For the July edition of the collective collaborative blog, T&E writers discuss their favorite baby-making songs. This blog covers everything from soulful slow jams to adrenaline-fueled industrial.
Song: “Ode to Joy”
Artist: Josef Krips conducting the London Symphony Orchestra
Album: Beethoven: The Nine Symphonies
If you’re having an orgy, you should probably be listening to Beethoven. Not just because Stanley Kubrick says it’s a good idea, but because it’s clearly a great idea. By having sex with two or more people, sharing toys as well as fluids, and flopping around in a fit of mad, gay ecstasy, the man or woman of the orgy is actually enjoying pure humanity in all its beauty and ugliness. And so which musician’s works could better match the emotions of the orgy participant than Beethoven, whose nine symphonies take the listener on a wild ride through lovely pastoral vistas, the annals of egoistic European conquerors, and even down dark, sadistic corridors? At the end of everything, if your sexy parts have endured over 11 hours of shoving, thrusting, nudging, ramming, bumping, jolting, butting, prodding and poking, then you are rewarded with perhaps the single greatest climax in Western musical history: the “Ode to Joy.”
Song: “Hang on to Your Love”
Album: Diamond Life
But maybe orgies aren’t your thing. You love your man or woman. Monogamy isn’t easy, but you’re willing to build a life with this person. Things aren’t always perfect, sure. You make mistakes, they make mistakes. Sometimes it gets so bad that you think it’ll never work. Maybe the two of you have even gone so far as separating for a time. “Hang on to Your Love”—complete with smooth guitar strumming, delicate piano jamming, groovy rhythm section, and Sade crooning like an angel of jazz—is the sound you hear when you and your better half kiss, make up, and hop into bed. Six minutes in the middle of a completely brilliant album, this track is the perfect wake-up call for anyone who has ever doubted the goodness of their relationships. It’s hard to argue with Sade as she asks, like a wise old friend, “in heaven’s name, why are you walking away?” Then she goes silent and lets the soloists sweep you away into sexy land.
Artist: The Knife
Album: Deep Cuts
Everyone loves this song. Everyone loves the Jose González version too, but that’s too quiet and depressing for babymaking. The first major hit from the Knife, “Heartbeats” was also the last thing they released that you could actually imagine getting radio play. But that doesn’t mean it’s stale or boring. Between Olof’s deep, lush beats and Karin’s enchanting, Swedish accent, “Heartbeats” is pure pop perfection precisely because it transcends every label you can assign to it—be it “synth pop” or “electro” or “indie.” It sounds like dance music, but it’s too slow to be dancy. It sounds like a love song shimmering with beauty, but it’s expressed in a minor key. It’s upbeat and downbeat too, which is the perfect excuse to speed up or slow down whatever you’re doing.
Song: “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)”
Artist: Marvin Gaye
Album: What’s Going On
I realize that “Let’s Get It On” is the obvious choice here. But that’s why it’s the wrong choice. Maybe it worked for one week in 1973, but at this point, nobody’s going to feel completely comfortable stripping down to one of the most blatant, overplayed sex anthems of the past 50 years. So that’s why you gotta rewind two years to Marvin Gaye’s 1971 album, where though the lyrical content was political and social instead of romantic and spiritual, the sounds were no less funky. On "Mercy Mercy Me," Marvin mourns for the "ecology," wondering where the blue skies went and shaking his head at the poison, radiation, oil, and other toxins polluting the world. In the 45 years since, one must admit, very little has improved. Most people my age have experienced at least some degree of cynicism and hopelessness about the future of our world, as temperatures rise, the ocean acidifies, and animals die. So what’s a person to do? Do as Marvin would do a couple years later: think positive and focus on lovemaking.
Song: “Since I’ve Been Loving You”
Artist: Led Zeppelin
Album: How the West Was Won
My list wouldn’t be complete without some classic rock. If every young man or woman must go through their Led Zeppelin phase, then every young man or woman must also go through their having sex to Led Zeppelin phase. Or, perhaps to be more specific, everyone must go through their having sex while listening to Robert Plant and Jimmy Page having sex phase. Though your typical four-white-guys-in-a-rock-band may be reticent about admitting it at first, playing music with other people is a lot like having sex with other people. Sometimes there’s just no connection, and it falls flat. Sometimes you have similar ideas about what you want to do, but you have to communicate aloud for those things to come to fruition. And sometimes you just click with people—that’s when the magic happens. That’s Page and Plant, two virtuosos of their respective crafts, giving and taking, moaning and rolling, reeling and rocking. (Bonus: If you’re being quite literal about trying to make a baby, then there’s probably no better strategy than listening to Plant belt out “BABY BABY BABY!!!” for eight minutes straight.)
