As “Falling Back” ends, Drake repeats the phrase “Falling Back on…” 23 times. What is so intriguing about this is how it provides an experience of over-abundance-and-indulgence, 23-times in-a-row. It is novel to experience anything that many times in succession, but a melody makes the experience immediately-accessible. As a singer/songwriter, if Drake is trying to create empathy for the anxiety of not making the right decision when he has so many options, a practical way to create this empathy is to experience what is heard for the second-half of the song.
This is a metaphoric and ideological repetition, 23 times. Drake also features 23 brides in the music video, so regardless intention, it is almost as if each line represents a different betrayal or relationship. It is easy to hear this, as with each repeated phrase, the song also builds in vulnerability and emotion; the literal words and meaning become abstract — it’s more about the overall sound.
In the metaphor (and literal reality) of having too many potential true loves and not wanting to choose the wrong one, there is a real fear and hurt communicated, particularly with Drake’s use of falsetto. With the first-half of “Falling Back” about self-reflection and introspection, it is easy for the cathartic journey of this song to inspire deep emotional truth: even tears.
The lyrics can be found here. Here is the official music video:
Daniel Dumile channels various traits of his personality into several characters. One character, Viktor Vaughn, embraces a youthful, ambitious side of Dumile. Another, King Geedorah, represents a colossal alien who commentates on humanity from an objective view-point. On 2004’s Madvillainy LP, Dumile teamed with Madlib to create a character known to many as “Madvillain” (also referred to as “The Villain”/”Villain” on the recording), and it is in this character why so many have flocked to Dumile’s provocative flow.
In the opening statement of Madvillainy, “Accordion”, we have a chance to meet Madvillain — or at least, we hear a testament to his greatness. What differentiates Dumile’s braggadocio from his contemporaries is in the nature of said testimony. The opening narration, “Living off borrowed time the clock tick faster” is entirely detached from the rest of the verse. The line vaguely contemplates upon the notion of time before sparking inspiration from an observer of said narration. This is the masked man who tells the tales of the legendary Madvillain — MF DOOM.
Think of MF DOOM, in the context of “Accordion”, as a street poet or preacher upon a soapbox, dazzling the audience with hyperbole-ridden tales of a legend (Madvillain) whom is not even physically present (and indeed, artistically, Dumile literally hides “Madvillain” behind MF DOOM’s mask). The very next line which follows the opening narration is spoken matter-of-factly, responding to the omniscient narration, as if one was reading a newspaper and remarking indifferently: “that’ll be the hour they knock the sick blaster“.
This line, as soon seen, starts a stream-of-consciousness description of Madvillain as a character. The reason why this lyricism inspires such originality and thought within the listener is because Daniel Dumile is not the one boasting about Madvillain (at least, directly). Instead, what Dumile does is create a third-person narrative, using what amounts to a street preacher (MF DOOM) to describe a main character (Madvillain) which personifies certain elements of a real personality (Daniel Dumile).
While “Accordion” is riddled with interpretive poetry, arguably four of the strongest lines are found in the following verse:
Keep your glory gold and glitter For half, half of his n***** will take him out the picture The other half is rich and it don’t mean s***-a Villain a mixture of both with a twist of liquor
In these four lines, Dumile, as MF DOOM, describes Madvillain as someone who is unaffected by promises of monetary gain and illusionary, ‘glittering’ successes. In the second and third lines, we learn of his rationality for this mindset. While these lines strike hard just for the discussed content, the final line pulls together the reason why the audience is so captivated by “Accordion”. “Villain a mixture of both…” is self-loathing and self-inspiring all at once, admitting that Madvillain, as a character (and thus, part of Daniel Dumile), embraces both extremes — “with a twist of liquor”.
While “MF DOOM” is telling of the “Madvillain” character/legend, the fourth line (“Villain a mixture…“) carries the same sort of off-handedness which follows up “Living off borrowed time…” — the opening line of the song. This alludes a light-hearted glimpse into the actual character of “MF DOOM” (the street-corner poet/preacher), indirectly suggesting the characters within the world of “Madvillainy” see themselves as Madvillain. Therefore, they view him in a heroic light, and not with the same villainous bent as most of the populous.
See Genius’ entry on “Accordion” for a line-by-line interpretation.