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Sexiest songs
Image: Time Out/arvzdix/Shutterstock

The 50 sexiest songs of all time

From sensual soul to gloriously freaky bangers, these are the perfect song to set the mood in the bedroom

Written by
Sophie Harris
,
Time Out contributors
&
Andy Kryza
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Music can make or break a steamy night. Choose the wrong track and your prospective partner could burst into tears before thing even get started. But choose right and you might just find yourself reenacting one of the best sex scenes of all time.

To help you set the mood for a night to remember, we dove deep into pop history and uneartherd a mix of silky-smooth slow jams and modern musical aphrodesiacs to get hearts racing. Just be sure to read the room, lest your attempted seduction lead you to seek out our list of breakup songs instead.

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Best sexy songs

"Sexual Healing" by Marvin Gaye
Image: Blackground Records

1. "Sexual Healing" by Marvin Gaye

"Let's Get It On" is the typical go-to for getting busy to the king of soul, and frankly it's not the wrong choice. "Sexual Healing," however, is a groovier, more nuanced jam: its hypnotic rhythm is more fully realized, and the Gaye of this track is clearly more wizened in the medicinal properties of lovemaking. It was also, notably, the crooner's last big hit before his untimely death: one last essential track guaranteed to fuel sweaty nights for generations to come. 

"I'm Gonna Love You Just A Little More Baby" by Barry White
Image: 20th Century Records

2. "I'm Gonna Love You Just A Little More Baby" by Barry White

Fact: Barry White could have sat there reading the side of Cialis in his silky baritone and it would have done more for libidos than the drug itself. Most of the legendary crooner's mainstream hits are quick-rhythm disco-soul jams about the power of love, but when Barry slowed things down, the heat steadily rose. For proof, look no further than the man's first mega-hit, a seven-minute, funk-tickled orchestral odyssey into the arms of sensuality as only White guide. Don't worry baby. You're in good hands here. 

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"Wicked Game" by Chris Isaak
Image: Reprise

3. "Wicked Game" by Chris Isaak

Ear porn. Actually, the video for "Wicked Game" is visually titillating too, featuring Isaak romping on the beach with topless supermodel Helena Christensen — but sonically, this 1990 hit exudes lust from hypnotic start to finish. With its velvety guitar melody, silky coolness and sensual, oh-so-soft vocals, no other song about doomed love has fueled more steamy sexxions.

"Untitled (How Does It Feel?)" by D’Angelo
Image: Virgin Records

4. "Untitled (How Does It Feel?)" by D’Angelo

Coupled with soul man D'Angelo's extraordinary songwriting chops and an exquisitely chiseled body, the video for "Untitled" is almost too much to watch; the singer is naked as far as the eye can see, and he licks his lips as he sings the song’s refrain (he was thinking of his grandma’s home cooking, he maintains). Besides winning sexiest video on this list, the song also is a contender for most delicious, unbearable musical climax. Press play, and you’ll see what we mean.

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"Fade Into You" by Mazzy Star
Image: Columbia

5. "Fade Into You" by Mazzy Star

From the opening bars, lazy Dylanesque strumming and slide-guitar moans suggest a warm, lazy summer afternoon. Then Hope Sandoval starts singing, her breathy insinuation suggestive and vulnerable at once. The music curls and stretches, and all you can think about is merging with your object of desire.

"Need You Tonight" by INXS
Image: Atlantic Records

6. "Need You Tonight" by INXS

Crowds screamed for INXS frontman Michael Hutchence, who was associated with a bevvy of famous beauties in his 1980s heyday. Hutchence’s allure is in the way he sings — 100 percent — like he means it. On the Aussie rocker’s finest moment, "Need You Tonight," he begins the song sighing, "All we’ve got is this moment," as if the world really is about to end. And then: "There’s something about you girl, that makes me sweat." Ladies, take a deep breath.

