No. 12: “Cameras” – “Good Ones Go (Interlude)”
Sounds Like: The part of the album where things get slowwwwww. The beat to “Cameras” is almost narcotically draggy, with thick, menacing bass and foreboding guitar echoes accenting the head-nodding drum track, and a sample from Jon B.’s “Calling on You” occasionally providing a sort of aside from Drake’s slurred vocals denying gossip concerning himself and a girl he’s “with in all them magazines.” By the time of “Good Ones Go,” which is even slower and more minimal than “Cameras,” the girl doesn’t appear to be buying it anymore, and she’s on her way out—though Drake instructs her “don’t you go getting married, don’t you go get engaged” on her way out.
Pros: The sizzurpy beat, helped by Drake’s intoxicated-sounding delivery, gives the song a nice sense of sleaze—once again, like something you’d find on The Weeknd’s House of Balloons—and the Jon B. call-out is a nice touch, as is Drake’s “Only on cammmrra” chorus referencing Future’s “Tony Montana,” a fellow Drake-featuring Lex Luger production. And “Good Ones Go” is a surprisingly emotional two-minute transition track, much like “Cece’s Interlude” off TML.
Cons: Seven minutes is a lot for the two-fer, especially given the two songs that follow, both of which follow on a similarly laconic pace. On an album that stretches to nearly 80 minutes—and begins to really feel like it does around this point—you have to start wondering if the song is really justifying the excessive run time.
Emo Alert!: “I shouldn’t be much longer but you shouldn’t have to wait / Can’t lose you, can’t help it, I’m so sorry, I’m so selfish.”
Drake Hashtags: Lies, Young Money, Hip-hop royalty
No. 11: “The Real Her” featuring Lil Wayne and Andre 3000
Sounds Like: The last of the handful of tracks we’ve heard before from Take Care, and also the end of the draggiest stretch of Take Care. “The Real Her” is another piano-led ballad with minimal percussion and bass, as Drake sings about empty sex and partying, seemingly unsure if he’s bragging or complaining. Like the last two tracks, “The Real Her” is minorly transfixing in its slow-and-low groove, and this one also has the added boost—in interest, if not in energy—of guest appearances from Lil Wayne and (unlike in the original version of the song posted) Andre 3000.
Pros: Well, the Andre 3000 verse is certainly a welcome addition, though you have to kind of wonder if a song like this really needs two guest verses—maybe they would’ve been better swapping out Wayne’s yawner for Andre’s ruminations on modern pop balladry (“Sittin’ here, sad as hell, listening to Adele, I feel you baby / ‘Someone Like You’? More like someone unlike you, or somethin’ that’s familiar, maybe”). And there’s definitely something about the original’s super-nocturnal vibe that gets under your skin, not unlike the way “Marvin’s Room” initially did once upon a time, though without the instantly relatable lyrical themes.
Cons: That Wayne verse is just kind of a bummer, and considering he’s coming up again on the album one song from now, his presence seems wholly unnecessary. Also, the lyrical content of Drake’s original is a little vague to be all that affecting, and if you don’t start to feel the album’s length by the end of this five-minute number, you must be a really big Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness fan.
Emo Alert!: “They keep telling me don’t save you / If I ignore all that advice / Then something isn’t right / Then who will I complain to?”
Drake Hashtags: Sex guilt, Pianos, Live fast die young, Young Money
No. 10: “HYFR (Hell Ya Fuckin’ Right)” feat. Lil Wayne
Sounds Like: The kind of Drake song that Lil Wayne should be featured on, a gung-ho anthem about embracing the life, and the women that occasionally come with it. Both rappers get one verse each, where they rap about a complicated relationship they had in which their careers got in the way, interrupted at the end by Weezy playing the part of a reporter asking probing questions (“Are you high right now? Do you ever get nervous?”) and then answering his own questions in the most-emphatic titular affirmative.
Pros: “Hell yeah / Hell yeah, hell yeah / Fuckin’ right / Fuckin’ right, all right” is gonna make for one hell of a chorus sing along on future I Am Still Music tour installments, and the T-Minus (of “She Will” and “I’m On One” fame) beat is appropriately hands-in-the-air for such a statement. Not to mention that Drake makes for something of a hip-hop first by referencing George Strait’s “All My Ex’s Live in Texas” for the song’s opening lines, which might be the most unlikely cross-genre namecheck of the 2010s. Hopefully the King of Country makes a cameo in the music video.
Cons: There’s a pretty big disconnect between the chorus and the verses that precede it, and the pre-chorus of Wayne’s faux-interview questioning, while clever, doesn’t necessarily make much sense as a transition. Also, Weezy’s line of “met a female dragon, had a fire conversation” is pretty blugh.
