Sod “I'm Too Sexy”. Online lists of “manly” songs are full of cheesy nonsense, but there are gritty, nuanced and downright testosterone-boosting tracks about masculinity to be listened to. We've picked out 10 of our favourite musical expressions of what it means to be a man, no cheese allowed. Plug in...
1. The River – Bruce Springsteen
“Is a dream a lie if it don't come true, or is it something worse?”
This wouldn't be a list of masculine tracks if it didn't feature something from the Boss. So we'll start as we mean to go on.
2. Gloria - The Doors
“Well now we know each other a little better, why don't you come over here and...”.
We'll say no more, but if Jim Morrison's voice isn't the aural personification of modern masculinity, we don't know what is.
3. Stronger - Kanye West
“You should be honoured by my lateness, that I'd even show up to this fake shit.”
One of Ye's earlier and more commercial tracks but packed with testosterone, cockiness and drive.
4. Ice Cream Man - Tom Waits
“I gotta big stick mama that will blow your mind.”
Innuendos aside, Tom Wait's voice, especially in later versions is raw manliness. Check out his epic cover of Downtown Train if you don't believe us.
5. Monkey Gone to Heaven - Pixies
“And if the ground's not cold, everything is gonna burn”
Aside from female backing from the ridiculously cool Kim Deal, this track is pure man. We defy you not to get proper riled and scream along when Black Francis really lets loose.
6. (NSFW) Bia Bia - Lil Jon & The Eastside Boyz
“Well represent yo shit, represent yo shit...”
Sometimes there's nothing for it but to channel your inner Neanderthal. This track won't win any awards for musicology but damned if it doesn't make you feel like fighting EVERYONE you have ever met.
7. Bad to the Bone - George Thorgood
“I make a rich woman beg, I make a poor woman steal...”
And then sometimes you just want to feel like the baddest cat in town. Best played loudly, on your own, with the curtains drawn, topped off with a lot of swaggering around.
8. Born under a Bad Sign - Albert King
“Hard luck and trouble is my only friend, been on my own ever since I was ten”
It's not always easy being a man. Albert King knows exactly how it feels when you're down on your luck.
9. I'm your Man - Leonard Cohen
“If you want a boxer, I will step into the ring for you”
A softer side of masculinity, artfully and sensuously presented by husky-voiced, man's-poet Leonard Cohen.
10. Lose Yourself - Eminem
“He's so mad, but he won't give up that easy, no, he won't have it, he knows his whole back's to these ropes... ”
Trying, failing, winning, finding yourself, losing yourself again – Eminem's iconic track Lose Yourself will stay relevant for decades to come.