Drake had his long-sought-after Billboard No. 1 in his grasp for just one short week before Timberlake swooped in.
There was only one thing Drake ever wanted: a Billboard No. 1. In October, he wrote as much on Instagram: “No accolades really matter to me other than the fact that I have never had a billboard number one.” Finally, last week, with a placid chantey about his current needs—“One Dance”—he finally secured a No. 1 spot.
Everything was perfect, for a fleeting moment. It was his first No. 1 and he was singing about one thing (a one dance) and everything was singular and just the way he always imagined it. He was one with the universe.
Then, Justin Timberlake—a man with plenty of Billboard hits to his greedy bandit name—sauntered in and took everything Drake ever wanted right from under his vulnerable, freshly shaven chin. Timberlake snatched up the No. 1 Hot 100 slot—with a song called “CAN’T STOP THE FEELING!” EXCLAMATION POINT, ALL CAPS, if you can imagine.
To make matters much worse, Justin Timberlake’s song shares so much in common with Drake’s, it’s almost as if he’s consciously replacing the kindly Canadian. Primarily, both songs are about dancing. Yet Drake is needy, begging for the “one dance,” while Timberlake is bossy—he tells his listeners to “just dance, dance, dance, come on.” Like a wedding DJ, Timberlake has grabbed the microphone and will repeat commands at you until you dance.
And where Drake’s “One Dance” had the ho-hum swing of a lonely rocking chair, Timberlake’s video ensured that this was a song that would be beloved by aunts. Its lyrics have a Raffi-esque sensibility, what with “sunshine in my pocket” and a “good song in my feet.” Note that both of those lines are physically impossible in this world. The truth doesn’t matter, lies fling free, and Drake’s creative heart has been wrecked asunder. That’s the state of music in 2016.
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