By Aaron Traister, REDBOOK
Just like I think of Black Sabbath and Ice Cube as making music for guys, I think of Celine Dion and Christina Aguilera as making music with women in mind. I think it's hard for guys to admit that they like songs with a softer side, so in the interest of getting more in touch with my feminine side, I'm listing my Top 7 favorite XX songs of all time.
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7. "I Will Always Love You" by Dolly Parton/Whitney Houston. Every dude has someone or something in his life that this song applies to. I don't care if it's the understated Parton version or the blow-out-the-speakers vocals of Houston's; both are sublime and surprisingly affecting. I was recently stuck in traffic right behind a Colt 45. Malt Liquor delivery truck while the Dolly Parton version played on my radio. All I could see in front of me was the Colt 45. Logo, and all I heard were the lyrics: "Bitter sweet memories, that's all I have, and all I'm taking with me. Goodbye, oh, please don't cry 'cause we both know I'm not what you need but I will always love you." I'm not gonna lie. It was a poignant moment for me.
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6. "No Ordinary Love" by Sade. I don't know a lot of dudes who own the album this song is on, "Love Deluxe," but I know a ton of women who do, so I think of it as one for the ladies. However, I'm pretty sure that Sade wasn't making music for men or women; she was making music for sex. "No Ordinary Love" is some of the best between-the-sheets music ever made. It's like a musical blueprint for doin' it. I don't care if your guy loves country, or house, or polka; if "No Ordinary Love" doesn't spark his sexual ignition, then his entire engine might be shot.
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5. "My Sister" by Juliana Hatfield. This angsty and complicated tale of feminine relationships is so girl-centric that it leaves little room for debate about who Ms. Hatfield wrote this one for. This is one of the few songs on the list that I feel confident in saying is by a woman, about women, and speaks directly to women. But men can totally appreciate its hard rock ass-kickery.
4. "Fernando" by Abba. Okay, this is a terrible song. I have no excuse for this one.
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3. "She's Got You" by Patsy Cline. Patsy sang songs about problems with men, but really, she was mostly singing about depression: deep, stinky, boozy, depression. If you've ever found yourself feeling blue, like you might just want to spend the evening sitting by yourself at the kitchen table with a bottle of Jameson, then Patsy Cline's just about the best drinking buddy you could ask for. She doesn't try to cheer you up or blow sunshine up your ass. She doesn't judge you. She just lets you wallow. And what guy doesn't love to wallow every now and again?
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2. "Closer to Fine" by The Indigo Girls. Between the years of 1990 and 1996, every college-age woman I knew put this song on every mix-tape they made. Maybe I'm like Pavlov's Dog when it comes to "Closer to Fine" and I've been conditioned to love it, or maybe it's the infectious rhythm guitar and transcendent harmonies. Either way, there is no shame in my game when I say this is song is dope.
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1. "Total Eclipse of the Heart" by Bonnie Tyler. I think if we take a moment and look deep inside ourselves, and if we are willing to be honest, we can all admit that this is the single greatest song ever made. It is as close to musical perfection as any man or woman will ever get. When I started writing professionally and I would get stuck on a certain line I would just start adding lyrics from "Total Eclipse of the Heart," and suddenly my story would be much much better, and I would be magically unblocked. On behalf of planet earth I want to thank Bonnie Tyler for bestowing this gift of a song on us all.
Now you tell me: What "girly" song does your husband secretly or not-so-secretly love?
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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.