Vibrate

Songfacts®:

  • We were still a few years away from the iPhone, but cell phones were commonplace in 2003 - you might even have an old Motorola Razr or BlackBerry Pearl stowed in your basement. In this song, Rufus Wainwright has his cell on vibrate, anxiously awaiting a call that doesn't come, thus "I never ever feel from you."

    In a Songfacts interview with Wainwright, he told the story behind the song. "'Vibrate' was about a guy that I saw very briefly, although it was very intense for a couple of weeks," he said. "I was really in the clutches of addiction - it was probably my highest moment in that realm where time is losing any meaning whatsoever and my consciousness was completely altered at all times.

    Anyway, I fell in love with this stripper boy who was very gorgeous and very unavailable, and I think was also somewhat taking advantage of my 'vulnerable state.' [Laughs] Thankfully, I got a good song out of it."
  • Running 2:43, this is one of the most enduring songs on Wainwright's third album, Want One, which he recorded after a stint in rehab to kick an addiction to crystal meth. The album is very personal and introspective; his next one, Want Two, is more focused on the world around him.
  • In the spirit of "Hey Nineteen" by Steely Dan, Wainwright sings about a disconnect from the current trends his potential lover enjoys. He "tried to dance Britney Spears," but couldn't get into it. He's also perplexed by electroclash, which was a strain of techno music popular in 2003.
  • In 2014, Wainwright copped the title for his compilation album Vibrate: The Best of Rufus Wainwright.
  • Many people used this song as their ringtone, specifically the line, "My phone's on vibrate for you."
  • Marius de Vries produced this song and played the piano. Like Wainwright, he loves grand, modern musicals; de Vries worked on both Moulin Rouge! and La La Land.
  • The heavenly voices that come in at the end of the song belong to the Choir Of The London Oratory.

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