Drake - "Thank Me Later" Sept 11, 2015 1:09:56 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Sept 11, 2015 1:09:56 GMT -5
Thank Me Later (2010)
The sheer boldness and magnitude of Drake's lyricism and production on his official debut album Thank Me Later is something truly incredible; through the use of heartfelt, often ambiguous lyricism and synthesizers and keyboards, adhering to the nuanced production, Drake has crafted one of the richest and most ambitious debut albums for a Top 40 rapper I have yet to hear. There's an unmatched authenticity that bleeds through the entirety of Thank Me Later like a flesh wound that hasn't been attended to and the result is Drake before a microphone and behind a computer, more-or-less bleeding onto an album of unfiltered honesty and cold truths we may or may not want to hear, but really should.
Such power comes in two early tracks, one of which being "Fireworks," featuring Alicia Keys. What could be a generic pop rap songs turns into a minimalist and inviting track, complete with Keys' R&B chorus and Drake's hard-hitting, self-reflective lyrics that really showcase his talents. Following that is "Over," another song that has Drake emphasizing his complex and layered flow, one that is simultaneously intimidating and vulnerable, while other songs like "Karaoke" detail a hurt inside Drake I've noticed upon listening to his EP So Far Gone. "Karaoke" carries an internal sadness from Drake that was evident in "Houstatlantavegas," as if he's been on the wrong end of unrequited love in the past, presumably from a stripper, and these songs are a cathartic release for the Toronto-born spitter.
Thank Me Later's strengths largely hold up for the majority of the album, with speedbumps coming in the form of tracks like "Fancy" or "Shut it Down," which carry far too much of a pop/radio emphasis than Drake's forcefulness in his lyricism. Rather than concocting almost freestyle, anthemic tracks like he's done in the past, Drake tries to adhere to conventional structure with these tracks and falls significantly short of greatness because he's forcing himself and his creativity into a box neither was ever meant to be forced into for the ostensible desire of radio attention, which he's largely too good for. Regardless, the album quickly finds a rebound, especially when Jay-Z nudges his way in for a solid verse on "Light Up," in addition to Drake and Lil Wayne - polar opposite talents - finding an infectious common ground on "Miss Me," the album's most surprisingly fluid and addicting track.
The most curious attribute about this album is the way its layered, however; consider "The Resistance," a song said to serve as a "conflation between the glam-ridden and the everyday," one of the best summations of Drake's lifestyle and music that I have yet to hear. While Drake has made more money than many of us will ever see in our lifetime, he seems decidedly common, in addition to being someone who can embrace the glamour and the rich lifestyle one day, while shuttering himself indoors and wincing at the thought and reach of his fame the very next. This duality comes across on "Thank Me Now," an almost impulsive response to the name and thesis of his album, and this duality hovers over him like an ominous storm-cloud. The aesthetic techniques continue with the intriguing "Cece's Interlude," which structures its melody in couplets and relies on echoes, synths, and ambiance to carry a feel instead of a common musical base.
Thank Me Later is less a debut album and more an experimental playground; I still find it hard to believe this was a Billboard 200 smash, selling 447,000 in one week and earning the top spot on the charts immediately. This may not be as tightly polished as the brief-but-significant So Far Gone EP - it lacked Drake's more listless poppy tracks, while still exceeding thirty minutes with only seven tracks - though it's in a league all its own, as far as I'm concerned. With that, whatever the fuel for the fire inside of Drake be, all I can tell it is to keep burning, or at least keep influencing the work of a talented man, wise beyond his years and so far ahead of his talent many others are in his rear-view mirror.
Recommended tracks (in order): "Over," "Miss Me," "Fireworks," "Light Up," "Karaoke," and "Thank Me Now."