Album Review: Nothing Was The Same
Canadian recording artist Drake just released his third studio album, Nothing Was The Same, today, September 24, 2013. The album proves to be another soulful project that masterfully portrays the evolution of the hip-hop artist. The Canadian rap superstar has finally channeled his inner Marvin Gaye. With very deep and sensitive tracks, the rapper expresses many of the different emotional and personal struggles that he has gone through. The major themes of the album ultimately seem to be about self-reflection, relationship problems, and trust issues… shocking right? Well it is a Drake album, but nonetheless a great Drake album.
The difference between Nothing Was The Same, and his previous album Take Care is that the tracks on this new album paint a better picture of the personal battles of Drake. He does a great job of connecting with the listener by using self-conflict and confession that create feelings of sympathy for him. The music on this album is much more clear and concise than his last work. That is a sign that the rap superstar is still evolving as an artist right before our very eyes.
‘Tuscan Leather’ is the first track, and said to be one of the most anticipated tracks off of the album. In this intro, Drake immediately lets you know that he is filled with ambition. Also that he is at the top of the rap game with no one challenging his spot at the top. The track is filled with backdrops of sped up and reversed Whitney Houston samples, which gives the song a unique sound. ‘Tuscan Leather’ is a strong opener for the album.
On the second track, Drake addresses his current situation with his career, along with his personal thoughts about what he really wants in life. Later in the song the beat switches to a more classic soul drum pattern, which gives the track a brighter feel.
Started From The Bottom
‘Started From The Bottom’ was released as the first single from the album. The track is a fan favorite, and it instantly became a smash hit, reaching certified double platinum in the United States. The song explains Drake’s upbringing with a very catchy hook and bridge that stays in your head.
‘Wu-Tang Forever’ was released as a promotional single. The song generated much success. On the track, Drake reminisces back to a past relationship from his Toronto days. He masterfully turns heads with this track by using the title of a 90’s rap classic as his own personal slow jam. The title of the song has sparked some controversy regarding whether the song holds any relevance to Wu-Tang Clan. ‘Wu-Tang Forever’ is still a great song filled with mesmerizing melodic riffs and bass hums.
‘Own It’ feels like a continuous echo of the previous track ‘Wu-Tang Forever’. It has the same melodic tone, but the song is filled with much more emotion. In this track Drake goes even deeper into his personal feelings of what he wants from a relationship. The track does sound a little bit too much like ‘Wu-Tang Forever’, and it gets redundant at times.
This track is also very similar to ‘Wu-Tang Forever’ and ‘Own It’ in terms of the heavy, melodic sound. In this song, Drake repeatedly spurts the same line over and over again. It becomes somewhat unnecessary. Things take a turn when he quotes Ma$e’s verse from Biggie Smalls’ ‘Mo Money Mo Problems’ and adds his own spin on it. Overall the track is somewhat bland and feels unnecessary.
‘From Time’ is a great and beautiful track. It is filled with a wonderful piano hook that creates a very soft and gentle feel to the song. The beginning seems to dwell around a conversation between Drake and a past ex. Jhene Aiko’s sweet vocals really make the song come alive; she gives the track that sentimental feel. Drake also gives a rare insight into his relationship with his parents. He passionately raps about his dark days of when his father was not there for him during his childhood. At the same time he expresses great love for his father. This is a wonderful track that stands out on the album.
Hold On We’re Going Home
‘Hold On We’re Going Home’ was released as the second single from the album. With its synthesized soaked chorus line to its mesmerizing vocal hooks, the track is very smooth and dreamy . It is a feel-good song that is definitely a fan favorite. The song has a Michael Jackson feel to it with a sound that will be very hard to get out of your head.
Once again, Drake is caught describing a toxic past relationship. The song is about Drake’s decision to want to stay with a girl that made him feel terrible about himself. She completely controlled him. The track is very moody and controlling, like the theme of the song.
On this song, Drake explains how he is the one of the rap game’s elites with braggadocio lines and hooks. Drake shows that he is unapologetic for any of his decisions. He is determined to stay at the top. The track has a bass heavy beat that is in sync with his attitude.
305 To My City
This is probably the worst track on the album. In the song, Drake acknowledges a rather intelligent Miami stripper who uses her smarts for her hustle. The song tends to be very repetitive and bland, and the track is definitely a weak spot on the album.
This track is one of the most personal songs of Drake’s career. He emotionally raps about his feelings of anxiety, and worries about leading a life full of regrets. He also brings insight to his family issues. Throughout the song he sends out hopeful messages to his family such as asking his mother to not give up on life. Drake also sends himself his own message by telling himself to stray away from the problems of his own family. The piano led hook by the British soul singer, Sampha, wonderfully portrays the pain that Drake is going through. You can feel the heartache and the powerful message in Sampha’s voice. This is the climax of “Nothing Was The Same”, and one of the best songs on the whole album.
Pound Cake/ Paris Morton Music 2
This is the big closer to the album. ‘Pound Cake/ Paris Morton Music 2’ is pretty much two songs on one major track. On the first part of the track, Drake reflects back to all of his hard earned success. He reminds himself that he really has made it big. Drake uses Wu-Tang once again on the album by sampling the hook of their classic song ‘C.R.E.A.M’, which gives the track a heavy sound.
Jay Z also spits a verse that reflects all of his success, but it doesn’t carry the same vibe as Drake’s verse. Jay Z’s take on the song is a bit too humorous and clumsy for the song. It is not that Jay’s verse isn’t good, it just doesn’t fit the mood of the track. Luckily, Drake has the last word, and closes the dual track with a great meaningful verse about his hopes for the future.
Come Thru (Bonus Track)
This track has a feel-good early 2000’s R&B mood to it. The song seems to be more pop oriented, and throughout the song Drake spends his time weighing in on his thoughts about a personal relationship. It also tells stories of the past before his fame… again. Overall, it is a fun song with a great upbeat tempo and rhythm.
All Me (Bonus Track)
‘All Me’ was released as the first promotional single for the album. The song features fellow rappers Big Sean and 2 Chainz. It instantly became a huge hit. The track is about Drake explaining and emphasizing his self made success. 2 Chainz also enters into a braggadocios state with his witty lyrics, but Big Sean’s verse is what really turned heads on this track. Big Sean creatively explains his sense of paranoia and the lessons he learned ever since becoming a rap superstar. He does so through a rapid-fire verse that masterfully wraps up the song.