Things to Do

Four Sultry Songs That Prove DC Is Sexy

Good Booty, the latest book from NPR music critic Ann Powers, chronicles the history of sexual expression in American music, from 1920s vocalist Florence Mills to nerd heartthrob Buddy Holly to erotic deity Prince. In advance of her appearance at Politics and Prose’s new outpost at the Wharf, we asked her to choose some of the sexiest songs ever to come out of Washington.

1. The Duke Ellington Orchestra with Adelaide Hall “Creole Love Call”

Photograph by Poppix Media/Alamy.
Photograph by Poppix Media/Alamy.

This 1927 tune features some suggestively throaty singing. “It was one of the first completely wordless vocal songs record­ed,” Powers says, “and of course, these wordless vocals evoke more than just love.”

2. Starland Vocal Band “Afternoon Delight”

Photograph by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images.
Photograph by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images.

After it came out in 1976, the DC-based group’s racy earworm became a breakout smash. “The immortal hit about pre-sundown sex was actually penned after a long afternoon at Clyde’s of Georgetown.”

3. Priests “Say No”

Photograph by Audrey Melton.
Photograph by Audrey Melton.

You can find this track from the popular local punk quartet on its 2013 album, Tape Two. “It’s a great song about defying societal pressures that make it hard to maintain a relationship. It’s about defiantly being in love.”

4. Meshell Ndegeocello “Satisfy”

Photograph by Wenn/Alamy.
Photograph by Wenn/Alamy.

The onetime Duke Ellington School of the Arts student released this sultry tune in 1999. “Her Bitter album was an intimate view into a relationship and its aftermath. It’s wrenching. But ‘Satisfy’—the title pretty much says it all.”

See Powers speak about Good Booty at Politics and Prose at the Wharf on December 1.

This article appears in the December 2017 issue of Washingtonian.

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Web Producer/Writer

Rosa joined Washingtonian in 2016 after graduating from Mount Holyoke College. She covers arts and culture for the magazine. She’s written about anti-racism efforts at Woolly Mammoth Theatre, dinosaurs in the revamped fossil hall at the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum, and the horrors of taking a digital detox. When she can, she performs with her family’s Puerto Rican folkloric music ensemble based in Jersey City. She lives in Adams Morgan.