VIEWS BY DRAKE - A KITTEN LIFE REVIEW
We've stocked up on growlers from Four Winds Brewing and takeout sushi is spread out on the living room table to fuel us for the evening.
We tune in at 7 to Beats 1 Radio and the drop is immediately postponed to 7:45. 8:00 p.m. rolls around and still nothing. Are they really building more hype? Is there any more hype to be built? Apple has now forced me to listen to some of Lemonade for the first time (initial reaction: Kendrick’s verse on Freedom killed it and Beyoncé is sounding very spirited), followed by a Kanye track off of The Life of Pablo (is Jay-Z paying Apple for Tidal advertising?), but I ain’t even mad when it’s for a release as hyped up as this.
And then Drake posts to instagram that Views HAS BEEN DROPPED on iTunes…
We fire it up and let it take over, sink in, sink in, and we process.
“I wanna know how much time you spent on them paragraphs
Where you're getting me” - Drake on U With Me?
And of course I start writing too much and not even scratching the surface on what it all means ('cause what can putting it into words ever hope to do?). If there’s any takeaway from this whole thing, it’s that Aubrey knows how to capture our undivided attention no matter what the outcome.
VIEWS LESSON ONE: KEEP THE FAMILY CLOSE.
“[Through the lyrics in VIEWS] I feel like I just told everybody how I’m actually feeling. […] It’s more like, this is where I’m at. […] I’m a very honest person. I can’t write fiction. […] It all has to directly do with me or else I can’t make the music. […] I’m proud of the fact that I’m able to word it in a way that even if it is a harsh truth - and there’s some harsh, harsh truth on this album - I think that… at least it’s truth.” - Drake, on the feelings behind his lyrics.
This James Bond-esque intro is making my goddamn soul tingle! The horns, the drums, the build-up, the emotion in the lyrics… I’m imagining him sitting at the head of a long, solid oak dining room table, alternating sipping on vintage Bordeaux from a gold goblet, with hanging his head in his hands, moodily pulling at his wavy locks, while talking to himself about how goddamn conflicted his present state of mind is.
"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" - Drake on Keep the Family Close
He shakes off the cobwebs, reminds everyone that “the Drake experience” is more than One Dance/Hotline Bling/Hold On We’re Going Home (thank God), and his feels run deep, dark and heartbreakingly puppy-doggish.
“What is a cohesive, incredible listening experience from me? What can I do for this generation to just… create distance between myself and everyone else and do something that maybe no one else can really achieve or accomplish?” - Drake on dealing with the pressure of VIEWS and the experience he wanted to create.
LESSON TWO: FEEL NO WAYS
The Drake Machine: Keep your private life Beyoncé-level private. Casually mention the phrase Views from the Six in August 2014 as his next album. Generate interest. So much interest. ALL the interest. Focus the global audience to one place at one time; Beats 1 (for a cool 19 million). Rock up an hour and a half late just to prove a point that even the biggest machines in the world crack under this sort of pressure. Drake, Drake, Drake! But does the actual music live up to the hype?
“He sounds like he just eats a lot of good food and chills hard.” - My brother, quoted during the listening party
He wants all the women; he feels stifled; he wants one woman; it’s not in the way he wants and she needs to know it’s her who ruined it; he reiterates why nobody else is on his level; he feels left out; he wants a billion dollars; he’s the best who's ever done it (under 35); he’s got goals; he wants to be able to buy anything he wants and get high all the time.
Now if that’s not The Kitten Life in a nutshell…
“There's more to life than sleeping in
And getting high with you
I had to let go of us to show myself what I could do” - Drake on Feel No Ways
Each song is his commentary on the ups and downs of living the dream. Being on the path. Being so, so, so wavy that it’s hard to comprehend what everyone else is doing with their energy and time.
He’s got a big ass pool and a big ass kitten castle, and he’s got friends and money and women and more attention than anyone could possibly hope for. But he knows there’s more. There’s always more. There must be more!
“And I can't sleep these days unless I take one
If they don't have a story these days, they'll make one
Life is always on, man, I never get a break from it
Doesn't matter where I go, I can never get away from it
They give me loyalty and I don't gotta pay for it” - Drake on 9
If honesty was what he was aiming for, then if anything the consensus that’s going to be established in the coming weeks as more and more reviews trickle out, is that he’s honestly doing the best he can with his current situation, and it doesn’t live up to the hype the world created around it.
'Cause what or who could live up to that level of hype?
“A lot of niggas cut the cheque so they can take this flow” - Drake on U With Me?
A lot of people, Drizzy, a lot of people are cutting cheques to try to buy what you’ve achieved both materially and in terms of fan loyalty.
The paranoia we sense from him on the album is compounded by the insane pressure of VIEWS, but he handles it flawlessly and delivers an album of bangers to blast in the whip with the windows down all summer ’16.
“I don’t think he’s necessarily a super intelligent person - I think he’s just a very talented guy.” - Another insightful comment by my brother
LESSON THREE: THE CANADIAN MOSAIC & ALL THE JOY
“I’ve always tried to make music that transcends, you know, gender, nationality… to try and unify people. Because that’s really what it’s about where we’re from. I mean we’re from this sort of, like, mosaic of people who all get along. […] I hope that it brings joy to people’s lives. I hope it opens people’s minds to new things. […] Just bringing joy to people is pretty much my goal with this album.” - Drake’s closing comments on the album
He just wants to bring joy to people’s lives! Can you let that sink in for a minute? If there’s anything Drake does do is bring some motherfucking JOY to our lives.
Reppin’ Canada like no one at his level has ever done before (have you seen him lint rolling and clapping his hands on the wood at Raptor’s games like he’s the team’s goddamn fairy godmother?). It’s hard not to feel some sort of way for him when you’re from here and he’s putting words to, and weaving metaphors around, the human condition that makes you smile because it hits so very, very close to home.
Want more? Check out the kitten life's review of Drake and Future's joint project, What A Time To Be Alive.