Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Twenty Sexiest Songs Of The 90s

After much consideration, it was decided not to add Madonna’s ‘Justify My Love’ (or the slightly more tame ‘Erotica’ for that matter) since Mads was going through a bit of an anorexic phase at the time, and I’m still recovering from when some kid brought her ‘Sex’ coffee table book to school. Everyone looked through it and said ‘ew gross’ as you do at that age (which would have been 16)

Whereas Color Me Badd’s ‘I Wanna Sex You Up” was not included, simply for being absolute balls.

In the light of recently being told off for using the word ‘pussy’ - apparently it sounds slightly disturbing coming from my lips - I would like to apologize for the up-coming use of the following words: ‘wet’, ‘hoes’, and ‘rooting’. You have been warned.

1. Portishead – Roads

Portishead were the recipients of a peculiar assortment of ‘best of…’ declarations throughout the 90s. They were declared to produce, at various times, the best music to have sex to, the best music to put on at a dinner party, and assumedly therefore the best music to play at a swingers party.

As anyone who has read ‘Emergency Sex’ knows, wars can be very sexy (I haven’t read it, but the gist of it apparently, is that when there’s a war on everyone thinks they are going to die, so they figure there’s no time to waste and hence get busy), thereby pushing Portishead into the stratosphere of sexiness.

On a decidedly non-sexy tip I often think of George W. Bush playing this on his iPod whenever he’s upset that nobody wants to help him fight the terrorists.

2. Jeff Buckley – So Real

Going out with a Jeff Buckley fan can be traumatic experience. He was perfect – kind of rugged looking yet in touch with his feelings, and he had these facial expressions that just screamed out ‘tortured/sensitive artist’, yet he was also a pretty boy, so it worked on all matter of levels – and how can a guy compete with a corpse?

He also tended towards drama queenity and over acting. Seriously, how can anyone respect a line such as ‘the moon was full/ like a plate’ or the ‘I love you… (pause for dramatic effect)… but I’m afraid to love you’. Clearly I still have some issues with the dude.

3. Warren G & Nate Dogg – Regulate

With a groove so smooth, that it makes gang warfare and popping caps in arses sound like fun (or maybe I’m still at an impressive age). Clearly it get the hoes wet, cause straight afterwards our heroes go off to pick up some ‘freaks’. Guns and bitches, in one sexy g-funk package. What’s not to love?

4. Bjork – Big Time Sensuality

During the nineties I kind of had a Bjork infatuation. You see, you can never underestimate the appeal of a girl jumping up and down and clapping her hands excitedly, which is something I imagine Bjork still does on a fairly regular basis.

Fortunately my infatuation was not a bad as some guys I saw at the Big Day Out this year, who just will not let it go. There was the one guy in front of me, who spent the entire time waving and screaming "Bjork! Bjork! Look at me! I'm over here! I sent you a fan-letter in 1993!!!" It was really sad.

There was once an interview in which Bjork is quoted to have said "for this generation the biggest aphrodisciac is freedom" (later in the interview they would discuss Kierkegaard, making this one of the deepest rock interviews ever written) and Bjork personalised freedom more than any pop stars of her generation. She also personalised optimism more than any other pop star of her generation, although given this was the grunge era there was not much by way of competition.

Bjork managed to sing the most sexual lyrics whilst sounding like a naive innocent, singing about sex and penises with the same undisguised enthusiasm as kid opening up Christmas presents, which is either charming or vaguely disturbing. You decide.

She also made weird animal noises like ‘yee-how’ which may or may not be an actual word in Icelandic. Again that’s either charming or vaguely disturbing. Again, you decide.

5. Cruel Sea – This Is Not The Way Home

One of my favorite Rage programming intros ever – and since I was probably half drunk and half asleep my recollection of this may be a little hazy - was this guy talking about the Cruel Sea (or possibly it was Beasts Of Bourbon) saying something along the lines of ‘Tex Perkins is the sexiest beast in rock’n’roll. I bet he’s getting his dick sucked as we speak.” And this song makes me remember those D&D balls in the outback, and rooting a shiela in the back of a ute. Sadly these are other peoples memories not mine. .

6. Tricky – Overcome

The debate rages about why ‘Maximquaye’ was so much better than all the other Tricky albums. Pitchfork claim there are is a popular theory that this is because Tricky has now cheered up and isn’t grumpy anymore. I didn’t even realize that there were any popular theories about Tricky.

Fuck that. The reason is obviously is Martina Topley. I mean, which would you prefer to listen to. Soultry sexy tones that sound like someone has just shaken her awake and handed her a cup of coffee. Or some stoned guy who just mumbles a lot. It’s a bit of no-brainer really.

7. Me'Shell NedegeOcello - Who Is He And What Is He To You?

It’s not often that butch skin heads are sexy. But Me’Shell’s gruff voice sounds like a bitch you don’t want to mess with, making this cover of song to a cheating lover, far more confronting than the original by Bill Withers: making this a far better cover of one of his songs than the Rockmelons could manage.

8. Tori Amos – God

In which rock’n’roll’s greatest preacher daughter Kate Bush impersonating ranga tries to pick God up, probably in an attempt to annoy those Bible Belt inhabitants, who were still pissed with Madonna making out with a black Jesus (or actually they didn’t so much mind her making out with him, they were just angry that he was black. Funny folk Christians)

Quite why she decided to plonk a sample of an old boat creaking, I never really understood. Any thoughts anyone?

And if you check out the video, I think I went to that temple when I was in India! And it was awesome!!

