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Top songs to get your groove on

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FEBRUARY 14, 2017

Whether you’re spending Valentine’s Day with a special someone (or two, or three) or all by yourself, this Valentine’s Day the Daily Californian presents a list of tracks to keep it bumping in the bedroom. Listen here:

“Really Love” — D’Angelo & The Vanguard
“Really Love,” just like real love, takes it slow and takes its time. “Querías ser mi dueño,” Gina Figueroa whispers intimately in the spoken intro over a swell of sumptuous strings and finger-plucked Spanish guitar, “Pero yo soy libre.” D’Angelo’s doting falsetto tumbles out after, buoyed by elastic, sensual instrumentation. The strings and guitar play with a newfound rhythm section, tickling and caressing one another in equal measure. Every line simpers through D’Angelo’s lips like it couldn’t be helped, as if in spite of himself, it’s love that’s won out. — Justin Knight

“Glory Box” — Portishead
Beth Gibbons is exhausted of the sex she’s had. It takes a bit before the Portishead lead singer starts confiding in us, but once she does, her confidences jets out in untempered cascades. The buildups are big, and they always pay off — not to mention the electric guitar solo, which splits the song in two halves and leaves nothing behind but ecstasy. The title’s innuendo is obvious, but this slow-burner is about more than just sex: It’s about lovemaking. The demand Gibbons makes of her lover is simple: Don’t just treat her like a “Glory Box.” Make her a woman. — Justin Knight

“Powa” — tUnE-yArDs
While not immediately apparent from the outset, tUnE-yArDs’ “Powa” is a succulent lovemaking ballad that equates the validating potency of sex with waking from sleep. “I need you to press me down before my body flies away from me,” she cries out, exultant, matching the sensuality of her lyrics with the gruff bruteness of her delivery and chords. On “Powa,” she sings until she has no breath in her lungs, illuminating the kind of rapture and satisfaction that nicely compliments the post-sex glow. — Justin Knight

“La Femme d’Argent” Air
The origins of downtempo electronic sex music find their sophisticated roots here. “La Femme d’Argent” evokes a particular place and time — drinks at his place, scotch, a bachelor pad with leather furniture. The year is in the 1990s, you’re in your mid-20s, and Air is here to invite you inside for the moment of striking, sensual clarity between anticipation and release. — Justin Knight

“Digital Lion”  — James Blake feat. Brian Eno
James Blake’s vocals alone could bring a person to climax. In “Lion,” Blake encapsulates the most erotic elements of his deeper register and his falsetto, layering them together in an interwoven waterfall of vocal samples. In collaboration with Brian Eno, James Blake engineers a sense of endless anticipation in rolling hills of drums and vocals that stretch on endlessly. “Digital Lion” is a song drenched with devotion, and the sexiest part is that Blake knows it. — Justin Knight

“Worth It” — Young Thug
Released a year ago today, “Worth it” is Thugger’s 2016 Valentine’s Day ode to the light of his life, Jerrika Karlae. It’s surprising how erotic and caring lines such as “I need a deep throat, baby, swallow me” come off in his tender hands. The breakbeats slur and skid in the background; Young Thug’s frayed vocals, considering his often spasmodic, feral flow, betray a gentle confidentiality. Sex, in Young Thug’s hands, becomes pure, even in its most explicit descriptions. — Justin Knight

“Redbone” — Childish Gambino
Although the slowed-down version may be better suited, Childish Gambino’s single “Redbone,” from his most recent album, “Awaken, My Love!”, combines elements of raspy soul and groovy guitar wales with vocals oozing swagger. “Redbone” is a welcome injection of funk into the bloodstream — and as our red blood sizzles comfortably at each pluck of the bass, every listen will transform. — Kyle Kizu

“Hands to Myself” — Selena Gomez
The reason is in the song’s title. And it’s not really more complicated than that. In “Hands to Myself,” Gomez brushes powered highs and whispered lows that never reach overt sensuality but run with a line of both playfulness and authenticity. Throw in classically catchy pop beats — with an array of layered drops — and “Hands to Myself” is the epitome of a cry for pure fun during intimacy. — Kyle Kizu

“Don’t Let Me Down” — Chainsmokers (Illenium Remix)
You were expecting the original version, weren’t you? Illenium’s remix eschews quick, club-centric beats for a slow, simmering vibe. On a sensory level, the change is immaculate, allowing the drawn-out, rumbling bass to call up both tenderness and seemingly unlimited energy. — Kyle Kizu

Sex, with all the infinitesimal descriptors that you can ascribe to it, can feel rehearsed and practiced. Let’s face it: It can resemble something decidedly unsexy upon entering with the wrong headspace. It’s odd — songs to freak to tend to yearn with feigned sensuality and eroticism and “Fifty Shades” moodiness. Ultimately, sex should be fun. And this funk-driven number off Kaytranada’s great debut leaps from a lights-off club straight to the bedroom. “YOU’RE THE ONE” showcases The Internet vocalist Syd at her most breathless, panting and grinning. It’s all post-coitus revelry and underwear bedroom grooviness — and that’s how it should be. — Joshua Bote

Contact the arts staff at [email protected].

FEBRUARY 14, 2017