I’ve been inducting my daughter in to the world of music recently. She’s not yet three, but it’s never too early to steer them away from the Bieber train, or to stop playing the Yo Gabba Gabba song on repeat. We’ve started on The Beatles, and she already recognises that Dolly Parton’s version of I Will Always Love You is vastly superior to Whitney Houston’s. Yesterday, she asked for Tegan and Sara in the car and it was my proudest moment as a parent thus far.
And when she gets old enough, I’m going to introduce her to the following: the list of sexy, sexy songs. Not flashy; I’m not talking Madonna or Prince obvious. I’m talking the songs that get in your head and under your skin and make your lips curl and your backbone soften and your hips move. Those songs.
Or, rather, these songs:
1. Closer by Tegan and Sara. It makes sense to start with the song that got me started thinking about this list:
Sexiest lyric: “All I think of lately is how to get you underneath me”
2. Lay Lady Lay – Bob Dylan. My child is going to worship at the altar of Dylan. This song is physical and raw and romantic and pure poetry.
Sexiest lyric: “his clothes are dirty, but his hands are clean. And you’re the best thing that he’s ever seen”
3. Fever – Peggy Lee. Many have covered this song, but no one’s done it like Peggy. Did you know that she introduced the verses about Romeo and Juliet and Pocahontas? With the pared down beat reminiscent of a rapid pulse, it practically screams desire.
Sexiest lyric: “yeah I burn forsooth”
4. Wicked Game – Chris Isaac. It’s a chicken and egg story with this classic from Chris Isaac. Was it sexy before the iconic video or did the video make the song sexy? Either way, this black and white peek-a-boo video only enhances the sensuality of the song, far more than any blurred lines ever could.
Sexiest lyric: “what a wicked game you play, to make me feel this way”
5. Closer – Nine Inch Nails. Well, maybe a couple of obvious ones. But rather than the manufactured sexuality of Madonna, the hard-driving beat of this rock anthem from NIN completely acknowledges the all-encompassing, undeniable, raw, basic, animalistic need to find the nearest bed, couch, table, or wall and go at it like they do on the discovery channel (of note: that song didn’t make this list):
Sexiest lyric: “I wanna f*** you like an animal”
6. My Sharona – The Knack. References to younger women and burgeoning erections, My Sharona proves that dirty can be sexy too when paired with an instantly recognisable riff and eminently sing-along chorus.
Sexiest lyric: “Come a little closer, hon, closer, hon. Close enough to look in my eyes, Sharona”
7. What A Wonderful World – Sam Cooke. All you ever need to know about sexual tension is in the dancing scene in Witness between Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis. This is the song that plays, and it’s a perfect example of how sexy doesn’t have to be explicit.
Sexiest lyric: “But I do know that one and one make two, and if this one could be with you, what a wonderful world this could be.”
8. You’re Making Me High – Toni Braxton. The Divinyls’ obvious I Touch Myself pales with the soulful self-love of Toni.
Sexiest lyric: “I always think of you inside of my private thoughts”
9. Criminal – Fiona Apple. With talk of redemption and sinning, this song is a natural choice for a romance reader. After all, redeemed rakes (of the male or female persuasion) make the best spouses.
Sexiest lyric: “What would an angel say? The devil wants to know.”
10. Ignition (remix) – R. Kelly. People so often forget that sex is supposed to be fun. This song, with its stretch-navigators and bouncing and bottles of Cristal, embodies that.
Sexiest lyric: “after the show it’s the afterparty, and after the party it’s the hotel lobby. ‘Round about 4 you have to leave the lobby, so take it to your room and *beep* somebody”
11. Electric Feel – MGMT. Glo-sticks, tribal paint, and falsetto might not scream sexy, but these guys make it work, mixing electric beats with the electricity of sexual attraction.
Sexiest lyric: “Standing there with nothing on, she gonna teach me how to swim”
12. I’m on Fire – Bruce Springsteen. Arguably my favourite of the songs on this list, this is one of the very first songs that I ever recognised as sexy before I knew what was happening and why I felt the way I did. Rough and elemental and unrefined, yet beautiful and emotional and intense. What all good sex should be!
Sexiest lyric: “Tell me now, baby, is he good to you? Can he do to you the things that I do? Mm-hmm…I can take you higher…”
Got a suggestion? What music moves you? Tell me in the comments.