Emo Alert!: “Damn, is it the fall? / Time for me to revisit the past.”
Drake Hashtags: Toronto, Too much drinking, Crew repping, Live fast die young, Hoes in different area codes
No. 9: “Headlines”
Sounds Like: Been listening to hip-hop radio much recently? If so, you probably don’t need much description from us here, but if not, it’s a mid-tempo-ish 40-produced number, with Drake’s typical fretting over girls that “miss the old me” and haters who “tell me I fell off, ooh I needed that.” It’s a little over-billed by its title, since there’s no real breaking news here, though the song’s time-keeping synth hook does sound like it would make good intro music for CBS News or something.
Pros: As we hoped when we initially reviewed it, the song sounds better in the context of Take Care than it did as a stand-alone single (“We imagine that it’ll slot in nicely as maybe the third or fourth track”—bingo). The previously mentioned synth hook has just gotten more and more transfixing over the course of dozens of listens, and the simplicity of the vocal hook (“They know, they know, they know”) while not an attention-grabber by any means, has burrowed its way into our 2011 musical subconscious. That 40 and Drake, they know what they’re doing on occasion.
Cons: The song’s themes are still kinda played from the TML days, and because he wants to give fans who have already heard “Headlines” a hundred times something new to chew on (or, if you take the cynic’s view, a reason to re-buy the song on iTunes), Drake adds on a spoken-word outro to the song here that is most unnecessary. “Rather you make this an open letter…About hearts that you’ve broken, and ties that you’ve severed.” Whatevs, Aubrey.
Emo Alert!: “Yeah I be yelling out money over everything, money on my mind / Then she wanna ask when it got so empty.”
Drake Hashtags: Living up to the hype, Crew repping, Self-pity
No. 8: “Marvin’s Room — Buried Alive (Interlude)”
Sounds Like: A more expertly crafted late-night call than the likes of what you’ve probably left an old flame, complete with more profanity, and a new, potentially all-too revealing interlude from Kendrick Lamar.
Pros: After a few months of listening to Drake and every other artist in his contacts list take their turn at the drunken confession meets last-ditch attempt to salvage a relationship, these introspective and vulnerable rants have grown on us. Rattling off the pratfalls of fame, and likely those things that led to the demise of his relationship (“I think I’m addicted to naked pictures and sitting and talking about bitches that we almost had”), he’s asking us to feel sorry for him and accept these shortcomings, with the entire act of such a call being his biggest one. For those who’d rather do without his strained attempts at singing, the song really takes off at 2:56, as his rhymes are backed by punching bass lines (“We threw a party, yeah we thew a party / Bitches came over, yeah we threw a party”) that instantly make you bob your head, regardless of whether or not you’ve chosen to feel sorry for him, too. Twinkling piano keys give way to the new interlude “Buried Alive,” a swirling, soaring confession from Lamar with a notable Rihanna reference that will keep the gossip hounds and hip-hop romantics talking.
Cons: At a little more than five minutes, the song maintains its gradual build before Drizzy’s first rap verse, which we still wish would arrive earlier. After a fleeting, flirtation with rapping and truly having no filter (“I’ve had sex four times this week, I’ll explain / Having a hard time adjusting to fame”) we soon return to the less revealing pity party we began with, and countless selfish declarations that she could “do better.” But we guess that always means there’s room for a Part Two somewhere down the line.
Emo Alert! “Talk to me please, don’t have much to believe in / I need you right now, are you down to listen to me?”
Drake Hashtag: Drinking too much, Sex guilt, Live fast, die young
No. 7: “Crew Love”
Sounds Like: Any of The Weeknd’s mixtapes from earlier this year, remixed with a surprise guest verse by Drake.
Pros: Drake hasn’t been quiet about praising his fellow Toronto native, and here he allows him to take over the track entirely. His complicated voice gives an otherwise standard clique anthem about local spots and careless spending much more depth and undercutting its pounding, introductory synths. While Drake likes to insist that he’s still just a boy from the T.O.—one who travels the world and hangs with Lil Wayne, natch—Abel Tesfaye, with all of his self-constructed mystery, and at this point, comparable obscurity, keeps things grounded with mentions of bars and fake IDs that are more identifiable to those of us whose crew can’t afford Maybachs just yet.
Cons: While his voice is layered, the chorus can get repetitive. If you’re not a fan of The Weeknd, you’ll feel this song lacks an equal contribution from Drake. But if you are, Drizzy’s verse might just feel like an annoying distraction.
Emo Alert! “And really, I think I like who I’m becoming.”
Drake Hashtags: Toronto, OVOXO, Live fast, die young, Crew repping
For songs 6 through 1 off Take Care, click NEXT.