THANK ME LATER
If Thank Me Later were one of my medical or psychiatric diagnoses, it would be scoliosis! Much like my spine, Thank Me Later was incredibly vital but deeply flawed by an inability to maintain a straight, focused line of artistic purpose. And just as I must wear orthotics in every pair of shoes I own in order to delay the further deviation of my spine and ensure I don’t become a hunchback, Drake was forced to stabilize himself and surround himself with supportive collaborators in order to ensure his career would be a straight upward trajectory rather than a single peak of momentary fame.
If Take Care were one of my medical or psychiatric diagnoses, it would be Major Depressive Disorder! Drake is absolutely miserable on this album, too consumed by personal grief and self-doubt to enjoy the spoils of his newfound fame and success. Song titles on this baby include “Over My Dead Body,” “Buried Alive,” “We’ll Be Fine,” “Doing It Wrong,” and “Hate Sleeping Alone.” The emotional and creative centrepiece of this album is literally him drunk dialing his ex-girlfriend and crying to her over the phone!
NOTHING WAS THE SAME
If Nothing Was the Same was one of my medical or psychiatric diagnoses, it would be Generalized Anxiety Disorder! Wikipedia defines this disorder as “excessive or disproportionate anxiety about several aspects of life, such as work, social relationships, or financial matters,” which is essentially the entire subject matter of this album. Drake is working too much! He’s not even talking to Nicki! The paperwork for his contract with Young Money is taking too long… maybe they don’t understand him? Drake copes with this all-consuming anxiety in two ways: first, by shouting “I’M ON MY WORST BEHAVIOUR” repeatedly, as a way of owning his breakdown, and second by collapsing and whisper-singing “just hold on, we’re going home” softly, over a smooth bar mitzvah afterparty beat. I would often say the same thing to myself during my university years, as I was getting on the subway after having a public panic attack on the seventh floor of the library because I couldn’t memorize 72 Latin transitive verb endings. Thankfully, I have eased up a little since then.
IF YOU’RE READING THIS, IT’S TOO LATE
If If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late were one of my medical or psychiatric diagnoses, it would be Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder! The title says it all! It’s too late to change the past, so you’d better hit the Rexall at the corner of Church and Yonge, pick up your Wellbutrin prescription, and just run through the Six with your woes.
If Views were one of my medical or psychiatric diagnoses, it would be Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder! This is not the same thing as obsessive-compulsive disorder, by the way, which is the one that the ginger counselor had on Glee where she would pack a bunch of grapes for lunch in a sterilized Tupperware container, wipe each grape down with an individual Wet Wipe, and then – and ONLY then – eat her grapes.
No, obsessive compulsive personality disorder is “a general pattern of concern with orderliness, perfectionism, excessive attention to details, mental and interpersonal control, and a need for control over one’s environment, at the expense of flexiblity, openness to experience, and efficiency.” Drake first announced Views in July of 2014 and he kept backpedaling and delaying the release because he wanted to get it juuuuuuust right, and then when he finally did release it, after all those years of hard work and perfectionist tweaking, it was… bad. It was a bad album. It was the only bad Drake album. It demonstrated a pointed lack of flexibility, openness to experience, and efficiency. However, it did yield massive commercial success and at least three or four different Songs of the Summer which shows that sometimes perfectionism pays off. Ain’t that the way it goes.
If More Life were one of my medical or psychiatric diagnoses, it would be Gender Dysphoria! What is More Life, anyway? Is it an album? A mixtape? An EP? A playlist? A commercial release? An amorphous body of work Drake is releasing to bridge the gap between albums? An iTunes mix in which every song is a new Drake song? Nobody knows! The music press is baffled by how to define this thing! Everyone wants More Life to pick a side of the album/mixtape binary, but More Life is blazing new trails! Baffling the establishment!
Also, in Angels in America, part-time drag queen Prior Walter delivers this big monologue where he says, “I want more life. I can’t help myself. I do. I’ve lived through such terrible times and there are people who live through much worse. But you see them living anyway. When they’re more spirit than body, more sores than skin, when they’re burned and in agony, when flies lay eggs in the corners of the eyes of their children – they live. Death usually has to take life away. I don’t know if that’s just the animal. I don’t know if it’s not braver to die, but I recognize the habit; the addiction to being alive. So we live past hope. If I can find hope anywhere, that’s it, that’s the best I can do. It’s so much not enough. It’s so inadequate. But still bless me anyway. I want more life.”
So I mean, clearly some #trans things going on here.