There are “sexy” songs, and there are sexy songs

Among the Facebook groups that I follow, there is one called “Soundtrack Of The 70s”, which is about as self-explanatory of a title as one might get; posters in this group share and discuss – wait for it – music from the 1970s. And there is an Internet forum that I follow – mostly as a lurker these days – known as the WWTBAM Bored, which is ostensibly about the TV game show “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire”, although on the Bored (as its denizens refer to it), off-topic posts far outnumber anything concerning the show. That I bring up these two little corners of my cyberworld simultaneously is due to a posting to the FB group earlier this evening…but I will get back to that in a bit. For now, though, let us digress for a moment.

Back in 2010, Billboard posted an article entitled “The 50 Sexiest Songs Of All Time”. Frankly, I am sure that most of us would find the title highly deceptive if for no other reason than the methodology used to distill the list – “literally, the 50 most popular songs about sex ever, as based on each song’s performance on the Hot 100 chart”, according to the article. (The gentle reader can insert his/her own joke here concerning the article’s use of the word “performance” within the context of songs about sex. Or, for that matter, your humble correspondent’s own use of the word “insert” just now; I am not above criticism myownself.) Beyond the methodology, however – even though a publication revolving around music sales likely finds huge sales to be sexy indeed – I would beg to define what constitutes a “sexy” song by a much different standard. Trust me, I hardly consider myself a prude…but looking at the sample lyrics, I got as far as number 48 on the countdown before figuratively turning off the radio in amazement. Now, there are a very few songs on that list that I would consider legitimately sexy. Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On”, for example, in spite of its not-subtle-whatsoever title, would make my own list, I am sure. On the other hand, although I love the Stones’ “Honky Tonk Women”…sexy?  No.   And most of what is on the Billboard list would have the same effect on me as a cold shower. Making a pile of money while invoking sexual acts in the lyrics – sometimes in a highly explicit manner – hardly qualifies a song as “sexy” per se.  (I have attached the Billboard list at the bottom of this post for those who want a quick look at the titles without being subjected to a wallow through the whole article.)

At any rate, somebody posted the list to the Bored at the time it was published, and our small-but-opinionated group chimed in with some of our own suggestions for what should be on that list. My personal take as posted there was that “Any ‘sexiest’ list that does not include Boz Scaggs’ ‘We’re All Alone’ is woefully incomplete. I know…it wasn’t a Really Big Hit. Doesn’t matter.” And I continue to stand by that assertion, which was brought to mind this evening when somebody posted Rita Coolidge’s version of this song to the Facebook group.

Now, I do not dislike Rita’s rendition, by any means…but her take pales next to the original, in my opinion. Her version is just a bit too polished, more pretty than emotional; Boz owns this song – and not just in the literal sense as the writer.

And that, my friends, is what qualifies as a “sexy” song to me.

The complete Billboard list:

50. Foreigner — “Urgent”
49. Cyndi Lauper — “She Bop”
48. Ray J & Yung Berg — “Sexy Can I”
47. Adina Howard — “Freak Like Me”
46. Cassie — “Me & U”
45. Tone-Loc — “Wild Thing”
44. George Michael — “I Want Your Sex”
43. Donna Summer — “Dim All the Lights”
42. Prince — “Raspberry Beret”
41. Johnny Gill — “Rub You the Right Way”
40. Juvenile featuring Soulja Slim — “Slow Motion”
39. Roberta Flack — “Feel Like Makin’ Love”
38. Sylvia — “Pillow Talk”
37. Def Leppard — “Pour Some Sugar on Me”
36. R. Kelly — “Bump N’ Grind”
35. Poison — “Unskinny Bop”
34. Marvin Gaye — “Sexual Healing”
33. Donna Summer — “Love to Love You Baby”
32. Labelle — “Lady Marmalade”
31. Peter Gabriel — “Sledgehammer”
30. Missy Elliott — “Work It”
29. The Pointer Sisters — “Slow Hand”
28. Heart — “All I Want To Do Is Make Love To You”
27. Usher featuring Young Jeezy — “Love in This Club”
26. Karyn White — “Romantic”
25. Akon featuring Eminem — “Smack That”
24. R. Kelly — “Ignition”
23. Bell Biv Devoe — “Do Me!”
22. Silk — “Freak Me”
21. Gregory Abbott — “Shake You Down”
20. Starland Vocal Band — “Afternoon Delight”
19. 50 Cent featuring Olivia — “Candy Shop”
18. Monica — “The First Night”
17. Anita Ward — “Ring My Bell”
16. Nelly Furtado featuring Timbaland — “Promiscuous”
15. Toni Braxton — “”You’re Makin Me High”
14. Color Me Badd — “I Want To Sex You Up”
13. Donna Summer — “Bad Girls”
12. Lil Wayne — “Lollipop”
11. The Rolling Stones — “Honky Tonk Women”
10. Rod Stewart — “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy”
9. Exile — “Kiss You All Over”
8. Madonna — “Like A Virgin”
7. Captain & Tennille — “Do That To Me One More Time”
6. Donna Summer — “Hot Stuff”
5. Marvin Gaye — “Let’s Get It On”
4. Next — “Too Close”
3. Boyz II Men — “I’ll Make Love To You”
2. Rod Stewart — “Tonight’s The Night”
1. Olivia Newton-John — “Physical”


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