By the time you’re finished reading this, any number of people all over the planet will have heard the Gregory Brothers’ “Bed Intruder Song,” and for a great deal of them, it won’t be the first time. Part of what turned this into an online sensation wasn’t just the novelty of a news story trickled out in Auto-Tune or the subject’s choice words that provided its lyrics, but a melody that lingers around the ear canal, one that wouldn’t have been out of place on pop radio.
You’ve got to admit, though, that when it turned up on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart a couple of weeks ago, it looked a little strange next to Justin Bieber.
Since Billboard charts traditionally follow airplay and sales, you might wonder how “Bed Intruder Song” got there to start with. With the role of the Web in the music industry getting bigger and bigger, it makes sense that Billboard would keep track of Internet music sales, which account for most of the exposure the Gregory Brothers are getting. They’re certain to make a pretty penny, but they aren’t the only ones – because the lyrics came from a TV interview in Alabama with Antoine and Kelly Dodson, they’ll get half its revenue as co-writers.
One might consider this a kind of happy ending, especially in light of what they went through to get there. “Bed Intruder Song” got its title from a story based on Kelly’s allegation that a man broke into her room and attacked her, which her brother Antoine put a stop to by chasing him off the premises.
The song, though, is about what happened afterward. When a local NBC affiliate turned up to cover the story, Antoine sent a message to Kelly’s would-be rapist.
“You don’t have to come and confess – we’re looking for you,” Antoine said. “So you can run and tell that, homeboy.”
In case you’re wondering what makes any of this funny, it’s the way Antoine speaks to the camera. Most interviews you see on the news are with eyewitnesses who seem stuck in an off-guard stupor, but on top of responding to questions with aplomb, this guy stops answering them altogether and uses his screen time as a platform for his tirade on how Kelly’s attacker will get what’s coming to him.
Whoever he is, he’s lucky nobody got his name or took his picture. Given how many people are watching this, his face would’ve been on more computer screens than the Microsoft Word paperclip.