Drake’s songwriting hits a specific candy spot when he chooses narcissism over self-awareness. It’s led to arguably his most defining trait: the extremely particular and memorable Drakeisms, that are generally delivered with the assumption that they’re profound—making them unintentionally humorous, too. Consider the melodramatic and self-loathing particulars that replenish Take Care (“I believe I’m hooked on bare footage/And sittin’ talkin’ ’bout bitches that we nearly had”); the batshit diatribe on the finish of “Diamonds Dancing”; the mafioso delusion making on If You’re Studying This It’s Too Late (“I order that Alfredo Pasta/Then eat within the kitchen like I’m within the mafia”). Even on Views, his most self-serious album, his ego is so goosed up that certainly he should understand how ridiculous he sounds. However possibly not.
Lately, Drake’s rising want to be in on the joke has made his writing method much less thrilling. That’s how we ended up with the failure-to-launch “Toosie Slide” viral dance problem, the desperation of 2021’s Licensed Lover Boy, and now the up-and-down nature of his latest album Truthfully, Nevermind. The album threads types like home and Baltimore and Jersey membership into his moody, washed-out basis. It sounds refreshingly totally different from every other Drake album, and he brings again his go-to trick of legitimizing trend-hopping by recruiting style heavyweights into his orbit: South African DJ Black Espresso and chameleonic digital producer Carnage (below his home alias Gordo) each have main contributions to the manufacturing. It’s mild and breezy, and the songs movement proper into one another like a DJ combine, not in contrast to 2017’s Extra Life. All this could work, but it surely feels a bit empty for one obtrusive cause: Drake’s writing lacks its former zest.
Truthfully, Nevermind’s most memorable line isn’t truly on the album. In a weepy Apple Music observe that accompanied the discharge, he wrote, “I can’t keep in mind the final time somebody put they cellphone down, seemed me within the eyes and requested my present perception on the occasions.” It’s hilarious—a stage of self-obsession and delusion lacking on the file. On “Calling My Identify,” the place a pulsing home beat does all of the work, Drake talks about misplaced love with particulars that quantity to, “You’re my water, my refresher/Take off your garments, relieve stress.” When he’s not saying something worthwhile, you are likely to zoom in on his singing, however his voice is just too one-note to hold the load. Equally on the 40-produced “Down Hill,” his lyrics about heartbreak are stuffed with banalities. Previously, his genre-bouncing, even when watered-down, was made singular by means of his writing. With out that, you’re left with a flattened model of a superior, pre-existing sound.