Eric: After Drake promised CLB would be released before the end of summer, I expected it would sound like more of a “summer album” than this. A common narrative (before the Delta variant) was that major artists would finally release their big club records this summer as everything re-opened, and I expected more upbeat songs and obvious hits on first listen. This is Drake we’re talking about, so everything is going to put up huge numbers (and there’s nothing wrong with staying away from big pop records) but the relatively moody, laid-back energy of the album surprised me.
Andre: It’s not a surprise per se, but Yebba’s interlude was a pleasant introduction for me. Now I’m curious to hear more of her stuff. It’s a surprise that she has her own moment on the album, because I figured she would have been a feature, but Drake has a history of giving artists the iso on his albums.
Jessica: The assumption going into CLB was that it was a “baby-making” album or that it would lean more towards Drake’s R&B side. So I’m pretty surprised that he didn’t include more R&B features on the record. There’s Yebba and Tems, sure, but Drake had an opportunity to use other artists like Summer Walker, Jorja Smith, or even Alicia Keys, who appeared on Thank Me Later. The lack of R&B singers doesn’t necessarily take away from the album for me, but it could have strengthened some of the more sensual tracks on it.