Allow us to take you on a brief time-traveling journey for some of the most sensuous soul jams to ever pump out of the speakers. Those in the know are already well aware of the importance of the right music for making love and these are some of the jams that you should be making sure are in your Spotify playlist next time you’re with someone special. Over half of those who enjoy music while making love agree that the rights sounds make a big difference in setting the mood and the scene for a sensual evening, according to this infographic on the relationship between sex and music. The same study found that 40 percent of those same people found the right music even more arousing than their partner’s touch. Here are ten great tracks that definitely have the right touch.
01. The Isley Brothers – Between the Sheets
The grandaddy of all smooth slow jams. “Between the Sheets” has been sampled so many times it’s probably playing in someone’s bedroom right now. Notably Notorious B.I.G.’s “Big Poppa” sampled the track, and so did Da Brat’s “Funkdafied,” “Nika” by Lil Vicious, Keith Murray’s “Most Beautifullest Thing the World,” Gwen Stefani’s “Luxurious,” and like a hundred other songs. “Between the Sheets” is the truth and you can’t beat the Isley Brothers when it comes to baby-making music.
02. Ready for the World – Love You Down
You can already hear it in your head can’t you? That hook echoing in your brain crooning “let me love you down.” Not only is the beat smoother than silk but Melvin Riley’s vocals practically melt your clothes off. Then, that guitar solo comes in and just blows your mind and now we’re going to take a second and cool off before moving to number three.
03. Sade – No Ordinary Love
Anyone that claims they’re into romantic mood music that isn’t down with Sade doesn’t know what they’re talking about. The opening of this song immediately lets you know what the deal with slow, smoky keys giving way to Sade’s demure vocal line that gets undercut with an epic ’90s guitar riff that makes every time feel like the love scene at the end of an action movie. Game recognizes game with Twin Shadow covering the song on Jimmy Fallon with video of the performance here.
04. Mariah Carey – Always Be My Baby
Mariah may have fallen a bit from her pedestal today, but no one can ever deny the power of Ms. Carey in the ’90s and this was one of her best. Uplifting chords with Mariah’s voice at its best “Always Be My Baby” is a sweet, romantic, and heartbreaking ode to lost love and those who refuse to let go. It works on so many different levels and Carey’s voice is so powerful the song transcends the trappings of time and has become one of the immortal love ballads of our age.
05. Usher – Nice and Slow
They call him U-S-H-E-R R-A-Y-M-O-N-D and “Nice and Slow” is still one of the best songs in the R&B legend’s long repertoire. One of the sexiest singles from 1998’s My Way, the record made Usher a household name and cemented his position as one of the gatekeepers of pop and R&B long before his momentary lapse in judgment led to the signing of Justin Bieber. When it’s seven o’clock on the dot and you’re in the drop top cruising the streets, there’s only one song that will lead you where you want to go.
06. D’Angelo – Untitled (How Does It Feel?)
Truthfully you could easily put just about any D’Angelo song or record on and you’d be ready to roll. Even New York Magazine has applied science to what makes the man’s music so sexy. Soulful guitars combine with a slow-and-steady rhythm section while D’Angelo’s syrupy vocals coat the track like honey for one of the hottest songs that ever hit the charts. But we know all you really remember is the iconic video that also perfectly wraps up everything the song is about into one shot.
07. Frank Ocean – Thinkin’ Bout You
This song, yo. Frank Ocean, the only redeeming figure of the OFWGKTA family (except for Earl, we love you, Earl), he was always just too good to be hanging with a bunch of foul-mouthed chuckleheads spending their time swearing and skating. But 2012’s “Thinkin’ Bout You” from his Channel Orange LP put the soulful singer on a completely different level than his compatriots. Frank was too busy making beautifully crafted love songs with irresistible hooks that made him the perfect R&B star for a new generation.
08. Miguel – Adorn
2012 was a terrific year for slow jams and Miguel’s “Adorn” was one of the best. The dated synthesizers and chords felt more like Lionel Richie than Trey Songz and Miguel ended up falling backwards into a new classic. Miguel is still at the whole bedroom music game with “Coffee,” but he’ll be hard pressed to ever top this one.
09. Ciara – Body Party feat. Future
The ex-Mrs. Future recently dropped her latest record, Jackie, to positive feedback, but it was 2013’s “Body Party” that rebuilt Ciara’s brand and made her a staple of the sexy stereo. Unstoppable producer-du-jour Mike Will Made It flipped the sample from the classic romantic ’90s club jam “My Boo” by the Ghost Town DJs and turned it into a slowed down sexual tour de force bringing that inescapable hook back to life for another summer of love. She may not be with Future anymore but she seems to be doing well after trading up for Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, according to the Washington Post.
10. Jeremih – Planes feat. J. Cole
Jeremih has matured a lot since his “Birthday Sex” days and is currently controlling the airwave since 2015 with this outstanding ode to the mile-high club. By all accounts, airplane sex is decidedly not as fun or practical as birthday sex. You have to deal with cramped spaces, passengers, air marshals, turbulence, and a bunch of other hassles. The act is more fun in theory than in practice. But we suppose if you’re Jeremih and have a private G6 then you could probably make it work and J. Cole has a nice verse and name-drops Akinyele. Complex reports that the track was to originally feature a verse from Chance the Rapper but ultimately went with the North Carolina-bred J. Cole.