The pop music industry revolves around using sex appeal to sell songs, so you’d figure they’d be pretty good at it by now. Sure, not every song is going to be a hit, but they’re not going to release any tracks that completely miss the mark, right?
If you believe that you haven’t heard any of the following ten songs, which are so spectacularly unsexy they make us envy eunuchs.
10. Olivia Newton-John – Physical
The 80s’ idea of making something sexy was to coat it in purple spandex and play synthesizer music in the background, so maybe it’s unfair to judge “Physical” by modern standards. But in 2010 Billboard Magazine named it the sexiest song of all time, which proves two things: first, “Physical” is an ageless blight that must be destroyed, and second, nobody at Billboard knows what sex is.
The video is about Newton-John abusing fat people, and unless you suffer from a very particular fetish you’re not going to find that erotic in the slightest. The song itself doesn’t fare any better, as the innuendos are delivered with such ham-handedness that you almost feel like Newton-John didn’t realize she was supposed to sound seductive and actually thought this was a song about exercise. The video proves our suspicions—she looks so desexualised it constitutes lewd conduct to be aroused by her. Anyone who finds this song sexy would be brought to a state of constant orgasm by a Sears catalogue.
R. Kelly is the Salvador Dali of making love to women—he has to turn even the most mundane encounter into a surreal nightmare. No song demonstrates that better than “Sex in the Kitchen,” his passionate, heartfelt tribute to getting it on next to bakery products.
“Sex in the Kitchen” sounds like a cookbook written by a nymphomaniac—it’s mostly about sex, but there are just enough references to food that it remains a major theme. Maybe R. Kelly was hungry when he wrote the song. Or maybe he’s just insane. You can never be sure with him.
When R. Kelly sings about his girl cutting up “tomatoes, fruits and vegetables and potatoes,” he makes it sound like the most erotic thing in the world. Lyrical redundancy aside, if R. Kelly finds chopped tomatoes arousing he must impregnate every woman in a ten mile radius when he’s served steak. But at least he keeps the song somewhat classy, and doesn’t—oh wait, there’s a line about tossed salad near the end. Gross. If you’re ever offered food prepared in R. Kelly’s kitchen, don’t eat it.
8. Ne-Yo – Sexy Love
“Sexy Love” sounds like a title a 13 year old would come up with, and the rest of the song appears to have been penned by a teenager, too.
After a stunningly creative intro of, “My sexy love, so sexy,” Ne-Yo sings about a problem every teenage boy faced: “Just one touch and I erupt/Like a volcano and cover her with my love.” Dude, too much information.
After Ne-Yo gets his premature ejaculation problem off his chest, the song descends into a mess of romantic clichés. It’s like it was written with ad-libs, but the writer only knew four words to put in the blanks—“baby” and “babygirl” are used constantly, and lines like, “I love making love to you” represent the creative apex. At least he’s not letting his performance issues dampen his enthusiasm, but it’s hard to be aroused by a song about a guy who just realized sex is kind of neat.
7. Madonna – Hung Up
Yes, Madonna is still around, and yes, she still sucks. As a song, “Hung Up” isn’t that bad, but in 2009 the music video was voted the least sexy video of all time. If you disagree, you haven’t seen it.
In just five minutes you’ll see more of Madonna’s ass than it’s safe to be exposed to in a lifetime. She gyrates around in a pink leotard that leaves nothing to the imagination, which would be fine if she hadn’t been nearly 50 when this video was released. It’s like watching our mothers prance around with their buttocks hanging out—everything about it just feels… dirty. And not the good dirty, the “I’ve been in the shower for five hours and I still don’t feel clean” dirty. Three cameramen committed suicide during the recording of this video, and, if you listen closely whenever the camera zooms in on Madonna’s pelvis, you can hear their screams.
6. Dinah Washington – Long John Blues
As proof that unsexy songs aren’t a new phenomenon we’re going back to 1949, when the Queen of the Blues sang a smooth, jazzy ballad about getting railed by her dentist.
On the scale of erotic professions dentist ranks behind only coroner and concentration camp guard, so Washington had a tall mountain to climb—and a double entendre about cavities that needed filling was not the way to go about it. “He took out his trusted drill and told me to open wide” is possibly the most uncomfortable sexual analogy ever written, especially since it came right after we learned that “every woman just can’t stand the pain.” Good lord. If this song had been written thirty years later the lyrics would have just been Washington’s dentist yelling “Is it safe?” while he molested her.
