Music Video Monday- Drake “Headlines”

The new video for “Headlines” takes the visual motif of rapid, geometrical visual overlays and goes way the hell to its extreme end.  We hear in “Headlines” the classic Drake gripes, “people don’t understand me,” “I’m not who I was/It’s still me”, “I’m going to do what I want when I want but I’ll never actually feel good about it.” Drake lives in a world whose value, to borrow from the existentialists, is ambiguous. Drake has lived through the realization that there are no fixed values, that all meaning is contingent on certain frames of reference to his own human freedom. In and of themselves, a fortune, cigars, cars mean nothing. But these are the images we are presented with in “Headlines”. Drake goes through several video clichés, being alone in front of an abandoned building, being alone inside a sports stadium, being surrounded at a party by his friends. This is nothing new. But this images are always incomplete, like the incomplete fulfillment Drake experiences in his “real life” ownership of these status symbols.

By far the most striking visual image in the video are the shots of Drake, alone, in an elevator rising against the background of the Toronto skyline. Whereas the rest of the video imposes horizontal fractures (that is to say the editing interrupts images and disrupts the logico-temporal flow of visual information) the elevator scenes offer us an image of Drake as an unchanging human, rising against the background of his past (Toronto). Drake isn’t what changes. He is always himself! That’s the beauty of being Drake. It’s a beauty we don’t understand and that he himself doesn’t understand, and that’s why, though his highs are ecstatically high, his lows are crushingly, embarrassingly low. But Drake always owns these lows. They are his lows. Drake sometimes seems to whine about how he feels bad his parents weren’t together and other “uncool” things like that, but he does it with such bravado that it says “this sad bullshit isn’t me, but neither is this happy bullshit.” What I am is ultimately what organizes the affective response that we generally consider to be ourselves as such. Drake is in some ways his own super-ego. But to claim to be the maker of one’s own meaning is something incompatible with life as we know it, and as such, Drake’s insistence on accepting all of the miscellany that constitutes his life is nothing more than the mere performance of the subject flailing desperately to recognize itself in an otherwise alien and alienating world.  The radical acceptance of everything that constitutes self is, paradoxically the radical rejection of the self as it exists as an incomplete complex of outside factors that I cannot control. The assertion of the free assumption of one’s own inessentialness and mere existence is a bold move, and it’s one that clearly gives Drake a lot of grief.

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