Tuesday, February 6, 2007

A Sexual Soundtrack...

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.”
—Pink Floyd


Anonymous said...

And you forgot Orgasm Addict by The Buzzcocks, Love Under Will by The Fields of the Nephilim and so many more. Actually, happily for me the person I think of with Orgasm Addict is the same one as Love Under Will.

I'm much like you, I don't have music that affects me the same way that films do. I do have some very sweet, and some very sexy, memories I associate with particular bits of music, but they're memories of people and places. They don't get me hot and bothered like the right movies do, but they're still good to have and hear.

Anonymous said...

Definitely Billy Holiday.
Late at night. Pure passion, intensity and romance.



Nikki Magennis said...

'Sex-O-Matic Venus Freak' by Macy Gray.

Peaches - oddly enough - puts me in a kind of dirty mood.

Serge Gainsbourg. French Kiss by Lil' Louis - anything with the sound of a woman moaning and a slick beat behind it. Filthy electronica for a certain louche, decadent thrill. Simulated fucking on the dancefloor with a stranger.

Prince's entire back catalogue.

I'm with you on Leonard Cohen, though I don't know if it's sexy it puts me in. Just a mood. And Billy Holiday could do it, yes, for sure.

Plus - and I'll stop now - salsa, rumba, tango. All those Latin beats. I wish Scotland had a sexy soundtrack. We have bagpipes.

Anonymous said...

I'm not great with music. But I did once spend a week in a tent listening to Shaun Ryder on a pair of shared headphones. Son, I'm thirty. I only went with your mother 'casue she's dirty.

I like using musical references in writing. There's a line in Peep Show I really like where Christian rescues Imogen from the really-scary-fetish-party and she opens the car door and falls into 'a womb-like fug of blasting heat and blasting Joy Division'. I really liked that.

Lastly, talking of NIN, not really my thing but I do like the video for Closer. (Yeah, I'm so damn *obvious*.) I especially like this filthy looped version. You have to confirm you're an adult to watch it - which means you need a You Tube account.


Nikki Magennis said...

...I forgot (how could I forget) Velvet Underground. Especially 'Venus in Furs'.

And Tilly, that video's pretty cool, apart from the monkey.

I feel I should warn those of a nervous disposition. I was really hoping for a 'no animals were harmed' message, but there wasn't one. *ends public service message*

Anonymous said...

Yes, the monkey is creepy. That's why I much prefer the fan-made recut version which is monkey free and just bondage!Reznor all the time.

kristina lloyd said...

Billie Holiday ... I adore her voice but there’s so much heartbreak all I want to do is weep. I’d probably go for Ella Fitzgerald instead (especially a live version I have of her doing Mack the Knife but, hey, it’s a long story.)

Tom Waits. I could listen to Tom Waits reading a Chinese take-away menu, and still get off on him. His voice is soaked in whisky and sleaze. He makes me want to elope with someone not to be trusted or go prowling down a neon lit back street. A song … Wrong Side of the Road. Or maybe Sweet Little Bullet. Or 9th and Hennepin. Or maybe I need to play all my Tom Waits albums before I can decide.

Patti Smith, especially Horses (‘The boy looked at Johnny, Johnny wanted to run …’). PJ Harvey, Dress. So whorish.

Sometimes it’s a beat, sometimes it’s lyrics, sometimes it’s memories. Actually, it’s often lyrics with me.

I usually have a couple of tracks that in some way ‘match’ the book I’m writing and for months I’ll listen to them over and over. Pixies’ Debaser got a lot of airplay when I was writing Asking for Trouble. No surprises there, I guess. Placebo is suiting the current work-in-progress. When I get to the end of writing a novel I have a tradition of playing the Verve’s Velvet Morning which begins, ‘Yeah, it’s been long …and yes, I still feel strong …’ It’s usually the middle of the night and I listen to it on headphones. And I have a tradition of crying because when you write the end of the story, everything hurts.

Yes to Macy Gray, Velvets and Leonard Cohen. And to Janis Joplin who gave him head on the unmade bed. And Bowie, of course. Oh, this could turn into a great big over-excited list.

Mellow stuff. I love Joni Mitchell’s Carey, especially when she says, ‘… get out your cane and I’ll put on some silks …you’re a mean old daddy but I like you fine’. Actually, I just checked those lyrics and apparently she says, ‘silver’ not ‘silks’. I’ve been hearing it wrong all these years. Damn it Joni, I prefer ‘silks’!