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"Sexy MF" by Prince
Image: Warner Bros. Records

7. "Sexy MF" by Prince

Prince's credentials as the King of Hump were a thing of public record long before he uncorked this sultry scorcher of a track in 1992. The lyrics and delivery epitomize Prince's libidinous swagger, and the rapped vocals are among his least embarrassing hip-hop attempts; best of all is a killer groove that assures you Prince can keep it up all night long.

"Video Phone" by Beyoncé
Image: Columbia

8. "Video Phone" by Beyoncé

If you’ve ever dreamed of Lady B paying a visit to your chamber, switch on this I Am... Sasha Fierce single, in which the singer laces her firm come-ons with plentiful coital oohs and ahhs. Let them inspire your own chorus of moans.

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"The Sweetest Taboo" by Sade
Image: Atlantic

9. "The Sweetest Taboo" by Sade

In her 1984 hit "The Sweetest Taboo," Sade innocently sings, "Sometimes I think you're just too good for me / Every day is Christmas, and every night is New Year's Eve." Sade, just give it up. We all know what "New Year's" in this scenario entails. Between the English songstress's sultry voice and the sexy, Spanish-influenced melody, "The Sweetest Taboo" is a serious no-brainer when it comes to having a heart-thumping, sizzling-hot time.

"I'm on Fire" by Bruce Springsteen
Image: Columbia

10. "I'm on Fire" by Bruce Springsteen

For this 1985 slow-burner, the Boss stops working on his hot rod long enough to pine after a married lady (or, as the video suggests, maybe it's her car he's really into). Here we have Bruce at the peak of his blue-collar pre-middle-age sex appeal, all grease-covered hands and sweaty brow trying to get a look under the hood. Cougars of New Jersey, look alive.

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"Criminal" by Fiona Apple
Image: Columbia

11. "Criminal" by Fiona Apple

Thanks to Jennifer Lopez's now-iconic pole routine in Hustlers, a new generation now knows what '90s kids rounding the bases to Fiona Apple knew all along: "Criminal" is the secret weapon on any hookup playlist thanks to its suggestive lyrics (she truly has been a bad, bad girl), impossibly slinky beat and Apple's feral delivery.

"Do You Mind" by the xx
Image: Young Turks

12. "Do You Mind" by the xx

Lifted from the xx's debut EP, Islands (2009), "Do You Mind" finds the chic Brit indie trio in stunningly sensual form. Originally a bubblegum dance track by Crazy Cousinz featuring Kyla, the tune gets the xx treatment—and then some. With Jamie Smith's slow, pounding beats and Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim's winding guitar riffs and smoky voices, part of the charm of "Do You Mind" is how polite its lyrics sound, given the fluid ease of the song. To answer that question, we don't mind…at all.

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"Lady Marmalade" by Labelle
Image: Epic

13. "Lady Marmalade" by Labelle

Few songs have thrown a spotlight on streetwalking the way this chart-topping 1974 smash did…and none made you want to get down (or learn to speak French) more. Cover versions have proliferated, but only Patti, Sarah and Nona deliver the real goods. All together now: "Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?"

"Love to Love You Baby" by Donna Summer
Image: Oasis

14. "Love to Love You Baby" by Donna Summer

When Eurodisco pioneer Giorgio Moroder famously asked Donna Summer to simulate throes of ecstasy for this trendsetting 1975 slab of taboo, the devoutly churchy singer initially demurred, then faked an estimated 22 orgasms for the track, inspiring millions to follow her lead. Time promptly dubbed her "the Queen of Love"; nowadays, we'd surely be less discreet.

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"Lollipop" by Lil Wayne
Image: Cash Money

15. "Lollipop" by Lil Wayne

The New Orleans MC mashes together rap, rock and an ascending electronic pulse for this characteristically grimy love ballad. Wayne’s gruff, sporadically Autotuned voice is perfectly suited for this kind of romantic boasting. We’re apt to take him for his word.

