Pitchfork gave it a 6.8/10. A writer for The Chicago Tribune called it “a snooze”. Even Hot New Hip Hop’s averaged audience rating gave it a score of 62 percent, aligning with the personal opinions I’ve heard from varying peers. Factoring in all major publication reviews, Metacritic currently scores Views with a 69/100, while harsher audience reactions drag its public score to a 60/100. If this was school, Drake’s latest effort would walk away with a D (and if the teacher were lenient, maybe a C-).
So how is it possible for Billboard to report that “Drake’s Views [is predicted to be] on course for a ninth consecutive week at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, according to industry forecasters”?
Since its one-week exclusive release on Apple Music back in April, Views has stayed in the top spot of the US album charts for eight consecutive weeks. It’s held off Ariana Grande, Nick Jonas, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers from debuting in the top spot. Beyoncé’s Lemonade would only manage to see the peak position for one week, because Views came out the following week, eventually keeping its lead.
Let’s face it: Views is no Take Care or If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. Unlike his better body of work, the album tends to be repetitive and predictable, a criticism the 29-year-old is definitely tired of hearing. But yet, Views’ eight (maybe nine) weeks at the top surpasses both of those album’s combined total of 2 weeks at the summit. To put that in perspective – both of Drake’s more acclaimed albums could only manage one week as the best, while his “lackluster one” effortlessly stays put, with no signals of faltering.
There are multiple factors to why Drake’s Views remains number one.
First off, Drake’s Views is not a bad album. Yes, he’s still talking about the same ol’ shit, adding to the case that his “shit was getting too predictable”. “Redemption” is classic Drake that’s been heard before in Take Care; it has a slower tempo 90s vibe (with a Ray J R&B sample) explaining how he screwed up with “another one”, as DJ Khaled would put it. And yes, his hip hop cuts “Hype” and “Weston Road Flows” belong on If You’re Reading This… But, Views is still quality music.
It makes sense why fans can’t get enough of the Canadian. Views still manages to be tonally different from the current projects out. Although it’s not as great as The Life of Pablo, LEMONADE, or ANTI, Views belongs in its own lane based off the artist’s creativity. Drake has always been the master of having a distinct sound, and that’s consumer worthy. It’s all the effects of one of hip hop’s best branders.
With the addition of streaming data being calculated in the Billboard 200 tally, Drake’s success is also attributed to the hip hop genre’s success on streaming platforms (most evident in Desiigner’s chart topper, “Panda”). Whenever tracks are streamed multiple times, it adds up to the equivalent of one album being sold. A few cuts have been consistently streamed and climbing up the charts as a result including “Pop Style”, “Controlla”, and most importantly “One Dance”, his first lead single to reach number one, amassing seven weeks at the summit.
Finally, we have to face the music itself. Views contains multiple tracks that balance afrobeat rhythms with R&B nuances and dancehall grooves, a sound that’s proven to be in right now (case and point: “Work” which saw nine weeks at number one, helping out Drake’s case and Rihanna’s ANTI). “Controlla” is being lauded as one of the standout tracks on the album, as it follows the same vein as “One Dance”.
The lyrics continue to make rounds on the website and social media, as they apply to this generation’s way of living. People are still trying to figure out if Views is about Drake ending his “friendship” Nicki Minaj or if it’s to rekindle a romance with one of the album’s featured guests (not saying who, it’s common sense). Drake continues to be a champion in lyrics and sound, which add more to his current chart domination.
With an album that bends genres slightly, Views has a track for everyone that’s a fan of Hip Hop, R&B, and/or Dancehall. And with some memorable choruses, like the bonus track “Hotline Bling”, it’s stream-friendly for pop fans. It seems this time around predictable is what is needed for success and the critics got it wrong!
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