DRAKE, Drake, Drake, you sadistic little mesomorph. Are you trying to kill us, guy? Only an omnipresence this drunk on his own blood, sweat and tears could summon the hubris to stuff a pillowcase with 81 minutes of table scraps, smother our faces with it and call it More Life.
The highest-selling pop star of last year is also calling his halfalive, entirely overlong new album a “playlist” – as if to suggest that it should be weighted differently in the official Drake canon. What matters more is how More Life will be measured on the platforms that began streaming it last week.
As streaming becomes our dominant mode of listening, Billboard has begun measuring success song by song, stream by stream. In turn, pop albums are expanding. The more tracks an album contains, the more coin it can generate, the better the album can perform on the charts. As the container changes shape, so does the stuff that goes inside. And not necessarily for the better.
Check out the Weeknd’s latest, Starboy, an 18-track album that feels not just long, but tedious. Like More Life, it aspires to cool uniformity, presumably in the hope that brain-chilled streamers won’t hear any weird noises and decide