"Climax" by Usher
Image: RCA

16. "Climax" by Usher

One thing you can count on with Usher is consistency: Two decades into his career, the slick singer is still releasing songs as titillating as, say, "Bad Girl." "Climax" dropped on Valentine’s Day 2012, and it's as surefire a soundtrack for horizontal listening as his previous hits; according to Diplo, Usher proposed the idea of "tak[ing] the strip club to the stadium" with its production. And with that dead-sexy falsetto and wax-melting grooves, you can hear it.

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"212" by Azealia Banks
Image: Azalia Banks

17. "212" by Azealia Banks

People say that the modern era lacks subtlety, and to an extent they’re right. But what Harlem rapper Azealia Banks’s filthy anthem lacks in sophistication, it more than makes up for in out-and-out joy. While Banks starts out suggesting you lick her plum in the evening, the song builds to its climax, with the MC declaring,"I guess that cu*t gettin’ eaten!"

"I Just Wanna Make Love to You" by Etta James
Image: RCA

18. "I Just Wanna Make Love to You" by Etta James

Issued on her 1961 debut album, At Last!, Etta James’s impossibly honest blues tune revealed a lot about her spirit: swinging, slinky and sassy. It also showed that she was a woman who knew what she wanted. Upon its release, the song immediately shot to the top of the charts; we can only imagine that the soul diva got exactly what she wanted in the bedroom, too.

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"Sex with Me" by Rihanna
Image: Roc Nation

19. "Sex with Me" by Rihanna

Ri-Ri's discography is packed to the corset with all manner of sexually charged hits, from the on-the-nose "S&M" to the evocative "What's My Name." This track meets things in the middle, launching with the promise "sex with me, so amazing" that almost dares you to put it at the top of your playlist.

"I Want Your Sex" by George Michael
Image: Columbia

20. "I Want Your Sex" by George Michael

After George Michael quit squeaky clean ‘80s boyband Wham!, he went on a sexual rampage with "School’s out forever!"-style zeal and enthusiasm. The album Faith (1987) featured Michael sniffing his own armpit and opened with this funky gem — which finds Michael’s signature growl at its peak: "C – c – c- c’mon!" He also makes his request in the plainest possible terms, "Have sex with me!" —which we appreciate.

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"I Feel You" by Depeche Mode
Image: Mute

21. "I Feel You" by Depeche Mode

For a band that often sang about the kinkier side of sex—both "Master and Servant" and "Strangelove" embrace S&M elements — this 1993 track is fairly tame. But the combination of front man Dave Gahan’s deep, sultry baritone and the propulsive backing track makes it sound far dirtier (and therefore hotter) than any of the band’s previous work.

"Rock the Boat" by Aaliyah
Image: Blackground Records

22. "Rock the Boat" by Aaliyah

Aalyiah's sultry slow jam is basically the sex-song equivalent of "Cha Cha Slide," except instead of "move to the left, move to the right," the late singer implores the listener "rock the boat… work the middle… stroke it for me… change positions." 

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"I Can Tell" by 504 Boyz

23. "I Can Tell" by 504 Boyz

The NOLA-based Master P–led crew memorably landed this smooth funk ballad with not-so-subtle lyrics about getting horizontal. Mac and Mercedes, who trade off hook duties, seem very much on the same page when it comes to lovemaking — god bless.

"Friendly Skies" by Missy Elliott featuring Ginuwine
Image: Elektra

24. "Friendly Skies" by Missy Elliott featuring Ginuwine

In the '90s, Ginuwine was the R&B king of getting freaky, and to our ears, his greatest moment is this duet with hip-hop’s queen of sauce, Missy Elliott. The song’s metaphor is pleasingly out-there — they’re on a plane, Missy’s the stewardess, Ginuwine’s the passenger. "Feel the turbulence, and maintain," coos Missy, "Please refrain / Stay in your seat / Until we reach the peak." The song flutters, grinds and swoons its way to R&B bliss.

