Drake or Emo: Whose Lyric Is It, Anyway?

Drake or Emo: Whose Lyric Is It, Anyway? (7)
Eric Gruneisen

This weekend, Drake (aka the Canadian Crooner, the Wonder From Up Yonder, the Rihanna Whisperer) is taking over the Pepsi Center, and what better way to honor his arrival than by addressing the age-old question: Is Drake emo?

Emo, of course, is a label ascribed to pop-punk bands who wax melodramatic on topics such as girls, masculinity, social angst and other "nice guy/sad boy" tropes. Although Drake ain’t about that power-chord life, his lyrics often skew toward similar histrionics, so let’s put the question to the test. With each of the lyrics listed below, see if you can guess who said it — Drake or an emo band.

1. “Why don't you show me a little bit of spine you've been saving for his mattress? I only want sympathy in the form of you crawling into bed with me."

Drake or Emo: Whose Lyric Is It, Anyway? (10)
Eric Gruneisen

Answer: Emo band - Fall Out Boy, “Dance, Dance”

In “Dance, Dance,” Fall Out Boy singer Patrick Stump lays down the law: “The only way you can make it up to me for sleeping with another guy is to sleep with me…again. Or something. So there!”

Typical emo reasoning. And it seems like something Drake wouldn’t think twice about writing, because Drizzy, Fall Out Boy and the rest of the Warped Tour lineup have a lot in common. They’re always getting cheated on, it’s never their fault, and if their girl would just come back and offer up her body as a form of absolution, all will be forgiven. Encore!

Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy is happy to be here.
Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy is happy to be here.
Aaron Thackeray

2. "Where did the other half of my heart go? Why am I in bed alone?"

Drake or Emo: Whose Lyric Is It, Anyway? (8)
Eric Gruneisen

Answer: Drake, “Where Were You?”

By now, Drake has lost so many pieces of his heart that it probably looks like a chewed-up pink Starburst. In “Where Were You?,” we find him alone and bewildered, and like so many of his emo contemporaries, he deals with his plight by engaging in some light stalking. As we learn in a later verse, “How come when I drive by, it looks like you are never home? Do you even live there?”

Pump the brakes, Drake. Literally. Just be cool, man. Be cool!

3. “Are you out there? Do you hear me? Can I call you? Do you still hate me?”

Drake will be at the Pepsi Center in October.
Drake will be at the Pepsi Center in October.
Eric Gruneisen

Answer: Emo band - Jawbreaker, “Do You Still Hate Me?”

Replace that distorted strat with some bumpin’ sub-bass, and “Do You Still Hate Me?” could be Drake’s next single. Written by early emo pioneer Jawbreaker, the 1994 headbanger reflects the same insecure and brazenly egotistical mindset as your typical Drake ballad. Jawbreaker lead singer Blake Schwarzenbach tries his darnedest to make sense of a breakup, something Drake can surely relate to, and spends the song waffling between wanting to reach out to his ex and fearing her scorn. Started from the bottom — now we hurt and confused, apparently.

Jawbreaker.EXPAND
Jawbreaker.
Courtesy of the artist

4. “You’re so cute when you’re slurring your speech.”

Drake or Emo: Whose Lyric Is It, Anyway?
Kiernan Maletsky

Answer: Emo band - Death Cab for Cutie, “Crooked Teeth”

It would be one thing if Ben Gibbard were talking about a girlfriend. Someone he’s in a relationship with. Someone he knows. But sensitive vocals and lullaby-like melodies do not a “nice guy” make. Turns out Ben is talking about a girl at a bar — a bar coming up on closing time. Not sure how this one slipped under the SJW radars.

And yet it isn’t a far cry from something Drake might say, as the rapper dips his toes into misogynist waters every so often. “I hate callin' the women bitches, but the bitches love it,” he raps in an unreleased verse from Rick Ross’s “Aston Martin Music.” See also: “She came through, she brought food, she got fucked, she knew wassup,” from his verse on “No Lie,” by 2 Chainz. Listen, if she knew wassup, then she knew wassup. That’s just the Universal Law of Wassup.

Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie.
Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie.
Miles Chrisinger

5. “And you know what I need from you when I get home, you better not be on the phone, talking up a storm like you usually do.”

Drake last night at Comfort Dental Amphitheatre. Slideshow: Drake photos from last night.
Drake last night at Comfort Dental Amphitheatre. Slideshow: Drake photos from last night.
Britt Chester

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Answer: Drake, “Diamonds Dancing”

This sentiment would feel right at home in, say, an early Weezer song, but it’s Drake’s voice belting out those sweet nothings. “Diamonds Dancing” is an attack ad aimed at a girl who’s ungrateful for all the love (and attention, money, parties, sex) he’s shown her. Girl, do you really think Drake’s affection comes without a highly encouraged display of gratitude? Hey, Drake, maybe she’s calling the Dom Pérignon factory to set you up with a private tour. Maybe she’s ordering you a pizza. Maybe her grandma died. Relax.

6. "Next time we fuck, I don't wanna fuck, I wanna make love.”

Drake or Emo: Whose Lyric Is It, Anyway? (9)
Eric Gruneisen

Answer: Drake, “Own It”

Is this a Drake that’s falling in love with someone, and wants their nighttime activities to reflect that emotional progression? Or is this a Drake that’s worried his girl just isn’t that into him? Knowing Drake, it’s probably the latter, and it’s an insecurity that plagues many emo artists.

For example, Taking Back Sunday laments, “She says, ‘Come on, come on, let's just get this over with,'” on "Great Romances of the 20th Century.” And then there’s Brand New’s “My Nine Rides Shotgun” with “It's like you're like a zombie when we're together.” The women in these songs just don’t seem all that enthusiastic about knockin’ boots. Or about their partners. But fellas, don't worry, there must be something wrong with them.

Drake performs on Saturday, October 1, and Sunday, October 2, at the Pepsi Center.


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