What if Drake had beaten Bryan Adams?
I've seen a lot of words used to describe “One Dance” over the past week or so when people realised it had the possibility of making 16, if not 17 weeks at number 1 on the UK charts. “Forgettable,” “bland,” “not even the best song of 2016” etc. It reminded me once more why I detest the act of choosing and rating which piece of subjective art is 'the best' and indeed 'the worst' based on criteria you created yourself then peddling out five paragraphs of needlessly obscure adjectives on the latter to people who don't know any better than to look up to you and take on your attitude.
One dance, they say, is not fit to lick the boots of their beloved “Love is all around” (which they probably slagged off at the time). And my oh my, when they heard there was the possibility of this guy equalling or even beating the 15-year record of Bryan Adams, more and more opinion pieces began to crop up.
Those bloody millennials leaving spotify's “UK Top 50” playlist on repeat. Do they not realise how important this is? Do they really understand what a momentous occasion this could be? They don't even care about the charts! They don't even care about music! But we care! We went out in the rain to the local Woolworths to get “Everything I do (I do it for you)”.
If there's one thing we can count on in an uncertain world, it's people living through rose-tinted glasses. Drake did not just get to number one because 'those bloody millennials' left spotify on. Drake got there because he is one the most popular and well-loved artists among young people in the UK. With every release he has grown and grown, and in the same way that anything Adele releases is almost a certainty for a number one debut no matter the quality of the track due to people's curiosity, Drake shot to the top. When I first heard the song, it left me a little cold but I thought it was a very interesting change of style and a breath of fresh air. The album was a massive hit, played in the cars of countless drivers and shared online. With repeated listens, I grew to love it. I still do, actually.
To accuse 'millenials' of failing to care about music or the charts is not only cruel but also completely false. Does anyone have any clue how many young people are so passionate about music that they consider themselves to be part of a fandom? How many see their heroes, including Drake, on tour? How many excitedly tell their friends about a new song from their favourite artist and listen to the radio, and spotify, every day? How many actually consider streaming a method of previewing an album before buying it in a physical format? Has it occurred to anyone that Drake's One Dance has been the soundtrack to many people's summers? That people, surrounded by all of the commotion going on in the political world just want to keep dancing to something that reminds them of happy memories? I can't believe that anyone could imagine music as anything other than a relentlessly important, emotional and at times almost tribal thing in 2016. We may listen to it differently, but it doesn't mean that our feelings about it have changed.
Another line wheeled out constantly is that streaming is ruining the charts. I suppose anyone who agrees with that line would prefer it if we judged the charts solely on the sales of CDs at petrol stations. It baffles me why people are so incredibly precious about something that when stripped back is purely a statement of the most popular and best-selling songs in the UK on any given week. Streaming is one of the most common ways listeners like to consume music in 2016, and therefore incorporating this into the charts is almost unavoidable if you want a truly accurate reflection of what is officially 'big'. Even if you believe the charts should only be judged on the purchases of tracks, we all know that an artist gets paid every time we press play. Sure, I can vouch for the fact that you'd earn more by searching the pavements for rogue pennies, but they get paid none-the-less.
Are there issues with the music industry? Yes. One could argue that radio stations hold too much power and the streaming wars are pushing away smaller artists. And yes, moving the charts to a Friday with DJs who don't really care rather than a stand-alone show has removed a certain enjoyment from listening to the countdown. Does it mean we care less? No. Does it even matter if we care or don't care? No. You've just got to deal with it. People like Drake's One Dance, and they've streamed it a lot. But like the charts have always been since the beginning of time, something else will come along soon enough and take its place as the flavour of the moment. Will it be a better or worse song than any other song created since the 1950s? How would any of us actually know, and why should we care? Am I living in a different universe? I don't even know anymore.
To conclude, I would like to say two things. The first is a repeat of a statement I made on Twitter. It goes like this: “I'm sorry people didn't go on the bus to get One Dance on DCC but times evolve.”
And finally as Superhans once said, “Chill out would ya? Sit in the bath and have a magnum.”