Thursday, January 24, 2013

More Than a Woman: Sexiest Music Videos

In these cold times, we need something to keep things heated. Some imbibe in fine spirits, some cuddle up with a partner. I'm wearing sweatpants and eating a frozen pizza.

This month, I'm going to keep you warm with sexy videos.

Sexy means different things to different people. One factor I believe to be most common in defining sexy is confidence. If a person's confidence radiates through, the rest seems to fall into place.

That being said, a little hairspray and booty shorts don't hurt either.

We begin with my girl, Bey. Let's face it, everybody loves Beyonce. The woman has worked everyday of her life to become the famous and talented person she is.

A friend once told me, if Beyonce ever approached him, he wouldn't know what to do. He said she was "too much woman" for him.

GQ recently named her the hottest woman of the 21st century. There are Terry Richardson photos to confirm this.

A friend of mine believes Beyonce and Jay-Z secretly used a surrogate to birth their lil' baby Blue Ivy. Those GQ photos may confirm that conspiracy.

The video for "Baby Boy" is so sexy, it feels like you shouldn't even be watching it. Maybe Beyonce's bejeweled breast-wriggling has something to do with it. She's just oiled up and thrusting. Even Sean Paul's inherent creepiness can't reduce the sexiness happening here.

Full disclosure: The orange jumpsuit and hoop earrings Bey wears in the dance club scene is and has been a personal dream outfit of mine for many years.

Fact: Every Beyonce video is hot. She looks stunning in every single one of them, and good for her. The only reason I didn't pick "1+1" or "Videophone" is because I trust you to spend your own time exploring the catalogue of Bey's Vevo.

That being said, there are a few clips I couldn't leave unmentioned.

"Why Don't You Love Me"  - Beyonce is the best vintage sexy: the lipstick, the curlers, the drunken house-wife martini.
Kitty Kat - Feline femme fatale glamour at its finest, Bey's gold lips and leopard print nails compliment her sequins catsuit and nonchalant "over it" attitude. I would've picked this for my number one, but the clip is more of a snippet than a whole piece.

Next, to a woman I admittedly know little about, but somewhere deep down, have consistently been unable to avoid.

At the height of her new found sexuality stage, Ms. Britney Spears put out "I'm A Slave 4 U." Set in a time of post-apocalyptic drought, Britney's all slicked up, singing about sending you "to another time and place." There are so many sweaty bodies breathing on each other, you have to wonder how unsexy Britney must have felt catching everyone's stink-mouth on her face.

The video really is a flashback to the era of super low rise jeans. As a teen, I wanted to wear pants that showed my hip bones, but found them terribly unflattering. Honestly, Britney pulled them off for a very, very long time.

With her intentionally greasy-looking hair and heavy, blue eye make-up, she kind of looks like a punk princess from the neck up. I've got to give her props there.

I love the song title because it plays on a Prince idiosyncrasy: when U abbreviate and add numbers 2 the phrase 4 the corresponding homonyms.

"Toxic" - As a close second, "Toxic" has nothing to be ashamed of. It shows all the markings of a great, sexy pop video: near-nakedness, hot men, french kissing. Call me old fashioned, but I don't need a whole plot line to be entertained. Also, that black wig she wears at the end is a little jank.

Speaking of the Purple One, I can't talk about sexy without bringing Prince into the picture.

During a 1983 performance at First Ave, a benefit concert for the Minnesota Dance Theater, Prince performed "Electric Intercourse."

I hope I don't get a cease and desist letter for showing this to you guys. Prince is notorious for shutting shit down with his purple fist.

The video quality is poor, but his sexual energy and musical ability are so clear. He's panting, wearing only one earring, and by the end, he's kind of having an orgasm. Please, please watch it until the end. It's the best part, I promise.

The drummer's wearing a puffy shirt. Wendy's smiling and playing guitar. This is classic Purple Rain era Prince shit.

After viewing this online treat a few years ago, my personal obsession with Prince began. His genius more than makes up for his height and bratty attitude.

