Album Review: Certified Lover Boy


Public Domain

“Certified Lover Boy” fails to branch out, making the over-80-minute album feel repetitive and boring at times.

Aubrey Drake is one of the world’s largest stars. He has racked up an illustrious 54 top-ten songs on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, which is more than any artist of all time. Despite his six-month hiatus from dropping music and the revival of his feud with rapper Kanye West, Drake managed to stay in the spotlight.

Drake has tried to demonstrate his “lover boy” personality, in part through stunts such as tapering a heart into his hair. (Public Domain)

Just a day after the release of West’s tenth project, “DONDA,” on Aug. 30, Drake announced the release date and album cover for his sixth studio album, “Certified Lover Boy.” The cover consists of 12 separate “pregnant woman” emojis, and was designed by world-renowned artist Damien Hirst. The cover art is a gesture to the “lover boy” persona Drake has been building up for the last year, further shown by a heart tapered into his hair. The design sparked many memes and recreations through social media, increasing his standing in the spotlight.

“Certified Lover Boy” dropped that Friday and broke the record for the most Spotify streams in a single day. It sold 613,000 copies in its first week, the most of any album all year. The music on the record is, unfortunately, not as impressive as the sales it generated. A lack of effort and creativity, combined with some questionable lyrics keep “Certified Lover Boy” from connecting with listeners, showing that popularity does not always correlate with quality.

The album, which contains 21 tracks and has a run time of 86 minutes, is boring and bloated. It feels as though Drake is more focused on producing as many songs as possible for profit than producing a fully developed project.

The majority of the album consists of uninteresting beats and what I like to call “Diary Drake,” over five-minute songs where Drake raps about surface-level problems in his wealthy and glamorous life which the average listener can simply not relate to.

Tracks such as “7am On a Bridle Path,” “The Remorse” and “Champagne Poetry” suffer from this issue. Each track has a tedious flow and drags on heavily. Several times while listening, I found myself checking to see how much longer I had left in each song before it finally finished.

The record also contains some questionable topics and lyrics. On “Girls Want Girls,” Drake raps “you say you’re a lesbian girl, me too.” This is not the only line on the album that is both corny and nonsensical at the same time. He delves into more misogynistic themes in songs such as “TSU,” which at its core is about Drake taking advantage of the power dynamic between him and women who are not as financially successful. Both tracks attempt to feed into the theme that Drake is a “Certified Lover Boy,” but they just come across as Drake being a manipulative and insensitive celebrity.

The album’s highlights come from its features, most notably 21 Savage on “Knife Talk,” and Travis Scott on “Fair Trade.” These artists have had success with Drake previously, and help add variety and at least a little bit of effort to bolster Drake’s mediocre performance.

The clear breadwinner of the project is the song “Way 2 Sexy,” which was clearly meant to be a meme from its conception. With cheesy lyrics and a cheesier music video, it is now trending on TikTok and, despite not even being that great of a track, seems to be one of the defining moments of the album.

The fact that the album’s defining feature is a joke sums up how I feel about this record: while it can be fun to listen to, it feels like at this point in Drake’s career, we have gotten enough of that type of music. It’s time for Drake to branch out and hopefully come back with a more fully developed project. Having 10 more “Way 2 Sexy” type of songs before he retires wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, but if Drake wants to keep me listening, he needs to do a whole lot better.