There’s a Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy track, Rider (from when he was Will Oldham), which is a melancholy minute and half of gentle, folksy, schizophrenic cunnilingus. You don’t get many songs like that. It’s so pure and perfect, so quietly horny, broken and sad. You wouldn’t want to make love to it though, not at a minute and a half.

Nikki Magennis said...

Oh God, yes, Bonnie Prince Billy. 'Rich Wife full of Happiness' - 'and I lick you dry until you're laughing'.

And 'After I made love to you.' I'd do him for that song, even though he has such a large


I also thought of: Goldfrapp. And Camille, covering 'Too drunk to fuck'.

I think I might off and make a new playlist now. Actually, I remember while I wrote Circus Excite I made a playlist for Julia, the heroine. She liked a different kind of music than me, and I didn't love all of her choices, but I listened to them while I was writing. Salt n Pepa's 'push it' was one of them.

kristina lloyd said...

On the subject of misheard lyrics ..
'Scuse me while I Kiss This Guy!

kristina lloyd said...

Did that go weird on you? Here's the basics:


Alison Tyler said...

Up from sofa for a moment...
Yes, Macy Gray for me, but Calligula is my favorite.
A bit feverish, so this will be gibberish... but I had knock-down fight with my roommate once about the possibilities of fucking to Tom Waits. My choice? "Such a Scream" off of Bone Machine He said I was out of my head. (We didn't try it ourselves, as he was fucking my best friend from high school at the time. Still, I think that would be an awesome one.)

Karl Friedrich Gauss said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I really like Wham. I'm your man. Heh. My musical tastes have never grown up.

Oh yeah, and as Kate's not here yet I'll be the first to mention Take That. The genius idea of marketing to gay men and teenage girls at the same time hit me right in the spot in 1992.

Also - and to cite something proper - Kate Bush. Never better than now, but especially Infants Kiss, the cover of Rocket Man, Lionheart....

Janine Ashbless said...

"Matty Groves"?!!! That song brings me out in a cold, giggling sweat. I can't hear the words without flashing on a group of us standing in the field at the Cropredy festival singing along loudly, happily and totally out of key.

Nyaaaar (sticking finger in ear in folky fashion)...

Sexy music: "Clubbed to Death" by Rob D. You've heard it even if you don't recognise the name. It's the one that goes tinkle tinkle tinkle GRRR GRRR GRRR tinkle tinkle tinkle from the Matrix film/album.

Get well soon Alison!

kristina lloyd said...

Karl, it's like Lester Bangs just walked into the room ...

And Kate Bush is a genius. I love Kate Bush.

Portia Da Costa said...

Agadoo - Black Lace

Tee hee!

Feel better soon, Alison old mate!

Anonymous said...

This topic is particularly close to my heart so please forgive my long-windedness. I was fortunate to grow up with two much older brothers, one of whom managed a record store and yes I remember putting a nickel on the arm of our record player too. -(that just cracked me up, Alison. I had totally forgotten about that.)

My first memory of a song having some kind of sexual effect on me was probably "Tiny Dancer" by Elton John. The song came out when I was 8 years old and I remember thinking there was something that stirred in me when he sang "Oh how it feels so real, lying here with no one near...only you and you can hear me...when I say softly, slowly...Hold me closer Tiny Dancer..." (gets me every time).

When I was 14 and still a virgin, my best friend at the time and I used to listen to Teddy Pendergrass - "Close the Door" and we'd discuss what we'd like to have happen during that song and another favorite to fantasize to back then was "Spanish Moon" by Robert Palmer.
Side Note: For those of you who are only familiar with the MTV -"Addicted to Love" version of Robert Palmer...you have been sadly misled. The man was capable of being unbelieveably sexy on the albums released prior to 1981. check out - Some People Can Do What They Like -Pressure Drop, Sneaking Sally Through the Alley, Double Fun - All of these CDs have some of the sexiest vocals I've ever heard.
When I was in high school, my group of friends had a list of "Songs to make-out to" or "Songs to fuck to" as my best friend Donna chose to call it. Some of these were on that list and some are just ones I have memories with and then some are one I hope to have memories with at some point. - Some may seem a little on the typical side but as we are baring souls here..I guess it's ok.

On with the list:

"Kashmir" - Led Zeppelin -hypnotic...mystical...long.

"Comfortably Numb" - Pink Floyd - yes, Alison...we had that one too.

"Love Reign O'er Me" - The Who
Raw and intense.

