For a moment, imagine it's the '90s again — the era of Bad Boy Records, grunge and Bill Clinton. You're a kid again, and you're on a road trip with your parents. Maybe it's your mom; maybe it's your dad; or maybe it's both. You've been driving for a while. You're bored, staring at the electrical power lines running with the car. You look at the license plates in front of you. The doors are locked. Nowhere to go. Then a song comes on the radio, and the sexual or emotional awkwardness of the lyrics become too much to bare. It's just you and your parents…and the radio. If you turn the dial, then they know, oh they know, you're embarrassed. And that will only make it worse. So stay buckled for the 10 most awkward 90s songs to listen to in the car with your parents.
10. R. Kelly, "Bump N' Grind" (1994)
R. Kelly doesn't see anything wrong with a little bump n' grind — nor a little poo poo and pee pee. This only makes it so much more awkward to look back on being stuck in a car with your parents as R. Kelly's voice bounced around in your automobile, encouraging a little rubbing, a little grinding, a little bit of that freaky deaky.
9. Divinyls, "I Touch Myself" (1991)
Masturbation…and your parents. Enough said.
8. TLC, "Red Light Special" (1995)
When I was a kid, my dad screened all my music (fucking Tipper Gore and her parental advisories!) So one day I brought my dad down to the local record store, and, standing side by side, we put two pairs of headphones on and listened to TLC's album. We got to "Red Light Special." He just stared at me as I bobbed my head to the slow and dirty beat. The song ended. He took off the headphones and said "No way." This was followed by an abrupt departure from the record store.
7. 2 Live Crew, "Pop that Coochie" (1991)
God forbid you were in the car with your parents when this song came on — if it ever did come on the radio. 2 Live Crew is basically the reason for parental advisory stickers on CDs. Check out this beautiful line: "Shake it. Don't break it. It took your momma nine months to make it. Bend over and spread em girl." Another stunningly lyrical line: "So come on, baby, pop it quick. I fall in love when you suck my dick." Back in 1991, I was so naive, and I might have thought a coochie was a piece of the train towards the back. And in reality, I wouldn't have been that far off.
6. King Missile, "Detachable Penis" (1992)
I actually forgot about this song until my buddy, Dave Landsberger, posted on my Facebook wall about a tune where a guy can remove his penis. Just hearing someone say the word penis back in the day probably would have thrown a kid into a fit of embarrassment. If you haven't heard this song, then give it a listen. It's incredible that this is even real.
5. Nine Inch Nails, "Closer" (1994)
Damn, that line, "I want to fuck you like an animal," can really mess with a kid — especially a virgin. Let me just put it this way, when I was younger, I thought Trent Reznor was actually talking about screwing an animal, and it made this song absolutely impossible to listen to in the car with my parents.
4. Color Me Badd, "I Wanna Sex You Up" (1991)
Back in 1991, "I Wanna Sex You Up" was all over the radio — an ear worm of epic proportions. But as I watch the video today, I can't help but wonder: How the hell were these guys stars? They look like UB40 had a baby with Kenny G, and then Kenny G just kept accidentally going to a dog groomer instead of a stylist. Hey, they sold it and made it work. So good for them.Now let's get to the awkwardness of the song. Because kids have such a vague and cloudy vision of sex, artists can get away with even the crudest images, like sucking on a lollypop or riding bareback on a horse, to describe the act. But actually say the word SEX in front of your parents — let alone hear the word on repeat by a guy with the skinniest mustache in the world — well, that's enough for someone to just to pull a fake bee attack and jump out of the car.
3. LL Cool J, "Doin' It" (1996)
Seriously, this might be one of the sexiest — though least subtle — songs of all time. I know that's a big statement, but the hardest part about being in the car with your parents when this song came on was making sure you were far enough away from your destination so you didn't have to stand up.
2. Salt-N-Pepa, Let's Talk About Sex (1991)
Wow, this was another unavoidable song in the 90s, and it encouraged our parents to do something so dreaded, something so embarrassing, something so awkward — talk about the funky monkey, going all the way, making whoopee, skeet skeet skeet…sex. Seriously, Salt-N-Pepa wanted us to engage in a world where it was fine to be open about our bodies and our passions, and of course that would probably make our world healthier, but, seriously, you want us to talk about sex with our parents on the way to the dentist…dream on.
1. Madonna, Justify My Love (1990)
Certainly Madonna pushed the sexual envelope, and there are a lot of amazing results that came with her demanding American culture accept a heightened form of sexuality. She empowered many. And that's all fantastic. But if there ever was one song I dreaded to hear on the radio, it was "Justify My Love." When you listen to the lyrics today, they're really terrible: "I want to kiss you in Paris." "Make love in a tree…cross country." It's kind of childish. But this was a ground breaking song and video. No matter how weird and porn-like the music sounded, the images of the music video were so edgy for the 90s — bondage and gender ambiguity — it was impossible to separate the song with the video. And the video became such a controversy. The news deemed it inappropriate and lude. That just made kids want to hear it even more. So that weird balance between pleasure and guilt are in perfect harmony in this song. And can't we all agree, even today, Madonna is still hot?