The British Commonwealth of Canada, traditionally known as a bastion of quiet respectfulness and unobtrusiveness and also good bathroom hygiene, broke character a bit last night: Not one but
two both of its biggest pop stars tried to steal some attention away from the Grammys (which, by the way, you can read plenty about here).
First Justin Bieber, presumably still peeved he didn't get a single nod from the folks at NARAS, scheduled a live stream for the exact same time as the Grammys telecast; to the disappointment of an international patchwork coalition of willing Beliebers, however, it was plagued by technical difficulties, and sort of went down in a ball of flames.
More effective, if less aggressive: A couple hours before the ceremony, Drake released the video for his new single "Started From the Bottom"; later, he announced his new album will be called Nothing Was the Same. Judging from the evidence at hand, this title is a continuation of Drake's primary thematic obsession — the rise, warts and all — and not an album-length tribute to noted psychologist and depression memoirist Kay Redfield Jamison. Anyway, how's mining that material going for our dude Drizzy?
You'd think he'd have exhausted the subject by now, and maybe he almost has — certainly, by the end of the "Started" clip, when it's all private planes and champagne and smokey nargila-fueled dance-offs, it's not not grating to see Drake celebrate himself, again. But I can't help but totally sign off on the first few minutes. First a young Drizzy fill-in, not swagged out and dismissively grimacing in slo-mo, but playing soccer, exactly like the young suburbanite Aubrey Graham must have as well. That's followed by Drake's actual mom, doing her best to hang tough, and then a sequence in which Drake represents the hunger for more by ... getting promoted to night manager at a Duane Reade–type establishment. And does that first bit count as ghost-riding the whip? Is Drake really the last dude ghost-riding the whip?
I don't know what it says for Nothing Was the Same that Drake, so far, is telling the same story he covered quite effectively on Take Care. I don't know how much more of that narrative he's got to parse; I don't know what other narrative he's got to switch to. But this is the first single, and so let's not get ahead of ourselves. Let's just congratulate Drake on the promotion, and then let's go see if he can get us the employee discount on this bulk-size Chex Mix.