I don't really want to go into it, because this isn't a pity party and I'm sure most of you could easily one-up me with your problems. Either way, I'm living out a very strange transition period in my life. Homesickness, doubt, love lost, new challenges. I think it's a definitive stage, and one with long term repercussions. We'll leave it at that. In essence, Drake's Take Care has become the soundtrack.
And what a glorious soundtrack it is. Drake came through with a dense, sprawling epic, and though it feels like heresy towards the old guard, it was my favorite project of 2011. I want to say Watch The Throne, out of respect and tradition and because it feels right and all that other bullshit that muddles our minds sometimes, but Take Care was easily the album I listened to the most last year. I could understand it. I could relate to it. Best of all, I could make an emotional connection to it, and that is something that creates a whole new depth to the sonic experience. In many ways, it was the album I needed.
Outside of my appreciation for the record, it has been a great album for Drake. Critically lauded. Adored by fans. Commercial success. Another peak in the Drake story. Congrats to him. And because this isn't Pitchfork, and because it gives me another excuse to listen to every song on the album, we're doing this bitch track by track. Not a review, it's not a review. I'm too biased at this point to review the record, too emotionally attached. Let's consider it rather a mulling over of the songs. A bit of healthy discussion. You'll get your money's worth, I promise.
|Probably wasn't fucked by Drake.|
Headlines: First time I heard this? I grunted a little and said out loud "not a hit". That's why I'm not an A&R I suppose, because this shit became ubiquitous. I over-listened to it way back when it came out, so it rarely gets spins these days. But I can remember my infatuation with it quite well. The chorus is too catchy to be denied, Drake goes machine gun (not machine gun like Rittz or Gibbs, but still), and the beat sounds like if Boi-1da mixed with Lex Luger, as opposed to Boi-1da mixed with 40.
Crew Love (feat The Weeknd): As influential as Drake has been on The Weeknd, it clearly goes both ways. A short while after Thank Me Later, Drake commented that he was focusing on writing tight 16s, broken up by his signature choruses, or something of that nature. While this was probably an example of the typical artist rhetoric that should be completely disregarded, like when just before MBDTF dropped, and Yeezy said all his raps were positive raps, it's interesting to consider just how different his song structure is then that. I think the emergence of The Weeknd affected Drake artistically, forcing him back into that R&B mind-state. I don't know The Weeknd's music all that well, but he sounds positively heavenly here. Drake drops off just a single verse, but it's magnificent. Plus, he popularized the term "she's loving the crew" for that type of thirsty-ass girl.
Take Care: This may have the least plays on my iPod of any of the songs on the album. It's a commercial record that doesn't really pander to commercial stereotypes. Drake uses Gil-Scott Heron, just like some other notable guy last year. Still, great beat, and great chemistry between these two. I wonder why?
Marvin's Room/Buried Alive Interlude: I played this to death this summer. Endlessly. Like rolling around playing this shit as loud as it goes in the whip. It's probably a universal consensus that this song is great. It's become an anthem for scorned guys. Unfortunately, I probably played it so much this summer that by the time I got the album, it had lost it's luster, and now I rarely think about it in connection with the album. Which is a shame, because it's fantastic. Speaking on the interlude, I wish it hadn't happened. The verse is good, definitely, and that's from someone who isn't really a Kendrick fan. It just feels out of place, and Marvin's Room is perfect on its own. However, as an artistic flourish, a piece of the story told by an outsider, I'm sure Drake feels it fits perfectly.
Underground Kings: I hated this upon first listen, but it's probably been my favorite song off the album for the longest period of time. It's a go-to pump-up song. I've written about how much I love it on here before, so I won't go into too much detail. Drake tells a great, and important piece of his story, provides quotables you can Tweet all day, and still has me saying "rich off a mixtape, got rich off a mixtape". Plus, he shows he also fetishizes the South. Some of his best work to date.
We'll Be Fine: Drake's trying to let go of the past on track 9. Aren't we all? Great verses, and an even better hook. I love this one (that's a common theme, you have may noticed). Get Birdman the fuck out of here though, I don't like having to stop or next a song.
Make Me Proud (feat. Nicki Minaj): Jeeeezus YM has got a chokehold on this shit. Nicki & Drake is a license to print money. I don't like some of Nicki's verse, but I don't like Nicki all that much anyways.
Lord Knows (feat. Rick Ross): Can't go wrong with a Rawse feature these days. And he's been batting everything out of the park that opens with a "Just Blaze" drop. The production on this is bananas, and whoever said Hov and Jay E should've been on this had a point once, before the world realized how regal and unstoppable Drizzy and Rawse sound here.
Cameras/Good Ones Go Interlude: Another track that was a favorite for a period. I couldn't play it enough. This is cold-ass, trill R&B. Turn it up as loud as it goes.
Doing It Wrong: How many "when a good thing goes bad, it's not the end of the world, it's just the end of a world you had one girl" Facebook statuses have you seen? Drake speaks the truth, does his R&B thing, and then has Steve Fucking Wonder put his two cents in. Just because you can put anyone you want on your record, doesn't always mean you have to. But everybody wants to make the next Thriller or MBDTF, with little artistic cameos and shit. Admittedly, it does sound awesome.
The Real Her (feat. Lil Wayne & Andre 3000): A fantastic record, definitely. It's an interesting concept, and it's very well done here. Miss me with that Wayne verse, and though I wasn't sonically impressed with 3 Stacks verse for quite a while, it's grown on me a ton. Definitely a masterful verse by the elusive half of Outkast.
Look What You've Done: I don't know what it is about letting your guard down and talking about close relations that makes rappers rap, at least in a technical-sense, badly. He goes the Kanye-Big Brother route here, with a clunky flow that's disengaged from the beat, and rhymes words with themselves, like "so bad" and "so bad". Despite those qualms, it's still a fascinating look at the relationships he has with his uncle and his mother. The title is a bit of a fake-out too, I think. "Look What You've Done" makes you think he's going to come with the fury, not speak tenderly to his loved ones. Still, it's not a complete, black-and-white ode. It's a more honest version, with plenty of gray. Another win on the chorus, too.
HYFR (feat. Lil Wayne): A more straight-forward, rappity-rap type song, and an excellent beat from T-Minus, whose name pops up on a couple of my favorites. Drake goes hard here (the texting-exchange part gets me every time), but to me, he's more of the set-up piece, the introduction that establishes the scene for Dwayne Carter. Weezy still sounds more Tha Carter IV than Hustle Hard Remix here, but for some reason, it works excellently. Plus, he comes with the mind-bending, M. Night Shyamalan twist, the hugely important reveal that is switching the word "dressing room" to "bedroom". It changes the entire song, and is pretty awesome when it happens.
Practice: Records like this make me want to get into R&B. I'll probably just watch Breaking Bad instead, but still. This is dope. The ticking of the record sounds insane. The first time I put Take Care on my iPod, this one was so fucked up as to be unlistenable. I worked all that out, and I'm happy I did. Fucking great, and shiiiit when are people going to realize how great a producer 40 is? I'm not sure I have yet, but looking the Take Care credits over and over just might do it.
|Trillest Man Alive|
The Motto: Yeah yeah yeah, it's a bonus track, and if you're including it, why aren't you including "Hate Sleeping Alone"? Well "The Motto" got a video, became a hit, and is now an indelible part of the Take Care narrative. If this is what Bay Area music sounds like, I've gotta start checking out "The Martorialist" more. Drake and Wayne sound excited and excellent, and it's over too soon. YOLO became the most-used phrase of all-time, and I know a lot of people that want leopard-print North Face jackets now. Insanity.
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