Toosie Slide

POP SONG REVIEW Toosie Slide.jpg

Date Aired
May 18, 2020
Running Time
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Todd plays "Toosie Slide" on the piano.

A pop song review

Todd: So, um...I am recording this in May of 2020. [clip of ABC news story on people ignoring social distancing] We are still living through an unprecedented global pandemic. Unless it changed in the last few hours, lemme check. [checks phone] Uh, yeah that's still happening. Well.

Clip of CNN news story about pandemic death toll

Todd (VO): So yes, we are still living through the most boring imaginable apocalypse...and I think we all agree it sucks.

Todd: But personally speaking, as an observer of music, it's also extremely interesting because we get to see it change in front of us.

Clip of New York City streets during lockdown

Todd (VO): Now movies, TV those take a while to catch up but music can react right away.

Todd: I remember this happening right after 9/11 when...

Footage of live performance of Enrique Iglesias - "Hero"

Todd (VO) ...Enrique Iglesias's "Hero" suddenly vaulted up the charts.

Background singers: I can be your hero, baby

Enrique Iglesias: Come on

That was real weird to watch this open shirt, bedroom-eyes ballad somehow become the most important song in the world but, you know, shit was different all of a sudden. The context changed the meaning of the song.

Todd: And that is definitely happening now, too.

Clip of Billboard News video that includes DaBaby ft. YoungBoy Never Broke Again - "JUMP"

Todd (VO): I have had nothing better to do than listen to the entire Hot 100 front to back every week. And I've noticed some songs seem particularly suited to this moment in time.

Clip of Twenty One Pilots - "Level of Concern"

Tyler Joseph: Would you be my little quarantine?

There are, of course, the songs that are explicitly pandemic related. Twenty One Pilots were the first to write a reference to it.

Montage clips of Luke Combs - "Six Feet Apart"; Lil Baby - "Social Distancing"; OneRepublic - "Better Days"; Mike Love ft. John Stamos - "This Too Shall Pass"

Todd (VO): Since then Luke Combs, Lil Baby, OneRepublic and enemy of this show Mike Love have all cut records specifically about the quarantine.

Mike Love: Let's get back to having fun, fun, fun in the sun

God, you suck.

Todd: But I'm more attracted to songs that are unintentionally about it.

Clip of JP Saxe ft. Julia Michaels - "If the World Was Ending"

Todd (VO): There's a song that hit radio called "If the World Was Ending".

JP Saxe: But if the world is ending, you'd come over right?

Not hard to see why that's taking off.

Todd (VO): [album cover for...] There's also Fiona Apple's immediate critical smash, "Fetch the Bolt Cutters".

Clip of Fiona Apple - "Fetch the Bolt Cutters"

Fiona Apple: Fetch the bolt cutters, I've been in here too long

Image of "Let Me In" meme related to the pandemic reading "Let Me Out"

Yeah, that's a pretty relatable sentiment right now.

Clip of Thomas Rhett ft. Jon Pardi - "Beer Can't Fix"

Todd (VO): And similarly, Thomas Rhett's "Beer Can't Fix" has taken on some added dimensions.

Thomas Rhett: Ain't nothing that a beer can't fix

Todd: You said it, bro. [takes a sip of a beer]

Clip of BENEE ft. Gus Dapperton - "Supalonely"

BENEE: Now I'm in the bathtub crying

Todd (VO): My personal favorite is BENEE's "Supalonely", which sings about isolation and sadness in a tone just ironic enough to be comforting.

BENEE: Lonely, I'm a lonely bitch

Clip of Powfu ft. beabadoobee - "death bed (coffee for your head)"

Powfu: I wish it could be me, but I won't make it out this bed

Speaking of not having the energy to move, there's also Powfu's depression rap "death bed".

Powfu: Don't stay awake for too long, don't go to bed

Todd (VO): Now, those last two are interesting to me because they got popular on [clip of video on...] TikTok, the newest tastemaker in popular music.

Clip of Genius News video "How TikTok Is Making Hits"

TikTok has proven to be an extremely powerful promotional tool. It is breaking all the rules in which songs get popular.

Video for Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus - "Old Town Road (Remix)"

Todd (VO): Ever since the insanity of "Old Town Road" last year, executives have been searching high and low for the next Lil Nas X. [image of Lil Nas X in front of TikTok logo neon sign] Some newcomer who comes out of nowhere on this new medium where they can bypass all the gatekeepers, and catch the world by storm.

Todd: And at last, they seem to have found him. So, let's check out this fresh-faced new sensation who is changing the face of the industry.

Clip of Drake - "Toosie Slide"

Drake: Black leather glove, no sequins

Buckles on the jacket, it's Alyx shit

Todd: Fuckin' Drake! Fuckin' Drake, again!

