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When Infatuation Slips Into Obsession

Amp Fiddler compares the debilitating effects of love and drugs.
Amp Fiddler compares the debilitating effects of love and drugs.

There's a point where infatuation slips into obsession — when thoughts of a significant other become all-consuming and love develops into an addiction. Dropping references to "8-balling," "jonesing" and "feeling like a junkie," Amp Fiddler's intoxicating "Dope" captures the euphoria and entropy of letting love take over to dangerous extremes.

Grainy, minor-key synth chords crest and collapse amid cardiac backbeats, a wayward and repetitive keyboard riff and melancholy wah-wah guitar cries, all of which evoke the hallucinogenic, apprehensive beauty of Herbie Hancock's heroin-inspired dirge, "Vein Melter."

Fiddler rouses the otherwise comely melody with dissonant wails, shrill sighs and cracked notes. When he sings, "Ooh, baby, I need my fix / I'm 'bout to lose it / I can't go too long / You got me tweakin' / I need to brush off," he builds up an edgy tension, as shadowy background moans rise slowly and intermittently behind Fiddler's desperate exclamations — "Ooh, you woo-oooo me! — before he howls another series of queasy notes and exhales, "I'm so high." Seldom has a contemporary R&B love song sounded so erotic and eerie at the same time.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

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John Murph
John Murph writes about music and culture and works as a web producer for BETJazz.com. He also contributes regularly to The Washington Post Express, JazzTimes, Down Beat, and JazzWise magazines.