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The Earliest Bird, Top New Recorded Release 6-17-22 – 6-23-22: Drake’s “Honestly, Nevermind” Reviewed

Before we get to the surprise drop Honestly, Nevermind, an excellent art pop electronic dance drop, let’s take a quick trajectory over the last decade or so:

Take Care (2011) – the album in which Drake’s morose egotism came into its own – A
Nothing Was the Same (2013) – a pop mastroke (the tour killed as well) – A
Views (2016) – another pop masterstroke, a huge hit – A
Scorpion (2018) – an overlong drag (his mixtapes from this era are better) – C+
Certified Lover Boy (2021) – a hit? sure, but an indifferent album of pop Trompe-l’œil to hide how little depth he had – C+

And now, barely nine months later, Honestly, Nevermind, with Drake expanding his palete the way he did on the mixtape More Life, which also dabbled in dance though staying close to the UK grime moment of 2017. The album is More Life meets Nothing Was The Same, dark hued “oontz oontz” style beats (drum machine plus high hat) holding the bottom, on songs of romantic distress and also true love (the video of “Falling Back” is Drake’s non-existent wedding) to dark and minimal backing tracks reaching height after height; you keep expecting him to lose his ways but pretty soon you stop waiting for a “Girls Like Girls” off Certified Lover Boy to put you on your heels. Honestly, Nevermind is an art album and the art is the art of oontz beats that enthral while they leave you trying to get past the velvet rope.

Drake sounds as miserable breaking up on “Texts Go Green” and “A Keeper” as finding true love on the magnificent “Ties That Bind”. The rapping isn’t prime, the flow slow and distracted, but the sing-song is fabulous and nothing gets in the way of the consistency of Drake’s vibe, the flamenco fingerpicking on “Ties That Bind” is fairy dust over the beats and Drakes quite lovely vocal. The entire album maintains a feel of diary entries set to beats, not growing up, growing in.

If you are expecting house, you’re not getting it. But if what you want is a consistently intelligent and lovely electronic singer songwriter confessional, here it is.

Grade: A-

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