Drake: It go right foot up, left foot

Todd (VO): Last month Drake scored another #1 hit with "Toosie Slide", the lead single off...

Todd: ...of his newest [screenshot of Dark Lane Demo Tapes on Spotify] double-length, extended mixtape, EP, LP, playlist record, B-side collection album of...Oh, who could possibly care about another goddamn Drake project at this point?

Video for BlocBoy JB ft. Drake - "Look Alive"

Todd (VO): I'm sorry, it's just who's crying out for more Drake right now? The 2010s were already the Drake decade. And if you hoped it would be restricted to just the one, sorry.

Todd: The new single broke records by being his [screenshot of Hot97 article: "DRAKE’S ‘TOOSIE SLIDE’ BREAKS NEW RECORD & DRIZZY MAKES HISTORY!"] 209th charting song, which makes him officially the title holder for most Hot 100 entries of all time. And boy, weren't all of them just so good.

Clip of Drake - "Nonstop"

Drake: Bills so big I call 'em Williams, for real

Todd (VO): You know, in a sense, Drake's continued success is good for critics like me. [clips of Drake ft. Trey Songz & Lil Wayne - "Successful"...] It's a lot easier to write about an artist who's been around a while. You get to see how they've [...and Chris Brown ft. Drake - "No Guidance"] changed and grown, how their new music affects their image.

Todd: But, pfft. Like, come on. I feel like a complete idiot saying that about Drake. I mean, let's check out this new song.

Clip of "Toosie Slide"

Drake: Two thousand shorties wanna tie the knot, ayy, yeah

Two hundred shooters on my brother's block

Todd (VO): [sarcastically] Oh wow, yet another dreary, drowsy, drab-ass Drake song. He hasn't put out one of those in four hours!

Todd: Changed and grown, what are we even talking about?

Video for Drake ft. Rick Ross - "Money In The Grave"

Todd (VO): Is someone gonna tell me that the seasoned veteran who made 2019's "Money In The Grave" [clip of...] has noticeably matured from the young upstart who made 2011's "Headlines"? Even the beats he uses hasn't changed that much.

Todd: And yes, obviously I've said a lot of positive things about Drake in the past. [clip of "Nice for What"] I do like a lot of his songs, I've liked at least something from every one of his releases. But at this point, that's a function of quantity, not quality.

Video for Drake - "I'm Upset"

Todd (VO): Yes, somewhere in his latest 5-hour collection of half-finished raps, there's probably at least one good song in there just statistically speaking.

Todd: But I've kind of resigned myself to Drake continuing to have his way with the Hot 100.

Video for...

Todd (VO): After the inexplicable popularity of the already-forgotten "God's Plan", anything is possible. The man has the formula to get hits.

Todd: It's just...I don't know if he's ever deployed it so cynically.

Clip of Drake - "In My Feelings"

Drake: Kiki, do you love me

Todd (VO): In 2018, having already spawned a [image of Drake with text "YOLO"] catchphrase and an internet ["Drake the type of n***a to open a bag of chips with scissors"] meme, Drake got the viral trifecta [clip of kid dancing to "In My Feelings"] by starting a dance craze. Now, this was pretty important for Drake, 'cause he'd just [single cover for Pusha T - "The Story of Adidon"] hit a real bumpy point in his career [clip of two men dancing to "In My Feelings"] and then that dance popped up spontaneously and smoothed everything right out.

Video for "Toosie Slide"

So Drake must have been like "Hey, why don't we do that again on purpose this time?" The new dance is called [clip of Genius interview with Toosie] the Toosie Slide, named after its choreographer. [clip of Drake dancing in the "Hotline Bling" video] Shockingly, Drake did not choreograph it himself.

Todd: [sarcastically] And boy doesn't it make you wanna get up and dance!

Drake: Don't you wanna dance with me? No?

Todd: [nods] No. That's right, no.

Montage clips of Zay Hilfigerrr & Zayion McCall - "Juju on That Beat (TZ Anthem)"; Silentó - "Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)"; Soulja Boy Tell 'Em - "Crank That (Soulja Boy)"

Todd (VO): [sighs] You know, I've talked a lot of shit about the dance crazes of the past decade or so. I-I've actually been coming around on that for a while. At the very least Soulja Boy and Silentó had that brash, youthful energy. As opposed to Drake, who at age 33 already sounds ready for retirement.

Clip of "Toosie Slide"

Drake: Left foot up, right foot slide

What if the Cha-Cha Slide had a bad hangover? That's the Toosie Slide.

Drake: Can't describe the pressure I've been putting on myself, yeah

Todd (VO): Now, under normal circumstances, I would call this a comically terrible song.

Todd: And I'm not even saying it isn't, but...

Todd (VO): we live through quarantine-mania, the sensation that's sweeping the nation, I gotta say...this is...

Todd: ...the song of the lockdown.

