Despite a few direct promotional efforts, the album has started to break records(spotify) while dominating the charts. As you read this, a dozen tunes are likely crawling over one another like crabs in a bucket, vying for top spots in every important ranking.
“Certified Lover Boy” is a great album – it’s well-produced, as are all of Drake’s albums, and pleasant, with a respectable batting average for a nearly hour-and-a-half album.
Most people say he’s correct: few musicians have had as long of a grasp on music or culture as he has. He smiles because of this energy, which is hyper-focused on preserving his dominion. It’s also why his latest album confirms that he’s a rapper who’s somewhat stuck in pop superstar limbo.
There are parts of the project where he talks about counseling, fatherhood, and how failed relationships influence how he behaves with women as an adult. More mature insights on his notions of manhood, women, and love (of all types) would have been preferable than more nihilism and hypocrisy like “you not Ayesha enough.”
I believe he is still honest in his songs, which means that the lyrics represent where he is in life, and he isn’t quite ready to be as serious about love as he has been about his career path and purpose yet.
Yet, in the same vein, “CLB,” a long-awaited album that was delayed by more than a year. It exists not as a refined, cohesive work. It does as an overlong dump of tracks that can be briefly exhilarating, quickly infectious.
On “Certified Lover Boy,”, we get a blend of Drake’s several personalities. On previous albums like Scorpion, he tried to show off his various sides and styles, but he did a better job of balancing it all on this one. Instead of committing one half of the album to rapping and the other half to singing, he sought to blend all aspects of his personality into each song. A decent combination of bars, Instagram posts, and singing may be found.
The album is devoid of any discernible evolution or risk from someone who could be considered the world’s biggest artist. It’s an album that seems like a fan putting together a fun but ultimately uninspiring mix of Drake’s work over the previous five years or so.
You don’t want to tell someone what to do with their music, so this is a delicate issue. However, you can’t help but notice the end effects on another album that contains a plethora of male rap appearances. It wouldn’t have been a stretch to include a female rapper on this list.
Part of de-stigmatizing women in rap is not acting as if they exist in their universe separate from the rest of the genre. I know some Drake supporters were offended by this social media remark for whatever reason, but it had to be addressed, especially after he made such a big deal over the billboard feature announcements. We can tell who is attending the celebration and who is not.
As experimental as he has been as an artist, he’s simply another male who isn’t beyond using gendered power relations and reinforcing them for millions of stans eager to caption his songs. I’m weary of hearing this staircase to nowhere situationships, as tired as he appears to be of living through them.
This is a good album overall. It’s what you’d expect from Drake, which is a bit disheartening to say about an experienced performer who constantly brags about how great he is. It’s wonderful to feel that the most well-known and well-covered artist is a creative benchmark to aim after. But that isn’t the case with this record.
Though, it seems we’ve reached the point where Drake albums are no longer good or bad, they’re just Drake albums: pretty good on first listen, worse on subsequent ones, too long, something to appeal to every type of listener. You either like this or you don’t.
When you look beyond the flaws and accept “Certified Lover Boy” as a compilation of pop tunes from our biggest pop singer, it becomes a lot more pleasurable. It’s the classic recording of a prom king who can’t seem to see past his mirror. Thankfully, we enjoy looking at and hearing that character as well; just don’t expect a loving boy to mature.