The story of Kendrick’s latest single is likely to be one full of irony. It seems only natural, since so much irony is built into the foundation of the song. For those listeners for whom verses basically just serve as a good way to fill the space between hooks, “Swimming Pools” could just as easily scan as a pregame anthem. The chopped and screwed “drank” call-and-response, the flawlessly catchy turn-up themed hook, the whip-ready backing track courtesy of T-Minus (“I’m On One”, “The Motto”)– it riffs off Drizzy’s club anthems so effectively, that the shrewd social critique at its base is likely to be lost on more than a few thirsty sorority girls.
But like “A.D.H.D.”, this is inclusive commentary, the kind that takes a step back to examine exactly how or why our generation seems to have picked up its peculiar set of ideas about the world. In this case, Kendrick takes on our tendency to get belligerently, unreasonably drunk, tracing a line all the way from older generations’ alcoholism to our own generation’s boundless desire to be seen, be cool, get girls– and yet, it’s done with the kind of self-implicating, introspective wit that somehow keeps it from ever feeling preachy or heavy-handed. Further evidence of one of the most idiosyncratic, intelligent voices contemporary hip-hop has to offer.