So Anxious
by Emma
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


Ginuwine - "So Anxious"
Drake - "Legend"

Here we have an object lesson in taking the things about you that you can't shake and spinning them into a superpower. Twice over.

So, pre- the new(ish) Drake tape, had you thought about this Ginuwine song since, like, 2000 if you'd thought about it at all? Right. Me neither. It's a jam, though - and also, at first, hilarious. This song is so blatantly, relentlessly, remorselessly thirsty that you have to laugh the first time you listen, the same way you would maybe laugh if you saw a tornado or an enormous ocean wave about to crash down and engulf you. Like, even that title - he's not fucking around. He's so anxious! It's nuts! It's 9pm and he knows you get off work at 11:30 and already he needs to see you so bad that he's actually dying. Over the course of this song, Ginuwine checks in with you at two different times even though he knows you're not off work yet; he wails and he rolls around on the floor and he sends you like thirty messages. While he's at home alone slowly dissolving into a pile of sparks and smouldering ash on the plush carpet in his beautiful empty sex palace, you're at work dealing with petty bullshit and trying not to think about how much your feet hurt, and when you get done you're going to look down at your phone (your pager!) and be like, jesus, wow, okay. This guy.

Now. There is nothing inherently sexy about this level of thirst. Technically, it's the opposite of attractive; common wisdom goes confidence, sure, yes, but desperation? Absolutely no.

But it's in the weird place where those two seeming opposites converge that you can catch the true genius of a song like this, of this song specifically, buried. There is no flinching in "So Anxious," no squinting or head-shake or shy laugh or "hey I know this might sound crazy, but like..." Nope. Ginuwine knows he's a sexaholic, and so do you. The power of this song, the thing that makes it an endeavour that walks a fine line but comes out successful , hot and weirdly kind of endearing, is that he takes the thing that he knows is most true about himself (not most attractive! Crucially! Just most true, most inherent, most core-connected) and uses that thing to power this song entirely. No holding back.

This is the extra-genius of "Legend," a song so perfect that I have listened to it like twenty times every single day since it came out. The other day, I was trying to explain why I love Drake to some guy, and when you do this to some guys they get weirdly nervous; usually they'll start making fun of you or Drake or both, because there is something that is both perplexing and unnerving about Drake's attractiveness that makes straight men feel as though someone's shifted the center of all things without asking their permission first. This guy was like "oh, is it 'cause he's sensitive? But he's tough? But he feels things?"

Which, yes, of course it is. But also. Drake is a man who has built a career (and ostensibly a love life?) out of being completely unapologetic about things that most of us would at the very least elide in order to make ourselves seem more attractive to others, and therein lies his power. Drake is a total dork - he's polite and obsessive and awkward and sentimental and thirsty as hell, for sex and love and women and fame. But he doesn't fuck around. "So Anxious" shows up a couple of times on If You're Reading This It's Too Late, weaving in and out, and I am convinced that its use, especially on this song, is one of the most brilliant and subtle displays of power I've seen in any kind of music in a long time. What is more needlessly melodramatic than saying - to yourself, to everyone - oh my god. Oh my god. If I die, I'm a legend, like you're so excited and so upset, and meaning it with all your heart? If you were out drinking with a friend and they started talking like this you would wrestle them into a cab and the slack in their face would haunt you for weeks.

But then the next day your friend would text you like hey, look, I'm so sorry about -. Not Drake. Drake gets it and he gets the game, too. He knows that the whole joke of him is how bad he wants everything, and he knows that his life is about how bad he wants everything, and instead of pushing back against it or trying to seem more chill than he is or letting everyone else's raised eyebrows stir him from his course he takes the thing that is most about him and doubles the fuck down. Takes another song whose perfection comes from its unapologetic thirst and uses it as the literal foundation for his own statement of purpose. It's genius. And then there's me, and everyone else in the city, walking around repeating it to ourselves on the walk to the streetcar. The whole 6 gets shot through with what's most Drake and loves it, loves him, just like that. Oh my god, oh my god.

[buy Greatest Hits / If You're Reading This It's Too Late]

Posted by Emma at April 24, 2015 4:21 PM

yessssssssss oh my god

Posted by andy at April 25, 2015 12:38 AM

Drake can rap over or create a melody over just about anything. These abstract instrumentals are nuts every time. I still spin the Nothing Was The Same record all the time. Looking forward to this new album.

Posted by Jared at April 26, 2015 8:28 PM


Posted by Sonja Halvorson at November 26, 2015 12:47 AM

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Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

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