It’s a blessing whenever human sexuality becomes a conversational topic – just one more subterranean vital truth to bubble up over coffee and cocktails – so let’s take this for all it’s worth, shall we? Whether you’re 50 Shades for or against, here is one mighty fine phallic-shaped train for society to hitch a ride upon, at least for a little while.
I’m so glad you’re aboard.
So here is the clicklist – an assembly of songs more closely related to 50 Shades of Grey than the film’s own third-cousin-removed soundtrack. Because love songs alone, no matter how heartfelt, do not a BDSM romance make. Sanitized sex is for test tubes, and gentle innuendo doesn’t smack the way the dirty stuff does.
Frenching My Inner Goddess
Awakening sexuality makes Anastasia slightly schizo in 50 Shades of Grey – proof that she probably should have hit the snooze button until she was properly ready for it. If every lady must be saddled with an inner goddess, I shall name mine Tuth, Destroyer of Worlds. Until Tuth shows up, The Cramps have their amazing sex goddess mantra “Like a Bad Girl Should” to ease me through the rough spots. The song is carnal, campy, and has the only kind of spitting I can tolerate in it. Bonus points for increasing the sex appeal of jellybeans. The lyrics are from the perspective of an observer rather than the bad girl herself, but I don’t think our protagonist will have a problem with that.
When Anastasia finally decides to really embrace her inner goddess, perhaps Christian can get it on video.
Show Your Work
For those days when Christian lifts the masturbation ban, there’s Reverend Horton Heat’s “One Time For Me”. This rollicking punkabilly anthem proves that there’s nothing like working in front of a live audience. Best declaration of the song: “Churn that butter, honey!”
Stockholm Syndrome Sonata
“He Hit Me (It Felt Like a Kiss)” by The Crystals has lyrics that may appall contemporary sensibilities, but they touch truly and honestly upon the allure of bad relationships. The lightly rising vocals of The Crystals soar above the brooding bass, revealing the entwined nature of spirituality and (masochistic) sexuality; long has there been the divine allure of martyrdom – spiritual enlightenment through abusive ablution of the flesh. From the monastic traditions of self-flagellation to the complicit societal mores that make enduring an abusive relationship a volatile cocktail of shame and self-sacrifice, obviously there is something to be found in chasing the pain dragon. Thank god there’s BDSM around to provide ample play space for these self-destructive impulses in a healthy and responsible way.
Does Anastasia like being hit? I read the book and I’m still not sure. If she were more straightforward with herself she might answer “Undecided” – as she probably should have with her college major.
Feeling the Burn
Christian Grey likes his ladies to work out, which as a knee-jerk impulse might lead me to post LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It”, but that would be folly when Devo is clearly begging for this one. I can distinctly envision Anastasia being put through her paces while forced to listen to the 80s classic, “Whip It”. Perhaps her hired personal trainer could wear the classic Devo onesie/staircase hat outfit for extra flair.
Benny Benassi’s techno treat “Who’s Your Daddy?” would also fit in nicely with this fictional workout playlist. Full of playful energy, sultry female squawks and deadpan dom vocals, this is a song that lyrically undermines the overt power play of its chorus while retaining a more severe dom/sub mood.
Short and sweet: it’s a kinky love song. Perfect.
Just Following Orders!
Poor Anastasia has to learn everything about sex from scratch. If only the audience could be entirely certain that this is due to inexperience alone, and not an inherent lack of real curiosity about sex residing within her inner goddess/nougat-filed core. Reverend Horton Heat makes it on the list a second time with the song “Let Me Teach You How to Eat”, a raunchy set of innuendos made for mental munching. Anastasia, take notes. There will be an exam later.
Sub Space: The Final Frontier
Mainly provided here for the chorus, Bill Withers’s classic funk song “Use Me” is a bitter ditty sung with a wry smile. The pleasure of being used and abused is trumpeted about, but by the end of the song it’s clear that turnabout is on the horizon. Spoiler alert: Anastasia has neither the spunk nor sass that the character in this song possesses, but I’ll bet her inner goddess knows the words to it already.
I Set the Timer But It Didn’t Go Off
Drawing out pleasure and pain is at the heart of BDSM play, and the build of orgasm is elegantly depicted in this little-known Placebo B-side, “Bubblegun”. Anastasia, it’s too late now, but if someone’s going to tie you up and force you to listen to music while they do kinky business to you, this song should make the playlist. The sensuality of the song is revealed only by patiently letting the song unfold through languid electric distortion, plaintive vocals, and rather sensual, top hat-skimming drums. The culmination of everything coming together in one messy climax is (naturally) worth it.
Mel Brooks famously said “It’s good to be the king!” in his classic comedy, History of the World: Part I. Tom Petty transformed that catch phrase into a coy, dark melody about the allure and potential corruption hiding behind the assumption of any throne. I secretly suspect that Christian Grey has this song on repeat and sits in the heart of his purchased empire, whispering the line “a sweet little queen/who can’t run away” to himself whenever it comes up on the track.
Switching It Up
Clearly Christian is obsessed with Anastasia, to the point of stalking her across the country (which might be a fantasy of a CIA agent, but I don’t see it working out for this English lit major). Enter Southern Culture on the Skids’s kitschy-kink song “Camel Walk”, which flirts with BDSM worship, and totally switches the power dynamic around. Although Christian isn’t into it, Anastasia might find it in her one day to try on her own pair of pointy boots. Best line of the song: “Little Debbie, Little Debbie I’m coming home!”
Whether you watch 50 Shades or not, me and my buddy Tuth here will be more than happy to carry on the conversation. To (badly) paraphrase R. Crumb: Keep on fuckin’.