Since the release of his last non-mixtape/non-collaboration album in 2013, Drake has solidified his position as a pop music icon, scaling the charts, dominating gossip columns, and generally living the good life. Or so it seems. 2016's Views is another in a string of dour transmissions from the dark night of Drake's soul. As before, he casts himself as both the melancholy bachelor looking out over the city from his penthouse manor, and the criminally underrated rap genius demanding his due, and it's one album too many for both personas. He's already delved deeply into his insecurities, lambasted all his exes, and displayed his fierce self-pride, never shying away from telling everyone exactly where he started and how far he's come. Frankly, it's become as boring and annoying as a needle stuck in a groove. No matter how ably the production casts his raps and ballads in the best possible light, no matter how well the frequent use of chopped and swirled samples from '90s R&B songs fit in the mix, no matter that the occasional song rises up from the narrative and makes a splash, the album is a meandering, dreary rehash of what Drake has done before in much better fashion. Of the songs that stand out, his uptempo, Caribbean-flavored duet with Rihanna ("Too Good") is the most enjoyable; "One Dance," another song with a Jamaican dancehall feel, is another fun track. Still, these poppy moments feature Drake as the wounded lover, being treated poorly yet again. A few other tracks connect, like the almost light-hearted "Feel No Ways," which makes good use of a stuttering Malcolm McLaren sample or, of course, the hugely catchy hit song "Hotline Bling." The nostalgic "Weston Road Flows" comes close, with the great Mary J. Blige sample running through the track, but stumbles when Drake name drops Katy Perry and brags about wrecking marriages. The track, like so many others made up of over-blown boasts, seems to be fighting a battle that was won long ago. Drake has not only arrived, he's taken over. And if he's never going to get the same respect that someone like Chance the Rapper gets, making records as self-pitying and self-serving as Views isn't going to do much to further Drake's career artistically, either. Basically, Drake needs to lighten up and add some new colors to the paintbox, whether it’s songs about something other than his bummer love life (like the good times before the inevitable breakup), or the fabulous things that come from all the money and fame he never lets anyone forget he's accrued. Eventually, people will get tired of the same old song if it's sung too often. On Views, Drake is starting to sound a little weary of it himself.
AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra