There's a lot of music on Drake's sophomore release 'Take Care'. There are eighteen tracks to consider and it is to his credit that the quality rarely dips for a moment. With a hoard of top-notch producers at his right hand the project could easily have dissolved into sonic incoherence but the album achieves an admirable overall consistency both in structure and sound. Guest appearances from his peers, too, are well-integrated into the whole.
When Mr Drake sings he sings beautifully; an easy voice to listen to, warm, flexible and capable of expressing a wide range of emotions. When he raps he does so fluently and without the braggadoccio which continues to infect the work of many other big players in the upper echelons of the genre. His lyrics are deeply personal, intelligent and well-constructed (the language, however non-gratuituos, may be a tad strong here and there for younger listeners so the "Parental Advisory" sticker seems appropriate in the circumstances). One can imagine there were a whole bunch of yellow post-it notes on the studio fridge to hold onto all the ideas in the project. It's fairly brimming over with big themes : money, fame, women, politics, social commentary, all delivered with a self-effacing mixture of irony, humility and a sharp eye for detail.
It is the melodies, however, which impress most. Whether writing alone or in collaboration with his cohorts there is lot of really strong musical material in evidence throughout the album framed in largely mid-paced rhythmic arrangements which imbue the recording with a sense of subdued grandeur. It all hangs together.
It's very hard to pick out the best of the bunch with so many good songs on offer but special mentions should be made for 'Take A Shot For Me', a really lovely composition full of warmth and a wholesome sense of self-doubt about the sustainability of love; 'Take Care', a gently up-beat duet with Rihanna, which gives both artists a chance to shine - a fruitful musical marriage! 'Doing It Wrong' delivers a heart-melting vocal performance which evolves over a mellow almost hymn-like keyboard and spare rhythmic backdrop and displays the very best of what Mr Drake's voice is capable; the plaintive harmonica solo wrenching the last drops of bitter melancholy from the song and 'The Real Her' which unites our host with Lil Wayne and Andre 3000 in a truly delicious slice of reflective, late-night, painfully pensive R&B.
With 'Take Care' Mr Drake consolidates an elevated position in the listening world.
I will start with a generalisation reflecting my own personal opinion; Drake's 'Take Care', the sophomore follow-up to his undeniably unique debut album 'Thank Me Later', is no less than a sheer epic of proportions. It seems unreasonable for someone like himself, a still relative new and upcoming rapper, to have been placed with such great burden of expectations. However despite this, Drake pushes his own previous boundaries and the boundaries of rap, hip-hop and r'n'b in general to deliver something truly special. I think he knows himself the amount of delicacy and intimacy he put into his latest effort, and as a result he crafts (along with leading producer 40) an album that can only be described as incredibly consistent, rather enigmatic but overall thoughtful (hence the name of the album title).
Here is a track by track review:
Over My Dead Body - Perfect intro track that really gives you the feel of the album. The gentle piano chords and twinkly melody is wholly atmospheric and introspective. 10/10 Shot For Me - Has that signature '40' beat, with Drake seamlessly interchanging with rap and r'n'b. I love the ending which gives a very nice lead in for Headlines. 9/10 Headlines - Drake shows off his refined flow with one of the catchiest hooks on the album. Boi-1da and 40 produce this triumphant, boastful winner of a track. 9.5/10 Crew Love - features a wonderfully haunting chorus from The Weeknd. The song mixes soft r'n'b sections with unsettling, hard-hitting beats. Has that lush sound only found on a Weeknd track. 9/10 Take Care - features Rihanna, however she barely sounds like herself. Whispered vocals on the chorus works extremely well with Drake's rap/r'n'b switch complementing this rather upbeat song. Samples Jamie xx's Gil-Scott Heron remix "I'll Take Care of U" which IMO doesn't work too well and kind of ruins the flow of the song but it doesn't detract from the song too much. 9/10 Marvins Room/Buried Alive Interlude - Marvins Room has a luscious, downbeat tempo that contributes to one of the most moody, deep pop songs I've ever heard. The lyrics are remarkably brilliant and unique, as well as the subject matter. Buried Alive has my personal favourite Kendrick Lamar. While it starts off slightly odd, it picks up and Kendrick's verse is truly justified. 10/10 and 9/10 Under Ground Kings - One of the bangers from Take Care. Features a strong, memorable beat and is a purely rap song. 9/10 We'll Be Fine - features Birdman. Another song that goes hard, however the chorus is forgettable and Birdman's feature feels a bit pointless. 8.5/10 Make Me Proud - features Cash Money queen Nicki Minaj. The beat on this one is fantastic. The hook is awesome and very catchy too. If there is one criticism however, Nicki's verse felt irrelevant even though her delivery was perfect. 9/10 Lord Knows - an enormous highlight on Take Care. Features Rick Ross. I'm not even a Rick Ross fan but I can't deny that his verse was near perfect and contributed immensely to the song. Production-wise, Just Blaze goes absolutely crazy in a good way - the beat is one of the best on the album. 10/10 Cameras/Good Ones Go Interlude - Cameras seems like a weaker half to the two-part song. It has a nice r'n'b hook but lyrically it's not the strongest and it seems unmemorable. The Good Ones Go interlude features The Weeknd. The song highlights how Drake's r'n'b voice seems to have matured both in sound and strength - The Weeknd's background vocals is a great marriage of harmonies. 8/10 9/10 Doing It Wrong - Oh my days. This is a very hard song to listen to, especially when you listen to the lyrics. Drake is found at his most vulnerable, and the production is so lush but so very painful. I think I shed a tear when I listened to this, and Stevie Wonder's playing of the harmonica is so bittersweet and emotionally crushing. I can't think of many rappers who can stir this amount of emotion in you. 10/10 The Real Her - a great follow up to the previous track. A great, spaced out beat with a strong piano melody and chilled feel combined with a reflective chorus makes for another highlight. Wayne's verse on the track is standard, but just when you think it's over Andre 3000 shows up with one of the best guest verses on the album, referencing Adele's 'Someone Like You' over a mellow change in beat. Brilliant. 10/10 Look What You've Done - Pure rapping over a lazy piano beat, but then when the beat comes in it really pops out at you. 9/10 HYFR - also features Lil Wayne. While the beat is pretty good, I find Wayne's feature and chorus slightly underwhelming. 8.5/10 Practice - very good song. Drake effortless intertwines rapping with singing, which is especially prominent in this song. 9/10 The Ride - soo soulful. This production is lush thanks to the likes of the Weeknd. This is quality rap; rap at its finest. 10/10
