Nice Hits! is a new Reverb column that unironically dissects, reviews, and appreciates the best songs of the current Top 40. It is unsnobbishly premised on the logic that just because a lot of the music on the radio is crap doesn't mean all the music on the radio is crap.
The hit: "Headlines," Drake, off Take Care (which comes out on October 18).
Current chart position: #22 on the Billboard Hot 100, #23 on iTunes.
The team: Drake wrote "Headlines" with a fellow Canadian, his close friend and producer Noah Shebib, also known as 40, whose past credits include Drake's first album, Thank Me Later, as well as Alicia Keys' "Un-Thinkable" and Sade's collaboration with Jay-Z, "The Moon and the Sky." On "Headlines," 40 shares production credit with frequent collaborator, the 24-year-old, Grammy-nominated Matthew "Boi-1da" Samuels, who's worked with Drake for years, as well as Big Boi ("Lookin' for Ya"), Das Racist ("hahahaha jk?"), Lil Wayne ("Bill Gates"), and Keri Hilson ("Buyou"). (40 and Boi-1da both make cameos in the "Headlines" video).
Breakdown: "Marvin's Room," the first track to leak from Drake's upcoming Take Care, is an intense song in its lyrical content, which detail Drake making an angry drunk dial to an ex-girlfriend. Take Care's first official single, "Headlines," differs in that it takes on its intensity from the actual music, not the lyrics. It's introduced by a headlong rush of keyboard strings, before Drake starts boasting "I might be too strung out on compliments/Overdosed on confidence/Started not to give a fuck/And stopped fearing the consequence." That sort of cockiness is standard in the genre, but in this case, it's also needed to carry a song so flashy and proud. "Headlines" is one of Drake's brightest-sounding songs, with its staccato synths and militantly insistent drumbeats, on top of which Drake's verses take on an almost singsong quality. It's addicting, and his braggadocio turns into an earworm in the song's repetitive chorus--"That's just something they know/They know/They know/They know." With "Headlines," Drake pulls off confidence without being cloying, and it's a promising indicator for the rest of the new album.