The cover album nobody needed
Just two weeks after Drake released Scorpion, fellow Canadian musical artist Lights (full name Lights Poxleitner-Bokan) released her take on the album’s Side B. Tweeting that she had been feeling “extra” since she first heard Scorpion, Lights performed, produced and engineered the cover album, releasing it to her fans on SoundCloud and Spotify before being forced to remove the tracks by Drake’s label. She also provided her take on the black-and-white portrait album cover. Lights adds her own flavor to the tracks, opting to go full acoustic style to highlight her naturally ethereal sound.
The first track “Peak” is hauntingly bare and is a good introduction to the rest of the album. By skipping the percussion altogether, Lights has changed the fundamental feeling of the songs. Drake’s “Summer Games” was a synth-driven track that would have fit Lights’ vocal style anyway, but she opts to stick to the softer acoustic guitar cover, again. Where the original benefitted greatly from a dancehall beat syncopated to Drake’s trademark singing, Lights continues to fall short by changing the very soul of the songs she is covering. Her take on the breakout hit of the album, “Nice For What,” suffers the same fate as the rest. Lights’ breathy, pop-punk vocals just can’t provide the right energy for this twerk jam. She gets a couple points of extra credit for finally opting for a percussive element, adding echoey background claps that would be a fun element if this were a spontaneous campfire singalong but just don’t cut it for a studio production.
Later, she tries her hand at the song that inspired a viral dance challenge, “In My Feelings.” If the only version of the song were Lights’, there definitely would not have been any viral dance challenge. Drake may have gotten us all in our feelings, but in his style he had us dancing our way through those feelings. Meanwhile, Lights’ just provides a cringe-worthy guitar cover reminiscent of something a college freshman would play in an attempt to woo a girl in his dorm room.
This cover album seemed to delight Lights fans, and it is a cute tribute to Drake. However, it is wholly unnecessary. Technically, the covers work but there is something particularly grating about acoustic pop dream girl covers of hip-hop tracks. While Scorpion – Side B was the softer, more melodic side of the album, much of hip-hop’s allure comes from the production, beats and flow—and Lights just doesn’t provide the same energy.