Todd (VO): Not any of those other songs I mentioned. "Toosie Slide". "Toosie Slide" captures this moment so perfectly that when my kids ask me what the quarantine was like, I'm gonna do the Toosie Slide at them instead of answering.

Todd: And it's not just the fact that it came out during the quarantine and...

Todd (VO): ...Drake has to do the dance alone in his house.

Todd: No, let me explain.

Clip of woman dancing to BENEE ft. Gus Dapperton - "Supalonely", along with other TikTok dance clips

BENEE: I know I fucked up, I'm just a loser

Todd (VO): You see, one of the new surefire ways to promote a song is to come up with a stupid dance and pay some social media influencer to do it that everyone copies on TikTok. I don't really get it, but apparently that's how it works.

Clip of DJ Khaled and Nicole Tuck doing the Toosie Slide

Drake: Right foot up

Now there are some celebrities following the meme. [clip of Anthony Hopkins doing the dance] Here we see Sir Anthony Hopkins in a deleted scene from The Remains of the Day. Maybe he needed some of that Drake promo money to buy himself a new castle, or maybe he's just as bored as the rest of us. [clip of Marshmello doing the dance] I mean, Drake's probably big enough that he doesn't really need to buy promotion. This was going viral regardless.

Todd: But the thing is...

Montage clips of people dancing on TikTok

Todd (VO): ...TikTok dances are supposed to be a way to promote the song. With "Toosie Slide", the TikTok dance...

Todd: the song.

Todd (VO): It's the whole point of the song.

Todd: Now, that makes me uncomfortable.

Clips of Boston - "Don't Look Back" and Duran Duran - "Rio"

Todd (VO): In the same way that all those classic rock guys felt in the '80s when music videos became bigger than their own music.

Todd: It feels like Drake hacked the system.

Clips of the Toosie Slide choreographers doing the dance and interview with them

Todd (VO): You can't even call it astro-turfing because he's not even trying to hide what he's doing. He hired a goddamn choreographer. Fuck's sake, he named the song after him. He wants you to know.

Todd: I'm surprised he didn't just call his dance "The Trend Chaser."

Video for "Toosie Slide"

Todd (VO): [singing to the tune of "Toosie Slide"] Show you how to do it, it goes find that trend, chase that trend.

Todd: But that's beside the point.

Todd (VO): Drake has done something really brilliant here. By releasing a song specifically tailored for TikTok...

Todd: ...Drake has made the perfect song for a time when everyone's stuck in their houses!

Video for Dua Lipa - "Don't Start Now"

Todd (VO): Like, you listen to that Dua Lipa record that just came out, it sounds like a dance club. It is meant to be experienced with a large group of people.

Todd: I really like that song, but...

Todd (VO): ...what does a disco song mean right now in a world with no discos? [clip of Foo Fighters performing at Rock in Rio] Or what is arena rock, for that matter, if there are no arenas? So many genres may as well be science fiction right now.

Todd: But "Toosie Slide" meanwhile...

More montage clips of people doing the Toosie Slide on TikTok

Todd (VO): ..."Toosie Slide" is a dance song where you don't need a dancefloor. You don't need people.

Todd: You don't even need the entire song!

Todd (VO): You just need a camera, twenty seconds of free time and three feet of space!

Todd: And not only is it intended...

Todd (VO): be enjoyed from the privacy of your own smartphone, but also...

Todd: ...even if you could go out and dance to it... you wouldn't.

Video for "Toosie Slide"

Todd (VO): This moody, funkless instrumental only makes sense as a dance beat during this depressing-ass moment in history. Imagine if the world were normal and you'd be at...

Todd: ...a wedding reception or a prom, and the DJ threw this on.

Clip of people dancing in a club with SAINt JHN - "Roses" (Imanbek Remix) playing in the background

SAINt JHN: I walked in the corner with the body...

Todd (VO): [imitating a DJ] Alright everybody, I wanna see everyone on the floor for this one! Make some noise! ["Toosie Slide" starts playing and it cuts to an empty dance floor with crickets chirping]

Todd: Yeah, I know, if kids...

Video for "Toosie Slide"

Todd (VO): ...were having proms, kids would be dancing to it because Drake is just that powerful, but I can't tell you I understand why.

Todd: I don't get how this song doesn't just, like, [single cover for "Toosie Slide" fades to black] physically evaporate the second the quarantine is over.

Todd (VO): Like, what possible use could this sleepy track have outside of TikTok? It's too sad to listen to with people. And if you are sad, Drake telling you to lift your leg is probably not gonna be much comfort.

Todd: You can't even listen to it to admire Drake's lyrical skills, because he turns in the most half-assed set of lyrics in his entire career!

Drake: Don't you wanna dance with me? No?

I could dance like Michael Jackson

I could give you thug passion

It's a Thriller in the trap where we from

Todd (VO): Great rhymes, bro.

