'God's Plan' by Drake: A Curmudgeon's Take
Oh, man, Drake? Never been a fan. Too bad: His new song "God's Plan" debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, knocking last week's chart-topper — Camila Cabello's "Havana" — down to No. 3, while Ed Sheeran's "Perfect" sits tight at No. 2.
So what's my deal with Drake? Mostly, it's that he's a sub-par lyricist, a mediocre rapper and an average singer, a combination that has done nothing to dampen his massive sense of self-regard. But that's just nitpicking, innit? Apart from having to write about his ridiculous feud with Chris Brown, I've managed to mostly ignore him since reviewing his second album, "Take Care," in 2011, which he spent "scoffing at the ranks of inferior rappers (everyone except Weezy, presumably) and marveling over his success and the monetary and sexual benefits of having a high profile."
His profile has only grown since then: "Take Care" sold more than 2 million copies, and his two subsequent albums — "Nothing Was the Same" in 2013 and "Views" in 2016 — have each sold more than a million. Now he's back with "God's Plan," one of two songs on Drake's new "Scary Hours" EP (since when does two songs constitute an EP?). The track had been streamed more than 82 million times and downloaded 127,000 times as of Jan. 25.
But is it any good? Meh. The simple beat is OK, and the synth parts in the background are low-key and atmospheric. But Drake sings in a weary mumble, as if he woke up in the middle of the night, muttered out a half-assed melody into his phone's voice-recorder app, and went back to sleep. He sounds afflicted here as he lets his legions of haters know that despite their scorn — "It's a lot of bad things/ That they wishin' and wishin' and wishin' and wishin'/ They wishin' on me," Drake moans — his success is apparently part of God's plan.
All Drake's grumping about haters raises a couple of questions, though. First, he's riding a string of platinum-selling albums and playing sold-out concert dates, so why is he getting hung up on people who don't like him? Second, how many of his detractors feel the way they do because he came out of the gate with such a brash, frankly dickish disposition before he'd done a thing to earn respect? In other words, his abrasive persona created the very haters whose low opinion of him has Drake feeling all mopey. Maybe having a song as lackluster as "God's Plan" enter the charts at No. 1 will cheer him up.