Enough said, indeed…
Patrick St. Michel: Drake has a lot of “haters,” an issue he constantly brings up in his music alongside his moaning about the perils of being rich and having a lot of sex with women that we, the people listening to Drake, can only dream about bringing back to our hotel rooms. Instead of connecting the dots, Drake engages in activities that, if a hypothetical “hater” hated on, would make said “hater” look like a bit of an asshole. He voiced a woolly mammoth in the new Ice Age movie. He and his entourage chucked bottles at the far-more-loathed Chris Brown. His use of the acronym “YOLO” resulted in this video. And now he appears on the same track as the late Aaliyah, an artist listeners and critics love. He is using this unearthed vocal as a police shield, because without him this is a lovely bit of swooning from Aaliyah over a serviceable beat from Noah “40″ Shebib, who has to fill the roles of Timbaland. Oh, but there is Drake, sleazily whispering “what’s up.” There is Drake reminding us of his ability to sell out venues in Manchester and afford expensive watches. There is Drake once again talking about “haters,” who pop up with every million dollars he makes. This is Drake at his most annoying, but he’s cleverly positioned the memory of Aaliyah between him and any “haters,” because who has the nerve to hate anything with Aaliyah on it Thankfully, Aaliyah’s legacy is well cemented at this point, which makes the below score a lot easier to give.
Jonathan Bradley: Drake luvs Aaliyah like Mac Dre in the Bay. Or something. Look, I don’t give a shit about the sanctity of Aaliyah’s memory — sacrilege is one of the best foundations for great art — but this is just an uncharacteristically one-dimensional 40 beat and Drake using the same damn flow he uses on every damn song and saying even less than he usually does. He couldn’t have invested much more effort in the final product than Aaliyah did.
Anthony Easton: Aaliyah is so good that a ghost-in-the-machine version of her voice, infested with the worst of Drake, doesn’t diminish her power.
Edward Okulicz: Aaliyah produced some great singles not just because of her great voice and charisma. She had those in spades, but she also had excellent collaborators (R. Kelly, Missy Elliott, Timbaland, Static Major), and everyone involved had a sense of class and quality control. The slinky, infectious and buzzing minimalism of, say, “Try Again” is the pinnacle of gorgeous singing and expertly tailored production, and it still sounds modern. Lots of people wanted to hear her voice again — but this is just leftovers, not what she might really have sounded like in 2012. Noah Shebib’s beat is tailored for Drake, this song is tailored for Drake’s ego, and surely with more stuff to follow, it’s tailored for Drake’s bank manager. Fuck the haters; he’s on an Aaliyah song, he might as well be in the fucking Pantheon. I can’t say it any better than some smart-ass running a joke Twitter account.
Andy Hutchins: It feels kind of squicky when Drake takes a woman’s barely-there vocals and twists the entire arrangement into her ghost floating around while he spits his burrowed-into-his-own-brain ruminations on life, doesn’t it? There are two very good songs here, one with Drake in full-on Hov mode (“Sellin’ under 150, you niggas gotta be KIDD-ing! / Is this even still a discussion?”) and one with 40 taking Babygirl underwater. They would be better off divorced, much as Drake and Aaliyah’s spirit might be.
Jonathan Bogart: Haven’t Drake and Shebib learned anything from the horror movies their tracks are always trying to moodily emulate? Exhumation is always a bad idea.
Alfred Soto: I suppose it’s not a heretical idea to drop a mummy into this coffin. Aaliyah and Drake share a few ideas about the use of damp electronics and the possibilities of space. But from the new deadly star dropping inappropriate “what’s up”s like he’s farting at a funeral, to the dead star hovering obliviously in an empyrean of dread and desire, this is as incongruous and gross an idea as sticking Aretha Franklin and George Michael in studios thousands of miles apart. Yes, please, keep it to yourself, Drake.
Brad Shoup: “Can you talk to me,” she asks. Of course he fucking can’t, he’s Drake! He’ll talk over you, maybe — definitely past you. So once he’s done with his bullshit, she has to hold down the other end. Vocals pooling and colliding: were she alive to cover “Marvin’s Room” with everyone else, it would have been superfluous. During this demo at least, she was living there.
Will Adams: If I isolate the vocals of “Enough Said,” I can imagine what it might have sounded like: light, with a hint of pulsing bass, maybe “Rock the Boat” with some extra synths from 2022. It would not be over Noah Shebib’s increasingly predictable, foggy sadcore. Nor would it feature a certain someone going, “Yo, what’s up?” every five seconds.
Katherine St Asaph: The hemorrhage of sonic creativity between this and, say, “Are You That Somebody” is enough to spawn a Tumblr meme about the deterioration of R&B these days. Drake, meanwhile, is mixed too fucking loud again, the better to hemorrhage his insides all over this.
Colin Small: Regardless of the cries of sacrilege, Drake doesn’t fit in. Their aesthetics just aren’t that similar — Drake is all pretense, while Aaliyah has little.
Michaela Drapes: Though 40 has enough respect to keep things minimally cool and Timbaland-ish (albeit boringly so), Drake deserves the strictest punishment imaginable for spewing his mealy-mouthed bullshit in counterpoint to the heartbreakingly reanimated corpse of Aaliyah. To call it a travesty isn’t harsh enough.
Kat Stevens: It has been very difficult to find time to listen to new music during the Olympics. Muting the TV commentary is out of the question, even if it’s some clueless dude pondering the intricacies of the women’s handball semifinal. So it’s a relief to finally encounter a song that doesn’t actually require me to listen to it at all in order to review it! I can happily listen to Mo Farah being interviewed on the sofa about The Amazing Atmosphere and the Legacy without compromising my critical integrity. Thanks, Drake!