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Soundtrack to Valentine’s Day

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Billboard Magazine has compiled a list of the 50 sexiest songs of all time. It’s Billboard, so the criteria is sales—the more of those, the higher the position in their chart. And which songs qualify to be counted? Apparently, those who subject matter is sex (even with oneself, as “She Bop” makes the list). So the results are kind of bizarre, unless your idea of great romantic evening is listening to Olivia Newton’s John “Physical” (number 1!), Anita Ward’s “Ring My Bell” (number 17), or Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar on Me” (number 37). Topped off with “She Bop”, I guess (number 49).

We aren’t doing too much for Valentine’s Day this year—just dinner at home, probably with some nicer wine, and a dessert featuring chocolate. But if we can tear ourselves away from the Olympics for a bit, we may put on some “mood” music. Which would not include any of the above songs (or other entries like Smack That, or Sledgehammer, or Afternoon Delight), but might—iPod shuffle willing—include the following (links to YouTube videos of song, where available):

1. I Need You Tonight – INXS

Featuring an intensely erotic vocal performance by Michael Hutchens, possibly the sexiest rock star ever, only highlighted by his charismatic video performance.

“So slide over here / And give me a moment”

2. A Case of You – Diana Krall

Her Bourbon-soaked voice ideally suits this classic, poetic Joni Mitchell song. Blew me away completely first time I heard her do this (on her husband’s show).

“And I could drink a case of you / And still be on my feet”

3. Save the Last Dance for Me – Ben E. King

An oldie but a goodie, with another sensuous vocal performance. (Background story is apparently that Ben E King was wheelchair-bound and could not dance with his wife himself.) Doesn’t hurt that it was used as the prom dance soundtrack for Justin and Brian on Queer as Folk.

“But don’t forget who’s talking you home / And in whose arms you’re going be”

4. Without Your Love – Roger Daltrey

I do find Roger Daltrey’s husky-to-sweet-and-back-again voice kind of sexy (big surprise, I know), but The Who sure isn’t one for uncomplicated songs of love. Or lust. So it’s kind of refreshing to hear that voice wrapped around one (as I’d probably find it too mooshy if sung by anyone else).

“I could forget my home / Be like a rolling stone / But what would it mean, without your love?”

5. Temple – Jane Siberry

Known mostly for quirky tunes like “Mimi on the Beach” and “Everything Reminds Me of My Dog”, Siberry is probably one of the last artists you’d think of coming up with something so sensual. But from the opening, whispered “gimmes”… wow.

“You call that rough? Well it’s not… rough enough”

6. I’m in Love with My Car – Queen

I know, I know. This one is weird. It’s a completely un-sarcastic song about a guy so taken with his car, he doesn’t want or need a girl. (Or a boy.) But with its driving 6/8 beat and the sheer passion behind Roger Taylor’s singing, it’s just somehow, very hot. (Much hotter than Queen’s actual songs about sex, like “Get Down, Make Love” or “Body Language” or — God forbid — “Fat Bottomed Girls”.) I don’t think cars are sexy, but this song makes me understand that other people do. They really do.

“When I’m holding your wheel / All I feel is your gear / When my hand’s on your greasegun / Oh, it’s like a disease, son”


That’s enough for now. I’ll be in my bunk.

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