Attending prom is a uniquely American rite of passage that has been canceled for this year, which means that another, less-heralded but still worthy rite of passage is also laid to waste: grinding on the dance floor to songs that are largely inappropriate for an allegedly PG event.
Time has erased most of my memories of proms past, but the one thing I will never forget is how a darkened hotel ballroom motivates even the shyest among us to grind with reckless, horny, teenage abandon. The slow jams of my youth naturally trump those of our current era. It’s difficult to imagine a song like Next’s “Too Close” being released now, but in 1997, a mid-tempo banger about a boner was somehow both innocent and naughty. “Back That Azz Up” is an undisputed classic now, but in 1999, hearing those strings in the first few seconds meant that you had about 15 more seconds to assume the position and grind up on a willing partner before the football coach broke it up. Tamer selections like “All My Life,” by K-Ci and Jo-Jo, aren’t traditional songs for grinding, but a slow dance is a great opportunity to engage in public frottage.
While a lot of the songs on this list could possibly be classified as “oldies,” that classification is irrelevant. These songs are still good now, even if the only people throwing their drinks aside and bum-rushing the dance floor when “Wobble Wobble” comes on lack the knee mobility to drop it as low as they’d like. The songs on this list aren’t all slow songs because grinding of the sort that I am thinking of isn’t limited just to the slow shit. Hike your BCBG formalwear up around your hips and in the immortal words of the 504 Boyz, “grab your shorty, and let’s go.”