You can’t fall asleep, but it’s fine because you have Drake. All 16 tracks – even “The Motion” which you downloaded illegally from YouTube – of Nothing Was the Same are downloaded on your iPod Nano. It’s sea blue and has a sticker of Santa’s Little Helper from The Simpsons peeling on its back. Your mind races because you’ve been sitting in your room in a wobbly office chair all day. You’re just renting though, so you don’t want to invest in an ergonomic chair or bed, even though you’ve spent the past year in this space. As soon as Drake speak-sings in your ear though, everything is fine. Most nights by the time “Started From the Bottom” reaches its bridge you’re already asleep.
You don’t even like Drake, but he starts to appear in all your dreams. It’s annoying at first because he won’t leave you alone and you don’t like that heart he shaved into his hair. You tell him this one night. He winks and says “whatever you told me in 2020 you have to tell me again”. This doesn’t make much sense, but the Drake in your dreams only speaks in Instagram captions, so you can’t expect too much from him.
One night Drake brushes your hair. He rubs onion skin into it but it’s fine because it’s Drake and he doesn’t know any better. In your dream your shower sprays Diptyque-infused water droplets. You always smell like the neck of a South Kensington apartment owner. While you rewatch Killing Eve peacefully on the couch, Drake delicately pulls the strands of hair out of your brush.
Another night, Drake buys you a house made out of peppermint bark in Northern Finland. It’s alright because it’s winter, but “what happens when the sun starts to shine again? This whole place will melt. I’m not going to be the one scooping melted chocolate out of your slippers”, you say. He leans against the countertop and says, “😢”.
After falling asleep at 3am, Drake is your co-worker at Pret. He keeps sneezing into his mask and always messes up cappuccinos. He doesn’t understand why people like soy milk; he’s a coconut milk kind of guy. One afternoon a customer comes in and asks for miso soup, because it’s on the menu in Pret. No one has ever asked for this before, so neither of you know how to make it. Drake offers to sing a cover of “Kiss From a Rose” by Seal in lieu of the soup. The customer leaves.
You go on Twitter one day and see that everyone else has been having Drake dreams too. The Guardian has written an investigative article about it. A sound engineer is quoted saying Nothing Was the Same “is just melodically monotonous enough to ease the senses and transport the mind to a less chaotic space than that of daily lockdown. It sounds like 2013, which was a boring, comfortable time for most people.” Drake Paralysis, they call it.
It annoys you that Drake isn’t just yours anymore, even though you didn’t even like him that much in the first place. You start drinking Rioja after dinner, pretend your scratchy TK Maxx bed sheets are a beach in Barcelona and put your iPod in a drawer in another room.
But you can’t fall asleep. After scrolling through your Instagram feed, you tap on Drake’s profile, which you don’t follow. Apparently he has been having Drake Paralysis too. He thinks it’s funny at first, until his Dream Drake becomes a maid. He spends each night dreaming of himself fluffing pillows and making sure blankets are draped crisply along loveseats in the Kardashian’s house from 2007. They don’t even live there anymore, but he still has to fold their linens.
This makes him angry because he doesn’t even really like the Kardashians, but he doesn’t tell anyone. To distract himself he instead posts an Instagram photo of himself on a private jet, wearing a full Gucci x NorthFace outfit. The caption says “13 hours til I land”. Somehow the Dream Drakes find out about this. They find out about real Drake’s life through his social media pages and they’re fuming. They can’t believe they’ve been living all these other lives when they deserved to be living like the real Drake.
That night, the Dream Drakes who aren’t in Drake’s dreams start revolting. Your Drake smashes all the windows of your apartment with Swarovski-encrusted passion fruit sculptures he bought impulsively and starts demanding wasabi from Japan only, because most Western wasabi isn’t even wasabi. “It’s just fucking horseradish dyed green!” He shouts. He’s evolved and speaks in coherent sentences rather than captions now. You miss the old Drake, but now you're stuck with this insatiable monster Drake. You’re now his babysitter. Your dreams are exhausting.
One night all the Drakes disappear. No one knows where they’ve gone, not even the real Drake. A rumour goes around that some multibillionaire in Dubai bought all the Drakes for his own dreams. This is true. The multibillionaire was growing tired of having to imagine faces for all the background characters in his dreams. His head hurt when he woke up each morning. Drake is brought in to alleviate this pain.
You go to bed that night listening to Nothing Was the Same. You don’t know how to dream anymore.