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Drake 

Take Care (Cash Money)

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Some movies are unapologetically desperate cries for Oscar consideration (hello, J. Edgar), and Take Care sounds like Drake’s attempt at the sonic equivalent. It’s more focused than 2010’s Thank Me Later, and goes harder without losing the smoky instrumentalism that defines his best work. Take Care’s title track, paired with the raw “Marvin’s Room,” captures a boozy, woozy spiral into lovelorn despair; “The Real Her” is a seminar on how to use cameo verses and when Drake raps with his elastic, snare-hopping flow (“We’ll Be Fine,” “Make Me Proud”), it’s refreshing. But that focus inevitably unspools, and bored-sounding digressions and occasionally unctuous production will make Take Care a bridesmaid in album of the year discussions.

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