Song: “Head Like A Hole”
Artist: Nine Inch Nails
Album: Pretty Hate Machine
“Closer” is the stereotypical kinky sex song that most people associate with Nine Inch Nails, and that's why I'm not writing about it here. Trent Reznor has written so many other good songs to get busy to, especially in his work leading up to The Fragile. For instance, “Head Like A Hole” has a lot of things going for it that makes it a great sex song. The synth bass line, as well as the song as a whole, are rooted in a gritty funk. The lyrical themes of domination take on a whole new meaning in bed. It's one of those songs that's perfect for that really rough sex - the kind where you and your partner are feeling competitive and fight each other for control. It's dark, dirty, controlling, and unforgiving. And let's be honest - everyone likes sex like that every once in a while.
Song: “A National Acrobat”
Artist: Black Sabbath
Album: Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
The lyrics to one of my personal favorite Black Sabbath songs have more to do with the occult than the erotic, but there's something about the combination of Ozzy Osbourne's vocals and Tony Iommi's dark, bluesy guitar riffs here that stirs something up in you. This song taps into something primal, fitting for when you're doing one of the most primal acts anyone can do. My theory is that it's because blues scales, which are one of the biggest calling cards in Black Sabbath's music, make copious use of the flatted fifth note. Throughout history, use of this tone has been associated with the devil; at one point in medieval history, playing the flatted fifth was grounds for excommunication from the Catholic Church. Perhaps the flatted fifth stirs something up in people that makes them want to deviate from the path of the righteous and give in to their carnal desires, and that's what gave it its reputation as the devil's note. Whatever the reason, things get WILD when this song is playing, especially when the tempo picks up towards the end.
Song: “Too Afraid to Love You”
Artist: The Black Keys
Another bluesy song with a mid-paced groove. However, this one is noticeably mellower than the Black Sabbath song and isn't rooted in mysticism. Regardless, Dan Auerbach's lyrics, combined with his howling vocals, give the song an ever present feeling of uncertainty. At the same time, the sparkling, stringy keyboards that carry this song draw you into the moment and make you feel at ease. This song evokes the feelings you get the first time you have sex with someone new - somewhere between the moment when the two of you have finally let your defenses down, given in to your desires, and are giving yourselves to each other free of all inhibitions, and the moment when it comes to an end and you're still not sure where things are going to go once your night is over.
Song: “Movie Screen”
Artist: Chelsea Wolfe
Chelsea Wolfe isn't an artist that immediately comes to mind when I think about baby making music, but there are some seriously sexual undertones throughout some of her songs. “Movie Screen” is the best example I can find from her last 3 albums. The song is laid back and mellow, but there is something about its dark vibe that can create a subtle sense of tension during sex. The light, shrieking electronics in the background also sound reminiscent of a woman screaming in ecstasy. The way these electronics are slowly and quietly introduced give the song the feeling of when you're transitioning from post-sex pillow talk, to getting hot and heavy and going at it again for round two. Or three… Or four…
Album: Diamond Eyes
As a disciple of The Cure's Robert Smith, Chino Moreno has always had a gift for painting vivid imagery with his lyrics. Here, the use of oceanic imagery as a metaphor for bed sheets, combined with the open, expansive instrumentals, make “Sextape” one of the most sensual songs in the Deftones' catalog. This is one of those songs that makes you want to stay in bed and do nothing but lay with your lover for hours. When I hear it, I think about what it feels like when you're deeply in love with someone and all you want to do is separate yourselves from the rest of the world and make each other's fantasies come true over and over and over again.
Artist: Earth, Wind & Fire
Album: The Best of Earth, Wind & Fire, vol. 1
To me, EWF has embodied joy and happiness and all the most pleasant parts of that sweet love-manufacturing: togetherness, shared emotion, passion, and all that junk. A delightful blend of groove and soul, intertwined together like lovers, soothes all involved parties and gently caresses your ears as you lose yourself in the arms of someone you hold dear. Really, you could play a full EWF record for your full morning, afternoon or evening of passion.
