Album: More Life
Label: Young Money, Cash Money, Republic
Highlight Tracks: “Passionfruit,” “Get It Together,” “KMT”
In recent years, superstars like Beyoncé and Adele have adopted the strategy of sharing music in brief, event-like releases then going quiet for months on end to build anticipation for their return.
On his last album, Views, Drake assured fans that he would not pursue this strategy. In the title track Drake says, “I might take a breather but I won’t ever leave you.” He confirmed that while he might take some time for himself, he’ll always come back with new music.
Drake makes good on this promise with More Life, a 22-song “playlist” meant as a conscious effort to set the tone for the summer and to remind the world of his supremacy. However, critics like Billboard have criticized Drake's playlist as little more than an attempt to stay in the public focus.
But if you are able to put traditional conceptions of what an album should be aside, More Life can be enjoyed as the artist intended: as a playlist of songs rather than a cohesive album.
One success of this project is the production, with quality beats from talents like Boi-1da, Noah “40” Shabib and Kanye West. The collection of talent from around the world adds a much-needed freshness and vitality to Drake’s sound.
“Passionfruit” is the early standout, featuring production from British producer Nana Rogues. It has the DNA of a classic pop song, but its vibrance reflects the innovative sounds coming from overseas. Songs like “Get It Together” clearly build on Drake’s dancehall infatuation and share sonic elements with his 2016 hit “Controlla."
The album begins to lose steam heading onto the second half. Songs like “KMT” that should be standout bangers feel like they have no place on this project, and it is sometimes jarring to hear them when we expect a more cohesive track list.
By the time the 16th track “Lose You” rolls around, Drake finally begins to share some insightful written content and sheds some light on his current perspective on life. He acknowledges that he is no longer the underdog, saying, “winning is problematic / people like you more when you working towards something / not when you have it.”
This song is Drake at his best. He broke down barriers for what it meant to be a rapper with emotion and he has the courage to reveal what actually scares him. For Drake, it’s the idea that the public may no longer be on his side.
This is a fear that he does not need to worry about for the time being. Despite the problems with More Life, fans will probably show the usual support for Drake’s latest offering and he'll likely own the summer.
He confirms this point in the final song “Do Not Disturb” saying, “I’ll probably self-destruct if I ever lose, but I never do.”
Releasing this lengthy project may allow him to dominate summer radio, but Drake’s music could make a bigger impact if he didn’t release music just for the sake of it and dropped only the best of it. There are a number of fantastic songs on More Life, but there are a surplus of tracks that bring down the overall quality.
More Life is available on streaming services now.