When Drake dropped “One Dance” back in April, people immediately predicted it would be one of the contenders for Song of the Summer. Drake’s big summer jam last year was “Hotline Bling,” also not a banger. In fact, both tracks are what I consider MTFT: Music To F-ck To. This is the music I’ve been drawn to recently. And lately the best music from some of the best—and sometimes most surprising—artists is, specifically, for f-cking. The Weeknd, for example, specializes in MTFT. As does Miguel. And Frank Ocean.
In high school, my friends and I always had mix tapes going that were labelled MTFT. The genre is not about breaking headboards or 10 seconds of jackhammering in the bathroom at a party. MTFT is a sensual ride, a bump and grind with full eye contact at several different speeds—you rev it up, you slow it down, you move it round and round, because the tease is often just as satisfying as the main event. This is why Channing Tatum danced to Ginuwine’s “Pony” in both Magic Mike movies. “Pony” belongs in the MTFT Hall of Fame. You can’t rush the sex when you’re sexing to “Pony.” Every thrust deserves its own moment and should be fully savoured before the next gyration. MTFT is the soundtrack to your most illicit memories, your wanton awakening and your future freak-on. This is mine, currently.
“Slave To Love” Bryan Ferry
I’m partial to the ’80s since that’s when I grew up. Movie sex was better then. So were movie montages. And no movie is more memorable for its sex and its montages than 9 1/2 Weeks. This is my favourite song from the soundtrack. It’s so unmistakably ’80s in sound (there’s a porn feel to the music; see also the opening theme to Top Gun), and it’s definitely a song written specifically to get down to. I once played it in the car on a hot summer night. As soon as it came on, the person driving knew—it was ON.
“Pillow Talk” Zayn
This is how you break out of a boy band—by releasing a song that’s all about f-kling like a grown-up. When he sings about a “place that is so pure, so dirty and raw,” I believe that it exists.
“Kiss It Better” Rihanna
This is straight up Rihanna’s sexiest song, and it’s not like she’s short on sexy songs. Or aggressive ones. But this time she’s not asking her rude boy if he can get it up or if he’s big enough; she’s ordering him to put his ego aside in exchange for pleasure. And she sounds like she’s writhing around in bed while she’s making the demand.
“Rush Rush” Paula Abdul
Paula’s high-pitched voice—almost a whine—works perfectly for this song and its lyrics. Like Rihanna, she’s looking for a booty call, but where Rihanna is the boss, Paula’s the supplicant. You can feel her need as she sings, “I wanna, I wanna see you get free with me.” And her desperation is relatable. Sometimes you just have to have that D. Plus Keanu Reeves, arguably at his most beautiful, was featured in the video if you need some visual stimulation.
“No Surprises” Radiohead
A song about landfills and bringing down the government might not be the most obvious choice for MTFT. Then again, sex doesn’t always begin when we’re in a good mood. There’s a melancholy to the tune and to Thom Yorke’s voice that makes this perfect for makeup sex after an intense fight, when the hurt is still lingering.
“At Your Best” Aaliyah
After Radiohead smooths over the bumps, let Aaliyah come in and remind you both why you ended up in bed in the first place. This is actually a cover of the Isley Brothers original, and they intended it as an earnest tribute to their mother. But Aaliyah’s version is so erotically vulnerable that she adds an entirely new dimension.
“That’s The Way Love Goes” Janet Jackson
Just try not to bounce your hips with a stank face on when this song starts playing. You’re supposed to be grinding on someone when Janet sings, “don’t stop, don’t stop.” And you’re supposed to be promising whoever you’re grinding on that you’re gonna take them there.
Jodeci’s entire second album, Diary of a Mad Band, is MTFT. There’s nothing romantic to this track, though. “Feenin’” is pure desire. Like you are so hard up for that person, you can’t make sense of anything until you’re straddling them.
“Underneath The Stars” Mariah Carey
In my opinion, it’s Mariah’s most underrated slow jam. Not enough people appreciate this song. Maybe because they haven’t had sex to it yet. Once you do, though, you won’t want to stop. Try it the way she’s telling you to: in a park, the grass slightly damp and cool on your back, on a clear night in August. It’ll make you feel like a teenager again.
“Heaven Help” Lenny Kravitz
I don’t even know why I have to explain this. It’s Lenny Kravitz. Sex just happens when he shows up. This entire song is about how he’s ready for love, how he’s been saving it all up for that one person, how he’s finally prepared to let it go and rock her like she’s never been rocked before. There’s no way this won’t hit all your spots.