The nightclub is an inherently social space where human beings, brought together for whatever reason, find themselves attracted to other human beings. Two people in an enclosed space who develop a mutual attraction through conversation or straight-up stolen glances sometimes end up having sex with one another. That's science.
So it follows that the music played in clubs – be it house, disco, drum and bass, gabber, breakcore, grime, R&B, C86 twee indie or whatever – becomes associated with sex or, probably more realistically, the fruitless search for it. Everything from the thud of techno's 4/4 heartbeats to dubstep's low-end pressure can be suffused with whispers of intercourse. That's the key thing though, to actually work on that level, a song needs to hint at what might happen after, it needs to allude to it without just screaming: "FANCY A BANG?" Something like Tyree's "Nuthin" or Moodymann's "Freeki M F" might not be subtle per se, but they quietly exude an undeniable allure.
Sadly the same can't be said for the following ten tracks, all of which, in their various ways, struggle to tow the line between erotic undertone and erratic overtone. These are the dance floor turn offs that provoke instantaneous and unanimous wilting.
The Horrorist - "One Night in NYC"
The story-song never really took off in dance music; probably because most clubbers two pills down aren't going to have the mental capacity to follow a narrative to it's fullest. That is what makes this track an even grimmer affair. Heard in the club it sounds like a subtly churning, industrial, grimy house cut replete with spooky tubular tingles dabbing about and a quiet-in-the-mix spoken word section. Heard at home, it's a vile tale of a protagonist skulking in the dark at Michael Alig's old haunt The Limelight, before drugging a girl he's smuggled home in a taxi. The music cuts out. She asks, "What did you just give me?" to which he replies "Ecstasy". Then, as the narrator spits with barely concealed perverted delight, he "fucked her all night". This, apparently, is "just one night in New York City". I hope my airmiles never take me there.
Lil Louis - "French Kiss"
Obviously "French Kiss" is an all time classic, a towering achievement of acid-tinged heaven. Apart from the bit when it descends into the most embarrassing song ever recorded. See, there's absolutely nothing on earth that's less sexy than "sexiness". Sexiness is Helen Flanagan in an FHM bikini shoot, it's Joey Essex in budgie smugglers for More, and it's 40-year-old blokes on a Christmas Eve panic buying at La Senza in Bluewater. Sexiness is repulsive. Lil Louis asking a mate of his to fake an orgasm in the booth might have seemed like a good idea at the time – it might have got a few E'd up randy buggers trying to find their shrunken genitals on a sweltering night in a field in late August - but now it just sounds cheap, tawdry, tacky, and, frankly, embarrassing. Just like my sex life.
Bam Bam - "Where's Your Child?"
More deferred arousal courtesy of acid house here. Maybe I'm a prude but the concept of fear – that pure, abstract, primal, enveloping sense of fear that grips with the tightness of impending death – doesn't turn me on. I don't want to feel scared when I've got an erection. I mean, I normally do, but that's more insecurity than outright fear. It works for some people; the ones who stuff their gobs with oranges while masturbating with their M&S tie wrapped round their neck. And those are probably the kind of people that'd get a real kick from hearing Bam Bam's terrifying paean to the damaging effect of forever chasing genuine ecstasy.
DJ Assault - "Ass-N-Titties"
Now, I don't want this choice to be misconstrued as a slagging off of all ghetto/booty house. I like DJ Assault, and I find "Dick By the Pound" an oddly affecting, if not arousing, song. I like the occasional barrage of "pussy" that one has to deal with when listening to, say, DJ Funk. Sometimes it's good to break out of the slightly frigid cocoon of Germanic tech-house and delve into the depths of those horrifically horny stutters of the Dance Mania crowd. The problem with "Ass-N-Titties" is not the "ass" or the "titties," but the bit when he tells his lover that she needs to have a good wash before they sleep together. Now, mutual genital hygiene is an important part of any well functioning adult sexual relationship, I get that, but I don't want to have to worry about whether I scrubbed down there that morning when I'm in the club on a Friday night.
