Sunday, May 18, 2003

Chris and I were debating - almost arguing - over R. Kelly again today. His "Ignition Remix" has staked out a second week atop the UK singles chart, and I'm falling under its spell. Chris, of course, is wrong in his extreme hatred of Mr. Kelly, and said that he "just [doesn't] understand why" I like "Ignition Remix." Directed writing exercises are good, so here we go.

"Sipping on Coke and rum
I'm like, so what, I'm drunk
It's the freakin' weekend, baby I'm about to have me some fun."

- R. Kelly, "Ignition Remix" (Chocolate Factory, Jive, 2003)

The original version of "Ignition" is a smarmy, fairly vulgar and disgusting song akin to his '95 smash "You Remind Me of Something," replete with similar automative sex metaphors ("can you drive a stick?," Its remix, however, is a breezy, laid-back, and thoroughly summery ode to just having fun and enjoying life. It includes the line "runnin' her hands through my 'fro" not once but twice. This is the sound of Kelly urging us - and trying himself - to forget troubles and just relax and chill. "Ignition Remix" is predictably bling-bling, but not appallingly so. And as Jess Harvell points out over at NYLPM talking about that phenomenal Freeway single, it's the '80s all over again in hiphop (and, to a lesser extent, but shown here, in R&B) these days. Kelly lathers the track's chorus (buried in the mix, listen closely) in Casio easy listening bodywash, while the whole record is mondo click-track and lots of "dum dum dum dum dum," ably accentuating his "no worries, mon" lyrics.

Despite myself, I love the "it's the remix to 'Ignition,' hot ''n fresh out the kitchen" line, as well. And lest you forget, Kelly's blessed with a voice so creamy, so practically edible that given the right material, he's irresistable. I mean, c'mon, his heavenly falsetto on the Old School remix of "Bump 'N Grind" is just flat-out stunning (it reminds me of his then-paramour Aaliyah, actually). He'll seduce you, he'll love your body down, he might bitch-slap or even (!!!) pee on you, but damn, it's hard to hate his music. And I for one just can't.

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