The good folk at Dangerous Minds are great at unearthing amazing YouTube rarities, and they outdid themselves last week with a 1971 performance by Ike and Tina Turner, which goes down in history as one of the most subtly filthy live performances we’ve ever seen — it’s basically one long allusion to oral sex, with Tina spending most of her time doing very, very suggestive things to the microphone, and while Ike’s ophidian glare still gives us the creeps, he does make some glorious slurping noises into his own mic. The crowd clearly knows exactly what’s going on, sniggering throughout, and the whole thing’s a testament to just how filthy music could be, even in an era that was still comparatively conservative. Anyway, the spectacle got us thinking about our favorite dirty songs, the best of which we have shared after the jump. Don’t play these while your boss is around. Obviously.
Salt-N-Pepa — “Push It”
It’s not so much the lyrics — although they do push the envelope somewhat, particularly the “Can’t you hear the music’s pumping hard/ Like I wish you would?” bit — or the breathy “Ah, push it” refrain. No, it’s that filthy synth bass, the aural equivalent of something humping your leg. It’s so indecent, in fact, that this would sound dirty even if it had no lyrics at all. (It’s also a definite contender for the coveted “dirtiest bass sound ever” prize, perhaps trumped only by a certain Ginuwine track that we will discuss in due course.)
Prince — “Darling Nikki”
Behold, the song that got Tipper Gore so upset that she got together with a bunch of other sexually-repressed concerned mothers and formed the PMRC. If you’ve ever wondered why we have those “Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics” stickers on albums and little “Explicit” tags in the iTunes store… this is why.
Ginuwine — “Pony”
There’s nothing even remotely subtle about “Pony” and its central metaphor: “If you’re horny/ Let’s do it/ Ride it/ My pony,” sings Ginuwine in the sort of voice that set the hearts of ladies (and suitably inclined gents) a-racing. But for all that the lyrics are pleasingly lewd, again, it’s the music that really kicks this into the realm of unconstrained filth — specifically, that three-note bass riff, which is one of the best grinding basslines ever and also liberated the talk box from the clutches of Richie Sambora.
Peaches — “Two Guys for Every Girl”
There’s no shortage of Peaches songs to choose from, but it’s hard to go past this depiction of her fantasies about bi threesomes: “I wanna take you home get you satisfied/ Drugged out sexed up however you fly/ Just one thing I can’t compromise/ I wanna see you work it guy on guy.”
2 Live Crew — “Me So Horny”
What to say about this? It’s undoubtedly sexist, quite possibly also somewhat racist (although, in 2 Live Crew’s defense, the “Me so horny” refrain was sampled from Full Metal Jacket), and generally all sorts of wrong. And yet here we are, listening to it again.
Khia — “My Neck, My Back”
Ike and Tina had to be oblique about the joys of oral sex. 40 years later, Khia had no such concerns. Clearly.
Frank Zappa — “Dinah-Moe Humm”
In which Frank accepts a bet from the unusually monikered lady of the title, as follows: “I couldn’t say where she’s coming’ from/ But I just met a lady named Dinah-Moe Humm/ She strolled on over, said, ‘Look here, bum/ I got a forty dollar bill say you can’t make me cum’.” The ensuing song catalogs his attempts to prove her wrong in minute (and often hilarious) detail, and amongst other things, includes the immortal line “Kiss my aura, Dora/ It’s real angora!”
Nine Inch Nails — “Closer”
No list of filthy songs would be complete without this, although honestly it’s as much creepy as anything else (mainly because the thought of Trent Reznor fucking anyone, like an animal or otherwise, kinda fills us with existential dread).
Soft Cell — “Sex Dwarf”
Look, it’s a song about a sex dwarf. On a leash. What more is there to say?
Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin — “Je T’aime (Moi Non Plus)”
Remember what we were saying about “Push It” sounding downright dirty even if there were no lyrics? Well, this sounds similarly filthy even if you don’t speak a word of French (although, believe us, it’s even dirtier if you do). Admittedly, Birkin’s orgasmic squealing is a big part of this, but so is Gainsbourg’s lascivious whispering — he was always a dirty old man at heart, even though he was only just into his 40s when this was released.