â€œDig a shovel full of money, full of power, full of pussy, full of fame and bury yourself alive,â€ Drake offers on â€œBuried Alive Interlude.â€ You thought Kanye was morbid? Drake takes aim at Yeâ€™s throne on his new release, Take Care.
Drakeâ€™s music is stripped-down, all-muffled kick drums and ethereal synthesizer pads. He and producer Noah â€œ40â€ Habib have created a signature sound, more a reduction than a production. There are no marching bands or orchestras here. By comparison, Kanyeâ€™s excesses seem soÂ 2010.
This minimalist approach puts the focus on the lyrics where it belongs. Drakeâ€™s pet subject is the boozy, lonely haze of superstardom. The albumâ€™s centerpiece, â€œMarvinâ€™s Room,â€ vividly portrays Drake’s isolation; Unable to leave his hotel room, he drunk dials an old flame, desperately trying to reconnect with a part of himself he fears may no longer exist. Drake knows he could have her anytime, but he wonders if itâ€™s right to pluck her out of her normal life, just to satisfy a momentary urge. Tomorrow is another day of fame, power and people kissing his ass, and sheâ€™ll be of no use to him in the morning. Still he canâ€™t help but say, â€œFuck that nigga that you love so bad/I know you still think about the times we had.â€ Later, in a moment of stunning self-analysis, he admits, â€œI donâ€™t think Iâ€™m conscious of making monsters/Out of the women I sponsor/Til it all goes bad.â€
There are plenty of less-reflective pleasures to be had here as well, including â€œHYFR (Hell Ya Fucking Right)â€ with Lil Wayne, â€œCrew Love,â€ with The Weeknd, and â€œHeadlines,â€ all of which feature tales of Drizzy and his boys, spending money, dealing with hangers-on and staying loyal to each other.
At a sprawling 85 minutes of solid music, Take Care is a remarkably cohesive whole. The record sags a bit in the late middle, but itâ€™s still got hooks and lyrical brilliance to spare. It doesn’t quite hit the dizzying highs, or the paranoid lows of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, but it’s really close.