Slave For U, Britney Spears
Britney was pretty much my first musical introduction to sexy, and before you start feeling sorry for all the stereotypical beauty standards this created for me (thin, white, insanely beautiful), hold that thought.
Slave for U came out in 2001, when I was at the heights of discomfort inside my awkward, lanky, newly-teenaged self. And watching Britney rocking out to the opening line, ‘All you people look at me like I’m a little girl/Did you ever think it’d be okay for me to step into this world?’ spoke to my heart. Britney taught many girls (and my best friend, who happens to be a boy) of my generation that we should own our bodies, our sexualities, and our dance floors. And if you watch the video to Slave, you’ll see the only thing Britney is a slave to is her own desire: to dance, grow into a woman, and feel sexy on her own terms.
Heartbeats, The Knife
The Knife are a Swedish electronic duo, and they were introduced to me by an impossibly excellent friend I made at university. Heartbeats makes me think of being 19 and sitting with her in my single dorm room bed, wrapped up in blankets at 3am, and feeling — for the first time in my life — invincible. The (heart)beats that run through this track are beautiful and sexy, and they represent the close of a decade which I spent feeling anything but beautiful and sexy. I’d finally arrived at the shores of a land where I was desirable and loved, and looking back, I realise those shores didn’t belong to the cold English seas, but the ones whose waves crashed against my heart.
Mind Sex, Dead Prez
Dead Prez are a 90s hiphop duo (or they were, until they sadly disbanded) who specialise in taking down the police state, reppin’ for the power of hiphop, and dissin’ propaganda. I used to be a vocal anti-fascist activist, and I’d lie on my bed, reading James Baldwin, bopping my head to Dead Prez, and dreaming of the revolution that I was so sure was just around the corner. Mind Sex is an anomaly in this otherwise highly political album: down-tempo beats with slow vocals; an ode to making a mental connection before making a physical one.
It was pointed out to me by a fellow hiphop-loving friend at the time that this song is basic as hell, and that I urgently needed to raise my standards for sexual interactions. But this song represents sexiness at a time in my life when it was pretty much unfathomable that a man would want to ‘know what he was getting into’ (ugh), so I stand by my choice — with a small, wry shake of the head to my 21-year-old self. (Okay fine, also to my 23, 24, and 25-year-old selves. Basically: my self)
Marka, Dub Phizix
I’ve chosen this song for its deep basslines and dirty drops, but there are so many others that could take its place. For me, a dance floor is probably the sexiest place on this earth, and like Britney taught me a decade ago, that sexiness has nothing to do with having a dance partner. The less fancy the venue and the more sincere the dancing (no group-dancing in circles please!) is how I like it. And this song conjures up grimy, sweaty clubs with low (or no) entrance fees, balls-to-the-walls sound systems, and DJs who play basslines that vibrate from your heart to your cunt (or maybe it’s the other way around).
A ‘bassface’ looks like something halfway between deep pain and deep orgasm, and this track no doubt asks that you get your best bassface on.
High for This, The Weeknd
What you need to make this song come alive is a big pile of drugs, a borrowed beach house, and a lover tormented by their past. Or maybe not; to each her own.
The Coup’s brand of hiphop is fierce but playful, and this song is exactly that. Ijustwannalayaroundalldayinbed
Which is exactly how I like it.
Tune in to the playlist of all of Richa Kaul Padte's Sexy Saturday Songs here.
Richa Kaul Padte is a writer and the managing editor of Deep Dives. Her first book, Cyber Sexy, is on rethinking pornography, forthcoming from HarperCollins in 2017. You can find her @hirishitalkies or at richakaulpadte.com
Co-ordinated by Preksha Malu.