Mousse T - "Horny"
Most people's club excursions are less Gerd Janson playing obscuro disco to 400 unsmiling arts graduates, and more a bloke called Gavin mixing "Timber" into "Get Low" in a high street sick-pit. You might, one of these days, perhaps on returning home for Christmas, find yourself in one of those Apple Sourz stained dens of iniquity. You might catch the eye of someone you never spoke to at school, or now never speak to at work. You might strike up a conversation; you might make them laugh; you might ask if they want to dance. You might walk, hand in hand, down those sticky steps on to a stickier dance floor, the unmistakably electric feeling of instant attraction coursing through your hands into theirs. Then this plays and the whole night's lost in the blare of a late-90s home makeover show soundtrack. It's over. Mousse fucking T has killed it.
Thomas Bangalter - "Outrage"
Thought about abstractly, at a level of analytical remove, human sexual intercourse is an incredibly visceral thing; a series of genital insertions and digital entanglement that ends in the expulsion of fluids. It's as bodily as we get, and for those of us who can't quite be arsed to get a bus down to the gym after work it's one of the few reminders we get that we actually do have a body, and that we aren't just a floating mind stuffed full of funny things that happened at school and the chorus' of songs we never liked, encased in a sack of stuff that somehow gets us about. It reminds us that we're alive. It's a good kind of visceral. Thomas Bangalter's "Outrage" is the bad kind of visceral. It grunts, huffs, squeals and squawks devilishly. It's visceral in the way that falling over and over and over on concrete till you're a skinless bag of split veins and lacerated tissue is. And who wants to have sex with someone that looks like trodden meat?
Anita Ward - "Ring My Bell"
This is the disco equivalent to thinking about Excel formulae when stuck in a confined space with someone you find incredibly attractive. If you aren't immediately turned off by the horrifically insistent drum beat of the Pollard Syndrum that unwontedly pumps its way into every available crevice of the song, then get yourself over to any reputable lyric website, sit back and think about the fact that this song is actually a woman trapped in a relationship wherein her partner will only ring that bloody bell of hers after she's done the dishes. He's clearly some kind of dinosaur intent on setting gendered equality back decades all because he refuses to don a pair of rubber gloves and give that bottle of Fairy Liquid it's final few desultory pumps. And there you go: the domestic has entered the frame and any sense of achingly physical desire has dissipated and transmuted into a pair of grotty pants that fell out of the washing basket before they made it to the hallowed entrance of the Hotpoint. Soiled underwear and oppression aren't the sexiest of things really.
Maurice Joshua - "I Gotta Big Dick"
Alright mate, no one likes a show off. For those of us whose dicks aren't big enough to boast about on a record this one will just get us experiencing anxiety before we've even taken our jeans off.
Rotterdam Terror Corps - "God is a Gabber"
Somewhere, probably the New Scientist, recently published the findings of a study that proved that gabber is the least sexual thing that humanity has created in its time on this planet, somehow oozing less animalistic appeal than Gyles Brandreth, cottage pie, and the town of Stroud. Gabber might be fun for ten seconds when your trendiest mate hops on YouTube at a house party and breaks the bluetooth speakers with "Pump that Pussy", causing the distressed host to quietly ask you to pour the dregs of that Carling down the drain before leaving quietly. But imagine being the kind of sick freak who'd consider a track, which marries Faithless to a nosebleed 160 BPM kick, sexy in any way. Just imagine being that person. Imagine the perma-crust of speed that's hardened in your philtrum. Imagine the permanent state of jacked up, twitching paranoia you'd exist in. Imagine the ground stumps of your teeth after another night spent listening to the entire Gabba Nation discography. Now imagine looking at that person in a nightclub and wanting to take them home. Now try and look at yourself in the mirror. You can't, can you?
Swedish House Mafia - "Don't You Worry Child"
I'd probably respect anyone able to maintain any form of arousal level while this played, in the same way I'd respect someone who'd be able to quickly and calmly dispose of a corpse after a prank goes horribly wrong, or someone willing to puke up a swallowed tooth. That said, I would not want to have sex with that person.
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