Sooo…one of those ‘scientific studies’ has appeared saying that a large proportion of the songs in the Billboard charts are about sex. Well, yes, I suppose many of you will be reading this with a reaction not dissimilar to “big wow” (plus a large roll of your collective eyes). But gasp (or maybe not) at what the modern pop song counts as ‘sexy’.
‘S&M’- a spluttering end to Rihanna’s run of great singles, partially for the line “Sex in the air/I like the smell of it” (ew!). The nudge, nudge wink, wink Carry On faux lesbianism of Katy Perry’s ‘I Kissed A Girl’. Anything by LMFAO. Sexy? Well only in the ‘sexy like a dentist-chair’ definition of “sexy”.
In this age of songs about dry humping in crowded, badly lit bars, it made us think about which songs are legitimately ‘sexy’? (sorry, I won’t use that word again, I promise).
1 – Kate Bush, ‘The Sensual World’
James Joyce’s words fall off the page, as Kate narrates Molly Bloom’s erotic awakening with a vocal that’s filled with desire and the urgency of being delightfully lost in the moment. You might need immediate access to a cold shower after cupping an ear to this.
2 – Serge Gainsbourg feat. Brigitte Bardot, ‘Bonnie & Clyde’
Tapping into the power of hearing two real-life lovers tussling on record cannot be under estimated. Here Serge and Brig do just that, taking on the personas of the legendary outlaws.
3 – Prince, ‘Raspberry Beret’
Prince – once know as the, ahem, ‘purple sex dwarf’- sounds coy of all things, on this rather sweet tale of new love. Lisa Coleman’s falsetto backing vocals at the end adds to the feeling of being caught up in young love’s grasp.
4 – Tweet, ‘Oops (Oh My)’
Missy Elliott plays possum to her protegee Tweet’s paean to self-loving. The sparseness of Timbaland and Missy’s production gives the track a spooky kind of sensuality.
5 – David Bowie, ‘China Girl’
The Dame re-works the song he wrote with Iggy Pop in the 70s for the 80s shoulder-pad brigade. Bowie sounds nervy with the paranoia of new love and hints that his intentions towards his new love are not quite what they seem. Producer Nile Rogers covers the whole thing in an 80s sheen, the equivalent of luxuriating in silk sheets.
6 – Mazzy Star, ‘Fade Into You’
“I want to hold the hand inside you/ I want to take a breath that’s true,” sings Hope Sandoval at the beginning of this lilting, beautiful song about losing yourself in someone completely. It’s like watching the colour escaping from a Polaroid in quick time.
7 – The Jesus And Mary Chain, ‘Just Like Honey’
It may be filled to the brim with romantic sadness (and, obvs, makes us think of end of Lost Of Translation) but it also tingles with hope for the future through waves of feedback.
8 – The Magnetic Fields, ‘The Book Of Love’
Dour old Stephen Merritt is, of course, probably the last person you could imagine basking in the afterglow of passion, and so it is. Even if ’69 Love Songs’ is a virtual indie ‘Guide To The Many Ways Of Love’, ‘Book Of Love’ still pulls off the trick of being wry, sad and hopelessly romantic all at the same time.
9 – My Bloody Valentine, ‘Soon’
Disorientating and spilling out of the speakers, this is altered state- of- mind romantic. As Bilinda and Kevin melt into waves of feedback and looped drum parts, it’s as if you’ve accidentally walked into them in a moment of passion.
10 – Feist, ‘One Evening’
The combination of Leslie Feist’s gentle, woozy vocals, the sparse drum pattern and the soothing Fender Rhodes is perfectly measured. Makes you drift off into a lush, romantic reverie.
So argue! What’s the sexiest track ever recorded?