While I like to think I have approached aging gracefully, what with my healthy amount of disinterest coupled with an increasingly expensive skincare routine, there is one arena in which turning 30 has left me feeling the cruel passage of time: the incredible dearth of going-out songs tailored to my personal needs.
When I was in college and in my early 20s, the world was full of pop songs that got me ready to go out, helped me power through the night and accompanied my taxi rides home after some questionable choices. Once I hit 30, though, I found myself woefully lacking a soundtrack to my social life. Where are the songs to pump me up for a dinner that starts past my normal bed time? A song to play while I take the bus home from birthday drinks at a reasonable hour because I have pilates the next morning? A banger while I look into the terms of my 401k? All that changed this weekend when Drake released “Nice for What”: the 30-something going-out song I’ve been waiting for.
In case you missed it, “Nice for What” is Drake’s new single and video that dropped last Friday (thus enabling me to learn all of the words by Sunday morning). Hot on the heels of the “God’s Plan” video that made me cry on the train platform, Aubrey Drake Graham teamed up again with 22-year-old director Karena Evans to create another instantly viral video (it’s already got 13 million views). When Drake first chimes in after the amazing Big Freedia intro, it sounds like a song about a woman going to the club to de-stress, which it is, but upon closer listen, you’ll discover that there are levels to this song.
As MR Operations Manager Crystal Anderson put it during our recent Drake confab: “‘Nice for What’ is the anthem to end all anthems for women who proudly have entered Auntie territory.” With a few simple lines, Drake has made me feel more seen in a popular song than I have in YEARS. They go as follows:
“Had a man last year, life goes on”
I date way less in my 30s. Now, after a breakup, instead of crying and kissing people in bars, I simply think, “Oh well, more time to read fiction,” and catch up on some short stories rather than putting myself back out there immediately. I award this line 9/10 relatability points.
“Haven’t let that thing loose, girl, in so long”
This is true. I have yet to get close to loose in 2018. I can already feel myself singing this to myself in the mirror a la Issa Rae when I get ready for my quarterly night out. 9.5/10 relatability points, very much feeling that.
“You’ve been inside, know you like to lay low”
Nothing but facts as far as the eye can see. I have been and I do. 10/10 relatability points, extremely feel that.
“Workin’ hard, girl, everything paid for/First, last phone bill, car note, cable”
Do you know how long I’ve been waiting for a song about the delicate balancing act that is personal finance in your 30s? A true bop for a woman who likes to splash out while staying within her allotted Mint budget. 9/10 on the relatability scale, point docked for lack of student loan reference.
“That’s a real one in your reflection/Without a follow, without a mention”
Here Aubrey reminds us that you can take selfies without worrying about follows and mentions. As an old millennial who is not that proficient on social media, I appreciate that. There’s also some garden-variety self love subtext, which I will also happily accept. 10/10 points because I only have 497 Instagram followers.
“Work at 8 a.m., finish ’round five”
More like 10-7, but yes. 10/10 RPs for realistic portrayal of mid-level career hours and the often-flexible end time of the workday. (See also: “Doin’ overtime for the last month”)
As always, Drake knows exactly what he’s doing. By sampling Lauryn Hill’s “Ex-Factor,” he is playing to the crowd who bought the CD at a Virgin Megastore and belted the song with all of their hearts even though they had yet to even hold hands with anyone. He also filled the music video with grown-ass women doing grown-ass women things (i.e. meditating, sitting through meetings, doling out smoldering looks) and also Yara Shahidi, our collective play cousin.
As that lovable Canadian goober and occasional fuckboi skates through our lives, empowering and not-texting women in equal parts, I can’t help but think that maybe this is 31-year-old Drake’s latest dating strategy. I’m not complaining that his newest thirst trap appears to be reverence for the 30-something lifestyle: one where women question their niceties, increase their credit scores, find their best selfie light for the sake of it and turn up on those rare nights we decide to leave the house. I just didn’t expect to feel so seen.
Drake, if you want to go on a 7:30 p.m. dinner date during which I promptly cut it off after two glasses of the second cheapest wine on the menu, feel free to slide into my Insta DMs (I could use the follow).