Drake
Nothing Was the Same


3.6
great

Review

by Adam Thomas STAFF
September 18th, 2013 | 1321 replies


Release Date: 09/24/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The Drake Delusion

I've spent a long time trying to resolve the upfront and striking schism that exists in Drake's psyche. On one hand he exudes this repressed and almost infantile emotional fragility that, when taken at face value, extends out a hand to the lovelorn and the heavy-hearted. It's almost comforting when combined with the pensive minimalism of his producer/collaborator Noah Shebib's musical backdrop. But this Drake runs contrary to the walking id that is Drake's braggadocio; a twisted and convoluted product of desire, middle class boredom, and an obsessive, almost petty sense of entitlement. He laments and loathes the trappings of his suburban prison to the point where it defines him more than any musical accomplishment or playful one liner ever could.

Then it hit me. These two sides can never come to terms with each other. They are all part of the grand delusion that feeds Drake's own desires and inhibitions. His gentle, old soul persona is an extension of the game that he has chosen to play. It's not about happiness, it's not about fulfillment, the only goal in Drake's mind is vapid notoriety and all the trappings that it offers. The only thing that makes it all okay is that he admits it. Every line about understanding is a misleading mask playing on the lack of self-esteem of the girl who is sitting alone at the bar – a reassuring farce that validates her existence as nothing more than a late night play thing and lets Drake bask in his own warming glow. Nothing Was The Same is paltry and cheap. Yet at the same time it is oddly compelling. It's as if his complete lack of flow and the heart he paints on his sleeve in erasable ink obfuscate enough of his calculated chicanery to allow it all to blend into a soothing aberration, skewing the lines between disingenuous bullshit and brilliance. It's a balancing act that he plays quite well, much to my chagrin and enjoyment, as every time he opens his mouth I am conflicted but still hanging on to every clumsy word.

The glue tying this hollow scheme all together is Noah “40” Shebib. His production work is flawless. Following the subdued and melodramatic heart pangs of the mellow moments on 2011's Take Care, the music that he has afforded Drake is pulsating in a distant and estranged sexuality. Every time Drake stumbles, Shebib is there to pick him up, rocketing him to emotional heights he never was even capable of reaching on his own. The beats themselves take influence from far across the electronic music spectrum, from the Gold Panda-esque vocal loops in “Tuscan Leather” to the Fennesz-like floating beat of “Own It”, showcasing not only Shebib's ear for layers, but his skill to seamlessly articulate them into more palatable and commercially viable forms. Even when he pulls from more club friendly sources, ala the aggressive trap glitch-outs in “Worst Behaviour”, he manages to work it in to his greater vision, rolling back the MDMA laced dance floor clanging and twisting it into nothing but bare paranoid immediacy.

While listening to Nothing Was The Same I can feel the wool being pulled over my eyes. I know it's nothing but a shallow and vacuous ploy, but it doesn't bother me as much as I know it should. Drake's pop music con job is just too well executed, despite all its obvious flaws, to not be enjoyed.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Buzzkillr
September 18th 2013


1541 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I dunno, I think this is better than take care. I seem to be part of the minority though.

guitarded_chuck
September 18th 2013


3276 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

"I know it's nothing but a shallow and vacuous ploy, but it doesn't bother me as much as I know it should."

It shouldn't bother you at all, really. Drake is a pop artist.

But the music put out under his persona is damn good.

sniper
September 18th 2013


19080 Comments


Every line about understanding is a misleading face
perhaps you meant farce?


newjunk2
September 18th 2013


232 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

If Yeezus was the audio personification of being an asshole, then this is to being a wimp. I've gotta say, assholes are a lot more interesting.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
September 18th 2013


17225 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nah, i meant face like a mask. I'll change it right quick to make it more clear.

weedblunt
September 18th 2013


558 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

drake softer than a baby's butt

sniper
September 18th 2013


19080 Comments


good review adam. i have yet to give this a listen but i liked take care well enough, how did you like that one?

Athom
Staff Reviewer
September 18th 2013


17225 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I like take care a lot. I like this a lot too. It's just that since this doesn't have all those club tracks that fucked up the middle of Take Care which made some of the shallowness a bit hard not to address.

guitarded_chuck
September 18th 2013


3276 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

"If Yeezus was the audio personification of being an asshole, then this is to being a wimp. I've gotta say, assholes are a lot more interesting."

Wow. It only took 5 comments before someone mentioned Yeezus. Impressive.

Wadlez
September 18th 2013


4651 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Drake - I am lame

EaglesBecomeVultures
September 18th 2013


5269 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i love this review

Digging: Dean Blunt - Black Metal

Gyromania
September 18th 2013


15973 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is probably your best and most thought-provoking review to date. great work

Rev
September 18th 2013


9439 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"EDM spectrum"

*shudders*


Really great review Adam. That said I really hate this, though that's not surprising.

Rev
September 18th 2013


9439 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great to see you back on staff

sniper
September 18th 2013


19080 Comments


word. take care was just so easy to listen to it was hard not to like. too long though. this one looks more manageable length-wise

plane
Staff Reviewer
September 18th 2013


6099 Comments


This is as personal as Drake has ever been. "You know it's real when you are who you think you are."

Relinquished
September 18th 2013


25584 Comments


zombie should've done more prod-wise

EaglesBecomeVultures
September 18th 2013


5269 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lyrically it may be more personal (toss-up, imo) but it lacks the emotional weight that take care had

EaglesBecomeVultures
September 18th 2013


5269 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is much more cohesive though, less bloated than take care

sniper
September 18th 2013


19080 Comments


don't see what's wrong with the cover

cloudrap



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