Sound — 9
After living thru a horrific car crash a year ago, Drake Bell is glad to be alive, and you can tell from his music! I knew of him from Drake and Josh and I had listened to a few songs off his debut album, but I really wasn't expecting much more than moderately catchy pop songs from this album. However, I was pleasantly surprised from the 30 second samples of his songs that I listened to off of itunes, so much that I purchased his entire album. There's not a single bad song on the album, each one is as fun and catchy as the last. It could have done without the addition of theme song of Drake and Josh, "Found A Way," but you have to give him credit for trying his best to give a fresh take on the song with the edition of some Sgt Pepper-esque backing sounds. With obvious Beatles influences, and a strong singing voice, his music has matured greatly since his last album. There isn't a single sad or depressing song on this album (probably not a coencidence) and each song is full of backing tracks, and bursting with rich sounds. Sgt. Pepper like background sounds can be found on many tracks including "Found A Way." It's hard to explain what makes his album so different than most stuff out there, but it's largly due to the unapologetic joyfull vibe that it send out. Also, the old school jazzy '20s sounds that can be heard in a few songs, and the obvious homage he pays to '60s artists is really refreshing and makes it fun to listen to and sing along with. "End it Good" is definitely a one of kind, and adds a really unique touch to the album.
Lyrics — 8
Drake's lyrics for the most part sound like he really means what he's saying, as opposed to just writing shallow, easy-to-sing-along with lyrics that dominate most pop songs of recent years. They sound like they were taken from real life experiences and actually make you think instead of just blindly singing along. The lyrics of "Up Periscope" could be taken badly by some parents and younger fans, with the opening line being "I sneak a peek to see just what you were wearing last night, what was left from ripping off your clothes I check to see the door was closed as you were turning off the lights." However it's the only slightly objectionably song on the album, and certainly no worse than lyrics of many popular rap songs out there.
Overall Impression — 9
All in all, I am really impresed with how Drake manages to sucessfully balence catchy pop melodies with a big soulfull nostalgic sound that really sets him apart from most thin, shallow sounding songs of his genre. "I Know" and "Fool The World," are both highlights of the album, and "End It Good" is a really fun song as well. It's obvious that his car crash was a life changing experience and the more maturer side of him is definitely coming thru in his music. I would rush out and buy it again if it was lost. This album is one of the best new albums I've heard in a while, and I can't wait to see what he does next.