Song: “Wollt ihr das bett in flammen sehen”
As many trysts do, this song begins with a simple, polite question: “Do you want to set the bed on fire?” I don’t know about you, but I find that to be quite the engaging start. What enjoyable lovemaking has taken place after announcing plans to cool down the area? Have you ever read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe? Remember the White Witch and the Hundred Years Winter? That’s what happens when you cool down the area. Not fun. Absolutely bring the heat.
Let’s consider also the pacing of the song. Listen to it. You hear that rhythm? That’s a pace you can get behind. Or in front of. Not too fast, and absolutely not too slow, it’s an excellent metronome for some enthusiastic bump ‘n’ grind, if you can dig it.
Song: “Black Milk”
Artist: Massive Attack
Trip hop is sensual in nature. The bass-heavy drumbeats, the stripped down samples...it all culminates to a very intimate sound. Mezzanine has some more obvious baby-making songs, like “Exchange” or even “Man Next Door” that repeats the line “drip, drip, drip”, but in my opinion, “Black Milk” is the track that truly embodies sexuality. It begins with a sparse key section that mimics initial feelings of sexual anticipation, then slides right into that deep bass groove that makes the whole track vibrate. The hip hop beat kicks in and adds a monotonous, groovy rhythm to keep that sexual energy in motion.
The lyrics seem to actually be about an unloving relationship, but when you’re wrapped up in that rhythm and rooted in the bass with a lover, the words take on a whole new meaning. Cocteau Twins’ vocalist Elizabeth Fraser delicate yet strongly alluring vocals commands in the second verse:
In the space
Within my heart
The way her seemingly innocent vocals utter those lines over an intense, dark beat creates this aura of both love and lust. And that verse, as simple as it is, is one of the sexiest stanzas I've ever heard.
Artist: Nine Inch Nails
Album: Pretty Hate Machine
I’m just gonna add onto Alex’s post and say that “Sin” is another great groovy, gritty NIN song that’s not “Closer” to freak to. BONUS: Hire a dominatrix and ask her to put on this song while recreating the scene at 1:22 in the music video for a good time!
Album: A Sufi and a Killer
This is a quintessential baby making song right here. The rhythm, which is sampled from one of the slickest jams ever written, is so goddamn smooth. The guitar part creates an ethereal dreaminess but that snare kicks in at all the right places to give it some structure. Gonjasufi drops his natural grittiness we hear in most of his music and beckons all the archetypal, soulful-sexy singers for his vocals on this track. And what's a baby making track without a sexual innuendo? I live for the part when he croons, "Let's do a duet, baby let's doooooo it." I LIVE!
Am I writing this just because Alan Vega recently died and I’ve been listening to a shitton of Suicide lately? I mean, yeah, kinda, but it’s a great song nonetheless. It’s a bit of an ironic pick, ‘cause it’s more of anti-sexy anthem than anything. You’re voyeuristically listening to Alan getting turned on over the sounds of a repetitive metronome and a cold synth line. On paper, there's absolutely nothing sexy about that. Yet, it captures that great awkward and humorous aspect about sexuality, and that's what I really love about it Sometimes getting intimate with someone isn't as fluid as the sounds of a typical baby-making soundtrack. Sometimes you feel awkward and gangling, and you want to hear something that embraces that weirdness. Sometimes you wanna hear something with a good groove that you can get down to and remind yourself to not take yourself too seriously. That's exactly what "Girl" is all about.
Song: the whole lot of 'em
Artist: Death from Above 1979
Album: You're a Woman, I'm a Machine
If you've listened to our perfect albums podcast, then you already know how much I love this album. If you've also listened to any review of this album ever, you've already heard people rave about this being one of the ultimate sex soundtracks. It's groovy, it's dancey, and it's pure fucking adrenaline. I can't pick a single song off this album because it's a conceptual piece that works best as a whole. Even if you're not listening to it for the story arc, there's a linear pacing in the tempos and melodies that sync up perfectly with doin' the damn thing. This will remain a classic album for many reasons, and being the perfect baby making soundtrack is definitely one of them. Also, shout out to the CSS song "Let's Make Love and Listen to Death from Above".