Joe West takes on a sexy and potentially dispiriting R Kelly hit.
Ignition (Remix) is irresistibly catchy, perfectly produced and filled with some of the oddest lyrics you’ll ever find in a pop song. It trumps I Believe I Can Fly as my favourite R Kelly track, and is intended to give a glimpse into the opulent world of perpetual partying in which he lives. But in amongst the bragging, there’s a story of a man living out of a suitcase, going from hotel to hotel, from meaningless sexual encounter to meaningless sexual encounter. Does he take any joy in this life of excess? It’s hard to tell. Let’s allow the lyrics...to...guide...us.
Now,um,usually I dont do this but uh....
Go head on and break them off with a little preview of the remix....
This is weirdly hesitant. On paper it looks like dialogue intended for Hugh Grant.
No I'm not trying to be rude,
This is the ‘I’m not racist, but’ of opening lines.
But hey pretty girl I'm feeling you
Wasting no time, R Kelly cuts to the chase and catches your attention as he dumps himself in the chair in front of you at a speed dating event.
The way you do the things you do
Remind me of my Lexus coup
This is not the first time R Kelly has compared a woman to an inanimate object, specifically a car. Check out the anthem of objectification that is You Remind Me Of Something.
That’s why I’m all up in your grill
Yep, that’s what chicks dig alright. Belligerent invasion of their space.
Trying to get you to a hotel
When this song was released in 2003, getting to a hotel was trickier because mobile phones had yet to adopt integrated GPS functionality.
You must be a football coach
The way you got me playing the field
The structure of these two lines suggests as joke has been made, but on closer inspection there is none.
So baby give me that toot toot
Forlornly, you hand over a small clown’s horn.
Let me give you that beep beep
R Kelly parps it twice, giggling.
Running her hands through my 'fro
Luxuriating in the feeling of the hair on her fingertips? Or pawing at your head like a mother fruitlessly attempting to flatten a child's stubborn cowlick?
Bouncing on 24s
Bouncing on 24 inch pogo sticks, the wind in his 'fro, R Kelly causes chaos in a hotel lobby.
While they say on the radio
It's the remix to Ignition
A remarkably blunt statement of fact. Artless, but effective.
Hot and fresh out the kitchen
A confusing metaphor that makes me imagine R Kelly wearing a chefs’ hat while clutching a mixing bowl. He calls his kids in for supper. They sit around the large table in their farmhouse-style kitchen, laughing together.
Mama rolling that body
Got every man in here wishing
Although presumably unintended, these lines could suggest that physical attraction is a little like gambling; the anticipation is more appealing than the end result.
Sipping on coke and rum
Like a second rate James Bond, who would presumably approve of this song’s seediness, were he not fictional.
I'm like so what I'm drunk
The only people who admit to being drunk and dismiss it as unimportant are drunk people who, somewhere in the fug of their stupor, actually know they’re being obnoxious.
It's the freaking weekend
And your speaking’s weakened by substance abuse.
Baby I'm about to have me some fun
This line begs to be followed by a hearty knee-slap.
Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce
Bounce Bounce Bounce
At this point in the song, R Kelly becomes distracted by a ball.
Now it's like murder she wrote
In what way?
Once I get you out them clothes
Is R Kelly suggesting that, disrobed, his ideal partner should resemble Angela Lansbury?
Privacy is on the door
Got to that hotel then did you?
Still they can hear you screaming more
This is the downside of shared accommodation.
Girl I'm feeling what you feeling
A deep sense of existential dread?
No more hoping and wishing
I'm about to take my key and
Stick it in the ignition
At least try a little foreplay first dude.
Cristal popping in the stretch Navigator
We got food everywhere
Just strewn about the place. Bowls full of figs in the toilets. R Kelly staggers past with a fistful of prawns. You glance at him. He shrugs and throws them at a painting of a lake.
As if the party was catered
As if it was catered, which crucially suggests that it isn’t. People have brought stuff in Tupperware from home. R Kelly does a mean crumble.
We got fellas to my left
Honeys on my right
School disco-style. The tension is palpable. Endless shoe-gazing.
We bring them both together we got juking all night
Check out the Urban Dictionary definition of ‘juke’. A room full of people doing this would create a lot of friction and damage trouser fabric. Hope you brought a spare pair, R.
Then after the show it’s the (after party)
And after the party it’s the (hotel lobby)
And round about 4 you got to (clear the lobby)
Ushered out by a wan-faced drone, working the late shift, his night spoilt by the entourage of a millionaire who keeps saying “So what, I’m drunk, deal with it” like an aunt at Christmas.
Then take it to the room and freak somebody
Freak them. Freak them out with stories about Tupac’s ghost.
Chorus x 2
Girl we off in this Jeep
What happened to your stretch Navigator? I’ve never met anyone who sees cars as disposable.
Fogging windows up
A reference to the sex scene from 1997’s Titanic, no doubt.
Blasting the radio
Nothing like having sex in a Jeep while the traffic and travel update blares out.
In the back of my truck
Bouncing up and down
There’s something disarmingly childish about this line, and the song in general.
Stroke it round and round
At best, this is bad handjob advice.
To the remix
We just thugging it out
Get rid of the ‘t’ from thugging and we’ll talk. Or, for that matter, the ‘h’.