by Alison Tyler
You think I’m going to list my top ten favorite sexy songs, don’t you? But I can’t do it. I mean, I know that Marvin Gaye is probably the world’s number one “go to” man to create an erotic mood. Who can deny the power of Sexual Healing? And then there’s Otis Redding's "Try a Little Tenderness" and Teddy Pendergrass (Choose Me) and Barry White. Oh, god, Barry White.
But here’s the thing. My favorite music conjures memories of moments—flashbacks to my past—and while some songs might make sense in a sexual way—most do not. How many other people find Tom Waits’ “Such a Scream” an aphrodisiac? Is it only me?
Still, music and sex are permanently entwined in my life. I’m always on the lookout—or on the listen—for songs that will hit me, caress me, wrap me up tight. I’ve been like this for years. Anyone who knows my writing will recognize that I steal many story and book titles from song lyrics: You Can’t Always Get What You Want, With or Without You, Tiffany Twisted, Miss You, Slave to Love, Love at First Sting, Why Can’t I Be You?
So here I go. I’ll give it a shot. Not the sexiest songs every written. But the songs that have meant the most to me… and to my libido. In other words…
Favorite Songs to Dream to, to Kiss to, to Fuck to:
Venus in Furs: My first record player was a hand-me-down that only worked if you balanced the correct amount of change on the arm of the needle. Still, I managed to play my vinyl endlessly. I owned every Lou Reed and V.U. album released, and I spent hours listening to “Venus in Furs” (Kiss the boot of shiny, shiny leather, Shiny leather in the dark, Tongue of thongs, the belt that does await you, Strike, dear mistress, and cure his heart) and fantasizing about what it would be like to make out to the soundtrack created by the Velvet Underground.
Crimson and Clover: This was my first real slow dance… to the Joan Jett version. In the back yard of my friend Stephanie’s house on a patio lit by candles, clinging to a boy I’d known for years. Understanding that everything was changing now. But not understanding why. (Yeah, my, my such a sweet thing, I wanna do everything. What a beautiful feeling…)
Tainted Love: Starting in junior high school, I worked at a beauty supply store. We sported teased 80s hair and wore too much cherry gloss and candy-tinted blush, and our music was the same, jell-O colored, sheer delight. Perfect to dance to, to kiss to, and according to my co-workers, to fuck to. Give me more, I wanted to beg the older girls I worked with as I soaked in all of their secrets. Tell me more. Tainted Love takes me there.
Comfortably Numb: I’ll admit, I don’t even remember his name. But he sold flowers from a stand outside of the clothes store where I worked. And he came over one night with a copy of The Wall. We made out hard, and I remember the way his big hands, more like paws, slid up and down my arms during Comfortably Numb. (There is no pain you are receiving…)
D'Yer Mak'er: My first real beau. He of the Zig-Zag man tattoo. He of the stolen Harleys. He of Led Zeppelin. And this one is my favorite. I might have written Girls of Summer for him, but he was no pussy Don Henley man. His music tastes were as dark and as hard as the rest of his world. And I know this is the sappiest of Zeppelin. But, Christ, when he disappeared, it’s all I could play.
I Put a Spell On You: In college, I won a contest for a deejay spot on UCLA’s alternative music station: State in 50 words or less why you want to be a deejay. I was the only entrant out of 300 who didn’t start my essay with “I want to be a deejay because…” I landed the midnight – 3 a.m. shift, and my boyfriend and I made love in the tiny little studio, fucking to Screaming Jay Hawkins’ I Put a Spell On You. So it wasn’t actually “alternative.” Nobody else was awake or listening.
Sign Your Name: Read my story 10 Minutes in the 80s, and you’ll understand why Terence Trent D'Arby made my line-up.
Protection: In the 90s, I was romanced to Massive Attack during a decadent affair that took place in a one-room flat by the railroad tracks. I still can’t hear any cut off Protection without thinking of Josh, and the two of us, pressed up against the cracked plaster wall as the next train rumbled by. (I'll stand in front of you. Take the force of the blow.)
Famous Blue Raincoat: This is all I have to say: Dawn. Paris. Balcony. And the background rumble of Leonard Cohen’s whiskey voice.
But my best, weirdest, wickedest sexual encounter occurred to the tune of Ode to Billy Joe. There, I’ve said it. I’ve laid my soul bare. Sweet little Bobbie Gentry crooned about that dusty, Delta day, while I was bent over, getting taken from behind. Billy Joe MacAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge, while my man was thrusting into me good and hard. I don’t know how it happened. I don’t know why. Shouldn’t we have been listening to NIN (I want to fuck you like an animal)? Or Nirvana (do it and do it again)? The Cure (punish me with kisses) or The Clash (No one will guide you)?
No, it was Bobbie Gentry.
And I’ll never forget it.
Laugh if you will. Point fingers if you must.
But please. Now, it’s your turn. Favorites? Guilty pleasures? Songs that make you go weak in the knees. Share them if you dare.
“The time is gone, the song is over, thought I’d something more to say.”
Tuesday, February 6, 2007
by Alison Tyler