Portishead – “All Mine,” from Portishead (1997)
The overall tone of Portishead’s “All Mine” is one of exclusivity that borders on the possessive. It is, in fact, often interpreted as a creepy, “stalkerish” song that’s about being unhealthily obsessed with someone. On the other side of the coin, people also find this song incredibly sexy – probably because of the forceful but gracefully sparse beat paired with singer Beth Gibbons’s spellbinding voice and lyrics like “when you smile / oh how I feel so good / that I can hardly wait to hold you / enfold you / never enough / render your heart to me…”
J*Davey – “Raincheck,” from Evil Christian Cop: The Great Mistapes (2011)
For those who think “Promise” by Ciara would be sexier if the lyrics left more to the imagination, J*Davey’s mid-tempo R&B ballad “Raincheck” is the song for you. “I wanna give it to you, but I think I need a rain check. Can I get a rain check?” teases vocalist Jack Davey over a slinky, sinuous rhythm. Her tone is seductive and the rhythmic atmosphere her partner Brook D’Leau crafts is lush and synth-heavy with lots of depth and texture (a formula Prince mastered in the 1980s). The thing that makes this song so sexy is the way it balances indecision, caution, and uncertainty with titillation, infatuation, and anticipation.
Prince – “The One,” from New Power Soul (1998)
Speaking of Prince, this list wouldn’t be complete without at least one contribution from him. In this song he basically seduces the listener – in his trademark falsetto and over an undulating melody – with promises to sweep her off her feet, take care of her, and make her feel “like time has just begun.” Hey, sometimes smooth talk is all it takes…
Sade – “I Couldn’t Love You More,” from Love Deluxe (1992)
With those soothing, airy chords at the foundation and Sade’s floaty singing as the focus, it’s no wonder that this song sets a serene and comforting mood with minimal effort. That sound does the bulk of the work to get listeners relaxed and in the mood for love. Simple, graceful lyrics like “couldn’t love you more boy / cause darling I’m on your side” are all the song needs to round things out and, served with a glass of wine in a cozy environment, all any couple needs to complete this recipe for romance.
Art of Noise – “Moments In Love,” from Who’s Afraid of the Art of Noise? (1984)
Art of Noise were innovators of sampling and electronic music during the 1980s, but surely many children were conceived to this song as well. With it’s dark, dramatic, and stuttering beat, this mostly instrumental track, a mainstay on late night “quiet storm” radio programming for decades, is a timeless classic fit for almost any love scene, but is probably most suitable for the more sophisticated of boudoir escapades