Album Review: Take Care

Takecaredrake-1Take Care (2011)
Drake

Album Rating: 3/5
Album Length: Too Long
Album Feel: Yes

On Take Care rapper Drake still sings about hookups, breakups, fuckups, and adjusting to fame.  Where his debut Thank Me Later had it’s highs and lows, Take Care focuses almost exclusively on the lows.  Drake’s story telling style of rap is just as real as ever, and is filled with even more emotion and passion than before.  What helps is Drake seems to be singing more than using the auto tune, which makes songs much more personal.  The quiet and slow R&B styled instrumentals do get mundane and repetitive at times, with most songs featuring simple piano chords and swells of soft synths over an 808 drum beat.  But some of the lows are masterful. “Doing It Wrong” builds at each chorus, adding a heart beat kick and simple drums over echoing synths.  The distant guitar solo and harmonica at the end add unexpectedly fitting elements that push the song to greatness.

The swagger driven tracks like the frustrated “Underground Kings,” and triumphant “Lord Knows” are the only truly intense songs, and reveille more every time you listen to them.  Drake’s flow and lyrics about success on “Underground Kings” make a somewhat harmless beat seem so much deeper and more aggravated. The gospel choir soulfully screaming “And I know the Sun will rise with me” on “Lord Knows” mixed with the synths, piano, drum kit and booming bass are all layered perfectly to complement Drake and Rick Ross’ verses on the album’s best track.

Other hard-hitting tracks however, like “Make Me Proud,” and “HYFY” just aren’t loud enough, and although they are somewhat catchy, they blend in with all the softer songs.

Dead space ruins aspects of the album, where there’s an unnecessary extension of an instrumental, mixed with ambient noises and random guests speaking nonsense.  The Lil’ Wayne and Birdman features feel more like an obligation at this point than something that would better the album.   With an album this long, that’s something that gets a bit frustrating.  And the same goes for the interludes embedded into other songs.  “Buried Alive (Interlude)” is an unnecessary 2 minutes of sound attached to the back end of the single “Marvin’s Room.”  In contrast “Good Ones Go (Interlude),” is significantly better than the uninspired lyrics and beats on its 5-minute partner “Camera.”  If Take Care were made up of its 14 best tracks instead of all 17, it would be a lot more effective.  The 6 best songs are great, but most of the others just don’t stand out.  The main problem here is that there’s too much of too little, and not enough diversity, which winds up watering down the greater content that’s present.

  • Key Tracks: “Lord Knows”, “Under Ground Kings”, “Over My Dead Body”
  • Worst Tracks: “Cameras”, “Crew Love”, “The Real Her”

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