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"Lay It Down" by Al Green
Photograph: Christian Lantry

25. "Lay It Down" by Al Green

How could we run a list like this and not feature the Reverend Al? A man whose music has soundtracked nigh on four decades of baby-making, and who now marries lovestruck couples in his own chapel. We decided to skip the gorgeous but sad "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" and first-dance anthem "Let’s Stay Together" in favor of this straight-up invitation from the Rev’s 2008 album of the same name, produced by Questlove.

"Montero (Call Me By Your Name)" by Lil' Nas X
Image: Columbia

26. "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)" by Lil' Nas X

Lil Nas X became a star with "Old Town Road," but he became an icon with "Montero," a sexually explosive hookup anthem for the ages. Even without Nas' highly provocative live performances, the dancehall-flavored jam drips with raw energy: "I'm not fazed, only here to sin/If Eve ain't in your garden, you know that you can/call me when you want/call me when you need…" It's an anytime come-hither for the ages, served up on a steaming platter. 

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"I Feel It Coming" by The Weeknd
Image: Republic Records

27. "I Feel It Coming" by The Weeknd

Subtlety is not one Abel Tesfaye's strengths, and the whole "I feel it coming" refrain isn't even the most on-the-nose line of the song ("I can feel that body shake/And the heat between your legs" is). Still, the song is one silky endorphin rush teaming the velvet-voiced singer with the melody-makers of Daft Punk at their retrofuturistic best. 

"Feel Like Makin’ Love" by Roberta Flack
Image: Atlantic

28. "Feel Like Makin’ Love" by Roberta Flack

In no way related to the slightly cheesy Bad Company song, this 1974 tune is quite simple: Flack describes moments that inspire an amorous mood, including after walking through a park and while sitting in a restaurant. But her soulful delivery sells it — she coos each line as one lover might to another just before heading to the bedroom.

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"Miss You" by the Rolling Stones
Image: Rolling Stones

29. "Miss You" by the Rolling Stones

It's hard to imagine after nearly 60 years of watching the man slowly evolve into a strutting wood carving, but Mick Jagger used to ooze sexuality. All the Stones did. For evidence of what happens when every piece of England's horniest rock ensemble is in the mood, look no further than this sax-heavy, disco-indebted Some Girls groove. From Keith's funky licks to Jagger's moans and Bill Wyman's undulating bass, it's a concentrated dose of rock aphrodisiac best played at top volume. 

"Je t’Aime…Moi Non Plus" by Serge Gainsbourg
Image: Fontana

30. "Je t’Aime…Moi Non Plus" by Serge Gainsbourg

You may think you don’t know this song, but you do—oh, you do. The fiendishly rude-sounding bassline, the nearly cheesy-but-actually-genius organ riff and then the whispered, orgasmic crooning… "Je t’aime" is Sexy Song 101. French singer Serge Gainsbourg really was doing the nasty with English rose Jane Birkin in the studio. It so scandalized and titillated the prudish Brits that the BBC banned the song — which, of course, only added to its appeal.

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"Fruition" by The-Dream
Image: The-Dream

31. "Fruition" by The-Dream

Terius Nash's velvety falsetto is a force of sexual nature, not to mention his songwriting acumen, which has seen to The-Dream co-writing songs for Rihanna ("Umbrella"), Beyoncé ("Single Ladies [Put a Ring on It]") and the Biebs ("Baby"). Here he’s in full-on sentimental lover mode — who could resist?

"Jeepster" by T. Rex
Image: Reprise

32. "Jeepster" by T. Rex

What seems at first like a squeaky-clean seduction gradually turns lascivious—okay, downright depraved—in the hands of glam-meister extraordinaire Marc Bolan, who hisses, "I'm gonna suck ya!" at his would-be conquest, after declaring himself "a vampire for your love." Grab your partner in kink and play along.

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"Red Light Special" by TLC
Image: LaFace

33. "Red Light Special" by TLC

One of the slickest retro hits by the queens of '90s silk, "Red Light Special" isn't exactly subtle when it comes to its intent: "Baby it's yours, all yours If you want it tonight/ Just come through my door, take off my clothes, and turn on the red light," T-Boz, Chili and Left Eye croon in harmony over a laid-back porno-funk groove written by Babyface. Clearly, they were taking the middle part of CrazySexyCool very seriously.

