Song 300: R. Kelly, “Ignition (Remix)” (2003)


I’ve planned to write about “Ignition (Remix)” as my 300th song for a long time, and when I started looking up the song online, I found some internet rumors that R. Kelly died this morning. I first came across this rumor on YouTube comments for the “Ignition” video, and since YouTube comments are officially The Worst Thing On The Internet, I assumed it was false. Thankfully, the internet proved it was a hoax.

If R. Kelly did die today, how would he be remembered? I’d like to think we’d remember him as a crazy genius, because what the hell? How does he come up with any of this stuff? “Ignition (Remix)” isn’t cuckoo-bananas like Trapped In The Closet, but it’s still out of left field. First of all, it’s insanely, grandly, ingeniously fun—it’s about fun, and singing it is fun—and you can’t resist that beat. So simple, but so … fun.

The song’s Spinal Tap-worthy metaphors are also part of its likability. It’s stupid, but there’s no way R. Kelly didn’t know that. It’s the freakin’ weekend, so let’s compare sex to driving, and let’s say “beep beep” and “toot toot” while getting it on. And the line “I’m like so what I’m drunk” may just be the most accurate lyric ever about alcohol consumption.

Mountain Goats frontman John Darnielle loves “Ignition,” so much so that he wrote a list of 100 reasons testifying to its greatness. Included on the list are “The rhythm is insistent without being hard” and “‘freakin’? Who says ‘freakin’?” His list is better than anything I could come up with, so we’ll just leave it at that.

Actually, we’ll leave it at this: if you need any more convincing, here’s M.J.


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