So I’m randomly drifting through my music collection, late at night, and this track comes up – normally part of the flow through Bryter Layter – and so not normally noticed as a separate song.
But this time, I’m frankly half cut, and Drake’s words trip me up a bit. The delivery is always a bit unclear – is he being prissy, laid back or desperate in his smooth enunciation?
I put it on repeat play, where it is still playing, many times later. I google it and notice it’s got accompaniment from Jon Cale on viola and harpsichord, almost from the very beginning of the song. Now I think it’s the soothing scrape of the viola sweetened with the golden brown harpsichord tickling Drake’s voice that makes the song. My ears drift off with the viola and forget the halfhearted plaintive, then reconciled words.
I don’t know what it would be without the antique sound of the harpsichord or the drones of the viola together making resonant space for Drake’s pleading and guitar plucking. They improve his song, but do his words add to their music?
I also don’t know what to make of the song just stopping, like he’s tried to give his career a relaunch and it’s just flopped down out of the (northern) sky.
My inexpert reading is that the quality of the song lies in its clear expression of its writer’s feelings and temperament at the time of writing – somewhere between the warmth and measured confidence of Five Leaves Left and the abandoned desperation of Pink Moon.
It’s only music, but it so rewards attention.