Here's the bonus track reviews also:
The Motto - features Lil Wayne. Has a very unusual but bouncy beat. I can tell why this was a bonus track - its feel doesn't really fit with the standard version of the album, but it doesn't stop the song from being bad from an individual standpoint. 9.5/10 Hate Sleeping Alone - Wow. Should've been on the standard version. The production is very wistful and hazy - I feel like I'm listening to this in a cloud of mist. Truly excellent. 10/10
In conclusion, Drake continues his fast dominance in the rap industry by being one of the most unique rappers ever since Kanye came on to the scene. Take Care improves on Thank Me Later in nearly every way - and he does it with a scarily stark sense of self-awareness and sincerity. It makes for one of the most heartfelt rap albums I've ever heard since Kanye's 808s and Heartbreak. This doesn't make him soft - it just makes him down to earth and (unless you don't have a heart) easier to emphasise with. Drake also benefits from having pure character not conformed to the stale clichés of the rap genre, and this, merged with his charisma and imperfection, makes for a product only someone as individual as Drake could accomplish.
I guess it's kind of fitting considering drakes persona is one of confliction, that i find myself liking this album when there are a plethora of reasons i shouldn't. Unless i'm mistaken this record runs for nearly 80 minutes and in that time you hear the voice of a man who is sickeningly self obsessed, shamelessly needy and by all accounts emotionally immature and i've walked away from this record feeling some genuine sense of satisfaction having heard it. Funnily enough i don't really have an answer as to why drakes personality flaws haven't resulted in me going to town on this, other than maybe he is all those things, but somehow his refreshingly self aware and unapologetically honest way of expressing himself is redemptive? Either way i'm charmed and i can't pretend otherwise.
There's more to the story than drakes wining/womanising of course and thats the music, which is by most accounts fantastic. We have "40" to thank as well as drake for creating a sound that is equals part soulful and minimalist. This is best exempliflied by opener "over My Dead Body and "Marvins Room" where there is little more than a simple chord progression on the piano and some reverberated electronic sounds throughout with drake singing/rapping almost in accapella and in the latter it's even sparser than that, where the music feels positively claustrophic. Replacing any instruments with similar elctronic sounds and the voice of an annonymous girl on the phone, who he's shamelessly attempting to convince she'd be better off leaving her husband and being with him "F that N that you love so bad", whilst in the same verse acknowledging how cliched he sounds "I'm just sayin', you could do better, tell me have you heard that lately?".
What's really impressive about this album is how they've managed to sequence these spared down songs with the occasional banger "lord knows" the four four beat of "Take Care" and a roots-esque interlude "Buried Alive" without it seeming sporadic or out of place. The balance of eclecticism and sparsity is something few artists could pull off so effortlessly and for that this should be given a lot of credit for it's success. When Drake goes into full on R&B mode especially when The Weeknd is accompanying him, the music can suffer a little as it's starts to feel decaedent and self indulgent. There is more than one occasion where i winced wtih the song "Good One's Go" which feels like a throwback to Joe thomas at his most cringeworthy.
The Hip Hop R&B fusion is nothing new but Drake has managed to make his contemporaries sound dull, unimaginative and unambitious in comparison. If he continues to grow as a songwriter hopefully towards topics that feel less navel gazing and more relatable, he could become a great artist. As it currently stands he's still the only "pop superstar" making music right now that i would care to return to. I would openly recommend this album to those who shun pop music and tend to find it lacking, There's a wealth of solid material here that i'd say any music fan should check this out.
I was slightly worried Drake would put an album out that doesn't show his true ability, but thankfully he has released an exceptional piece of work. The realism and truth behind every line of every song just makes you think "wow, this guy really knows what he's talking about". The beats from producer 40 are top class, and the appearances from Rihanna, Andre 3000 and The Weeknd are amazing. I am slightly disappointed with the input of lil' wayne but that is only because i rate him so highly and when he doesn't do anything which isn't 10/10 i notice it.
In a nut shell this isn't just music. This is a piece of art. You could take the beats away and just listen to Drake acapella and it would still make your day. A supremely talented artist who has his head well and truly screwed on.
Fair play to Drake and all the success that comes his way. He deserves it.
Am not going to bore you with an in depth personal view on each of the songs because personally everyone is diffrent. But after the first listen i thought Blimey this is good. I have always liked drake since i heard him a few years back, his first album was good but this is better. This is fresh catchy and really a sign of progession for the mc/vocalist. Marvins room i thought was brilliantly constructed. The lyrics and production for the whole album is spot on keep it up kidda, better than carter 4 in my opinon.
After hearing Drake's "Thank me Later" debut i was instantly hooked on his music. i love that album and i am a huge fan of Drake when he features in other artist's singles such as Rihanna and Nicki Minaj to name a couple of examples, but this album is in a whole new league.
Seriously people this album is simply amazing, there are other reviews on here that go into great detail so i shall just keep it short and simple. This album is amazing and i would recommend anyone and everyone to give it a listen!