In Hear This, The A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well. This week: In honor of the Oscars, songs named after celebrities.
For legions of X-Philes, Bree Sharp’s 1999 cult classic “David Duchovny” remains a watershed moment for Mulder shipping. First and foremost, the song’s alien- and FBI-themed double entendres work beautifully (e.g., references to heart abduction, a desire to have him “debrief and debug me,” the lyric “He told me to believe”). But more notably, Sharp nails the agonizing emotional continuum of the Duchovny crush—from raging jealousy (“I’m gonna kill Scully!”) right on through to romantic anguish (“Why don’t you love me?”).
Yet “David Duchovny” would remain a quaint novelty if it wasn’t such a well-crafted song. Sharp’s sturdy, smoky, folk-pop delivery grows more desperate as the song progresses, so by the end she’s subtly unglued over the unrequited infatuation, while the song’s combination of strummy acoustic verses and fuzzy electric choruses isn’t hampered by its 1999 timestamp. Perhaps best of all, Duchovny himself was a huge fan of the song, which a casting director friend of his passed his way.
“And I was like, ‘Wow! I have my own song!’ and I would play it in the car because I thought it was a good song, I was pleased, I thought the tune was really good,” Duchovny said in a 2013 Reddit AMA. “And then I memorized it because I listened to it a number of times. And then I got caught singing along to it with the window down in the car.” Duchovny also praised the song’s accompanying video, a delightful ’90s time capsule featuring KISS, Brad Pitt, Rosie O’Donnell, various sitcom stars, and X-Files characters (Scully! The Smoking Man! The Lone Gunmen!) lip-syncing to the song. (This vintage Sharp interview goes into the story of how that video came about.)
Sharp recently re-did the song to celebrate The X-Files reboot; she also performed the song live at a New York Barnes & Noble during a launch party for Duchovny’s book, Holy Cow: A Modern-Day Dairy Tale in 2015. As The X-Files relaunch attests to Mulder’s indelible popularity, Sharp’s “David Duchovny” continues to resonate.