Vixen Review: 'Nothing Was The Same' is the Sound of a Man With Confidence
Insatiability can be mankind's Achilles heel, and we ladies know it best. In our personal quests to find Mr. Right, we tend to craft these fantasy-like mental mock-ups of the perfect man- one who can fight off a Spartan army, sheds no tears, is a god in the sheets, and has two degrees and a bottomless wallet--and the men in the real world fall short. Of course every woman (and her checklist) is different, but if a fella's got four out of five, wandering minds still hunt for the guy with the perfect strikeout is. A woman's (understandingly) sky-high expectations may make some dudes intimidated or insecure, but by the sound of Nothing Was The Same, Drake isn't one of them. No woman, or man for that matter, can shake the confidence that comes with the 26-year-old's hard-earned stardom. Now that right there, is an attractive quality.
The months leading up to the release of Drake's third studio release were cloaked in a spirit of anticipation. Both men and women-temperamental and ice-hearted-anticipated the lust-struck confessions, admissions of imperfection and cuffing season play-by-play of hip-hop's most emotive rapper-slash-singer. There's something about the amiable Canadian, with his therapy session flow and his save-a-trick tendencies, that strikes a collective nerve. After his tears seeped through speakers on Thank Me Later (2010) and Take Care (2011), it was safe to assume listeners should prepare for Sept. 24 stockpiling boxes of Kleenex. NWTS wasn't quite that.
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Yes, Drizzy does bait on raw emotions by assuring his listeners that he's as flawed as the next man ("Furthest Thing") and that he's not above a night cap with a gorgeous gal ("Come Thru"). Gentle songstress Jhene Aiko hauntingly traces his romantic memories in "From Time," while he croons lovingly about giving himself to a lady friend on "Own It" and "Wu-Tang Forever," which samples The Clan's song of the same name. He even tip-toes on wedding song territory on his sugary-tinged, "Hold On We're Going Home." But for most of the 15-track album, he's staring into the mirror admiringly and puffing out his newly chiseled chest saying, "Aubrey, you did good."
Boastful, borderline aggressive accounts of his come-up and conquer punch holes through syrupy streams of consciousness like morse code. "Open the mail, staring at the check/Enough to make you throw up/Man it's gross what I net," he flexes on "Worst Behaviour." His single-turned-mantra "Started From the Bottom"-whose anthemic stanzas wound up inked on Taco Bell sauce packets-echoes his personal pat on the back one hundred fold.
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Throughout our lives, we're constantly reminded of how much we still have to improve and how easy it is to miss the mark. Aubrey Graham's third LP couldn't have been given a more fitting title. On Nothing Was The Same, he rejoices in just that, giving himself the flowers for his myriad accomplishments while he's still "here." "My life's a completed checklist/I'm tired of hearin' 'bout who you checkin' for now/Just give it time, we'll see who's still around a decade from now," he reaffirms on the album's opener "Tuscan Leather." It's easy to picture the wide smile he's flashing as he delivers the rhyme. Yup. Confidence looks damn good on him.
--Stacy-Ann Ellis (@stassi_x)