Drake, or as my friends and I affectionately call him: “Aubrey Jake”, is arguably one of the biggest and most influential MCs in the hip hop world right now—big enough that pulling a surprise drop of his latest “album” (he did post a Twitter picture: “Do you like my mixtape?) was enough to keep the internet buzzing for days and propel it to the number one position on the Billboard 200.
With his signature dark ambient production, meme-worthy (honestly? I am already shaking my head at myself for writing that, but it’s the only way to put it) lines such as “I–WAS–RUNNING–THROUGH–THE–SIX–WITH MY WOES!” from Know Yourself, offset with lyrics full of both self-awareness and take-downs of his record label and hip hop scene rivals, the 17-track mixtape “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late” is Drake at his peak braggadocio.
I listened to the release a few hours after it came out and once the initial hype of “New Drake!” died down, the experience felt somewhat stale as a whole. The album is definitely full of bangers from the reaffirmation of Drake’s status in “Energy” to the Madonna tribute appropriately titled “Madonna” (bet you didn’t see that coming), but the change of pace and flow that Drake does best isn’t best showcased in this mixtape: in a few songs, perhaps, such as the hazy collaboration with PARTYNEXTDOOR or the eerie cathedral ambiance of Star67. This isn’t a fault though, since it’s not actually a full-fledged album and is composed of mainly throwaway tracks—which is only testament to Drake’s talent in itself.
All in all, “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late” is a decent enough release to tide us over before Drake drops his next album, and if the quality of this mixtape is in any way indicative of Drake’s next effort, let’s just say that it’s a prelude to something much, much bigger.
Standout tracks: Energy, Know Yourself, Star67, Now & Forever, Jungle
Perfume Genius’s “Too Bright” is an album that is full of ambiguity and wonder. Released September 2014, it’s absolutely perfect timing for the season. This album fits autumn due to it being sparse, empty, and transitioning into something new. “Too Bright” probably is not for a listener who is not willing to understand Perfume Genius’s message throughout his eleven tracks. Being that it was my first time listening to Perfume Genius, this album didn’t leave the impression that I was hoping for. I personally did not feel like this album did not live up to the hype that it was given.
Listening to this album for the first time was difficult for me. As a music lover, I tried to understand Perfume Genius’s artistry and aesthetic towards this album. I found appreciation for the scarcity at some points throughout “Too Bright”. Those few times of vastness pushed me to try to comprehend the various choices of words in his songs as well has how he sang them. Unfortunately, the only way that I could try to attempt to understand the story for each song was to look up the lyrics. Even though Perfume Genius has a very neat and unique voice, the strong vernacular made it a little challenging. Also, the album is only thirty-three minutes long which made me feel like it was too short. It is a possibility that Perfume Genius did this in order to make a statement to the listeners—a way to draw us in and take a closer look and achieve an understanding of the story that Perfume Genius gave through his vocals.
Overall, the album “Too Bright” is an album that takes multiple listens to achieve a connection to Perfume Genius. Like I said earlier, this album is not for a person who wants meaningless lyrics to dance to. Even though it was difficult to understand the point of “Too Bright”, I wouldn’t mind listening to it again in the future.