Hit records sell a mood, a feeling. Melody and inflection matter more than lyrics. This is the reason many have yet to realize “Hey Ya!” is about the dissolution of damaged relationship.
Hellfyre Club vocalist/drummer Anderson Paak knows this. His single “Drugs” distills the chaotic and often toxic comingling of narcotics and the carnal into alluring bacchanal. Upon close inspection, the lyrics can be read as a sobering and downright depressing confession from someone who hates the club and his relationship until the drugs kick in (“There’s no love / She don’t even like me / But if we have drugs she can be my wifey”).
Yet I’ve played “Drugs” more times than there are capsules in several scripts of Vicodin. The lush, pounding production is a near perfect synthesis of trap, rap, and R&B, built to break Airliner speakers. The twinkling keys evoke the promise of another pill. And the energy of Paak’s crooning, combined with his atavistic ad-libs, is undeniable. He revels in the soul crushing debauchery, successfully selling tainted love under the guise of the turn-up.