Staff Top 10
Top Ten Sexiest Songs Not Actually About Sex

in a recent edition of Q Magazine, subtitled “The Sex Issue”, a list of “20 Songs To Get You Off” was run, including the usual suspects – “Let’s Get It On”, “The Lemon Song”, “Kiss”, “It’s Ecstasy”… – amongst a few newer choices in the form of “Fuck The Pain Away”, “Closer” and “My Neck, My Back (Lick It)”. Of course, somewhat unimaginatively, all of the songs – with the possible exception of Whitesnake’s “Is This Love” – were about sex. Now, correct me if you think I’m wrong, but I could think of nothing that would wilt my girlie hetero hard-on faster than my amour popping Peaches’ “Fuck The Pain Away” on the stereo at that crucial moment. Remind me just what part of “sucking on my titties like you’re wanting me” is actually alluring. It would be like pumping away to your drunken aunt singing karaoke. And “My Neck, My Back (Lick It)”? Aside from the droopy synthesiser refrain, there’s nothing particularly alluring about Khia intoning “my neck, my back, lick my pussy and my crack”; she might as well continue, “and clean the toilet and put out the rubbish while you’re at it”.

Somewhere along the line, people have clearly decided that a sexy song must be concerned with the actual act itself – but really, John Lydon wasn’t really that far off when he described sexual intercourse as “three minutes of squelching”. There’s a reason little kids find the idea of sex so horrifically hilarious because, well, when you write it all down, it pretty much is. Hands up who’s ever picked up a copy of The Joys Of Sex and laughed their arse off – I can see you all – the act of shagging is something we all enjoy at that very moment it occurs, but really, who wants to whack a record on and be greeted with the musical equivalent of Dr Rosie’s A Rosy Sex Life [what on earth is this when it’s at home?!- Ed.] column? Not me. In the end, what’s most unnerving about “sexy” songs about sex is that inevitably they try too hard – it’s an “ooh look at me I’m sexy I’m sexy” kind of desperation, when true allure just… happens. It’s in the vocal delivery, or maybe a stray guitar riff, or a pulse-racing drumbeat. Either way, you know it when you hear it. And so, for your aural pleasure (ooh, that sounds rude), Stylus presents the Top 10 Sexiest Songs... Not Actually About Sex.

“Got To Give It Up, Pt. 1” – Marvin Gaye
Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” is an inevitable addition to just about every sexy song list under the sun, but where that song was more romantic than actually shagtastic (it’s too obvious), “Got To Give It Up, Pt. 1” just dripped sexuality and desire. It’s the first of a few songs on my list that concern dancing (and no, not “dancing”), which is not surprising – few things can top those moments when you meet someone who is the greatest dancer and you go at it like hammer and tongs until your fringe is plastered to your forehead and the coat-check ticket that, for lack of pockets, you slipped inside your bra is as wet as an oyster, then you finally stumble out into the laneway huffing and puffing and your bodies gradually cools to the night air. “Keep on dancing… got to give it up…”

”Love Theme From Spartacus” – Bill Evans
Yes, I know instrumentals are cheating a little bit, but you need look no further than the soundtrack to any ‘70s exploitation flick to know that lyric-free music can still be about sex – and “…Spartacus”, being a jazz song, could well be about anything under the sun. But, from that shimmering opening run to the plangent outro, this song is like a thousand air-light kisses on the back of your neck: thrilling, shiver inducing, romantic and surprising.

“Body 2 Body” – Samantha Mumba
The second of our dancing songs, though more specifically it’s about sneaking out to house parties and underage discos and dancing. “Body 2 Body” owes a lot of its slink to the heavily sampled (and David Bowie sanctioned) “Ashes To Ashes”, which, combined with skittering snares and thumping funk bass, creates a very appealing confection indeed. Mumba’s “my mama said...” playground rhyme at the breakdown only serves to give the song an added layer of Lolita-esque sass. Have you ever been felt up? Over the panties, no bra, Calvins up in a ball on the front seat, past eleven on a school night?

“Kickstart My Heart” – Motley Crue
About sticking a big fuck-off needle full of adrenaline into the greying body of a stiffening Nikki Sixx, which is about as far from sexy as you can get. But Tommy “T-Bone” Lee’s marching drums and all those dumbarse riffs just make me want to fuck like there’s no tomorrow, until the bed breaks, then breaks through the floor. Of course, my amour would have to stand on the end of the bed, skinny fist levez comme antenna to heaven, and holler “okay boys, let’s rock the house” first.

“A Girl Like You” – Edwyn Collins
It’s about a girl, but since she only humiliates him (“now you got me crawlin’, crawlin’ on the floor … Don’t feel like I belong”) and he doesn’t seem to get said girl, it’s not about sex. What is about sex, however, is that dirty little riff and the squelching breakdown mid-chorus (2.06) that you can just hear Edwyn grunting along to as though he’s trying to stifle his moans from behind the paper-thin walls of his share-house – even that daffy vibraphone refrain manages to seem alluring. I walked to this song in a swimsuit competition and I felt like the hottest girl in town.

“Party Hard” – Pulp
Most people (myself not included) find dear old Jarvis about as sexy as a bar of soap with a pubic hair on it, so there’s an automatic ten sex points taken off. But here, like Edwyn before him, Jarvis doesn’t manage to take the girl home from the disco (“when the party’s over will you come home with me?” he pleads), so you can cross sex off the list completely. But that metallic intro, coupled with that robotic “baby… you’re driving me crazy” only serves to spread that particular heat all the way up my shuddering, indie-breakdancing body like the rising blood in a cartoon thermometer.

“See No Evil” – Television
Who knows what the hell Tom Verlaine was on about when he crafted his masterwork, but here’s a true story: “See No Evil” is the only song ever to have made me climax, Beatlemania-stylee. That’s gotta count for something.

“Lit Up” – Buckcherry
This one’s not about sex but about cocaine, which – though it might make you feel like you could go all night – is actually about as good for a raging love gun as finding Skelton Knaggs and Margaret Thatcher in flagrante delicto in your shower – but that riff, that bassline... you are The Body Shop “dancer” and “Lit Up” is your soundtrack. Buckcherry are often derided as the death rattle of the excesses of stadium rock, but you tell me that groaning slide guitar linking Joshua Todd’s moans of “mama can you wait” and the next verse isn’t the damn sexiest thing you’ve ever heard. The way he licked his lips between verses in the video-clip probably helped, too.

“Lean Lanky Daddy” – Little Ann
Okay, this one might be about sex, but I like to think that a) because Ann sounds underage and b) her “lean, lanky daddy” sounds more like a protective “uncle” (wink nudge), it’s not. Either way, that bouncing open-lidded piano intro and those swirling, ecstatic “oooh”s that lead into those whip crack handclaps all add up to one helluva hip swinging behemoth. And when Ann yelps “get it!” – can I getta amen!

“The Immigrant Song” – Led Zeppelin
Ahh-aah-aaaahhh! Take me, Robert, you big strong Viking hero you, take me now!

By: Clem Bastow
Published on: 2004-03-16
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