Todd: Also, uh, I noticed we're ju...

Todd (VO): We're-we're just gonna keep referencing Michael Jackson?

Drake: I could dance like Michael Jackson

Just...gonna keep positively comparing ourselves to the King of Pop. May he, uh...

Todd: Well, we're not gonna go there. And we're never going there.

Clip of GMA news story on Leaving Neverland documentary

Todd (VO): Look, people are still arguing about that. I don't wanna be in the middle of it, so I'm just not gonna take any sides on that one way or the other.

Todd: Maybe Michael Jackson was a pedophile. Or maybe he was just an [clip of Michael Jackson's Easter Egg Hunt at Neverland] innocent, wrongly accused man who for some reason chose to look and act, his entire adult life, like a pedophile. Who's to say? There, that shouldn't make anyone angry. Regardless of where you stand on that...

Video for Michael Jackson - "Smooth Criminal"

Todd (VO):'s been apparent for a while now that MJ's musical legacy is too toweringly important to be undone.

Todd: We could find out Michael Jackson was [image of the coronavirus wearing Michael Jackson hat and sparkly glove] the coronavirus himself and he'd still keep getting shoutouts in rap songs. So just taking that as a given...[pause] How dare you, Drake?! How dare you?!

Clip of "Toosie Slide"

Drake: I could dance like Michael Jackson

Todd (VO): No. You can't.

Todd: You can not!

Clip of Motown 25 performance of "Billie Jean"

Todd (VO): Michael Jackson was one of the greatest dancers who ever lived. Michael Jackson did things no one else could do. [clip of Anthony Hopkins doing the Toosie Slide] If your grandpa can do it, it's not like Michael Jackson!

Todd: I mean, listen to the actual steps of the dance. It's very simple.

Clip of "Toosie Slide"

Drake: It go right foot up, left foot slide

Left foot up, right foot slide

Basically, I'm saying either way, we 'bout to slide, ayy

Can't let this one slide, ayy

Todd: [beat] You ever, like, read a sentence that's so impossibly badly written that you can't stop thinking about it?

Drake: Basically, I'm saying either way, we 'bout to slide, ayy

Todd: Either...huh?!

Todd (VO): Okay, I thought I had to do both slides, like, left and then right, but apparently I can do either?

Todd: I-I can pick?

Drake: Basically, I'm saying either way, we 'bout to slide, ayy

Todd (VO): I don't-I don't get what that line's supposed to be saying, is it-is it, like, a joke?

Todd: Like, "Either way, we're slidin'"! What?!

Todd (VO): If it's a joke, he still sounds like he's about to fall asleep crying so it doesn't land!

Shot of chorus lyrics on Genius

Oh, and the English teacher in me is [red circle around the word...] basically just screaming at that "basically". ["Basically" gets crossed out, with text "unnecessary terrible writing see me"] No, delete that! Also, ["Can't let this one slide" underlined] "can't let this slide"?

Todd: You do know that means you can't tolerate it, right?

Drake: Can't let this one slide, ayy

Todd (VO): Basically, you're saying that either the lyrics or the dance are so bad that it shouldn't go unpunished. And personally, I agree!

Todd: You know, basically.

Drake: Really I just can't afford to lose nobody else, yeah

Todd (VO): Like, the entire thing is just slapdash. Drake is infamous for making flat, monotonous songs. You know, it's his thing. But even for him, he's really putting in the effort here to not put in any effort.

Todd: But, that just makes it more brilliant, right?

Todd (VO): Would it have fit the zeitgeist if Drake had tried even a little? Who's got the energy for a real dance song right now?! I barely have the energy to write a real ending to this video! Allegedly he started writing this before the pandemic but...

Todd: ...I wouldn't be surprised if he tailored this specifically for the lockdown. I wouldn't be surprised if he started the pandemic himself to fit the song!

Todd (VO): And even if it is just a lucky accident, it is pure evil genius all the same. No song that was actually about the pandemic could capture its true feeling of sadness, loneliness, and total complete brainless inane boredom.

Todd: In fact, there's only one song that even comes close. And that is of course...

Clip of...

Todd (VO): ...the celebrity cover of "Imagine".

Eddie Benjamin: Imagine there's no countries

You wanna make the ultimate pandemic song...

Todd: ...mash up the two of them together.

"Toosie Slide" instrumental plays in the background

Gal Gadot: Imagine there's no heaven

Kristen Wiig: It's easy if you try

Todd: [beat] Now I'm just making myself sad. Yeah, I'm gonna right foot up, left foot slide outta here.

Gets up and leaves

Video for "Toosie Slide" ends

Closing Tag Song: Eddy Grant - "I Don't Wanna Dance"


"Toosie Slide" is owned by Republic Records

This video is owned by me


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