A while back some joker stole my iPod out of the window at a party. Just rocked up and pinched it, bold as you like. You almost have the admire the chutzpah of some people, except perhaps when they’re cheerfully wandering off with your personal possessions.
That iPod was a piece of crap. LCD screen so busted that only the leftmost characters were visible. Weighed 15 kilos. Battery length like gnat’s fart. But it had a lot of sentimental value, not least because it contained my most prized musical achievement: my ‘Music to fuck to‘ playlist.
Compiled based (very slightly) on personal experience and (almost entirely) the sex scenes in American TV drama of the early Noughties, I still swear that this playlist was sexual dynamite. Sexual semtex. Sexual octanitrocubane – that’s right, explosives nerds, I went there.
I admit that we’re into very subjective territory here. Music taste is incredibly personal, almost as personal as the stuff you like to do when you have sex. Mix the two together and you stumble close to ‘you don’t know what you’re talking about.’ Well… I don’t really know what I’m talking about, but I have songs, and I have good reasons for ’em.
I’ve tried to avoid songs that get mentioned all the time because I feel that those songs have been robbed of their magic, no matter how sexy they might have sounded originally. Love To Love You Baby by Donna Summer probably sounded sexy as hell when you could buy it on vinyl, but make it the first song on your sex playlist and you’ll probably be greeted with a snigger rather than an ecstatic moan (seriously, what is she getting up to in the background on that track?) I’ve also kept it fairly mainstream, or at least, to genres that most people turn an ear to occasionally. Sorry if you only like speed metal when you get it on, your views are totally valid, I just don’t listen to much speed metal. Throws off my rhythm, y’know?
I definitely think these songs have added some atmosphere to a romantic encounter, hopefully they’ll add something to yours. And if they don’t, or you just flat out think they suck without having to road-test them, why not share your preferred picks in the comments section below?
10. Firefly (Receiver mix) – Alpha
This song is often misattributed to Portishead (who will appear later on this list) and, ironically, is often mislabeled as ‘Music to fuck to.’ Trip hop makes good sex music – heavy beats, spacey synths, rhythmic samples and soft, crooning vocals. This one ticks all those boxes, with some nice strings in there as well. There’s a dark, almost sinister off-beat that keeps it interesting.
9. Because the Night – Patti Smith
There’s not a lot of rock music on this list, not because I don’t love rock music, and not because it’s not good music to bump n’ grind to, but because rock music isn’t designed to function as background noise. It’s there to make you sit up and take notice, which might not be ideal if your attention should be elsewhere. Individual elements can be divisive. I think Closer by Nine Inch Nails is a sexy song. I think the lyric ‘I wanna fuck you like an animal’ is hot. Other people might not agree, and I can see why the might find it off-putting. But, man, have sex to rock music. It’s great. Start with this – lyrics that are fairly inoffensive but still emotionally engaging, good melody, and although I love me some Springsteen, Patti Smith sounds much sexier than the Boss ever could.
8. Sail – AWOLNATION
Gruff, bluesy vocals, a hypnotic earworm of a melody and most importantly a bass blast that’ll shake your heart in your chest. Perfect for when you’re already feeling sexy: hotel sex, coming home in your glad rags, any time you wore sunglasses at night. If you get it on in a limo maybe ask if they’ll stick this on.
7. Such Great Heights – Iron and Wine
It’s not all trip hop and syncopated beats, darling. This is charmingly tender and soft, with lyrics that are romantic but esoteric enough to avoid being sentimental. Imagine sitting on the sofa reading a book and thinking about getting up because the room is cold, and then someone you love suddenly drapes a blanket over you. This song sounds like that feels. It’s a soundtrack to spontaneous love blankets.
6. Novacane – Frank Ocean
Fact: I would have sex with Frank Ocean, even though he apparently can’t spell. This is pretty unlikely, but I’d totally settle for having sex with his Agent Orange album, or this single. Here Ocean flexes his storytelling muscles over a mesmerizing beat. The lyrics are deliberately decadent, indulgent and tempting but unashamedly sinful. Drunk sex, innit.
5. Delicate – Damien Rice
If you’d rather make love than fuck you could do worse than this quietly stirring, well-crafted love song. The subject matter is relevant, as it’s about the first shy, delicate touches, and Rice swings between the emotionally pitched and matter-of-fact. First kisses and lazy millionth kisses.
4. Inertia Creeps – Massive Attack
I don’t think there’s much I need to say about this, because its erotic potential relies on one basic aspect, and it delivers more of that than you could every need. Dem drums. Dem drums, people.
3. Glory Box – Portishead
I could fill this list with Portishead. Almost did. I decided to pick one that you might recognise from various sex scenes (thanks, The L Word), that way you know it’s been tried and tested. Seriously sexy words, Beth Gibbon’s silky voice and a lazy, smoky melody. You should get your shagging to this out of your system, because it’s cropped up on an advert or two in the past. It’s only a matter of time before it becomes irrevocably associated with something entirely unsexy, cat food or Marks and Spencer.
2. FutureSex / LoveSound – Justin Timberlake
When you see those cringe-worthy 90s Buzzfeed lists you realise just how incredible it was that Justin Timberlake went deep cover for all those years as a key member of both an obnoxious boy band AND the freakin’ Mickey Mouse Club. Because when you listen to him now it’s just so obvious that he’s a musical sex-robot sent back in time, from a future where everyone just lolls around on floating sofas having orgies. An album track on a record with almost the same name, this has an almost offensively funky synth-bass thing going on. Stupid sexy Timberlake.
1. Wicked Games – The Weeknd
Pitch perfect vocals, lyrics that drip seductively into your ears, enough damage and pain to save it from being overwrought, and a plinky plinky piano part that catches you in the background of the verses. Even if you’re one of the aforementioned people that only listen to speed metal when you have sex, I challenge you to tell me this isn’t erotic. This song is more than sex dynamite. You could power nuclear reactors with this shit. You could power the starship Enterprise. Kirk would have got his mack on to this.