Claire: Have you ever heard the term “grown and sexy”? It’s a radio thing, and it usually shows up before a solid block of smooth, slow jams, timed somewhere south of 10:00pm. These are the songs for when love songs, alternative love songs, and terrible love songs just won’t do. Here are our Top 5 songs for the grown and sexy set. They range from classic to modern, sultry to sweet, and sometimes downright wholesome (I’m looking at you Bootsy Collins). So sit back, relax, enjoy, and you’re welcome.
“Say Yes,” Floetry
A slow, sultry number featuring two of hip hop’s unsung vocal superstars. Assertive without being aggressive, sexual without being vulgar, vivid without being explicit. Once you turn this song on, it will magically build you a fireplace and set out a bearskin rug. It’s amazing. Try it.
“I’d Rather Be With You,” Bootsy Collins
Funky, slow, trademark Bootsy. Even though the beat has a boudoir feel to it, the lyrics are downright wholesome. If this song clicks with you, check out “Munchies for Your Love,” another sweet yet sexy number by Bootsy.
“Finest Lovin Man in Town,” Bonnie Raitt
Ms. Raitt brings the raunch, and that warm honey voice that waivers between sweet and soulful. Bluesy, direct, and studded with relationship wisdom and harmonica riffs. This is very much an early evening, getting ready to get the night started song.
“Loving Cup,” The Rolling Stones
I like the pace of this song, the way it builds and picks up half way through. It’s engaging, earnest in a very particular way (a funny blend of assertiveness and pleading that only a musician trying to get laid could pull off). I’ll get hate mail from my generation for this, but I’ll say it: Jagger’s voice is sexy. Recent songs that celebrate guys who look like Jagger, or dance like Jagger, confuse me. I prefer him strictly in musical form, no gangly dance steps or trout mouthed pursing allowed.
“I Just Want to Make Love to You,” Etta James
The horns in the first few notes, and the way Etta hits that first note, then goes soft and breathey a few lines later? Magic. A song that says “Honey, don’t even go to work. Forget the laundry. Your priorities are limited to one room and one room only, k?” Which is expressed best when Etta wails “Ooh all I want to do all I want to do is cook your bread/Just to make sure you’re well fed.” She doesn’t have time to bake it, but damnit, she’ll cook it…just get back in that bedroom.
“I’m His Girl,” Friends: Sultry with feminist overtones. Respectful relationship advice meets Brooklyn funk.
“Lets Get It On,” Marvin Gaye: Too on the nose, but duh.
“Satisfaction,” John Legend: A sexy, angry song about a relationship falling apart. Legend has created a theme song for post-fight or post-break-up sex.
“Love and Happiness” by Al Green
Oh, man. The way this song starts is enough to put anyone in the mood. Sparse guitar and Al Green in falsetto and THEN THE ORGAN KICKS IN? Jesus. If you aren’t wet/hard after the organ kicks in, it’s not happening with the person you’re with. Al Green is the perfect way to get anyone in the mood. It’s not quite baby-making music, but it’s certainly great getting-in-the-mood music.
“Pusherman” by Curtis Mayfield
Things are getting busier here, both musically and sexually. Maybe I’ve just spent too much time around music and musicians, but roto-toms are a sure way to get anyone aroused. It’s like the anti-steel drum, the buzz killer 60 years running. Also, falsetto seems to be a running theme. What is it about black men singing in falsetto that’s wildly arousing? It really, really doesn’t work the other way around. Just listen to Dave Matthews for two minutes and tell me why.
“Maybe Your Baby” by Stevie Wonder
I had wanted to save this until the last song, but like everything else, good things don’t last. 10 minutes in heaven is better than 9 minutes in heaven. But this track is dirty groove, straight nasty. And it doesn’t help that he’s singing about a girl cheating on him. It’s dirty wrong sexual acts set to a crazy groove that makes you just want to look at your partner and give it to him/her in the way you always wanted to but thought just wasn’t cool but he/she always wanted but didn’t know how to broach the subject. Do’s: put on when you’re both drunk and rather uninhibited or when you know your partner’s a freak and want to awake that side. Don’ts: funeral sex.
“Bonita Applebum” by A Tribe Called Quest
We’ve hit the winding down section here. You’ve had great fun tonight. Light up a cigarette and enjoy the afterglow.
“Use Me” by Bill Withers
You may be asking yourself why this is here. It’s very upbeat and obviously you’ve gotten through the sexual encounter (the average time for sexual intercourse is, unfortunately, 2-5 minutes). But maybe you’ve smoked that cigarette and you look over at your partner and decide it’s time for round two. What better way to lead back into boning than Bill Withers cranking out the jams? He does it. And you’re about to do it again.
“Spooky” by Dusty Springfield: A great way to lead into sex. You drop the needle on this track and look over at your partner and both of you will know what’s going on.
“Chameleon” by Herbie Hancock: Oof. Not for the faint of heart. Or ab muscle. This song is 15+ minutes and contains multiple tempo changes. It’s doable. But you just gotta be in it for the long haul and be down with funk-jazz fusion. Trust me, it doesn’t work otherwise.
“Criminal” by Fiona Apple: Oh, you’re a dirty motherfucker. Congrats. This track is perfect for you. It has a beat you can get down to and it conjures up the image of an 18 year old Fiona Apple writhing on the floor. Great for angry breakup sex.