5. Black Eyed Peas – My Humps
We apologize for reminding everyone of the existence of “My Humps,” a song so patently stupid that scientists have linked prolonged exposure to it with an increased risk for brain tumors, but it really does deserve a place on this list. Maybe it’s old hat to make fun of it, but the fact that the Black Eyed Peas still have a career is proof that they’ve yet to be mocked enough.
“Lady lumps” sounds like a term ultra-Orthodox Jews use when they give the sex talk. Fergie’s use of it suggests that she either has the maturity of an eight year old or she’s trying to tell us she has breast cancer. And the latter possibility is actually more arousing than anything else in this song.
When Fergie isn’t giving us an anatomy lesson she’s bragging about how she uses her body to make men spend all their money on her. Way to set feminism back a decade with your inane music, Black Eyed Peas. Is bragging about how your camel-esque behind makes men do your bidding supposed to be seductive? Maybe it’s our own fault for expecting better of a band that rhymed “sexy” with “sex me.”
4. Another Level – Freak Me
“Freak Me” was written by an R&B group called Silk, but it only became a musical contraceptive when it was covered by Another Level, a British boy band. Any song called “Freak Me” is obviously going to lack sophistication, but Another Level managed to turn it into something especially ridiculous.
Lines like, “Let me lick you up and down” and “I want to be your nasty man” are silly, but Silk could pull them off because they looked like they could actually follow up on those requests. The guys of Another Level are so wimpy that their idea of being a “nasty man” is reading their poetry to their girlfriends before they spend ten seconds thrusting and five minutes apologizing.
Their desire to “Let me freak you” doesn’t sound erotic, just desperate—these are lonely men, and there’s nothing sexy about that. Hell, the band’s token black member looks like he’s on the verge of tears throughout the entire video. Considering this was the peak of his career, we can’t really blame him.
3. R. Kelly – Pregnant
This is R. Kelly’s second entry on the list, and frankly, he could have occupied all ten spots. The man is to love songs what rape kits are to romantic evenings. Statistics show that for every R. Kelly song released the number of lesbians in the world skyrockets, and “Pregnant” was responsible for more vows of chastity than every religion in history.
“Pregnant” is about a girl with an “unbelievable booty” that R. Kelly met and became so enamoured with he immediately decided he wanted to “knock her up.” He then told her as much, making it both a terrible impulse decision and a terrible pickup line. No woman on Earth is going to respond to, “You make me want to get you pregnant” with anything except a rape whistle. It’s about as romantic as shouting, “You will be the one to bear my young!” then clubbing her and dragging her back to your cave.
And if you think that’s sexist, wait until you hear the line, “Now put that girl in my kitchen.” Wait, is this a prequel to “Sex in the Kitchen”? That song just got a whole lot darker.
2. Liz Phair – H.W.C. (NSFW)
There’s no way to be subtle here, so we’re just going to come out and say it: Liz Phair really, really likes semen. She likes it so much she wrote a ballad in its honour, and it’s even more embarrassing to listen to than you’d imagine. Seriously, if you’re easily embarrassed, just don’t watch the video. Take my word for it.
We don’t want to be prudes—male singers have written plenty of great songs about how much they love sex, so it would be hypocritical to criticize a woman for doing the same thing. But Phair’s song was so obviously written for its shock value that it’s not sexy, just insulting. We’re supposed to say, “A girl who sings about semen, and plays the harmonica? What a free spirit!” but our only reaction is, “Ew, gross.” We’re glad you like ejaculate so much Liz, but we really don’t need to hear about what it’s doing for your complexion. The only people who are going to be aroused by this song are future prostitutes and future serial killers.
1. Katy Perry – Milk Milk Lemonade
This song was cut from Perry’s Teenage Dream album, and considering Perry is most famous for a song about the complex and esoteric subject of making out with another girl it must have hit a whole new level of shallow to get the axe. It did—and then it kept digging.
Katy Perry – Milk Milk Lemonade (New Song) by wonderful-life1989
The fact that the children’s rhyme about bodily fluids turned “sexy” hook is the least idiotic part of this song is a testament to what a concentrated dose of ear poison it is. Every line is a dreadful double entendre with all the subtly of a sledgehammer to the face. Lyrics like, “You say I got the ripest melons on the street/My honey dew and your banana make a treat,” will forever ruin both sex and fruit for anyone unfortunate enough to hear them. And it only gets worse from there, as Perry invites listeners to sample her sugar, because she’s a “tasty treat.” Well, at least she’s not asking us to try her chocolate, though it is mentioned in the hook. Ew.