Editor’s note: As part of CMN’s ongoing music journalism program, we asked our team of music writers to come up with a list of songs around a theme. They definitely rose to the challenge. You can see all the lists by browsing our music section.
Whether for hobby or profession, pole dancing is nothing without the right song choice.
For those who are tired of the clichéd “Pour Some Sugar on Me,” “Glorybox,” or “Pony” by Ginuwine and want some rock n roll to make them feel badass, I present to you my top picks for rock songs to pole to:
1. Aerials – System of a Down
It’s a little exotic, a little dark, very dramatic, totally heavy– perfect for twisting up a pole or melting into the floor. A great combination of creepy and beautiful.
2. White Room – Cream
My latest favorite. Psychedelic rock has an inherent sexiness… and I’m not sure why. The upbeat pace of the verses contrasts with the warbling chorus to provide space for energy and power vs. mysterious seduction.
3. The Chain – Fleetwood Mac
Maybe it’s the twangy folk feel or the trotting pace, but this one works. Take my word for it.
4. American Woman – The Guess Who
It’s fun to have a cheesy “strutting in heels” song to dance to. Who doesn’t want to feel like Felicity sliding down a fireman’s pole to approach Austin Powers in The Spy Who Shagged Me?
5. Living Dead Girl – Rob Zombie
Once I was setting up for a gig and the gal running sound said, “last night we had a Rob Zombie-themed burlesque show here.” I have never thought about Rob Zombie the same since that moment.
6. Silent Lucidity – Queensryche
This song is a major slow builder that never gets too fast, and has all the lovable cheese of late ’80s/early ’90s rock.
7. Terrible Lie – Nine Inch Nails
Slightly more subtle in message than their other pole dance-able hit, “Closer,” — which, granted, isn’t too difficult a feat — but just as industrial, “Terrible Lie” is guaranteed to make you feel both grungy and powerful.
8. Monkey Business – Skid Row
I’ll be damned if there isn’t some first-generation butt rock on this list.
9. Heavy Roller – Stomper
“Stomper” is driving and punchy with a sassy guitar tone. If you’re looking for something with a little bit of “outlaw” in it, this one has you covered.
10. Come Together – Gary Clark Jr. and Junkie XL
This song is just so in-your-face: Fuzzy guitar, soulful wailing, and a deep electronic bass. Easily one of my pole favorites (and arguably my favorite Beatles cover).
11. The World is Not Enough – Garbage
Shirley Manson was chosen to sing this theme because she is so unequivocally feminine, yet has a lot masculine energy. Maybe because this is a Bond song, it fantastically encapsulates dangerous sensuality.
12. Bad Animals – Heart
This one just sounds like a straight up 80s strip club (at least, what I imagine one was like). It’s sweaty, swaying, and sounds like it’s illuminated by neon lights.
13. Shadow on the Sun – Audioslave
This song has a good amount of movement and momentum, which is exciting because you can build your dance up from the slivery guitar in the intro to Chris Cornell screaming, “Suuuuuuuun!” into an abrupt ending.
14. Maybe – Janis Joplin
Sometimes you need a slow, melancholy tune to dance to when you’re not feelin’ the love.
15. Schism – Tool
If you can keep up with the wild time signatures, you will be casting some serious spells.
16. D’yer Ma’ker – Led Zeppelin
A contender for sexiest guitar riff ever written (though it’s neck-in-neck with the next song). Throw in lyrics sung by Robert Plant like, “darling, please don’t go,” and, “OOH, baby I love ya!” make this one a no-brainer pick.
17. Have a Cigar – Pink Floyd
This one is tough to beat. The squealy-but-dawdling guitar solo outro is so glamorous and listless. And the bass line is the sonic equivalent of a shirt sleeve falling off one shoulder. This was my first favorite song to pole to.
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