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This article was meandering, kinda condescending and dramatic but still:

When this week's charts are revealed, Drake's One Dance could be one week away from Wet Wet Wet's Love Is All Around as the second-longest consecutive stint held by a single at No 1. Add one more week, and it'll be joint top alongside Bryan Adams's (Everything I Do) I Do It For You.

Wet Wet Wet might have stayed there longer had they not intervened - worried that it become an albatross over their career - and deleted their single, meaning that when copies ran out, there would be no new CDs to restock. For artists fearing a similar fate, that's impossible in the digital age: theoretically, One Dance could be No 1 for all eternity. It's top of the US charts for a ninth week, and is getting about 460,000 streams on Spotify a day in the UK alone - 100,000 more than the song in second place (which is Too Good, also by Drake). Last week, One Dance had been streamed 79m times in the UK across all platforms.

How has the Canadian artist installed himself so firmly at the top? Sales of downloads count for more than streams, but the market is eroding - and buying a series of intangible files for your hard drive rather than subscribing to millions of intangible files online will soon be seen as a bonkers blip in the music industry. Instead, it's instructive to look at Spotify's chart for a glimpse at the future - it tends to be centred on a relatively small number of tracks that hang around for weeks on end. The inclusion of One Dance on 1.3m Spotify playlists, which listeners return to again and again, gives it an energy source that powers it up the charts and keeps it there.

But that doesn't entirely explain its popularity. First of all, it's catchy, and sits at the heart of a listening-activity Venn diagram: it works for jogging, for driving, and at any point on a night out, from pre-drinking to straight-up smashed. It also followed Drake's huge single Hotline Bling. Before that he was, in the UK's popular imagination, a rapper who sang pop songs, that guy who sweetly skulked around Rihanna in the milk aisle. Only his crooner tracks (Take Care; Hold On, We're Going Home) made it into the charts previously. Hotline Bling's ubiquity changed the dynamic - he was now a pop singer who rapped, a concept Britons are much better at swallowing. One Dance moved into its slipstream, and a renewed relationship with Rihanna, following the track Work, added a tabloid boost.

The female vocal on One Dance comes from UK singer Kyla, sampled from her track Do You Mind, a cult hit amid the UK funky craze of the late noughties. Nigerian producer and singer Wizkid also appears, his voice scrunched with static, and there are licks of highlife guitar and tuned percussion; the beat straddles the Atlantic, with one foot in west Africa, the other in dancehall syncopation. Its singer is a mixed-race Jewish Canadian who has been embraced by the US rap scene, using London-via-Jamaica slang such as "ends". At one of the most isolationist moments in its history, Britain is, in the charts at least, championing multiculturalism.

You could argue that, with this globalised sound, Drake is trying to cynically build an audience outside rap's core demographics. Others might accuse him of diluting UK funky and Afrobeats, just as he turns the furiously sexual "bounce" style of New Orleans into more Galaxy-advert silk on album track Child's Play. Critics have been unimpressed with his most recent album, Views - "A suffocating echo chamber of self," said Pitchfork, fairly representative of those who found it too solipsistic. More fundamentally, the scansion and narrative logic in one couplet of One Dance ("But I never run away, even when I'm away") are on a pre-school level.

His impressive chart run shows that none of this matters. In building One Dance from sounds he's found online, Drake creates a microcosm of the way many of us listen to music now: a cherry-picked, hyper-personal blend. We're totally individual in our tastes, but paradoxically that makes us all the same - Drake is the leader of this new global mono-tribe.

And where critics hear solipsism, listeners hear themselves - a key element of Drake's success. "Soon as you see the text, reply me / I don't want to spend time fighting" is a typical Drake lyric, fixated on romantic squabbles mediated by modern technology. One Dance's blithe chorus is as relatable as it gets, too: one of life's greatest pleasures is, after all, dancing with a drink in your hand. Of those streaming One Dance on Spotify, 66% are under 25; for anyone on Tinder with disposable income ring-fenced for frozen margaritas, Drake is, in the millennial parlance, your spirit animal.

It would be churlish to suggest that Drake, and everyone playing One Dance on repeat, is blind to the issues of today. In fact Drake himself, using - what else? - Instagram, gave an eloquent response to the recent spate of police brutality in the US, and One Dance's popularity should be seen not as brain-dead but as a necessary bacchanal. The record-breaking power ballad No 1s of the 90s were their own kind of luxury; a boom-times indulgence of undistracted love. The world of One Dance - tense, interconnected, hedonistic - reflects a more fraught moment in time.


We live in a time where Drake gets judged for making party songs like literally everyone else. Cool.
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