"Use Me" by Bill Withers
Image: Sussex Records

34. "Use Me" by Bill Withers

The late Bill Withers' frequently traded in uplift on tracks like "Lovely Day" and "Lean on Me," but the man had needs too, and he made an all-timer with "Use Me Up,'' his jagged, jaunty song about his inability to quit a bad relationship because the good parts were just too good. Which is kind of sad, really, but like Withers' narrator says, it's tough to think of the bad stuff when "it feels this good getting used."

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"SpottieOttieDopaliscious" by Outkast
Image: LaFace Records

35. "SpottieOttieDopaliscious" by Outkast

With its ultra-slow groove punctuated by a steadily climaxing horn section, this Aquemini highlight sees Andre 3000 and Big Boi at their most seductive. The spoken-word stream-of-consciousness verses kind of disappear amid the disarmingly sexy groove, slapping you back with the occasional "damn" that really just sums up this trancelike throwback. 

"Tender" by Blur
Image: Food Records

36. "Tender" by Blur

The boys in Blur always had a bit of an ironic art-school air about them, which is part of what makes their gospel-inflected 1999 song all the more affecting. It's also a great mood-setting bedroom tune: Let the easy tempo and light strum wash over you (and your partner) in a euphoric haze as you meditate on the refrain, "love's the greatest thing that we have."

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"Closer" by Nine Inch Nails
Image: Interscope

37. "Closer" by Nine Inch Nails

You might remember it as a vintage-industrial keepsake, but Trent Reznor's 1994 hit is actually an X-rated funk masterpiece in disguise. That infamous chorus flies only because the beat underneath it — famously simulated by a pumping heart in the video — feels so stubbornly sensual.

"Pull Up to the Bumper" by Grace Jones
Image: Island Records

38. "Pull Up to the Bumper" by Grace Jones

In 2008, disco-era power androgyne Grace Jones claimed in an interview that "Pull Up to the Bumper" had nothing whatsoever to do with sex. Yeah, right: nothing to be read into her helpful suggestion that a bit of lubrication might be required to get that oversize stretch limo through the back door. Meanwhile, the song's possessive thump got everyone ready for some grease-monkeying around.

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"Slow Motion" by Juvenile
Image: Cash Money

39. "Slow Motion" by Juvenile

One of the all-time greatest songs about butts in a genre busting with them, here we find Juvenile driven damn near insane by the booty. Long before Kanye wanted to "play that shit back in slo-mo," Juvie and Soulja Slim had that ground staked out — and it earned them a Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hit.

"Adorn" by Miguel
Image: RCA

40. "Adorn" by Miguel

With an opening salvo like "these lips can't wait to taste your skin," things get steamy quick on Miguel's 2012 sex-soaked single. Armed with a deadly falsetto, the crooner melds the sweetness of a young Marvin Gaye with the swag of in-the-club-like-yeah Usher — it's damn near irresistible.

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41. "F.E.E.L.I.N.G.C.A.L.L.E.D.L.O.V.E." by Pulp

Sex is an indelible part of this Britpop band’s oeuvre, but frontman Jarvis Cocker often addresses the subject in a way that’s rather unnerving. (See the entirety of 1998’s This Is Hardcore.) This song, from Pulp’s 1995 breakthrough, Different Class, is no exception, as Cocker sings about missing the sensation of sleeping with a former lover. Cocker sings in his signature low purr over a slinky drumbeat and pulsating bassline, eventually building up to an explosive, altogether satisfying climax.

"Hello" by Erykah Badu
Image: Motown

42. "Hello" by Erykah Badu

With the kind of chemistry that’s impossible to fake, Badu duets with former partner Andre 3000 on this frantic, impassioned cover of the Isley Brothers' "Hello It’s Me." The pair make an undeniably great team on wax, delivering the heartbreaking tune with palpable heat.

