Kiss good­bye

Drake, low key but in­tensely fo­cused, closes the show with a lit­tle help from a frolic­some friend

Los Angeles Times - - POP & HISS - By Mikael Wood mikael.wood@la­times.com Twit­ter: @mikael­wood

With AC/DC, Jack White and Steely Dan at or near the top of the bill for this year’s Coachella Val­ley Mu­sic and Arts Fes­ti­val, the head­lin­ers were widely viewed as the most, shall we say, ma­ture in the event’s decade-and-a-half his­tory.

And that, you fig­ured, is ex­actly why Drake was booked to close the show Sun­day night. This 28-year-old Canadian rap­per is a su­per­star, of course, but he’s also a clear sym­bol of the for­ward-fac­ing youth cul­ture that Coachella has his­tor­i­cally embodied (and ex­ploited).

The day af­ter his main-stage per­for­mance, though, the only thing any­one seems to re­mem­ber is that Drake was vis­ited — and then some — by a 56-year-old.

Not just any 56-year-old but Madonna, the most fa­mous per­son on any polo field she deigns to in­habit, as well as the ti­tle sub­ject of one of Drake’s lat­est tracks. On Sun­day, his run through “Madonna” brought about the ap­pear­ance of the real thing, who sang a bit of her songs “Hu­man Na­ture” and “Hung Up” be­fore plant­ing a sloppy kiss on Drake that called to mind ear­lier Madonna make-out ses­sions with Brit­ney Spears and Christina Aguil­era.

What the heck just hap­pened? Drake asked in more em­phatic lan­guage when it was over. In­deed, the mo­ment called out for an ex­pla­na­tion. Not so much for why Drake would lock lips with some­one ap­prox­i­mately his mother’s age — please, get over your re­vul­sion, Amer­ica — but for why he’d give a few min­utes of his set to some­one ap­prox­i­mately his mother’s age.

All week­end long, ru­mors cir­cu­lated about who Drake, one of hiphop’s savvi­est col­lab­o­ra­tors, might bring out dur­ing his show. Ri­hanna? The Weeknd? Kanye West? Bey­oncé?

Yet al­most as soon as he ap­peared Sun­day, it was clear this wasn’t go­ing to be the all-star blowout many had ex­pected.

To the vo­cal dis­ap­point­ment of some in the mas­sive crowd, Drake in­stead used his Coachella per­for­mance to em­pha­size the introspective vibe that’s made him such a trans­for­ma­tive fig­ure in pop.

He de­liv­ered long streams of words — rap­ping some, ten­derly croon­ing oth­ers — about the dis­ori­ent­ing ef­fects of celebrity; he paced the enor­mous stage, empty ex­cept for a video screen be­hind him flash­ing des­o­late images of a snowy land­scape. For “Marvin’s Room,” the screen parted and he climbed up into a replica of a leafy grotto (per­haps the one he’s said to have at his home in L.A.); there, he sat by a fake wa­ter­fall and worked his most emo­tional fa­cial ex­pres­sions, the very pic­ture of deep, mil­len­nial alien­ation.

“I got bitches ask­ing me ’bout the code for the Wi-Fi / So they could talk about their time­lines,” he whined in “En­ergy,” “And show me pic­tures of their friends / Just to tell me they ain’t re­ally friends.”

As head­lin­ing gigs go, it wasn’t the most ex­cit­ing per­for­mance in Coachella his­tory. But as a trip into Drake’s com­pli­cated mind, it was never less than trans­fix­ing, pow­er­ful pre­cisely be­cause it was re­sist­ing the kind of easy spec­ta­cle the well-con­nected rap­per might have de­vised.

At least un­til Madonna showed up, that is. Sure, any op­por­tu­nity to hear “Hu­man Na­ture” is a wel­come one. And of course, her ap­pear­ance pro­duced an un­de­ni­able so­cial-me­dia fris­son. But it also broke the spell that Drake had cast. It re­minded you that, like Madonna — like all pop stars — he’s cap­tive to the need to keep us talk­ing.

No­body is too young to fear be­ing ig­nored.

Mar­cus Yam Los An­ge­les Times

THE 28-YEAR-OLD DRAKE ap­peared to be in an introspective mood dur­ing his week­end-closing set Sun­day night in In­dio, which caught some fes­ti­val-go­ers ex­pect­ing an all-star blowout off guard.

Christo­pher Polk Getty Images for Coachella

MADONNA moves in for the kill on a seem­ingly sur­prised Drake, in the process ig­nit­ing an im­me­di­ate so­cial-me­dia firestorm.

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