While we start well with the heavenly opener 'Virginia Beach', its lyrical banality and childish lyrical toxicity only warn us that, should a song’s production be lacking, there is little else salvageable. From here on, Drake extensively moans about his exes and how much better he is by comparison, embarrassing to be heard from someone pushing forty, with tired formulaic singing that marks very little progression from performances on albums like Views and Scorpion. While the artist has made some invigorating songs about being a bitter toxic lover (namely, 'Hours in Silence' from his last album), his pettiness on For All The Dogs stoops to being outright pathetic on songs like 'Polar Opposites', where he whines for four minutes about a girl blocking him.
While he is also known for hilariously dim-witted bars that can work to the song’s favour, Drake’s writing and attempts at punchlines on this album are so trivial it often leaves one concerned if he is progressing through a distraught mid-life crisis: ‘I know you a cat, but can you do the dog?’ Of course, this is not including '8AM in Charlotte', one of the album’s saving graces. Here, on a smooth Conductor beat, Drake spits all the classic snappy and braggadocios wordplay we know and love from him. But even this track has a share of face-palming duds ("Where you go, I go, we’re Yugoslavian"), which is a shame considering its gold-medal status compared to the writing on nearly every other track.
Then we have the album’s most hyped song: 'First Person Shooter'. A collaboration with J Cole has been long-anticipated by fans, making it more than underwhelming when Jermaine wipes the floor with Drake on his own song. While it is also admittedly admirable how Drake eagerly collaborates with younger, progressive artists like Yeat on this album, it doesn’t take long to realise how much he feels like a guest at his own house on songs like 'IDGAF'.
If Drake wants to progress, he needs to learn musical restraint and trim the abundance of fat from his projects. If For All The Dogs is anything to go by, it foreshadows an eternal comfort zone and pandering to stream-increases rather than creating inspirational time-standing projects that many rap peers are currently doing.