10 Songs to Make Love To
A column that explores the intersection of love, sex, and music.
By: Jynessa Marczuk
The first time I made love, it was in-harmoniously quiet. But I was still listening. To the awkward rhythm of our adolescent bodies. To the pitter patter leaking in through the window from the suburban street. To the crescendo of my heart anxiously beating out of my chest. When the deafening white noise of losing our innocence hastily ceased, we both agreed that our only regret was that we forgot to put on music. “That’s too bad, I really wanted to lose my virginity to Beethoven.”
I have a confession to make: now whenever I make love to someone new, I’ll find certain songs that I’ll subconsciously refer to as the (unofficial) soundtrack to our intimacy. Because there’s nothing quite as thrilling as inviting a lover to stay the night and then putting on a track that, for me, has already become our secret theme song. Our leitmotif. Is that strange and obsessive? Probably. But what is desire without obsession? Boring!
My friend Yasemin once told me that love is not an algorithm. But there’s something about the act of love-making that is undeniably formulaic and setting the mood with the right music is definitely part of that equation. Alas, considering I spend 99% of my time indoors — dodging texts and Tinder messages, idealizing the unattainable, confusing lust with love, and all that jazz — the ratio of love-making playlists on my private Spotify account to actual lovers in my life is (unsurprisingly) about a zillion to one… which is why, dear reader, I am on a mission to enhance you and your lover’s bedroom experience with a curation of sensual sounds. Welcome to Songs to Make Love To, a new monthly column in which I will be exploring the mathematics of love-making music.
For the full playlist on spotify, click here.
Jessie Reyez - Body Count (feat. Normani and Kehlani)
This upbeat remix of Jessie Reyez’ Body Count (featuring Normani of Fifth Harmony and Kehlani) gives us a sneak peak of her forthcoming EP, Being Human in Public. Lyrically, it oozes female empowerment and sex positivity (I like you much better when you shut up / And get down, down on your knees, babe / ‘Cause I’m a 10 out of 10, got you saying amen) while challenging the hetero-patriarchal power dynamics that queer women too often face when navigating sexual relationships (I dodge dick for some pussy, something that we can agree on / Don’t tell me it’s a turn on for you, or maybe it bothers you / That you’re the only one out the equation). Body Count is the perfect anthem to hype you up, whether it’s for a night of love-making or just pure self-love.
Junia T - Know Better (feat. Micoh Smith, Sean Leon, Julian Thomas)
Know Better is the debut single from Toronto-based producer, Junia T. Featuring a talented roster of rising hip-hop and R&B artists (Micoh Smith, Sean Leon, Julian Thomas), this is one of those tracks that you’ll put on at home after the club, when you and your lover are still buzzing and probably still drinking, even though you both know better...
Kaytranada - Kiss of Life (Sade Edit)
Canadian DJ and producer Kaytranada gives us a modern interpretation of a classic love song by none other than the smooth operator herself, Sade. While the original recording exudes sensuality in a slow and steady fashion, Kaytranada’s edit is far more reflective of the love-making of our time: a playful, upbeat tempo with richer and busier instrumentals that somehow leave you anticipating “what’s next” after every twist and turn. Modern love-making can be unpredictable, but this remix will warm you up for the ride.
Garçons - Pink Dress
This funk-inspired tune will make you want to get funky. Singer-songwriter Deelo and producer-director Julian Strangelove are the iconic duo behind Garçons; Pink Dress is a dreamy single that appears on their latest EP, Body Language. This song experiments with elements of funk, rhythm and blues; the vocals — vibrant and filled with raw, earnest desire — invite the listener to explore the aesthetics of a dream lover fantasy.
Shay Lia - Cherish
Singer-songwriter Shay Lia takes it nice and slow on this single (produced by Kaytranada). Her voice is seductive in an understated way: the emotions vibrate, the feelings almost whispered. Cherish is one of those songs that’ll make even the shyest of lovers want to lean in just a little bit closer and make the first move.
The Accents - Mood
Toronto-based indie experimental duo, The Accents (vocalist Mathijs Kriebel and producer Richard Weller), get self-reflective on their latest single Mood (which appears on their EP Moodboy). With the combination of lo-fi R&B vocals layered over chilled-out, ambient beats, it sounds as though this track was born in a bedroom, somewhere late at night. As though it was always meant to be listened to within the limits of those four walls, shared by two people in a room of one’s own. Mood is both meditative and intimate, a song for late-night lovers who’ve lost track of time, lost in conversation and between the sheets.
Mind Bath - Flower Tattoo (feat. Forever)
Flower Tattoo muses upon the unadulterated attraction between new lovers, the elated exploration of each other’s bodies, the detailed observations imbued with infatuation. This euphoria-inducing track is the latest single from Montréal-based R&B artist, Mind Bath (Michael Brock), featuring vocals by Forever and was co-produced by Project Pablo.
Saya - Side Ting
Indie pop-R&B artist Saya croons with soulful ease and alluring mystique on Side Ting, which appears on her debut album Sugarcoated. What I like about this song is that for a 3 minutes and 44 seconds, she fools us all into shamelessly desiring the forbidden fruit. Because regardless of whether your lover is a side ting or just another ‘one-night stand’, let’s be honest, confusing lust with love can be pretty fun.
Mac DeMarco - One More Love Song (Instrumental)
Last spring, alternative rock singer-songwriter Mac DeMarco graced us with a dreamy collection of unreleased demos and instrumentals left over from his 2017 studio album, This Old Dog. Once you and your partner(s) have done the deed and are ready to engage in your preferred post-sex activity (whether that be smoking a joint, snuggling or just staring off into space), I highly recommend listening to One More Love Song (the instrumental version). You won’t regret it.
Bonus Old School Jam: The Weeknd - What You Need
This (and pretty much every single song on The Weeknd’s Trilogy) + Weed + Wine = Everything you want and need for a long night of love-making.