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Album reviews: Drake, Clairo, Garry Tallent

The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Entertainment News

Drake

"Care Package"

(Ovo Sound )

Other than making himself annoyingly unavoidable courtside during televised Toronto Raptors playoff games, Drake has kept a low profile in 2019, giving the world a break after dominating streaming music services with last year's bloated "Scorpion." But though he's not flush with new music, the Canadian rapper and singer is still finding a way to top the charts. "Care Package" is an excavation of his back pages, a high-quality compilation of singles and semi-rarities once found on his SoundCloud page that never made it onto any of his five previous official albums.

The trip down memory lane with a photo of an Acura on its cover is a reminder of halcyon days when Drizzy didn't yet own a Lamborghini, and actually deigned to drive his girlfriend though a snowstorm to take the bar exam, a magnanimous act he boasts about in "How 'Bout Now," from 2014. Drake's willingness to flaunt his sensitivity has always been a big part of his mainstream appeal, but it's hard to appear truly vulnerable when you reach his level of megastardom. "Care Package" is a smooth move in that it brings the more human Drake back into the picture, as he plays the sad-boy card on 2010's "I Get Lonely Too" and also 2014's Johnny Manziel- and Andrew Wiggins-praising "Draft Day," which reminds us that Drake is as untrustworthy as a sports talent scout as he has been consistently on point as a rapper. -- Dan DeLuca

Clairo

"Immunity"

(Fader )

When the opening gambit of the busily buzzed Clairo's debut album recalls end-theme movie music, it's not a stretch to expect more post-Lorde whisper-pop. But around the Auto-Tune-weaponizing "Closer to You," Claire Cottrill asserts herself with some coolly gorgeous vocal turns. This is bedroom-pop compared to Frankie Cosmos only because it sounds small and enclosed, and her famous friends give it a shape. Danielle Haim's tissue-thin breakbeats propel "North," "Bags," and "Softly" all in a row, and that descending piano scale that underpins "Impossible" ("you're not that dumb anymore," good hook) is unmistakably the calling card of former Vampire Weekend linchpin Rostam Batmanglij. Dave Fridmann's been a master drum mixer for two decades since "The Soft Bulletin" and his blunt edge helps Danielle Haim crack the sky that helps the atmospheric Cottrill's songs get a move on. This dream team has crafted a casually catchy, good-sounding record to play this week and possibly next, but no one can make her Billie Eilish. -- Dan Weiss

Garry Tallent

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