The two videos I chose are Ceresia’s video remix (link here) and Trina’s remix of the same song by Drake, Hotline Bling (link here). As we discussed in class, Drake’s song itself samples instrumentals from older songs as well, and similar to this both female artists sample Drake’s song while tweaking the beat and instrumentals. While both remixes are clearly inspired by Drake’s original song, they both make interesting changes that have prompted people to praise them as “feminist rewrites” of Drake’s track.
The most notable part of Ceresia’s track is her vocals – her voice is clear and strong, at the forefront of the song. She sings with emotion and power, evoking the image of a woman who moved on from a toxic relationship into an empowering single phase. She switches up Drake’s lyrics enough to get her message across but so much as to obscure the original words, often switching a few words here and there such as pronouns (make “you” in reference to Drake’s former lover an “I”). Overall, between her strong vocals, subdued background music and subtle changes, Ceresia’s song comes off as the empowering anthem of a girl getting over an unworthy lover in her own way.
Trina’s song takes inspiration from Drake’s track, but seems like an entirely new song with her remix. While the background beat is similar to Drake’s, if more subdued, her lyrics are almost entirely new, taking inspiration from Drake’s but changing them almost entirely to add a biting, vindictive tone. In Trina’s song she is, similarly to Ceresia, a girl getting over an unworthy guy, but Trina is angry and powerful, and she’s definitely winning the breakup and not missing Drake. The song opens with various voices harmonizing together before Trina breaks into a rap about her ex’s wrongs. Overall, Trina’s track is fresh and different, and while the inspiration is clear, hers feels like a different song while Ceresia’s feels more like a remix. The mix and instrumentals are less melodic and more focused on just the beat and her voice, but instead of Ceresia where the focus is her angelic voice, Trina’s focus is her lines which don’t hold back.
While both songs are similar in their instrumentals, beat and inspiration, and while both offer similar goals of giving the mysterious woman referenced in Drake’s Hotline Bling her own say on the breakup, they go about that goal in very different ways. Ceresia’s remix is touching, beautiful and almost like a ballad, while Trina’s is savage, cutting and features fresh lyrics. If I had to choose one that “did it better” it would be Trina’s – I like how her track samples Drake and plays around with her own sound while still being recognizable as Hotline Bling.