Thursday, March 14th, 2019

Summer Walker x Drake – Girls Need Love (Remix)

But do they need a remix?


Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: Summer Walker’s yearning is so pure that Drake comes off as only slightly sleazy as he sells her on “dick with no complications.” This is a vibe record so unassailable and nondescript that not even Drake can capsize or colonize it — there’s barely a song for him to take over, just two smooth singers not talking about much.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: “Girls Need Love” finally feels complete: with Drake’s sentimental crooning, we witness the tragedy that comes with being discouraged from declaring one’s desire for love. For some, Drake is the closest thing to an understanding partner they’ll ever hear. Others will see through him, yet remain content with settling — the seeming impossibility of filling a loveless void can lead to chasing hollow romance. Arsenio Archer’s unhurried beat situates listeners in a 3am haze, like someone recognizing the small pleasure and underwhelming banality of intimacy mid-coitus. It’ll do. After all, why would you think you could do better?

Tobi Tella: The original was one of my favorite songs of last year, an incredibly honest slow jam. I love the pointing out of the double standard, how guys can talk about wanting a girl all they want but when a woman does it, it’s clingy and desperate. It felt like an honest declaration from the heart. But then Drake jumped on it, attempting to be the “thug” the lyrics describe despite his hardest bars of last year being about taking medication to sleep on a flight, and I just tune out. Summer Walker, I know girls need love but like… does it have to be from him?

Ryo Miyauchi: Summer Walker deserves better than a sleepwalking Drake for this remix, though his lack of engagement also underlines the song’s point that men don’t listen to women and their needs. Drake also subtly cosigns the song’s woozy, screwed-up R&B production that he brought in his wake, and Walker provides a nice counter to the male narrative often accompanied by that aesthetic. She sounds trapped, unable to realize her own desires, in an emotionally suffocating OVO-informed world. That said, the beat’s slow crawl kills a lot of the energy put forth by Walker, who needs to ditch this passive-aggressive sound to really speak her mind.

Ian Mathers: Ah, the paradox of Fucking Drake; I almost certainly wouldn’t have heard this perfectly fine song without his presence getting it more attention, but the version without him is absolutely better.

Iris Xie: Drake is the equivalent of a slow jam snake who seeps into the airwaves and provides faux warmth. Also, dammit Drake, why do you always got to make it all about you? “You don’t really call on me like you should,” like really? He is re-directing himself as a symbol of that desire that could fulfill that need? I’m so sick of how his singing lulls listeners into a false sense of comfort that smooths over the really insidious lyrics he continues to sing, creating an aural sensation of premium fuckboy. This song is also saddening, if only because Summer Walker’s lines about “girls can’t say” are unfortunately very true (thanks for reinforcing said bullshit, misogyny and sexism!) There’s also a moment where Summer Walker sings, “Please don’t get in your feelings” to take a stab at him to not get feelings, because he’s just as fallible too. But that little jab is overshadowed by Drake, for his narrative is practically omnipresent. He is still being the nice guy who will fuck her and give her what she needs, no sweat, he understands when he sings, “I get it, I’m on your side, guys get their way all the time.” But we get no sense of aftermath — this is just a fantasy for a vacuum-sealed desire, set to a Ziploc bag of airless alt-R&B. Sure, a girl can fuck like a guy too, what a tired trope, but even that sense of agency is skewed. Why? Because Drake always manages to warp it back to re-centering around him, always him, “I get it, I’m on your side, guys get their way all the time.” We don’t get her reply afterward, just a re-iteration of her original desire, “Girls need love, too,” now overshadowed because it fits so neatly inside of his ability to give in such precise ways that are convenient to him and his desires. This is meant to be an ode to consensual mutual sex without feels, but “Girls Need Love” comes off as a display of Drake’s special brand of opportunism. 

Katherine St Asaph: Summer Walker’s part is low-key to a fault, as if turning her “lazy singing Drake” into an entire career pitch. Drake remains Drake: lazy singing, waiting three whole seconds before saying the words “like you should.” But he’s finally found a duet partner as soporific as he is. How is this a track where she mentions screaming and he mentions BDSM, yet from beat to vocals, everything sounds like they find foreplay a little too strenuous?

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