Well, enough people were enthused by the release of Drake‘s “Make Me Proud” last Friday that the song actually spent a healthy chunk of time at #1 on the iTunes charts this week, but we weren’t huge fans—nor were we exactly blown away by the good-not-great lead single from Take Care, “Headlines.” Now, we have the third official release from Drizzy’s upcoming sophomore release, the laconic “The Real Her,” and we’re starting to wonder if Drake is either saving the good stuff for the album proper or if it’s just starting to be diminishing returns from Toronto’s finest.
Which is not to say that “The Real Her” is completely without merit. It’s got some low-key, late-night charm to it, almost similar to guest rapper Lil Wayne’s slurry rap ballad “I’m Single,” and it’s entirely possible that on Take Care, it’ll make sense as a transition track or act break or something. What it definitely is not, however, is a single, nor the kind of song you traditionally release in front of an album to help build anticipation for it.
There’s nothing about this draggy piano ballad that’s going to grab people’s attention—the lyrics are typical Drake relationship drama, mixing love with lust and worrying about the emptiness of it all (“But I gotta say, oh, baby, oh baby, why is this so familiar? / Just may already feel like I know the real her”), and the hook…well, it doesn’t really exist. The song is all atmosphere, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing—some of the best songs on Thank Me Later (“Karaoke,” “Cece’s Interlude”) were as well—but this song isn’t quite as arresting as those, and the phoned-in Lil Wayne verse (“I don’t wanna be in the blind / But sometimes I Stevie Wonder / About her…”) only serves to distract.
We’re starting to get a little worried about Take Care, to be honest. “Marvin’s Room” proved that Drake can still be at his best when doing this kind of minimal ballad, but we can’t help but wonder when we’re going to hear from the Drake of “Best I Ever Had,” “Forever” and “Fancy” again. It can’t all be nocturnal introspection, can it?