Today, we'll be putting R. Kelly's "Ignition (Remix)" under the microscope.
00:07R and an unknown cohort, resplendent in matching white fur coats, are introduced performing in what appears to be some kind of vast IKEA showroom.
00:11The cohort, in a failed bid for a tiny sliver of the spotlight, steps to the foreground and attempts to lip-synch a line or two of a song he may or may not have actually heard before. One second later, a kindly editor mercifully relegates the remainder of his brush with stardom to the cutting room floor.
00:13Revellers party in slow motion somewhere without a wall full of backlit blue bottles. Are they in the next room over from R? Awaiting his grand entrance, perhaps?
00:18More (the same?) revellers pile into some sort of plush clown car parked at the foot of the kind of neon-stained tower one only thinks to build in Atlantic City or Las Vegas. The first-class IKEA shuttle, no doubt. The one they don't let riff-raff like you and I ride. Strictly for pop stars and their closest posse members.
00:24The clown car is revealed to be a stretch limousine of some sort, which explains its boundless capacity for revellers.
00:26The clown car has a neon sign in the window designating it "Club Jeeeep". Is there a club inside the clown car?
00:27There is indeed. R and Cohort make their highly anticipated entrance, this time in colour-coordinated pro sports apparel: R in a nameless Boston Celtics jersey, Cohort modeling a Curtis Martin Jets number. R matches his jersey with a Celtics ballcap and, if I'm not mistaken, Celtics-green bandages on his hands.
00:43R stalks the camera through a crowd of revellers. Watch as a man in a red Oilers jersey to his immediate right absent-mindedly grabs his crotch, as though unaware he is on camera.
00:46R exhorts the listener to "bounce, bounce, bounce" while demonstrating with his hands. He has no trouble getting the revellers to join in with this simple gesture. The drinks are on R's tab and they've all been told they're going to be on TV, so presumably they'd all roll over and bark like chihauhaus if he told them to. Hell, I would.
00:54R and Cohort are simultaneously in Club Clown Car and back at IKEA, where the fur coats remain very much in effect.
00:55R and Cohort are not alone in IKEA; there are a select few women allowed, the inner harem, if you will. The rest are relegated to Club Clown Car, dreaming of the day R asks them to join him in his opulent private furniture studio.
01:01In case you doubt the sincerity of R's intentions, he removes his sunglasses, and lip-synchs earnestly into the camera.
01:07Club Clown Car is revealed to be a stretch Hummer. An invention which obviously followed from the realisation that Hummers are simply not obnoxious enough at their normal size. Does this seem needlessly extravagant? You try fitting a nightclub with a full-service bar and large dancefloor in the back of a Toyota.
01:13And a DJ booth.
01:14And enough headroom for some guy to be riding on someone's shoulders.
01:18Oh, that's R. He's changed jerseys; now it's the Bulls. Cohort is offscreen, presumably changing into a Cardinals jersey to keep the whole same-colour-different-sport thing going.
01:22Striding down the bar, absolutely owning the party.
01:25And sitting at said bar? Cohort, a girl on each arm, still wearing his now-clashing Jets jersey, completely neglecting his cohort duties. I'm guessing he got replaced by the time R shot the "Playas Only" video.
01:33We're back at IKEA but the outfits have changed, and this one's a doozy. R and Cohort are wearing brown basketball jerseys over white tees with matching brown tracksuit pants and red paisley bandannas. The jerseys both have the number 1 on the chest and, just above that, the only detail that differs on the two outfits: while Cohort's says "Bulls", R's inexplicably displays the letters "TLC".
I don't get it. R will give you tender lovin' care, girl? Or is it a tribute to Left Eye, who had passed away less than a year before this video was shot? So many questions.
Oh, and another thing: the bottles have changed. The decorative blue vessels have been replaced by what appear to be liquor bottles. Cutty Sark would be my guess, but I'm not nearly classy enough to possess any familiarity with whatever it is a guy like R drinks, let alone recognise its attendant bottle design from afar.
01:37Meanwhile, back at Club Clown Car, R crouches down on the bar to throw a friendly arm around the shoulder of Cohort (who is still wearing that Jets jersey), as if to offer a sign of forgiveness for Cohort's failure to keep up with the costume changes. A hollow gesture no doubt. Cohort will still wind up browsing the help-wanteds come Monday. All this means is that R has decided to kindly forego the humiliating punishment of seducing Cohort's girlfriend and urinating on her. R's posse has no room for amateurs, my friend.
01:45R at last gives up waiting for Cohort to catch up and simply changes back into the Celtics jersey.
01:46R's facial expression when he hits this high note must be paused to be believed. How could anyone possibly doubt this man's sincerity? You can't fake that. He will freak you.
01:50Again with the high note. Seriously, he looks like he's undergoing some sort of physiological examination. Cohort points to R and underscores the intensity of the moment with a "Yo, check this out" expression.
02:06R pumps his fists in anticipation of the chorus, while Cohort stands around making the same pointing motion from the last scene. Can he even hear the song?
This leads me to a burning question: what exactly is Cohort's job? I mean I can see what he's doing, but like, what does he write on his 1040s under "occupation"? When people ask his mother, "So, what does your son do for a living?", what does she tell them?
In R&B videos of yore, an artist might be seen performing with backup singers or backup dancers. But Cohort is never seen dancing (and doesn't look like the kind of man who tries), and we established early on that he doesn't even know the words. All he seems to do is reiterate and emphasise the sentiment of R's earnest pantomiming, which I guess makes him a sort of "backup gesturer". Nice work if you can get it, I suppose. Wonder what it pays?