It was T.S. Eliot who famously wrote, “I want to do the nasty-nast/ And this time I’ll try to last/ Baby.” And really, a lack of staying power is Yale’s problem too. We all get worked up into a frenzy for Valentine’s Day, but then we’re spent, and for the rest of the year, romance and making sweet sweet love tend to get forgotten. This is why we need music to remind us of why we have those dirty bits in the first place.
I’m not talking about Marvin Gaye, Ella Fitzgerald or (may the Lord protect us) Sara MacLachlan — i.e., music that’s supposed to be good to play tonsil tennis to. I want to recommend albums fitting the sort of repressed, perverted student body we have. These albums will do more than give your disgusting little mind a kick in the pants: They’ll dress it in leather and give it a whip.
1) The inevitable first choice, of course, is Liz Phair’s “Exile in Guyville,” a song-by-song response to that great white whale of male chauvinism, the Rolling Stones’ “Exile on Main Street.” Sexual adventures, explicit fantasies and frustrated libido are the main ingredients of “Exile in Guyville,” and they result in miniature masterpieces ranging from the controlled desperation of “Strange Loop” to the absolute self-confidence of “Mesmerizing.” And really, how could you not love an album that has lyrics like “I want to f— you till your d— is blue?”
2) More psychologically unhealthy than Liz Phair, but perhaps even more entertaining, is the Pixies’ “Surfer Rosa.” Two songs are the showpieces of this album. The first is “Gigantic,” where the bassist Kim Deal, who went on to found the Breeders, sings about voyeurism. The second is “Bone Machine,” where the guitarist Frank Blank yells, “You’re so pretty when you’re unfaithful to me!” All this proves, yet once more, that sexual dysfunctionality is guaranteed to make good art.
3) We all have this mental picture of Bob Dylan in the ’60s as a sensitive, tender poet, but we forget what a horny little overgrown teenager he was. And “Live 1966: The Royal Albert Hall Concert” shows him at his horniest and most aggressive, which makes it an exhilarating album. The song that brings this out the most is “Leopard Skin Pill-Box Hat,” where Dylan turns the hat into a not-so-veiled symbol for a much discussed part of the female body. “I wanna see whether it’s really the expensive kind,” he sings, and then launches into a suggestive little story: “I asked the doctor if I could see you/ It’s bad for your health, he said/ I disobeyed his orders/ I came to see you but found him there instead/ I don’t mind you cheating on me/ But I sure wish he’d get that off his head / Your brand-new leopard skin pill-box hat.” Ah, the power of metaphor.
4) Finally, a sentimental favorite. The precursor to Pearl Jam, Mother Love Bone, was much less self-righteous and much more dirty-minded, and their eponymous album, released in 1992 after the band had dissolved, is filled to the brim with pubescent randiness and hair-band posturing (the best sort of posturing, truly). Listen to it long enough, and you’ll believe you have a large seraglio of groupies and a roadie named Don. And if you don’t have the real thing, well, sometimes delusions are good enough to let you get your freak on — only, though, if they’re sexy, sexy delusions. Baby.