sat 18/09/2021

Album: Drake - Certified Lover Boy | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Drake - Certified Lover Boy

Album: Drake - Certified Lover Boy

Way 2 Sexy Uncle D's long-delayed album is business as usual

An unlikely tribute to Damien Hirst

Certified Lover Boy is not a mixtape, a playlist or a collection of loosies, but an Album. With a capital A. This is a distinction Drake makes when it’s time to get serious, when he wants us to sit up and listen intently. Unfortunately, Drake Albums often get bogged down in this seriousness. Both 2016’s Views and 2018’s Scorpion were slogs to get through.

The spark of If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late and cohesion of Nothing Was the Same felt missed.  

Yet CLB sees Drake loosen up the collar on his big-boy Album shirt. He leans into his sleazier tendencies whilst grappling with bachelorhood, love and sex in ways that are in turns awkward, sad and funny- i.e. typical Drake.

There was much speculation about what CLB would sound like after being teased and delayed for over a year. However CLB plays it safe in every way. Drake surrounds himself with familiar collaborators to produce familiar songs. He reunites with Rick Ross over a triumphant beat (“You Only Live Twice”), there’s a song with a meh Jay-Z appearance (“Love All”), a trip to Atlanta with Future and Thugger (“Way 2 Sexy”) and even some Afro-Pop with conveniently buzzing Tems (“Fountains”). These songs are all good, but a feeling of Déjà vu haunts the track list.

A lot of CLB feels rehashed, but the way it captures Drake at an awkward junction in his life is intriguing. He is thirty-four, living a bachelor’s life whilst still being a hopeless romantic and a father. He presents himself as a Lover Boy, a Don Juan of the Only Fans era- but the schtick feels flimsy. Despite the silly album title and cover (a playful spin on Damien Hirst’s famous dots), it feels as if Drake is stuck in a k-hole of meaningless sex. “Fucking Fans” is a moody RnB track where a relationship falls apart due to this: “you said I was fucking up when I was out here fucking fans” he croons, sounding as if it’s not the first time it has happened. These tensions are what keep Drake’s music from being empty bragging. There’s a melancholy that permeates even his most breezy moments.

Like Views and Scorpion, the highs from CLB will trickle into popular consciousness whilst the lows simply forgotten. Even though it hardly feels like a cohesive album, CLB keeps the cultural institution which is Drake, alive and well.

Below: Watch the video for "Way 2 Sexy" by Drake featuring Future and Young Thug

It feels rehashed, but the way it captures Drake at an awkward junction in his life is intriguing

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters