Wednesday, August 22, 2012

5 super-sexy songs

I rarely think songs are sexy, and when I do, it's never R. Kelly-style bump 'n' grind music with explicit lyrics about, you know, getting peed on in a closet all night long or whatever. To me, the sexy in music = moody + atmospheric. I like a relatively slow tempo, and having a low or breathy voice doesn't hurt either. To further state the obvious, I don't think "sexy music" means "music to have sex to." I don't even think that way. Our stereo is in the living room! Rather, these are the ideal kinds of songs to hear in the car on the way home from your second or third date. (Why do I romanticize driving soundtracks to such degrees? I don't know, but in my fantasies it's always summer and the windows are down. Music sounds better with a breeze in one's hair.)

1. "Everybody Here Wants You" by Jeff Buckley

This is one of the first songs from my adult listening life that led me to develop a working theory of Sexy Music. (Much earlier, the first songs that made me feel acutely aware of sex, and thus embarrassed, were "I Want Your Sex" by George Michael -- which still, frankly, shocks me -- and "Darling Nikki" from the Purple Rain album. I also thought "Love Bites" was pretty hot.) Shoot me in advance, but I sort of think this and "Morning Theft" are better than anything on Grace. Or maybe it's not that they're better but just easier, more comfortable, less wrought. I don't mind wroughtness per se but it's not very sexy.

2. "I've Been Thinking" by Handsome Boy Modeling School feat. Cat Power

As above, smoky vocals and that swanky, slanky beat. The lyrics here are also super-sexy -- she's singing about a memory of something that happened in the past (I've been thinking about ... those things we did), rather than about something she wants to do in the future, which seems more dude-style (a la "I Wanna Sex You Up").

3. "Fascination Street" by The Cure

My favorite Cure song. Why is it sexy? Maybe mostly by association; it reminds me of New Orleans and New Orleans is sexy. But also I love when he sings "Cut the conversation, just open your mouth"!

4. "Come to Me" by Bjork

This whole album (Debut) is pretty sexy I think, but this is a particular favorite (and it's pretty-sexy, as opposed to ugly-sexy). Bonus points for strings.

5. "Love or Prison" by Blonde Redhead

Some element of doubt and/or tension is important in Sexy Music. In song, if not in life, I prefer obsession to overconfidence.


  1. I don't think of sexy music as music to have sex to either. And I think of sexy soundtracks in cars too, but I can't drive, so I think of being in the passenger seat, listening to said music while whomever is in the driver seat, but the car is parked. Now that's atmosphere.

    Two of my favorite "sexy" songs are by ladies with low voices--Suzanne Vega and Eleni Mandell, "Caramel" and "Giving Up the Fight," respectively.

    1. Suzanne Vega's 99.9 is another v. sexy album, you've reminded me.

  2. Alison Goldfrapp's voice = so so so so sexy!

  3. Nice post. I think Sam Cooke has one of the sexiest voices in music esp. Another Saturday Night and Bring it on Home

  4. A sexy band I rediscovered recently is Morphine. Do you know this one?

    1. Sorry to say Morphine is one of those bands I kinda hate. However, you've reminded me that many Soul Coughing songs are sexy. That track you linked to reminds me of the Tres Sexy "Sleepless"

  5. Jeff's dad made some very sexy music. But "sexy songs" makes me think of aphrodisiacal songs, & most of the stuff that has an engorging effect on me is raucous & juvenile stuff enmeshed with early erotic memories, e.g., "Relax" by Frankie Goes To Hollywood. When I got older things like Dave Brubeck playing "Laura" elicited a more refined sensuality.

    "Songs that shocked me at first" might make a good post. I remember being shocked by The Stones' "Midnight Rambler," the live version on Get Yer Ya Yas Out: I'm called the hit-and-run raper in anger...I'll stick my knife right down your throat, baby, and it hurts. Remember telling myself, "They don't mean that literally, they're just trying to thrill you by saying something outrageous, that's just rock 'n roll." & I was shocked--well, maybe more chilled than shocked--by Hendrix's "Hey Joe": I shot my old lady down, shoot her one more time, ain't no hangman gonna put a rope around me, etc.

    In college I used to kill the lights, draw the blinds, open a 40-ozer of Crazy Horse, and listen to old blues on public radio, the more drag-heel and maudlin the better. One night I was shocked when a blues man threatened to "blow the moonlight clean through" his "old lady's" head.

    1. I bought a shotgun,
      A great big long shotgun,
      I put the bell upside her head,
      I said, "Release me,
      Hey there woman, release me,
      Or I'll blow the moonlight
      Clean through your bald head."

      --Screamin' Jay Hawkins

  6. A few offhand that would go on my sexy song list:

    "Court and Spark" by Joni Mitchell
    (I could probably put 30 or 40 songs by Joni Mitchell on this list without even trying. "Court and Spark" is a good representative one.)

    "Lola" by the Kinks

    "Take a Giant Step" by Taj Mahal

    "Lay Lady Lay" by Bob Dylan
    (Likely has to do with the fact that I first heard the song when I was in the pit of adolescence.)

    "Get It While You Can" by Janis Joplin
    (With her immortal refrain, "Don't turn your back on love.")

    "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" by the Beatles.
    (Sexy, among many other things.)


    I agree with Sandra Simonds about Sam Cooke's voice. Probably my favorite of his is "Cupid." It was on the radio a lot when I was in high school.


    I'm not sure if there have been any songs that really shocked me, even at first, though there have been a few that maybe came close. I'm thinking of "House of the Rising Sun" as sung by Eric Burdon and the Animals, and the unforgettable "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" by the Iron Butterfly. Both of these, probably, for their relentless growling snarling grinding energy. Another in the same category for me is "Eli's Coming" sung by the Three Dog Night. That song haunted me all night the first time I heard it.

  7. One more, and then I'll shut up. I agree about "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" and "Get It While You Can." Very sexy. As for "Eli's Coming," I don't think anyone does a Laura Nyro song better than Laura Nyro.

    3 sexy ones off the top of my head:
    "Love To Love You Baby"--Donna Summer (the long, full version)
    "China Girl"--David Bowie
    "Je t' non plus"--Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin (don't miss Birkin's sex sounds at the end)

    1. Have you head that super-creepy song Serge Gainsbourg did with his daughter when she was a little girl, "Lemon Incest"? SO weird.

  8. Yes, I've heard & seen it. Serge sans shirt, Charlotte in her panties, if memory serves. Audacious.

    I have a crush on Charlotte G.--GROWN UP Charlotte G., that is.

  9. Another one on my sexy song list is "Let's Never Stop Falling in Love" done by Pink Martini. (I love China Forbes, their lead singer.)

    @ David Grove: I'd probably agree that nobody does a Laura Nyro song better than Laura Nyro, though I've liked the versions that other people did of a couple of her song -- Three Dog Night's version of "Eli's Coming" being one example, also the Blood, Sweat and Tears version of "When I Die." (The BS&T version of "When I Die" was on the radio constantly when I was in high school, and deeply resonated with the mood of those years.)

    I could also probably put a lot of songs by the Doors on my sexy song list, and also on my list of songs that shocked me at first (or almost did, or might have). The Doors constantly crossed back and forth through the reptilian borderlines between seduction and just being scary, and were often both at the same time.

    1. Lyle, I envy you the experience of being a teenager &/or adult in the late 60s/early 70s--an era I've always romanticized--and hearing powerful stuff like The Animals and The Doors when it was new.

      More sexy ones for the hell of it:

      "Tattooed Love Boys"--Pretenders (delightfully raunchy)
      "Hello It's Me"--Nazz (Rundgren's solo version is great, but this '68 recording by Rundgren's early band grew on me. A gentle, quiet, Association-like soundtrack for erotic reverie.)
      "It's Gonna Take A Miracle"--Laura Nyro & LaBelle (oh my god)
      "Ecstasy"--Eric Carmen & The Raspberries ("Go All The Way" was too obvious a choice. If you like The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and The Knack, you'll probably like this band.)

      Obviously I'm into old vinyl. I'd love to talk music with Zooey Deschanel.

    2. Eric Carmen and The Raspberries?! Awesome fake-sounding name. Didn't Eric Carmen do "Hungry Eyes"?

    3. Yes, I'm afraid he did do "Hungry Eyes."

  10. There is a serious error on this list! How is it no one has caught it? #2 on your list is supposed to be "I've Been Thinking About You" by London Beat. A word of warning: don't YouTube that sucker at work, it's way too sexy for the office.

    1. Ha ha ha. I'm probably getting a letter in the mail later this week from the Government.