thinking mode to be able to listen to Drake's slower songs on Take Care, but that's not a bad thing because most artists can't pull off different sounds and tempos.

All in all, it's fair to say that I enjoyed Take Care about as much as I liked Wiz Khalifa's Rolling Papers and Drake's previous album Thank Me Later, but not as much as B.O.B.'s Adventures of Bobby Ray or Drake debut So Far Gone. I know it's becoming a little cliche that I keep giving albums a 4 out of 5 headphone grade on my review, but unfortunately since I have a 40 hour a week job, I don't have the time to review albums I don't enjoy. As a result, you're probably never going to get a review from me that is less that 4 out of 5 headphone because I won't be motivated enough to write about it if it's less than that. With that being said, I won't hesitate to critique an artist I really like if he sells out in any way (see Wale when he went MMG). Still, keeping it positive is what I try to do because hate is worthless emotion and you're not reading my blog in the first place if you want critical reviews...#NotMyCupOfTea

In two months Take Care has sold 1.3 million copies and will eminently head toward double platinum status in the coming months (especially if the song Take Care is released as a single). In other words, if you were looking for a sophomore slump from Drizzy, you've probably given up by now. It'll be interesting to see where he goes with his next album, but at this point it's safe to say he's proven that his lyrical depth and storytelling ability is second to none.


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