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On grinding, public boners, and Next’s “Too Close”


In Hear ThisA.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well—some inspired by a weekly theme and some not, but always songs worth hearing. This week, to mark the arrival of Sex Tape in theaters, we’re talking about songs that are meant to be sexy but just aren’t.

I’m not a prude, but I’ve never been one for songs with graphic or graphically metaphoric descriptions of sex. I don’t like talk of things “dripping,” “throbbing,” or “gyrating,” just because I like a little mystery with my bedroom chatter. If I want porn, I know where to find it, and it’s not on radio that 8-year-olds could also listen to.

That’s one of the reasons I’ve never really loved Next’s “Too Close.” I first heard it my junior year in high school, long before I’d ever had a date, and though I got what was technically happening in the song, I wasn’t really sure why it was on the radio. Sure, grinding was getting more and more popular at dances and in bars (and this is a problem, because an entire generation doesn’t know how to dance and only knows how to grind, but I digress…), but I didn’t get why semi-graphic descriptions of boners and how a girl could “feel a little poke coming through” needed to be on the radio. Fifteen-plus years later, it’s not quite as scandalous a track to me, but it’s still decidedly unsexy. A public boner on a public dance floor? Sticky floors and sticky palms? Some sweaty high school kid touching me in front of my high school English teacher? Blech. Talk about unsexy.