"Crush" by Dave Matthews Band immediately puts me in a luscious mood and "Crash Into Me" as well. Takes me away...completely.

"Aqua Marine" by Santana - Sweet memories of being 17, blissfully in lust with my boyfriend and us messing around to this tune in the safe haven of my brother's beach house- away from the prying eyes of my father.

"Bandalero" by Neal Schon (former lead guitarist for Journey) a relatively new discovery..jazzy...breezy. Its on the "wish to" list.

"I Burn For You." -Sting Sting is always sexy to me.

"Love Over Gold" Dire Straits - Mark Knopfler's soaring, crying guitar...awesome.

"Love Bites", "Mirror, Mirror" and "Now" by Def Leppard-

And believe it or not, my ultimate, most intense sexy song is "Moonlight Sonata" - Beethoven - specifically on the Immortal Beloved Soundtrack.

That one is on the "wish list" too.

I'm so happy to have had the opportunity to ponder this subject. Thanks so much Alison.


Dayle A. Dermatis said...

I'll bore you all if I say "Styx" again, won't I? But they're an obsession (I'm seeing them 5 times this month, possibly 6). And Lawrence Gowan in particular--I was a fan of his when he was a star in Canada in the 80s and nobody else in the US knew who the hell he was. The opening piano bit on his song "I'll Be There in a Minute" turns me into Pavlov's Bimbo.

Yes to Kate Bush! "Feel It," "Sensual World"... And "Kashmir" and other Zeppelin. And Def Leppard. Wouldn't the world be a sadder place if we didn't have "Pour Some Sugar on Me"? Then again, I am stuck in the 80s: pop, rock, hair metal, yum.

I actually have a Sexy Songs playlist on iTunes that I listen to when I'm writing erotica and romance. It's too long to list here, but if anyone's curious, I could post a copy to my journal (www.cyvarwydd.blogspot.com). Ask away, and ye shall receive!

Anonymous said...

'S funny becasue that kind of music really isn't my thing but in The Silver Collar one of the guys in my werewolf pack is a real 80s metal head type.

All I can say is I saw this picture of Jon Bon Jovi and it sort of happened. Never figured I'd have him for a muse, but there you go.

Kate Pearce said...

I'm one of those people who has a song for every moment in my life-rather like a soundtrack to a movie. My kids hate me for always supplying an appropriate blast of lyrics on any subject at any moment (they particularly hate my version of Abba's Thank you for the music, god knows why)

Anyway I digress. I have a song for every sexual step and every break up I ever had, every crush, every disaster and whenever I hear those songs it takes me back to that particular moment. I can't list them all because sometimes I have to hear the song to bring all the memories rushing back.

I do remember lying under my dining room table at the age of 13 listening to the Beatle's "It's only love" and crying because my best boy had decided to go out with my best friend.

I'm going to mention Take That-"Want you back" because it's soo sexy...

And finally since the 80's were my time for falling in love and getting married, can't forget Tina Turner and The Thompson Twins "Hold Me Now" which holds a very special place in my heart.

Alison Tyler said...

Nice Bon Jovi shot... my fave was a pic of him with a shirt that read Tell Your Mom I Said Hi.

Back to bed...

Madelynne Ellis said...

I think I must be weird because I don't have a sexy playlist, and I can't think of a single track that I associate with sex. Strange cause I can thing of music for everything else.

Like Kristina, I have tracks I listen to on repeat while writing, but that's because they conjure strong emotions, not because they're sexy or I associate them with sex.

The two current faves for Demon-novella, which I'm working on at the mo, are Cradle of Filth's Nymphaethamine Fix, and Gackt's Redemption.

PS. Hope you're feeling well again soon, Alison.

Gwen Masters said...

I've tried this post twice, so if it pops up more than once, you'll have to blame Blogger!

I'm a country kind of girl. I get into mandolins and fiddles and twanging guitars. But I admit, a good dose of Aerosmith will get me feeling all frisky. The Stones do it too, but never as much as Aerosmith does.

And Dire Straits, for some reason.

"Pour Some Sugar On Me" by Def Leppard. Oh, gawd...

"You Can Leave Your Hat On" by Joe Cocker. My man does love a striptease!

Speaking of my first love, country has some good hot and sexy songs, too.

"Lay You Down" by Conway Twitty makes me purrrrrr.

"Hillbillies" by Hot Apple Pie. An anal sex reference in country music? *gasp* It's there. And it's HOT.

