Dedicated to those songs that I can’t stop playing, humming, or thinking about; the 4+ minutes you fall head-over-heels in love with. Past instances have included Beck’s “Truckdrivin’ Neighbors,” The Clash’s “Guns on the Roof” and David Bowie’s “Starman.”
Around Halloween time, 2007, The Onion’s A.V. Club posted a list titled We Drink Blood: 14 Songs About Vampires, and while most slipped past my eye, “Dracula’s Wedding” grabbed every sense I had available and didn’t let go for a month. That’s right, you read correctly: one full month. How did it infect me so? What is so hypnotic about a series of un-dead call-outs and harpsichord? And how is it that I’m just hearing this song now, after owning The Love Below for four years?
Last question first: we can chalk it up to “Hey Ya!,” which I will implicate in the hijacking of the entire album by way of my patented pseudo-scientific theories. In fact, when I first heard the song on that AV Club list, I played the linked YouTube video because I didn’t even realize I already had the song (if you notice the video at the bottom has 5800+ views; I’m sure I’m responsible for at least 75 of those–none of which have anything to do with the weird anime sexy clips shown). True, I got this album, a double freakin’ album with Speakerboxxx, mind you, mostly based on the greatness of “Hey Ya,” which through no small feat managed to still be wonderful even though it was so ubiquitous you’d swear the band paid ice-cream truck drivers to ride around neighborhoods blaring the song for weeks at a stretch. My focus was firmly locked on that track, and though I did listen to the entire album all the way through initially, the gravitational pull of “Hey Ya” continued to draw me in. I was a lonely, lost satellite floating through space, looking for the planet with the most gravity to adopt me. As you can plainly see, science was to blame.
Middle question middle: it’s that electric warping noise. I’m not even sure what machine makes that “woo-weeert-wmmm” sound, but we should be happy it was invented. On my first re-discovery listen, this sound was the first part to draw me in. I love a good bridge, and over the guest-vocalist Kelis’ coos of “Three Thousand… Three Thousand,” this “woo-weeert” sound serves to make a repeat listen mandatory. Put simply, it’s wicked bad, and I’m drawn to such wicked badness. The true hypnosis comes in from the song’s structure. The song works so well on repeat you’d swear it was done on purpose. The pause in Andre 3000′s opening “You’re…” line works perfectly to restart the song after just “finishing.” I have listened to this song on repeat for over 30 minutes, at first because I had to, then because I wanted to figure out why I wasn’t getting tired of it, then out of respect for this weird musical miracle.
First question last: The infection comes from getting snippets caught in my head. For some reason, I am particularly susceptible to unsolved problems and incomplete thoughts. The idea of leaving something in a lurch without resolution, no wrap up, no credits, no nothing, is fascinating to me. It somehow represents the highest mark of tension (especially for movies) but also the last time we all agreed this could go anywhere. Perhaps endings and solutions disappoint me because they represent the end of a good time, thereby representing the end of my thinking about the good time, which is actually why I got interested in that good time in the first place.
That’s a lot of words to explain that I couldn’t get the incomprehensible Kelis section out of my mind. She plays Dracula’s Bride, and in the end she is reading reasonably straight forward wedding vows (presumably at the marriage of some classic movie monster perhaps). But when she first shows up, she offers her resumÃ© thusly:
“Give me the chance to dance romance/Don’t run, I’m not the sun,
So much at stake… oh!/Bad choice of words,But I’m not the gun,
With silver bullets,
And I can count (1, 2, 3),
Plus I make great peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Van Helsing.”
It’s really the last half that gets me into the “Huh-WHAT?” land. The questions piled on top of more questions: Since when is COUNTING a selling point which sets someone above the pack? She makes great PB&J. Are we supposed to believe she is not worthy of Dracula’s love, or is Dracula marrying a dumbbell? And the way she sings “Van Helsing” right after this line, it kind of sounds like the sentence should be “I make greater peanut butter and jelly sandwiches THAN Helsing,” which only makes sense if you believe Kelis has no idea who the Van Helsing character is or how it plays into the whole Dracula story. But that still makes more sense than her just randomly saying “Van Helsing” at the end of a discussion with Dracula! It would be like Lois Lane telling Superman, “We should get married because I can drink water, Lex Luthor.” Like it’s punctuation. Add to this the fact (aka “fact”) that silver bullets are generally reserved for the hunting of werewolves and/or used by Lone Rangers, and you can understand my frustration and infatuation.
I tried to decipher these lyrics by listening to the song endlessly (as I’ve already proven is easy to do). In the grand scheme of things, it may sound like 100% lunacy to let such questions bog me down when the world is filled with more important problems. But I can’t control this thing. My brain likes what it likes and for a month, yeah I know… a whole sinking MONTH, all four of my hemispheres contemplated this puzzle.