The Nevermind Review: Drake Gets Down on The Dance Floor, but Does He Actually Make a Dent in The Box?

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Honestly, Nevermind Review: Drake Embraces Dance Music on 7th Album

Throughout the years, Drake’s albums have become showcases for his worldwide palette, an opportunity for him to flex his knowledge and connections by distilling a wide range of inspirations into slick earworms stuffed with memorable one-liners that often serve as the major attractions.

He made his debut in 2009 with a mixtape called “So Far Gone,” which combined chopped and sliced rap, 1990s R&B, and Europop.

Throughout his career, he has maintained a penchant for fusing genres from the East and the West, and he has drawn on a wide range of influences, including trap, grime, reggae, and Afrobeats, to establish himself as one of Top ’40s most adaptable producers.

Honestly, Nevermind review: Drake hits the dance floor —

Honestly, Nevermind Review: Drake Embraces Dance Music on 7th Album

Canadian hip-hop star Drake has taken things to a new level with his seventh studio album, Honestly, Nevermind, which is heavily influenced by South African dance music and Baltimore and Jersey club music.

It’s hard exactly an act of reinvention when he challenges his audience to accept him as a melancholy guy moping under the mirrorball instead of a modelizer popping bottles in the VIP section.

Since 2011, when he sang with Rihanna on the fantastic Gil Scott-Heron and Jamie xx-sampling blockbuster “Take Care,” dance music has been a crucial part of Drake’s reputation.

For his follow-up to “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” which was released in 2013, he experimented with 1980s post-disco and jumped headlong into dancehall and the U.K. funky for the universal No. 1 smash “One Dance.”

In the past, he’s been known for taking a few detours, but on his latest full-length album, he’s taking a complete turn, abandoning his blowhard rap persona in favour of relying almost solely on his singing voice, a melancholy instrument that floats over nearly all of its 14 tracks. His thoughts are weighty, yet the production here is light.

Black Coffee, Gordo (formerly known as Carnage), and Noah “40” collaborated. When Drake sings in his cooing falsetto or writes in his sorrowful lyrics (this time about relationship troubles rather than his frenemies), Shebib provides a quiet and sometimes recessed background that allows his singing to take centre stage.

There are true highlights to be found when everything comes together. “You’re dealing with me hard” is repeated over a pool of watery synths on “Texts Go Green,” spiralling and coming off as desperate as he’s ever been.

Flying’s Booked” samples the 2003 song “Getting Late” by Floetry and features Congolese singer Mukengerwa “Tresor” Riziki.

A full-on ballroom moment can be found in “Calling My Name,” which features a saucy, unmistakable declaration aimed squarely at stunt women (“Your pussy is calling my name”), while “A Keeper” features a pithy Drizzy diss (“I found a new muse/bad That’s news for you”) that fits nicely into his ever-growing catalogue of kiss-offs.

Drake’s Tracks and “Oontz-Oontz Music,” Album

This is good news for those who are baffled by Drake’s journey into “oontz-oontz music,” since the easy, techno-indebted “Sticky” and the confrontational closer “Jimmy Cooks” (with 21 Savage) do feel more like conventional Drake tracks.

The problem is that Drake tries to stick to the same themes and tempos for a large portion of the album. Aside from Drake’s limited lyrical and vocal range, the production here is a step up over 2021’s cluttered, ponderous Certified Lover Boy, but the lack of depth only serves to highlight his shortcomings as a songwriter and performer.

There are no subtleties in the bass or effects in the two-and-a-half-minute jam “Currents,” which samples the Trillville track “Some Cut,” but it pushes things so far past subtlety that the bed frame is in danger of being broken by his attempts to “come on too hard” (without providing any sort of rush or release).

His repetitive, almost robotic tone lulls “Overdrive” into hold-music territory with its sneaky guitar riffs. “Down Hill,” which has exquisite backing vocals from Beau Nox, has the potential to become a blissed-out Afropop song, but instead it devolves into new-age mush.

Fortunately, the upbeat standout “Ties That Bind,” which evokes Sade headlining a circuit party, follows it.

Apple Music labels Nevermind as “dance,” but that’s just a sham. For the better part of six years, Drake has been doing what he does best: relaxing and occasionally turning the volume up a notch or two.

Helping the Name of The Chicago and Baltimore Information

Honestly, Nevermind Review: Drake Embraces Dance Music on 7th Album

With the help of some of the biggest names in house music from both Chicago and Baltimore, the result is an album that is both ecstatic, swooning, nasty and unapologetic. But he’s settled for something safe — something too slick, too worldly — instead of taking a much-needed left turn and turning it up to 11.

Let me tell you something encouraging: Within a few days of Drake’s release, Actually, “Break My Soul” is Beyoncé’s latest dance-oriented single; it’s a layered mix of Robin S. and Crystal Waters’ early-’90s house with the raucousness of ’90s New Orleans bounce (“Formation” guest Big Freedia shows up for another cameo).

Two of pop’s most influential tastemakers have recently experimented with a slew of loud, hectic, crazy, enthusiastic sounds from the 1980s. That alone should be cause for celebration. B-

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