VIP section introspection: CD review of Drake’s “Take Care”

On his debut album, “Thank Me Later,” mixtape-approved rapper/singer Drake solidified himself as a top-shelf talent and versatile star equally comfortable popping bottles and pouring out his heart. On his sophomore effort, “Take Care,” a painstakingly crafted collection that leaked earlier this week, the Young Money standout aims to transcend temporary fame and become legendary. Mostly, he succeeds.

At 17 tracks — some of which push nine minutes — the album is expansive and grandiose. Songs are more like sonic journeys than straightforward, predictable compositions. Musical themes vanish and re-appear, layers build upon layers and then strip down to bare bones as tightly wound tracks give way to gauzy, lush interludes. Most songs sound intentionally distorted and warped, as if they were recorded underwater. Though standard rap compositions do appear (single “Headlines,” for example), the majority of “Take Care” shuns formula and simple classification in favor of a dim, shadowy stance.

Lyrically, Drake shines. Though commercial rap and R&B has largely become a series of bloated cliches and shallow sentiments that seldom last longer than an after–party, “Take Care” is like rock-star psychotherapy. The Toronto native brings his usual barrage of VIP section introspection, probing the pitfalls of the good life with stunner shades on, trying to maintain some semblance of self in a world that continually wants a piece of him…continued in the Boston Herald.

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