Best of 2011: Music

Here are what some of the WSN music writers picked as their favorites of 2011:

by Justin Block

Drake– “Marvin’s Room”

On June 9th, at 6:28 AM, Drake mysteriously posted a picture of himself smoking outside of a private jet and a download link to his blog, October’s Very Own. Simply stating “Another piece of the story,” Drake invited fans to download and experience “Marvin’s Room.” From that moment forward, the psyche of every man and woman was turned upside down by Drake’s intoxicated phone call epic.

His melodramatic singing voice rode a sparse, thumping beat—thumping that’s so unkind to hungover heads. Confessing that he’s “had sex four times this week,” but needs “someone to put this weight on,” Drake combined tragic vulnerability with a plea that he’s a misunderstood playboy. With a hook that declared “I know you still think about the times we had,” he opened the drunk-dialing/texting floodgates, making it somewhat fashionable to drunkenly pour your heart out to your ex. It caused people to reminisce about their old relationships and think about what might have been. People who took the song to heart were sent into an emotional comatose. “Marvin’s Room” and Drake’s simple lyrics served as a prequel to what would be hip-hop’s most daring confluence of rap and R&B to date in Take Care.

The song caused more than a few of my nights to end with a blank, drunken stare into a bathroom mirror, à la Drake in the “Marvin’s Room” video. I’m not proud of a lot of my iMessage threads now. But I know I’m not the only one. I attended Drake’s OVO Fest in Toronto this past July, and hearing thousands of grown men clutch their loved ones close while crying out the song’s hook was spine-crawling. They sang back to their generation’s emotional everyman in Drake, and didn’t want to let go of their girlfriends—nobody wanted to be Marvin that night.

Justin Block is a contributing writer. Email him at music@nyunews.com.

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