As the year inches towards its close, we enter the liminal void known as ‘Silly Season’. For many, it’s a time for end of year piss-ups, work parties, basketball team season finales, Christmas/Chanukah celebrations and beach hangs. But what music to put on to backdrop these events? Amongst the troves of iconic albums, we’ve picked a small handful that scream sexual empowerment and self love.
Album: Positions by Ariana Grande
Sexiest track: Positions
This some sh– that I usually don't do (yeah)
But for you, I kinda, kinda want to
Ariana has always been a queen of owning her sexuality and being aggressively unapologetic about it. In her 6th album, Positions, Ariana celebrates the peace and self-love she has found after some very challenging phases in her life, including but not limited to ill-fated love, trauma and major career-setbacks. The whole pop-perfect album embodies Ari’s signature style of candid, sultry, from-the-heart songwriting, paired with her iconic vocals. On ‘Positions’ (much like her previous hit, ‘Side to Side’), she elaborates explicitly on how love causes her to want to push her boundaries, to shapeshift into the most adaptable, freaky, passionate lover possible. Aspirational.
Album: ANTI by Rihanna
Sexiest track: Sex with Me
Sex with me, so amazing
All this all hard work, no vacation
Stay up off my Instagram, pure temptation
As with almost all musicians with a singular name, Rihanna is ever eponymous with songs that are sultry, passionate and powerful. On her critically acclaimed 2016 album, ‘ANTI’ she released ‘Sex With Me’, where she celebrates exactly how amazing she is at sex. And we get the impression that she is pretty earth-shatteringly good. Track for track, the whole album inspires working towards a world where everyone has Rihanna-level confidence in bed. And we stand behind. She’s now pivoted to being a billionaire makeup empire magnate, but we can’t help but find ourselves on our knees begging for her next musical offering.
Album: Dirty Computer by Janelle Monae
Sexiest tracks: Make Me Feel, Pynk
It's like I'm powerful with a little bit of tender
An emotional, sexual bender
Janelle Monae, iconic pop auteur, has been using feminism, queer and black liberation as the foundations of her music and acting career for over a decade now. She’s produced some incredible tracks and videos that are way ahead of their time, and frankly, criminally underrated. Her seminal 2018 album, Dirty Computer, is about the kind of popstar, rockstar energy that stars like Madonna, the Jacksons, Prince and Freddie Mercury pioneered, with Prince being credited as an inspiration and collaborator. ‘Make Me Feel’, the standout single, is anthemic; an archetypical ‘dance around your bedroom and feel amazing’ song. With elements of pop, RnB and hip hop, the whole album is a celebration of afrofuturism, colour and raw sensuality.
Album: Renaissance by Beyoncé
Sexiest track: Summer Renaissance
Know you love when I roleplay, who am I now?
I'm a doc, I'm a nurse, I'm a teacher
Dominate is the best way to beat ya
As if she wasn’t already an (if not the) icon of the genre, and a pioneer of female celebration in pop culture, Beyoncé released another career, and summer-defining album with ‘Renaissance’. Beyoncé’s seventh studio album proves to be a no-skipper, absolutely stuffed with sexy, empowering, positive, liberating anthems. Beyoncé singing about kink and roleplay may not have been on our 2022 bingo cards, but we are all winners because of it.
The last few years have seen something of a kaleidoscope of sex-positive pop albums that have become the soundtrack of us loving ourselves more deeply, more unconditionally and more unapologetically. May our popstar overlords continue to push boundaries and redefine what it means to create a memorable, sexually charged summer.