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Mounds View High School's student news site.

The Viewer

Mounds View High School's student news site.

The Viewer

“For All the Dogs:” more of the same

PHOTO VIA OVO Sound
PHOTO VIA OVO Sound

There has been a new Drake project every year since 2015. Whether it’s a mixtape, album, compilation or playlist, Drake has made it a habit to consistently release music in an effort to stay culturally relevant, and it’s working. There always seems to be a handful of massively successful songs on every project he puts out (2022’s “Honestly, Nevermind” had a number-one hit). With all of this continued success, it’s no surprise that Drake is continuing to stick with his typical album structure of over twenty songs (and nearly ninety minutes in length.) There’s no incentive for him to change anything about his process, aside from a few single-track gimmicks, and that’s where I start to see some issues.

It’s almost ritualistic for me to look at a recent Drake release and see a truly excellent twelve-track album at the core of a project built in excess. Granted, the album starts out extremely strong with “Virginia Beach” and “Amen.” “Virginia Beach” has some really anthemic guitar chords that lead into an excellent sample of Frank Ocean’s “Wise Man.” You can tell that Drake is confident with the production, and he gives a great vocal performance to match it. “Amen” is supported by a standout Teezo Touchdown feature that gives the track a significant groove. Drake’s opening verse of “Calling For You” sets the foundation for a solid track, but as the song continues it gradually loses steam thanks to a drawn-out interlude and a mediocre 21 Savage verse. “Fear Of Heights” and “Daylight” are songs with very few discernable qualities. I’ve listened to this album many times over and I can’t remember a melodic riff or a bar that sticks out. There are a variety of songs that serve as impressive variations on Drake’s style with standout features that end up matching the energy of the song quite well. The tracks “First Person Shooter” and “IDGAF” bring a very palpable energy into the album and serve as a breath of fresh air. J. Cole gives one of his best feature verses on “First Person Shooter,” and Drake stacks up with him on the song. “IDGAF” is a clear departure from the sound Drake is known for, pivoting towards the more aggressive production of Yeat producer BNYX. 

At this point in the album, I assumed that Drake would run with this idea of different style exercises to keep the tracklist interesting, and while there’s a variety of selections regarding the backing tracks, for the most part this isn’t the case. “Slime You Out” is a great primer for a moodier second half of the album, with a through line maintained with an interlude sampling the late DJ Screw on “Screw the World.” There’s no doubt that Drake delivers some great tracks here, but if you get a back-to-back stretch of excellent songs, you can expect the following track to be lacking in some way. A potential reiteration of a theme of an instrumental or a cadence that Drake has already explored. These dull points in the album are really eye-opening for Drake’s career as a whole. On these tracks, he continues to dabble in the same lyrical and stylistic subject matters attempting to callback to his songs pre-2017. The reason songs like “Fear Of Heights,” “Daylight,” and “Away From Home” don’t end up staying with me for as long as other tracks like “First Person Shooter” and “What Would Pluto Do” is because the latter group of tracks proves to me that Drake is trying to evolve his sound. When Drake tries to regress back to the “old Drake” that his fans cry for after every album release, it ends up being an inhibition on his own creativity. I think the heights of what his music could be would end up reaching a new peak. Until then, this imperfect collection of tracks leaves a lot to be desired.

Final Verdict: 2.5/5

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William Overbo, Staff Reporter
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