Song of the Week
“Same Drugs” was written by Chance the Rapper along with many collaborators and released in May of 2016. What drew me to this song for song of the week is the fact that the song is not about drugs and the title does its best to shout otherwise. The song overall is about love and people drifting apart whether they want to or not.
The song starts with the chorus. “We don’t do the same drugs no more / We don’t do the, we don’t do the same drugs, do the same drugs no more / ‘Cause she don’t do the same drugs no more.” He makes it clear from the beginning he is talking about a woman, most likely a love interest from the past. Doing different drugs is a metaphor for being on different life paths and not seeing eye to eye anymore. If he meant it more literally it could have been in the following way. Chance mentions smoking weed and nicotine in a few of his songs. Maybe this old flame moved onto something harder he is not into. If you smoke weed and one of you friends starts doing coke you’re not necessarily going to jump on board and that is a serious difference in lifestyle. So different that you probably won’t be as close with that person as you used to be. Literal or metaphorical, the message is the same. We drifted apart and I wish we didn’t.
The first verse starts with “When did you change? / Wendy, you’ve aged / I thought you’d never grow up / … / I was too late / A shadow of what I once was”. It’s been a while since Chance has seen this one that got away. When that happens to anyone, the person they meet might not be the person they used to know. It is similar to if you see a child everyday you will barely notice then grow but if you take a year away from them you will see a drastic change in appearance. Furthermore, He subtly references Peter Pan when he calls his old friend Wendy in this verse. In the analogy he paints, he considers himself Peter Pan as in he never grew up or away from the person he used to be as she did. In the end of the movie, Wendy decided to leave neverland and grow old. He holds the assumption that he didn’t change for a few lines but alas by the end of the verse he admits he changed too. He is haunted by the echoes of what they used to be and is clinging onto that old version of reality. He also implies by saying he was too late that he wished he could have stopped her from changing but to do that would be to stop her from growing which I don’t think he really wanted. He simply wishes they grew together instead of apart.
The second verse states the following. “Where did you go? / Why would you stay? / You must have lost your marbles / You always were so forgetful”. I picked up on a naive childlike tone in this verse. He asks obvious metaphorical questions as seen above. Obviously she didn’t go anywhere. She mentally changed which he changes into a physical question of location in a naive grab at understanding something he doesn’t want to accept. It makes the situation easier to digest emotionally if he focuses on his confusion rather than his sadness. You can hear him smile jokingly when he says the next two lines. He acts like he thinks she’s kidding with a nudge nudge on her shoulder or something. He’s like “oh you just forgot who you are you’re not actually different right”? He is having a lot of trouble accepting this drift for what it is. Trying to escape this new reality he finds himself focusing on said childlike confusion. This is why the Peter Pan analogy fits like a glove over this song. Similarly, The music video demonstrates this cling to childhood beautifully because he is seen singing the song with a giant stuffed animal looking puppet.
He continues to humbly drift in and out of denial about their relationship changing in the outro of the song. He talks about the good old days and asks more questions he doesn’t actually want the answers to. “The past tense, past bedtime / Way back then when everything we read was real / and everything we said rhymed / Wide eyed kids being kids / Why did you stop? / What did you do to your hair”? This song is his final yearning call to bring this girl back to neverland with him but by the sounds of it she is not going anywhere. He wants to continue living in this romanticised childhood he remembers.
He ends the song with the line “Stay in the line / Dandelion”. I assume dandelion is a nickname for this person. It seems that by the end of the song he is starting to accept the current state of their relationship. Stay in the line is most likely his way of saying, take care of yourself. Dandelions also symbolize hope, love and happiness which is his way of wishing her all these things on her life story even if he is no longer playing such a big part in it. Changes throughout life are hard to get through especially when it involves loved ones growing closer or farther away. Chance knows all we can do is wish them happiness on their journey and cheer them on along the way. Similarly, In the end of the music video you can see him leaving this fake romanticized version of their relationship when he walks off the set leaving behind that childhood reality and his piano playing puppet friend. He finally takes off his rose colored glasses filled with memories and lets himself move on. That’s my perspective! What do you think the song is about?