This Valentine's Day, dive into the seedy bliss of a few ecstatic tracks that aren't "French Kiss."
While both dancing and the music that fuels it can be inherently sexual, some artists choose to cut out the middleman and go straight to the source. There is a long tradition of producers building tracks around wet smacks and exaggerated moans, and the lurid results range from the ecstatic to the cringeworthy. Play the right Dance Mania track in the wrong part of the night and DJs are more likely to get skeeved out side-eyes than an appreciative dancefloor.
But over the years, others have done it right, and reinvented how we hear sex sounds in dance tracks. In celebration of the day stationery stores have deemed appropriate to celebrate all things love, we've decided to celebrate lust, and collect a list of the 10 sex-sampling songs that are actually good—spanning from the robo-eroticisms of IDM to writhing Baltimore club and, of course, a heaping helping of warm and wet house tracks.—David Garber
1. Aphex Twin - "Windowlicker"
Richard D. James' most recognizable track is also his horniest. It's also an instance where sex-centric tones are compressed and reconstructed in ways that both confuse, disrupt and delight us in ways where we're not even sure what exactly we're listening to. Throughout the entire six minute run time, gasps and moans that glide in and out of production—forum nerds speculate that it's all pitched versions of James' own voice—jumping between tranquil and terrifying. There's also that infamous video...—DG
2. Disclosure - "What's In Your Head"
As astute students of UK garage and classic house, the Brothers Lawrence's debut album Settle demonstrated their keen understanding of how to chop samples into unrecognizable shapes. On "What's In Your Head," one of that record's standout tracks (originally released on The Face EP), they cut up a vocal samples into some stuttering groans and gasps before some extra spacey synthesizers take us all straight to Pleasure Town.—DG
3. Donna McGhee - "Make It Last Forever"
Originally released in a pre-Viagra America by Donna McGhee, and later flipped by Inner City and Larry Levan, this disco classic's moniker pretty much speaks for itself, but skip to the four-minute mark if you need more proof. Don't forget to stretch beforehand!—DG
4. Frankie Knuckles - "Baby Wants to Ride"
Alongside other timeless classics between Knuckles and the young Chicago vocalist, Jamie Principle, "Baby Wants to Ride" manages to collide sexuality and political-mindfulness into a track that soundtracks thirst in its most tasteful and human ways. THUMP contributor Alex Frank wrote last year that tracks in Knuckles' discography "hypnotically summon you away from the straight world and into the free and naughty space of the nightclub—and have been the soundtracks to countless young people's first experiences of self-actualization on the dance floor." While many of tracks in the history of club music utilize sex to hit a variety of our pleasure points, this one uniquely captures that feeling of bliss we're all searching for on the dancefloor. —DG
5. Maceo Plex - "Conjure Sex"
On a quick listen you might miss out on orgasmic interlude in this cut off Maceo Plex's 2014 series concept EPs of Conjure. While it takes four long minutes for the moaning to momentarily commence, the track's menacing packs of heavy club instrumentation feels like one grueling tussle in the sheets.—DG
6. Moodymann - "Freeki Motha Fucka"
In one of the most cherished numbers from Kenny Dixon Jr.'s 2008 Det.riot '67 album, Moody serenades a mystery someone with some of his greasiest pillow talk ever. "I love your bedroom shows at night, they're better than cable TV," moans Moody. Someone call Hallmark. —DG
7. Nymphomatriarch - "Blood on the Rope"
Few have committed to the idea of sampling sex sounds as intensely as Aaron Funk and Rachael Kozak did on their 2002 album Nymphomatriarch. The two producers (who record as Venetian Snares and Hecate respectively) were then a couple and decided to—in Kozak's words—study a "shared passion for some of [their] favorite things, beats and sex." As such the pair spent a European tour recording sounds of their own sexual exploits, then treated and sampled the sounds and made a whole LP out of it. The whole thing is worth hearing, but "Blood on the Rope" is the record's most unsettling ecstatic moment. Even the tracks snare drums are disembodied slaps, giving the whole proceedings the sort of squirmy, uncomfortable atmosphere you'd expect from this pair of breakbeat experimenters.—Colin Joyce
8. Omar S - "Look Here Watch"
Omar's a Detroit visionary beloved for blurring the lines between troll and triumph and this one from his monumental It Can Be Done, But Only I Can Do It album is inventive in the way of not really doing much at all with its samples. Slyly appearing mid way through the album when your speakers are at full tilt, Omar merely takes an old porno scene and lays it under an understated, downtempo deep house melody. If it ain't broken, don't fix it? Or something like that.—DG
9. Prince - "Erotic City"
Not only did the B-side to "Let's Go Crazy" unveil the world to Prince collaborator Sheila E, but it also featured some of the artist's most creative vocal experimentation—a short segment of seductive yet unforgettable moaning. From the brash drums to Prince's debatably explicit lyrics, it's yet another steamy highlight in the Purple One's discography.—DG
10. Squarepusher - "Red Hot Car"
Breakbeat IDM from a dude wearing a desktop monitor on his face? Having sex? Fair questions, indeed. Beyond the occasional confusion over exactly what red hot c-word Tom Jenkinson wants to fuck you with, something about this whole track sounds like two machines sparring with their junk.—DG
11. TT the Artist - "Pussy Ate"
Baltimore club has always had its share of gutter-minded lyricism, but the grinning, seedy drama of TT the Artist's 2013 track comes almost entirely from the chopped moan that comprises most of the beat's melodic content. As TT raps about shunning a relationship's usual trappings in favor of pure pleasure, that staccato wail is like an exclamation point. Maybe love is all you need.—CJ