As you may or may not have heard, Valentine’s Day has sprung upon us like a Northwestern student on an Urban Outfitter’s sale. For a large portion of Americans ages 15 and up, Valentine’s Day is a time for crying, binge-drinking, pity, binge-eating, John Hughes movies, and binge-wallowing in existential ennui. But for others, Valentine’s Day is a day of romance; a magical period when sexual mores disappear and couples (or desperation hookups) everywhere get down and funky with one another.In light of the expected uptick in fornication, I decided to provide our astute readers with a handy guide to the 10 songs that are absolutely guaranteed to facilitate the transition tonight from simply “going through the motions” to “the most mind-bogglingly stupendous night of pleasure I’ve ever had the privilege to experience.” Simply put on this ready-made playlist, and sit back and marvel at the aura of raw sexuality that drifts out of your speakers. Please keep in mind, however, that narrowing down the best tracks that can augment your love-manufacturing to a mere 10 songs is no easy task (not that I have a painstakingly tailored playlist of 233 songs for just such an occasion already on iTunes or anything). Numerous unbelievably sexy tracks were left by the wayside, and it is always necessary to tailor the audio portion of your evening to your partner’s taste. That being said, here are our Top 10 songs to make sweet, passionate love to, guaranteed triple-orgasm or your money back.
“I Want You,” Bob Dylan
Somebody with a voice like Bob Dylan’s should never be able to make a song as sensual as “I Want You,” yet the light-hearted organ, laid-back drumming, and jaunty guitars all mix beautifully well to provide the perfect background for Dylan’s opaque musings, and the chorus’ repetitive avowals of pure desire concisely summarizes the feelings of longing and affection inherent throughout the song. The track’s role in I’m Not There helps give the song an additional sensual component, but no matter what, Dylan’s “I Want You” remains a surprisingly lovely embodiment of desire.
“Creature Fear,” Bon Iver
I will forever love this song because of its involvement in the TV show Chuck, as this was the music playing during the tantalizing, breathtaking, and epically awesome lead-up to Chuck and Sarah’s first kiss. But my personal wankiness aside, Bon Iver’s ballad, like most of his work, masterfully toys with tension, building up soft and brooding verses until they climax beautifully. Which is hopefully what she’ll be doing whilst listening to the song.
“She’s the One,” Bruce Sringsteen
For better or worse, it was Bruce who shaped my conceptions of love and desire during my formative years, listening to Born to Run while falling asleep as a 6-year-old. But if Clarence’s bitchin’ saxophone solo over the Diddley-esque groove can’t make you cream your pants, then something’s wrong with you. Bruce might rhyme “French Cream” with “Dream,” but it all works because the song is meticulously performed and produced so well by Bruce and the E-Street Band. Each instrument works together in perfect unison to create a song that’s burning with the unbridled passion of youth.
“When My Time Comes,” Dawes
What happens when you listen to all of your parents music while growing up, and then form a band with other musicians that love Neil Young just as much? You get Dawes, one of the most authentic modern bands around. “When My Time Comes” is a relaxed groove that ebbs and flows, sung in beautiful harmony that conveys a sense of stripped-down earnestness. So strip down and enjoy.
“I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now),” Otis Redding
Arguably one of the sexiest songs in existence, this song embodies all that is good about soul music and the Memphis-based Stax sound. All that you need to do is check out Tina Turner’s cover, in which she fellates the living hell out of a microphone, to grasp the raw sexuality of Big O’s sexual masterpiece. Horns squeal while Otis croons, and waves of joy break across your ears each time the cymbals indicate a new emotional climax in the song.
“Someday,” The Strokes
Looking for a cheery roll in the hay? Simply put on The Strokes, and bask in the good vibes. It’s impossible to not feel good while listening to the distinct sound of early Strokes, and happy lovers make for good lovers.
“When a Man Loves a Woman,” Percy Sledge
This song has played three times in the 30 minutes I’ve been sitting in the Willard dining hall, and I sincerely hope nobody has seen my seductive undulating to Sledge’s wailing vocals and killer groove. The song starts off quietly and with seductive subtlety, but by the end, with horns blasting desperately and Sledge howling, the full spectrum of romantic emotions has been covered.
“Hold On I’m Comin’,” Sam & Dave
I can endlessly expound on how great the groove and vibe of this track is, but really all that matters is that when it gets down to the nitty gritty of lovemaking, this song will have you coming so quickly you’ll owe your lover a sincere apology.
“VCR,” The XX
The XX manipulate breathy vocals and sparse arrangements to give a quiet, burning intensity to their songs. The call and response vocals between guitarist Croft and bassist Slim’s sound like the post-coital musings of every disaffected youth in the western world.
And last, but certainly not least:
“Let’s Get It On,” Marvin Gaye
Marvin declaring his intention to sex you up. ‘Nuff said.
So there’s my Top Ten list of songs to facilitate some of the best romance of your life. Honorable Mentions included “All I Want,” by LCD Soundsystem, “I Wanna Ride You,” by Medeski, Martin, & Wood, “Tonight’s the Night,” by Solomon Burke, “Maps,” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, “Remember the Mountain Bed,” by Billy Bragg and Wilco, and “Sway,” by The Rolling Stones. Please send any and all criticism my way, or suggest a superior list of Ten.
Now let’s get it on!