Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Drake "Scorpion" (2018)

Canadian rapper Drake hardly needs an introduction as one of popular musics biggest names right now. Successive number one debuts continue as this newest double album smashes record and peaks charts as well as causing a little controversy with the record being shoved down the throats of spotify users. At ninety minutes, split into two halves, it is his lengthiest project to date with no obvious justification for its long run time, some suspect its to take advantage of listening habits and streaming service algorithms. Either way his music is enjoyed by many and in my opinion the easy listening nature of his style doesn't always equate to greatness and I struggle to see whats the appeal of such a record. Their is clearly some great music to be found here, If shaved down to thirty minutes we might have something special, as a handful of tracks do manage to rise above a wash of relative mediocrity.

As the album gets going one can follow Drake's current situation, self reflecting, confronting his status and ego, talking of beef, drama and assumed "hits" placed on him. He dives into more meaningful thoughts as he reflects on how his fame hurts relationships and complicates life. Its enjoyable but after a few songs the topical steam runs out or at least my enthusiasm for it does. His style and flow is so plain and simple its obviously the appeal, easy to digest and follow but his tone is a little to flat for my liking, not of lot emotion put into the voice itself. Their also isn't a lot of wisdom or food for thought beyond the self interest in his words. The other half to his sound is the auto tune singing, which seems to be split, the first half focuses mostly on raps and the second lulls the percussion and focuses on singing.

The instrumentals at work mostly have a sterile approach of punchy fast attack and sharp decay kits distanced from the accompanying samples that stir the tone and atmosphere, often with minimalism. They often go by with little distinction but on occasions strike a nerve. Don't Matter To Me has a soothing atmosphere and then drops in a previously unused recording of Micheal Jackson from the vaults. It sounds utterly superb and is one of a few gems in the rough. God's Plan is a great song that's been a hit and the newest In My Feelings single is another good song that suffers from some utterly obnoxious aggressive shouting and ridiculous rhythmic syncopation of vocal samples and bass kicks. It really turns a nice track on its side.

The last record I checked out, More Life, offered so much more in comparison. The instrumentation had variety and experimentation. Scorpion just doesn't have much charisma or flare to it. Its just a wash of loosely forged atmospheres that lack depth or dexterity. Its easily listened to but mostly goes in one ear and out the other. There are a couple of interesting songs that hold up but they are far and few between. Without any over arching concept or theme it just sound like an over bloated collection of songs aimed at creating a run time. This is evident more so in the second half where more dreamy R&B style tracks come into the fold with no real relation to what ran before it. For this listener Scorpion drags its feet to the finish line, which hardly feels like an accomplishment.

Favorite Tracks: God's Plan, Sandra's Rose, That's How You Feel, In My Feelings, Don't Matter To Me
Rating: 5/10