No, that headline does not have a typo. There’s a reason Honestly, Nevermind shows up in your streaming platform of choice as a “dance” album. Because, well, it is, in fact, just that. Drake’s seventh studio album comes nine months after Certified Lover Boy, a project knee-deep in controversy, anticipation, and sameness. Rather than repeat the formula, Honestly, Nevermind plants its feet firmly in places that pump house music and club blends for partygoers or H&M shoppers.
Still wallowing in the woes of a man convinced he’s the nice guy in every situation, Drake’s latest has moments that shine. But even armed with grooves that soothe and do precisely what they’re designed to do, Drake’s subject matter reveals nothing new. For an emotional cat who came to power partly because of his vulnerability, Honestly, Nevermind plays it safe.
Let’s get this out of the way: Reviewing an album meant for a specific space while not being in that space is weird. Honestly, Nevermind is made for late nights where the lyrics don’t matter because the vibe is so undeniable. The second “Texts Go Green” starts, images of Miami nightlife immediately flood the brain. The fact that the song is about cutting ties with a toxic relationship is entirely irrelevant when the lights go down and the sweat drips.
Like a mosquito, Drake’s music needs summer weather to flourish and enter the bloodstream. That’s why he starts a dance album with “Falling Back,” a sad tale about giving his all to someone who can’t give him even a third of that.
Drake is still Drake, regardless of the backdrop or genre. His usual suspects of producers provide beats that wrap around every word, pause, croon, or mood Drake’s words create. OVO is a well-oiled machine at this point in Drake’s reign. No matter what genre he chooses to two-step, the album’s technical proficiency is never questioned. “Flight’s Booked” mashes gospel, house, EDM, and R&B seamlessly. Calling Honestly, Nevermind an album filled with different versions of “Passionfruit” is reductive. Still, for those on the fence, that’s the best comparison.