Congratulations: you’re a rock star! One of the nice things about becoming a rock star? Lots of people want to have sex with you. “Wow. It’s really something,” you think to yourself, “I never thought I’d get this laid.” Yet you are. You are so, so laid. Lucky you.
And with this whole sex-positivity thing going strong on the interwebs, you can probably just go ahead and write a song about just how laid you are, something that’s not exactly explicit, but a song that’s very clearly about sex, about sex you have actually had. And maybe as you are writing it, the realization hits you that songs that are flat out about sex really aren’t sexy at all.
But it turns out that that doesn’t matter, because a bunch of teens will listen to the song and whisper to each other “this song is about fucking” and that will make it a big hit. And with that, you have made a contribution to the limited but potent canon of Bro-Sex, an unfortunate genre of music by frat(ish) bros who got their rocks off that time. A solid Bro-Sex track will get played so much that we will spend a summer subjected to the dumb ballad of your dumb penis. And we can’t complain because if we’re prudes Lena Dunham will yell.
I couldn’t help but start thinking back on all the Bro-Sex songs I’ve hated over the years because of something that happened on the season 7 debut of Game of Thrones last night on HBO. Spoiler alert: the fleshiest face in pop shows up in an Arya Stark centered scene. Ed Sheeran, he who spat out that “Shape of You” song that’s been earworming every fitness freak, cameos as a soldier patrolling Westeros’s Riverlands after… the events of the season’s opening occurrence.
If it’s any comfort, dear reader, it’s virtually guaranteed that the character Sheeran plays will die by Arya’s hand in the next episode. The only question is whether she’ll do him with poison, dagger or rope. A week really is too long to wait. So, until then, in Mr. Sheeran’s honor, here’s our round-up of the five worst Bro-Sex songs of all time.
Dave Matthews Band, “Crash Into Me” (Crash, 1996)
I think this terrible, terrible genre was born the first time someone hit play on a CD and Dave Matthews crooned out the skin-curdling words, “Hike up your skirt a little more / Show your world to me.”
If you haven’t already vomited actual body parts back out of your mouth, it’s worth remembering just how subtle other bits of the lyrics were: “You come crash into me / and I come into you.”
Did you get the word “come” in there enough times, Dave? Maybe throw it in one more time, just to be sure? Oh, you just repeated that last line again, didn’t you? OK, great. I think it’s clear what we’re talking about now. Thank goodness.
“Your Body Is a Wonderland” by John Mayer (Room for Squares, 2002)
“And if you want love, we’ll make it,” Mayer sings, “Swim in a deep sea of blankets.”
Hey John! Discover me strangling you. I cannot with this bro. I cannot.
Where’s the nearest convent? I need some mercy, sisters.
“Sex on Fire” by Kings of Leon (Only by the Night, 2008)
Here’s what struck me as weird about this song: sex really is kind of on fire sometimes. It happens when people have gonorrhea (no, I’m not surprised that you’ve never heard of this particular social disease because the schools are failing obviously). It blows my mind that in the era of the safe sex industrial complex, a major band can have a hit with a song that so totally sounds like an ode to the consequences of failure to use a condom, but here we are.
“Animals” by Maroon 5 (V, 2014)
It really did feel like we got a nice long stretch of years there where Bro-Sex had gone quiet. I like to think it happened because backstage at the 2009 Lollapalooza Music Festival, Ben Folds took the Followill brothers aside and explained what The Clap is and why they need to be careful about metaphors. Word got around, and guys who grew up loving “Wonderwall” chilled it out for a bit.
It couldn’t last, though. In 2014, Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine decided that it had been too long since America had been constantly reminded that rockstars are having lots and lots of sex and he couldn’t stand it. So he put out “Animals,” a song written about how intercourse still started as a predator-prey situation in Obama’s America (just in case you needed anything to feel bad about).
Please stick to surprising brides at their weddings, Adam. I’m having enough trouble sleeping.
“Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran (÷, 2017)
Now your browser smells like Ed Sheeran, but we’re not sorry. You made us write this, America. We didn’t want to.