9. Nick Cave & Kylie Minoque – Where The Wild Roses Grow

When the pure evil of Nick, meets the pure innocence of Kylie… clearly this wouldn’t end in a happy, stable relationship. But for a couple of minutes, it made for one of the most passionate one night stands in pop music history.

10. Max Sharam – Coma

Here’s a quick history lesson for obsessive people who are not quite right in the head: before there was “Facebook-stalking” there was real proper stalking, where you actually had to leave the house.

“I'll creep 'round your garden til daylight
I'll look thru your window til dawn
I'm hoping to catch me an eyeful
Of your love and you doing porn”

And she says porn in such a cute, coy and embarrassed way, that you expect her to giggle ‘porn he he, lol’ – a stalker that giggles. Now that is disturbing.

11. Ruby – Paraffin

Hell it’s a song that starts with the lyrics ‘old mans ass/ fifty heads wide’. How does that not set the scene for a sexy tune? The tune – which inhabits a space somewhere between trip-hop and riot grrl-power - progresses into a evilishly catchy pop song, in which she sounds as though she has castration on her mind, but the 90s were a kinky old time, and back then that sort of thing was considered kinda hot.

But can someone please explain to me why the reference to ‘paraffin’?

12. Dave Graney & The Coral Snakes – Night of the Wolverine

There’s just something special about a guy doing a bad impersonation of … I’m not entirely sure - maybe Elvis? but fat Las-Vegas era Elvis which is a crucial distinction to make - maybe some crooning lounge singer (lounge singers had a bit of a comeback amongst coolsies in the nineties… it really was a funny old decade)? - whispering sweet random nothings about free beer and chicken, obscure Portuguese colonies, and … you know, stuff.

He would end up being the brand ambassador for Saint Vinnies, thus inspiring a generation of kids to wear funky and badly fitting second hand clothes.

13. Elastica – Car Song

Not just a song about cars – which are always sexy in themselves – but a song about having sex in a car! Made ever more delightful by the most awesome collection of bad cr puns ever ensembled: “let's go siesta, in your Ford Fiesta”. That’s a fairly ace one! How about “sometimes I just can't function, my heart's spaghetti junction” Mmm not bad. But I’m saving the best till last now: “in every little Honda
there may lurk a Peter Fonda”. Complete utter genius.

14. Shaggy – Boombastic

This is more for doing the suggestive sexy dance to, before doing the do. Because the ladies all like witty wordplay like “I'm just like a turtle crawling out of my shell” (um, what?) and “Naw go laba laba laba and a chat pure phart” which I’m sure means something sexy in Jamaican.

15. Massive Attack – Safe From Harm

I’m listening to this and all I’m thinking of is Sigourney Weaver in Aliens, in that big robot suit thing, saying ‘get away from her, you BITCH!’

16. Pulp – Do You Remember The First Time?

The nineties were an odd time (I think I’ve pointed that out before). When else could a poncey guy making poncey hand movements – so that deaf people could understand his songs as well, nice boy that – possibly become a sex symbol? Of course, singing about sex all the time probably didn’t hurt (if singing about sex could make Prince into a sex symbol- Kylie once called him 'sex on a stick' you know - then I there’s hope for everyone) although you know what they say about people who talk about sex all the time… I’m sorry to disillusion you girls and boys.

17. Garbage – Vow

Even with a bunch of balding middle aged guys banging around the background, Shirley Manson had more than enough Kate Moss style sexiness to turn this into one of the sexiest hit singles of the decade. With guitar riffs about as disjointed as Shirley sounded disturbed, her threats that she ‘came to cut you up’ inspired a generation of pseudo-goth girls (although sadly not to wear big fluffy jackets). Yes, it was by-the-numbers spite (the Joan of Arc references sounded as though they’d just been reading the Smiths songbook) but it was sexy spite.

18. Chris Isaak – Wicked Game

Like Jeff Buckley, Chris could sometimes be a little intimidating with his immaculately combed hair and quiff. Not to mention being a little irritating, being as he was, part of the tsunami of Elvis/James Dean tryhards that suddenly emerged around the beginning of the decade. Luke Perry springs to mind, not to mention half of the male high school student cast of Twin Peaks. Even Vanilla Ice decided to get a quiff.

I hate good looking Elvis impersonators (the fat ones are far more funny, which why I am prepared to give unqualified support to Dave Graney, but only half hearted support to Chris), however I love slide guitar! Nothing get’s me going like a slide guitar!! (and – Spoiler Alert! - for this reason I am crowning Texas’s ‘I Don’t Want A Lover” the sexiest song of the 80s!)

19. Sleeper – Sale Of The Century

Whilst I certainly was not as obsessed with Louise Wener as I was with Bjork, LW was my other rock star crush of the time. She had these doey deer eyes, and very kissable lips and she knew how to pose with a guitar. And as an extra bonus they also had a semi hit single. Lyrics like “I hope we fall in” have a certain mischievous appeal, whilst “I knew we’d go far cos we both share the people we hate” may in one succinct line, perfectly describe the secret to a happy relationship.

20. Elastica - Stutter

In which Elastica were able to make a song about impotence sound hot. Quite an achievement that.


Rachel said...

What no Madge?! Well, maybe the 90's was when she was trying to be sexy, the 80's was when she just WAS.

born@dan said...

That, and it's hard to find someone sexy when their nick name is Madge.

Jayden said...

loved the portishead review!

Dianne Grover said...

This is certainly a very interesting post and I have to say the first ever of its kind that I read. I really like all your reviews; just so straight forward! Anyway, thank you for sharing this post. For music enthusiasts, your post will surely be interesting for them (including those who have mastered their skills using guitar picks for instance). These songs certainly bring back memories that are either charming, or as you said, disturbing.