"Faster Car" by Keith Urban. Every word is innuendo. It's nothing but sex, sex, sex. And I love it.

"Those Three Days" by Lucinda Williams. It's good for those angry, biting, clawing kind of moments. Makes me want to growl...

The "Live On" CD by Kenny Wayne Shepherd is a soundtrack for sex. Just pop it in and start at the top. "In 2 Deep" and "Was" rock hard. It doesn't stop until "Electric Lullaby," which is the perfect afterglow tune.

However, best song EVER in the bedroom: "Voodoo" by Godsmack.

Gwen Masters said...

Oooooh, wait! I forgot INXS. How could I forget INXS? The old stuff, of course...the way he would breathe at the end of a lyric, like he was all hot and bothered himself...


Madeline said...

What a beautifully written post, Alison. Your comments, and the other comments on the topic, have really got me thinking...
My first boyfriend and I tried to keep one long lip lock going for the duration of the 'nah nah nah nahnahnah mah' part of 'Hey Jude'. My sister would watch to make sure there was no cheating.
I know 'Don't Walk Away Renee' made me feel all funny inside.
I've always loved rock 'n roll, and the blues, and of course, always, Canada's own Leonard Cohen...a boyfriend and I used to sing, along with Leonard, all the lyrics to 'Famous Blue Raincoat'
The 'great obsession' of my youth announced that '10th Avenue Freezeout' by Bruce Springsteen was 'our song' and I believed him. So that, and other stuff by Bruce, 'I'm on Fire' is another, gets me wanting to 'strap my arms around his engine' uh huh, uh huh.
Some of that BeeGees crooning stuff was good, too, maybe more for dancing than making out.
'Venus' and 'Light my Fire' pretty mainstream stuff, I guess.
These days Felix and I like Ella Fitzgerald, Eartha Kitt, mellow, husky stuff we can absorb witout singin' along, which can be distracting in the middle of a scene.
Come to think of it, I don't think Michael and I have 'our song'.
A project for Felix and Madeline.
How delightful!

Kate Pearce said...

ooh! How could I forget George Michael's "Careless Whisper?"

Emerald said...

Okay, I'm not sure if this posted the first time, so my apologies if it goes twice....

As a stripper and someone who utterly adores dancing, I tend to strongly associate songs I love fucking to with songs I love dancing to (and vice versa). "Pour Some Sugar on Me" pretty easily tops both lists for me. I also love Fiona Apple's "Criminal," and at the risk of being tremendously made fun of :) , there's a country song by Chris LeDoux that I think is so sexy called "That's What Loving You Means to Me." Lyrics, music, his voice -- it just all comes together to really do it for me.

As far as songs that I associate with sexual experiences but wouldn't necessarily think of as sexy, the one that's coming to mind and making me laugh right now is Tiffany's "I Think We're Alone Now"...it was big when I was in sixth or seventh grade going roller skating every weekend and just starting to hook up with the myriad guys I was crushing on. :)

Fabulous topic, Alison -- thanks for sharing!


Fiona Locke said...

Leonard Cohen and Sting. Oh yes.

Madonna's 'Justify My Love' inspired so many kinky domination fantasies. And 'Hanky Panky' goes without saying. Before that it was Depeche Mode's 'Master and Servant.' And the Police, 'Wrapped Around Your Finger' - 'I will turn your face to alabaster, when you find your servant is your master...'

Robert Plant's preternatural voice mainlines my primal self, especially in 'Immigrant Song.' That screeeeeaaaaammmmm...

And last but never least, it's Mozart that makes me feel the most wildly, sexually alive. Never more so than in the manic violins in his Symphony no. 25. Perhaps it's because I can't separate the music from the man and there's just something about mad genius. Chaos. Unpredictability. Insufferable arrogance that's completely justified.

Alison Tyler said...

Oooh, I love all the comments...
So many songs to look up or revisit!

George Michael for me, too, but "Father Figure." (No big surprise there.)

Madonna, but "Human Nature" and "Secret."

Pretty much all of Zeppelin...and The Cure never leaves my CD player.

Oh, yes, on "Wrapped Around Your Finger" but also "Don't Stand So Close to Me."

And Ringside for new bands. How could I forget Ringside? Dreamboat 730 and Tired of Being Sorry....

Am up, but barely, so now back to the bed...
Cheers all.

Emerald said...

Oh yeah, "Human Nature" and "Don't Stand So Close to Me" kick ass!

Hope you're feeling better Alison.