"Darling Nikki"  - On his 1985 Purple Rain tour, Prince outdoes himself with this amazing performance. The pants, the moves, the jewels all speak to the controversial nature of the song.

In the mid-1980's this tune, about a girl whom Prince finds masturbating in a hotel lobby, sent Tipper Gore into a tizzy. When she found her prepubescent daughter listening to "Darling Nikki", she co-founded the Parents Music Resource Center, and subsequently began the lyrical witch-hunt that ended with the creation of "Parental Advisory" stickers.

Quite a trouble-maker in his early days, Prince has now retired to being old and looking really young, his skin now taut and glowing. He's also become a Jehovah's Witness, so no more singing songs about having sex with his sister, or getting blow-jobs from a bride in her wedding gown en route to marry another man.

The final video on the list, while sexy, is generally misconstrued, and ultimately, emotionally conflictive for me.

After releasing his debut "Brown Sugar" in 1995, D'Angelo put out the album "Voodoo" five years later, and quickly became a young neo-soul sex pot.

Women champed at the bit for a little taste of this beautiful singer. I can't blame them.

In the video for "Untitled", you can see every muscle of his diaphragm moving as he sings, especially when he belts out the high notes. Not only does this clip demonstrate his musical prowess, it also shows off his killer abs.

Although the song lyrics seem implicitly sexual, the video's director Paul Hunter decided on a sensual focus. Last June, Hunter told GQ that at the core, "It was about his grandmother's cooking."

The concept of the video is less than obvious, said D'Angelo in the same GQ piece.

"The veil is the nudity and the sexuality. But what they're really getting is the spirit."

Regardless, female fans wanted to see D's hot bod instead of appreciating his music, often shouting "Take it off!" at concerts.

After touring for "Voodoo," D'Angelo hit a rough patch, finally cleaning up after several visits to rehab.

Now he's back, hopefully releasing his next album, and touring.

At the 2012 BET Awards, D and his band performed an extended 7-minute funk that begins with a little bit of "Untitled." Beyonce and sister Solange, and even Chaka Khan were standing and grooving.

In light of its soulful meaning and damaging consequences, "Untitled" has no runner-up.

I find D'Angelo attractive in this video, of course, but knowing the disrespectful treatment he received as a result sets me reeling. Women face similar objectification without taking off their clothes, just walking down the street. For a person's worth to be degraded to simply their physicality ignores the totality of their humanity.

All of the artists on my list are more than just a good face. They have lasting power because their music has a universality that appeals beyond the confines of your whitey-tighties.

Sure, they're good looking and dress cool. But more importantly, they've each used their artistic abilities to their own advantage. They worked what their mamas gave them.

The lesson we can all learn: do you. You're fierce and beautiful.

I bet there's someone who right now, wants to be snuggling with you to keep you warm. Who knows, things might even get a little sexy.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Steps I Took for a Mostly Quaint New Year's Afternoon, Funded by Thoughtful Familial Presents

I love my family. I appreciate their gifts. This is an homage of gratitude.

1) Light the 'wood' scented candle. The comfily crisp, earthy smell isn't cheesy; it reminds me of cuddling Dad's Lay-Z-Boy and looking out the window towards Mom's ASS - Angie's Serenity Spot, a white swinging bench surrounded by plants, complete with tiny fire pit.

2) Drink Teavana's Youthberry Wild Orange Blossom Tea sweetened with Wilelaiki honey miel. (Whatever that means, but it tastes good and quiets my I-bet-its-at-least-pneumonia-or-consumption-cough.)

3) Since the tea isn't enough to warm the ever present chill from this plague, put on the Deena and Ozzy artfully woven pashmina and vintage ultramarine-blue cable knit with white terrier pattern.

4) Put off writing in the new Moleskine to write this blog post. Although the front cover quote begs my hand to crack a page for an existential free-write:

"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment." - Ralph Waldo Emerson