December 20-26, 2006

home | north bay bohemian index | music & nightlife | hot 13 challenge

Rev. Al Green

Tired of being alone: Take a page from the good Reverend's book.

SexyBack: The Hot 13 Challenge

Pull out your record crates--it's an all-new mix contest!

By Sara Bir

When you are lucky enough to bring that special someone back to your place and you're looking to, you know, score, background music is crucial. To set the mood, you want something relaxing yet stimulating, romantic yet assertive. And unless your special someone is very special, Weird Al just isn't going to cut it.

Outside of blindfolded string musicians bowing soft sounds for the frolicking of polyamorous aristocrats, make-out music was hard to come by before the advent of recording. Those with musical capacities could seduce with song, yes, but at some point they'd have to put the lyre down in order to get dirty.

So we should consider ourselves lucky, as we have slow jams, do-wop ballads, cool jazz and throbbing techno in our arsenal, spanning moods from frisky to sentimental. Justin Timberlake says he is bringing sexy back, but did it ever leave? Given that at least 50 percent of the pop songs ever written are about sex in some aspect, I'd have to say no.

Mr. Timberlake's loss is your gain. It means that the world, dear Bohemian reader, is your oyster. We invite you to collect the 13 sexiest songs you know of to create the ultimate make-out mix and submit it to the Hot 13 Challenge.

Regular Bohemian readers may recall last year's Sad 13 Challenge, a contest that elicited dozens of entries, all heartfelt. (To those of you who participated in the Sad 13 and are wondering where your promised "I Like Sad Music" pin is, I must confess that they, along with all of your wonderful mix CDs, are in several shoeboxes under my desk. Sorry. I'll send them out real soon. We still love you.)

The experience was rewarding enough for a reprise, though this go-around we wanted something a little less . . . depressing. In the Sad 13 Challenge, readers showed us that music that was dear to their hearts. For the Hot 13 Challenge, show us what is dear to your loins.

The Hot 13 Challenge is all in the name of fun--and, of course, sexiness. Why 13 songs? It's a good number, and you gotta draw the line somewhere. Other than that, your entry must be on CD or cassette tape and include a list of songs and their artists, no other rules apply. If Tiny Tim, Dr. Elmo and the Wiggles are your idea of sexy music, more power to you (although in all truthfulness, your chances of winning will be slim, but your chances of being made fun of, great).

Flow from song to song will by all means be taken into account. Cover art is strictly optional but a nice touch--though given the subject matter, if you must dip a toe into nudity, please restrict it to the softest of cores. Grossing out the judges will win you no brownie points.

In a new twist, the judging for this year's mix CD contest will be bi-coastal (bi--how sexy!). That's right, we'll have a North Bay panel composed of highly skilled Bohemian professionals, plus a jaded New York panel, including yours truly heading up a handful of people who have no qualifications whatsoever except that I know them and they said yes. We must warn you that the judging process is completely unscientific, highly unregulated and very much subjective. Our intention is to keep snark levels to a minimum, though we can't make any promises. Also, given the thousands of miles dividing our dual Hot 13 Challenge headquarters, disorganization is a distinct possibility. We'll try our best, folks, but don't expect this ship to sail smoothly.

Yes, yes--you're wondering why the hell you should even bother. OK, here's why:

(1) for a sense of community and warm fuzzy feelings; (2) because your Hot 13 Challenge mix CD might come in handy in your own personal life at some point, who knows; and (3) because the creator of the winning CD will receive a cool prize with an actual cash value and have his or her track list printed in the Bohemian's Sex Issue, publishing on Feb. 7, 2007. Me-ow!

To update you all on the progress of the Hot 13 Challenge, we have this year created a profile on that MySpace thing all of the kids are obsessed with. There you will be able to peruse track lists, read the Hot 13 blog, and waste time at work by posting silly comments when your boss is not looking. Visit

And now, friends, as George Jones would say, the race is on. A tip: Slow jams of the 1980s are heavily encouraged to apply.

Send your entries, postmarked no later than Friday, Jan. 12, to the Hot 13 Challenge, North Bay Bohemian, 216 E St., Santa Rosa, CA, 95404. Please include an e-mail address or phone number. Sorry, we can't return your entry.

Send a letter to the editor about this story.