During the period that future generations will probably come to refer to as ‘the event’ the human condition became an obscene parody of itself. The passage of time became meaningless and immeasurable; weeks no longer represented the cyclical progression of existence, as ‘the event’ had caused everything to stagnate into an impenetrable stasis. History had been compressed into a single, nightmarish occurrence. For many it was just possible to remember that things had once been very different, but nobody could tell you when that time had been, and the memory of what those days were like had long since faded, along with the hope that they would ever return.
But the other day I was driving around in County Council Zone #17 – once known as Northamptonshire – when I received a message telling me that ‘the event’ was over. Drake’s One Dance which had always been number one, had somehow become no longer number one. Instead a new song called Cold Water had become number one. I glanced up from my phone screen, blinking bleary-eyed in the light like a newborn. The long-term ramifications of the collapse of the regime would not be clear for some time, but my immediate instructions were to write about the new number one (the first time I tried to type the words ‘new number one’ they were autocorrected to ‘One Dance by Drake’).
Cold Water is a song, just like One Dance. Just like One Dance, Cold Water has a man in it who sings words. But the man doesn’t sound like Drake. Perhaps Drake died or was overthrown. Cold Water opens with the not-Drake man singing and a guitar riff which sounds like Mr Probz’s Waves. The rhythm is slow and syncopated, like One Dance, but the melody is happier and there is more energy in the chorus.
The subtle differences between Cold Water and One Dance are reassuring. They allow a cautious optimism that things may begin to change now. The new number one may not usher in an aural renaissance, but it will remind people what songs that aren’t One Dance sound like. The reawakening of culture in the aftermath of ‘the event’ was always going to be slow, but Cold Water in its blandness and similarity to One Dance is a nice easy transition into the post-Drake world.