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"Pyramids" by Frank Ocean
Image: Def Jam

43. "Pyramids" by Frank Ocean

Ocean's epic single traverses time and space for a knotty tale about adoration and longing. Like a good romance, the soulful R&B track takes time to build — practically speaking, it’s a great way to eat up 10 minutes.

"The Great Gig in the Sky" by Pink Floyd
Image: Harvest

44. "The Great Gig in the Sky" by Pink Floyd

Some might argue that syncing a round of lovemaking to Dark Side of the Moon is better than doing the same to Wizard of Oz. But while results may vary, "The Great Gig in the Sky" makes a very strong case for prog rock in the bedroom. The song starts slowly, steadily building to a massive, speaker-shattering climax as vocalist Clare Torry screams, moans and sputters with orgasmic glee. Then it lingers... slowly bringing things to a calmer pace as Torry, seemingly exhausted, drifts off into a blissful dream. Truly, this is as far from Kansas as you can get. 

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"Jungle Fever" by Chakachas
Image: Swineyard

45. "Jungle Fever" by Chakachas

"The Great Gig in the Sky" is the musical equivalent of a transcendent bout of lovemaking. "Jungle Fever" is the musical equivalent of a sweaty hookup in a public bathroom. The funky, polyrhythmic jam dips between its Afto-Caribbean licks, synth-flutes and intermittent bouts of heavy panting, moaning and ecstatic screaming from a mystery woman clearly enjoying what she's hearing. The track was so provocative it got banned by the BBC, inadvertently giving it an even sexier edge than it already had. 

"No Diggity" by Blackstreet featuring Dr. Dre
Image: Interscope

46. "No Diggity" by Blackstreet featuring Dr. Dre

A song so powerful it inspired a new come-on in the R&B world, this smooth Bill Withers–sampling '90s classic kicks off with Dr. Dre's self-assured "It’s going down" over a throaty "mmhmm" hook. Story goes, the veteran West Coast rapper is obsessed with his New York shortie — he can’t stop fantasizing about her, until he has to hop on a plane back to her "to bag it up." Mmhmm.

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"La Femme d’Argent" by Air
Image: Virgin Records

47. "La Femme d’Argent" by Air

From Zero 7 to Massive Attack, electronic musicians are no strangers to the power of lush dreamscapes. But none have used them to as sensual effect as Air, especially on this eternal sex jam from the French duo’s 1998 space-pop debut, Moon Safari. Languorous, smooth and breathless, this is easy listening made precisely for staying in bed all day.

"I'll Make Love To You" by Boyz II Men
Image: Motown

48. "I'll Make Love To You" by Boyz II Men

Sure, this '90s mega-hit is a little cornier than it used to be, especially since the PG-13 content of the song basically amounts to "get ready, special lady… you're in for a treat." But it's also timeless in its statement of intent, and those harmonies do more to set the mood than a plate of oysters and some imported chocolate could ever hope. 

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"Worked Up So Sexual" by The Faint
Image: Saddle Creek

49. "Worked Up So Sexual" by The Faint

On its second album, Blank-Wave Arcade, the Omaha electropunk band tackled sex on a number of songs — "Sex Is Personal," "Casual Sex," etc. But this track is by far the most arousing, with a frenetic, synth-driven beat that all but encourages you to bump and grind with the person next to you on the dance floor.

"When You’re Smiling and Astride Me" by Father John Misty
Image: Sub Pop

50. "When You’re Smiling and Astride Me" by Father John Misty

Indie-rock shaman Father John Misty calls down an angelic choir and a slick, soulful backup band to help him with this existential ode to monogamy. And what's lovemaking without a little self-loathing? Dredging the bottom of his psyche with admissions like, "I can hardly believe I've found you, and I'm terrified of that," FJM manages to clear away enough clutter to find something real or, as he puts it, to "truly see and be seen."

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