This week in music: New albums from Drake and Florence + the Machine

It’s not Scorpio season, but we still had high hopes.

Courtesy of OVO Sound and florenceandthemachine.net

Courtesy of OVO Sound and florenceandthemachine.net

Maraya King

High as Hope

Florence + the Machine’s fourth studio album tells the storied past of front-woman Florence Welch. With lyrics so brutally honest they could bring you to your knees, this is the group’s most profound album yet. 

Welch, who looks like a woodland fairy come to life, sings of her struggles with eating disorders, binge drinking and strained family ties. 

“Hunger,” which dropped in May, references the anorexia she endured in her teens. “At seventeen, I started to starve myself / I thought love was a kind of emptiness,” she sings. 

Welch has brazenly admitted in an interview with The Times that her family is consumed by intimacy issues. “Grace” is an ode to her sister with lyrics such as, “I’m sorry I ruined your birthday, you had turned 18.”

Throughout the album there are sudden mood shifts that suggest a glimmer of hope for our troubled main character. “Big God” offers one of these shifts. 

“You need a big god / Big enough to hold your love,” croons Welch, hinting at the prospect of bluer skies ahead. 

Simply put, it’s haunting. Welch can recount pain-ridden times in her life, but unpack them into something so beautiful. 

Regardless of how you interpret this album, one thing is for sure: Florence Welch possesses a gift, and she is just getting started. 

Grade: A

Scorpion” 

Drake’s fifth studio album, “Scorpion,” is nothing if not ambitious. 

In true Drizzy fashion, the rapper had to make headlines by dropping a double album featuring 25 tracks, half rap and half R&B. But don’t let the length fool you — not much has changed. 

He’s still spitting his usual themes of inescapable fame and fawning over women. The only notable deviation in this album is Drake’s acknowledgement of his son. 

At this point we are all too familiar with Pusha T’s lyrics in “The Story of Adidon,” calling out Drake for being an absent father. 

“You are hiding a child, let that boy come home,” Pusha raps. “Love that baby, respect that girl.” 

While Drake does rap about his son, we cannot help but wonder if that was the original plan or a last-minute addition provoked by Pusha T.

Nonetheless, there are mentions of his son in at least three of the tracks. 

In “Emotionless” Drake raps, “I wasn’t hidin’ my kid from the world / I was hidin’ the world from my kid.” Regardless of where your allegiance lies, Drake does in fact have a child and it took another rapper calling him out for him to admit it. 

If you can suspend your judgments of Drake’s personal drama long enough to listen to the album in its entirety, there are a few standout tracks. 

Single “God’s Plan,” which was released in January, quickly climbed the charts and has remained a fan favorite into the summer. “She said, ‘Do you love me?’ I tell her, ‘Only partly’ / I only love my bed and my mama, I’m sorry,” he raps. 

Outdated Tinder bios rejoice.

“Nice For What,” another single released earlier this year, became a house party anthem with lyrics supporting female empowerment. In the song, Drake asks why women are expected to be nice to strangers, specifically men. 

But Drake’s civility only goes so far in “Scorpion” as he critiques women, and society in general, for their social media habits. In “Emotionless” he raps, “Then she finally got to Rome / And all she did was post pictures for people at home.”

For better or for worse, Drake’s new album is more of the same.

Grade: C+ (for effort)