Music for the mood—and more

Culture Music
Mary Robertson (graphic)
Mary Robertson (graphic)

Preferred genres of music are not unlike fetishes. Everybody has their own small collection of likes and dislikes, which can make it hard to find someone who’s into all the same styles, genres, and, well, musical kinks you appreciate. But when things manage to click into place with the other half, fireworks start flying. So when sparks turn to flame and flame turns to a sweaty inferno, it should only be appropriate you’ve got some musical accompaniment ready. The Martlet’s got you covered. While we can’t guarantee these 11 tracks will satisfy all genre cravings, we wish you and your significant other the intimacy and mutual hypnosis needed.

1. ‘Let’s Get It On’ – Marvin Gaye
C’mon, did you expect anything less? Marvin Gaye is, without question, one of the greatest sexual powerhouses of the past several decades. Even if it feels cheesy to put on a classic like this, loosen up and remember, as Gaye croons on the track, “we’re all sensitive people with so much to give.”

2. ‘Slow Jamz feat. Twista & Jamie Foxx’ – Kanye West
You know a hip-hop track is sexy when it uses the metaphor that a rapper’s flow is not unlike his manhood. This track is also the most meta of the list. Foxx sings of how his lady-friend wants him to put on R&B artists like Luther Vandross and Minnie Ripperton, among others. It could even be said the track tributes R&B culture, considering its sample of Vandross’s “A House Is Not A Home.” All things considered, it’s groovy as hell.

3.  ‘Hypnotize U’ – N.E.R.D
As soon as this track’s bass-heavy beat hits, clothes start rolling off skin like hot wax. If you’re looking for a luscious track with a no-bullshit approach toward skin-to-skin relationships, “Hypnotize U” is ideal.

4. ‘Latch feat. Sam Smith (DJ Premier Remix)’ – Disclosure
The U.K.-house brothers of Disclosure have produced what might just be an electronic track to recall for years to come. Sam Smith cries sounds  vulnerable enough to bring any lover in reach, but also sure enough to show he’s not holding himself back vocally. DJ Premier’s resampling of the track does well to reinvent its mood without subtracting from Smith’s exceptional vocal strength.

5. ‘Outlines’ – AlunaGeorge
“Outlines” feels gentle as gentle can come. With its wistful synths, it feels as though you’re lying at the bottom of a body of water, watching the surface weave ribbons of light. And while its lyricism doesn’t feel exceptional on Aluna Francis’s part, George Reid’s production is what ultimately sells the track.

6. ‘Pony (Wayvee Remix)’ – Ginuwine
By today’s standards, ’90s hip-hop and R&B don’t hold the nostalgia it does because of its production. Rather, it’s well remembered for being charmingly explicit. Just look at groups like Blackstreet or Souls of Mischeif. With Wavyee’s remix of “Pony,” we get a stripped down and dreamy rendition of the already enticing song.

7. ‘The Edge’ – CANT
Grizzly Bear bassist Chris Taylor came out as his solo project CANT with the 2011 album Dreams Come True, balancing between the fields of electronica and art rock. Consider a track like “The Edge” to understand Taylor’s capabilities as a bassist/vocalist and producer. In the end, the track sounds as if Daft Punk played lounge funk in a rundown nightclub.

8. ‘Retrograde’ – James Blake
Who says white English boys can’t produce good soul music? James Blake manages to do just that while trademarking his own brand of atmospheric electronica. Blake’s choruses swell with synths and his vocals wind up and down in melancholy like a spiral staircase. “Ignore everybody else, we’re alone now,” Blake reassures, like whispering ear against the wall.

9. ‘Enemy’ – The Weeknd
“I’d rather be your enemy than any friend you think I would be,” sings Ontario-born Abel Tesfaye, a.k.a. The Weeknd, on this bass-heavy, at times haunting track. Tesfaye even references The Smiths’ “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want” in the chorus, to further emphasize a relationship that, at least from the speaker’s side, is strictly physical.

10. ‘Forrest Gump’ – Frank Ocean
From a careerist standpoint, it made sense for Frank Ocean to come out six days before the release of his acclaimed debut Channel Orange. While much of the album’s sexual themes are geared toward women, Ocean still put in tracks suggesting intimacy toward men. “Forrest Gump” is such a track. Ideal for that after-sex spoon, the track’s light-hearted guitars and loosely thumping beat give an ease that few others on Ocean’s debut managed.

11. ‘Open’ – Rhye
If you had to pick the sexiest breakout of 2013, Rhye would easily stand among the nominations. Delicately balanced with a variety of instruments including synths, horns, strings, and 808 drums on the backbeat, “Open” introduced Rhye’s release Woman beautifully. What’s shocked most new fans of the band is that its lead vocalist, who’s voice comes off lustrous and effeminate, is actually male singer Mike Milosh. Classically trained, Milosh’s breathy vocals shine through, creating a vulnerability that a rare few other male singers can.

So there you have it, 11 songs for those special moments when you find another half and the curtains get drawn. Make sure you’re being safe, that you get in a few good laughs before getting down, and that, if nothing else, they’re cool with Marvin Gaye.


Listen along to “Music for the Mood” here.
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