This September has seen the return of Drake with his third studio album “Nothing was the same”, an album which has risen through the charts in typical Drake fashion; the highlight of this new chapter being “Hold on we’re going home” which currently sits at number five on the iTunes top 100 chart.
The song exhibits a switch of genre from Drake, a bold decision, which illustrates diversity, and a maturity that few of his contemporaries can claim to share. Drake chooses to for-go the usual brand of brash, arrogant boasts, which run so freely through the rap genre. In its place the smooth, elegant sound of an artist confidently stepping away from the traditional and producing something closer to a classic soul record. The gentle tapping of a light drum beat intertwines with the echoes of a distant voice to ease the listener into the most relaxed Drake sound to date. Such a quiet intro sets up a near-perfect atmosphere in which to absorb the themes of love, loyalty and lust.
Lyrically, the song revolves around the sultry three lines “I got my eyes on you, you’re everything that I see, I want your hot love and emotion, endlessly”. Whilst the song never really moves past this, you get the feeling that this minimalist approach reflects a conscious choice from Drake rather than a lack of ability to move the subject matter elsewhere, in this case, less most definitely is more. Another important note is that the lyrics are entirely clean, a rarity from this genre and artist.
Fans of rap in its purest form may feel the lack of a true rap verse is to the detriment of the record and that Drake is pursuing a more mainstream route to commercial success. In the context of the album however, rap-fans should note that the track list blends this new soulful sound around a strong core of Drake’s traditional unique sound.
The accompanying video sees Drake join the latest chart trend of music video’s clamouring for Cannes Film Festival accolades and becoming short-film productions; (Tinie Tempah’s “Children of the Sun” to name but one).
Set in 1985 Miami, Drake’s visual accompaniment to “Hold On, We’re Going Home” is a surprising one in that it doesn’t seem to match the sentiments of the record. I would encourage anyone who hasn’t yet seen the video to take a moment to think about what they might expect to watch before they cast eyes upon this “short-film”.
The scene is set when Drake and his accomplices receive news that a rival gang has kidnapped a woman with whom Drake is romantically involved. Upon receiving this news the video depicts Drake and his crew calmly preparing themselves for a revenge mission to save the kidnapped woman which involves being armed to the teeth. Along the way a traitor is discovered amongst the gang, punishment for this is swift, severe and administered by Drake himself.
The contrast between the sentiment and the smooth sound of Drake’s voice in the background and what plays out before the viewer’s eyes is at its most stark when a gunfight ensues between the rivals; a fight which of course Drake emerges from victorious as he saves the girl he came for. Mission accomplished, and perhaps the only synchronisation between song and video as he does indeed fulfil the words “hold on, we’re going home”. However there is still the matter of significant collateral damage in the form of several murders which have been carried out in order to save the woman. The most positive thing one could say about this video is that it is at least engaging; however I really feel the video undermines the song greatly in terms of the smooth, mellow, minimalist, soulful feel that provided the basis for everything positive on the record.
“Hold on, we’re going home” for me is an excellent single and one which shows Drake at his very best, combining his natural talents with a maturity and an elegance as yet unmatched.
As a final note, definitely check out Arctic Monkeys’ live lounge cover of this song…
By Tom Hallam