In Hear This, A.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.
Pretty much any R. Kelly song could qualify as an unsexy sex song, and not just in relation to his real-life sexual problems. My mind immediately went to “Pregnant,” which I’ve already written about for Hear This, and then to “Feelin’ On Yo Booty,” from the ridiculously titled TP-2.com. (Was TP2.com taken?) There’s so much that’s vexing about “Booty,” starting with the verb in the title: The word “feelin’” doesn’t connote any pleasure on the part of the receiver, but mostly curiosity on the part of the feeler. Even “rubbin’ on yo booty” or “massagin’ yo booty” would imply something a little more sensual about the act. But really, the whole song—fun as it is—treats the whole booty-feelin’ as a rote exercise, which it may have been for R. Kelly at that point. Sure, it’s the name of the song, and it’s maybe meant to stir some excitement, but the whole narrative seems like an afterthought rather than any sort of seduction. He wants you to know that he’s only in town for the weekend (no commitment), that your hair weave looks “kind of pretty” (that’s the best you can do?), and that he’ll be taking off after he dances. So unlike in “Pregnant,” you’re not even going to get a baby and a white picket fence from R. Kelly. You’re going to have your “backroom” (his word!) fondled, a drink will be purchased on your behalf, and then… nothing. But in the end (pun intended!) “Feelin’ On Yo Booty” works because it gives R. Kelly an excuse to deliver both the “players wanna play” chorus and to repeatedly harmonize the word “booty” during the outro. That’s plenty for a song, though perhaps not enough to be actually sexy.