There's nothing like a track from Toronto's finest to tell you that, no matter how much money, power, and creative success you accumulate, life can be sucky. Which is why Drake's new song "To The Max" lyrics are him at his absolute melancholy peak. But fear not. While lyrically, the track is business as usual, the DJ Khaled collaboration does boast far more jittery backing music than we're accustomed to for a Aubrey Graham outing.
For someone who might or might not have been dating Rihanna once upon a time, Drake rarely has trouble finding something to feel sad about, and this song is no exception. So don't be fooled by that feel-good track cover (the adorable baby on the front is DJ Khaled's son, Asahd Tuck Khaled). Brace yourselves and make sure you have tissues nearby, just in case. And, please, if you're already feeling down in the dumps today, just go listen to the Frozen soundtrack instead. Don't even start with this.
He opens on a typically cryptic line, the sort of thing that would make a really powerful Facebook post of the type where people go "U ok hun?" in the comments: "I talk grey, I don't keep it white and black." While it implies that he speaks with nuance, gray's also the color most associated with depression. That's just science: Science Daily reports that researchers writing for BMC Medical Research Methodology found sufferers of anxiety and depression were most likely to use "a shade of gray to represent their mental state."
Then he gets a little heavier:
Only say "I love you" just so I can hear it back
Sometimes, other times I'd love to have you back
Oof. These two lines are amongst the darkest in the canon. The idea of faking an "I love you" just to hear one back is pretty devastating. Note that this line doesn't appear to be addressed to one person, so this sounds more like a bad habit than a one-off occurrence. Then we get the regret innate to so many Drake songs: does this guy have an ex-partner he doesn't yearn for?
But hey, you say. Lots of people have complicated love lives. What about the other stuff in his life? He's making a track with DJ Khaled, that's pretty cool, and he seems incredibly successful, musically. What does that feel like? Well, maybe like this:
Got it on the dresser, I've been under pressure
They wanna see me laid out on a stretcher
Gotta keep my head up
Apparently, putting out tons of tracks all the time is pretty stressful and it also comes with a side of paranoia. While he doesn't clarify who the "they" is here, we could assume he believes rival musicians or critics would rather he was in hospital than on stage.
But what about his social scene? Surely a charismatic dude like Drake has an incredible group of friends, right?
Now all of a sudden, people say we cousins
I keep hearin' all this "You my brother" talk, I can't relate to nothin'
This could suggest that he believes that after becoming successful, lots of people are claiming to be his close friends who don't know him that well. Which is also pretty horrible and presumably only a problem you have when you're world famous.
It just goes to show that everybody can fall victim to an attack of the blues, even someone who once went on a date with Tyra Banks to Disneyland. And that even if you've made a record which broke two Spotify streaming records in one day (More Life, if you're interested), sometimes you're not sure if people are really your friends or not. Basically, sadness is human and common to us all, and you knew that already, but now you know that deep in your bones thanks to this new song.