Thursday, March 20, 2008

Top 5 Guilty Pleasures, Music

This was Tory's idea originally, last summer, I'm reviving it here. I thought about doing Top 5 Guilty Pleasures but I figured we could expand to movies, TV, books, etc. etc. etc. The list is tough as I have very little shame and embrace most all that I like, despite its blatant shittiness (I'm looking in your direction, Journey and Styx).

1. Wings, any and all songs that I like - I bought Wingspan in high school and was a devotee of its bland 70s bubblegum poppiness. Now those songs are nostalgic, and I have real problems with music and nostalgia (this issue will rear its ugly head in later list entries). Let me throw out some examples of songs that A) I like and B) I assume the general populace accepts as crap: Mull of Kintyre, Junior's Farm, Helen Wheels, Silly Love Songs (not only do I like this song, I love and will seek out this song--it almost deserves a separate entry).

2. Christmas music - OK, I suppose I don't feel especially guilty for my predilection for Christmas music, but the sappiness with which I embrace the holiday season really is a bit odd. From November through December, when we're driving at night, we typically first check Delilah's radio show to see what's on. I won't listen to ANY Christmas music, though (given, the birth of J.C. inspired a lot of good stuff [charity, loving thy neighbor] and a lot of bad stuff [The Crusades, "Christmas Shoes"]). Anyway, as I could say for every song on here, Christmas music surely won't earn me any cool points.

3. Pure Moods, Vol. I - Just kidding.

4. "Say Goodbye" by Madonna - Even I am tempted to beat myself up for liking this song. It did capture that existential ennui that my lovelorn self felt in 1994, though, to be fair.

5. Ace of Bass - All right, I'm not sure if I'm especially guilty about this one either, as I embrace Ace of Bass the same way I embrace Styx and Journey, and the way other people embrace "YMCA" by the Village People. That said, I'll include them, as they're so flagrantly deserving of a guilty pleasure list (they've got the Eurotrash angle working for them in spades). Also, I was a big fan when they were big--I don't appreciate them solely for reasons of kitsch.

Dan's Top 5:

1. Wesley Willis - Nonsense songs with a cheap keyboard accompaniment, featuring closing commercial taglines delivered by a huge, headbutting black man. All credit to Tim for introducing me to Wesley Willis. Rock over London, rock on Chicago.

2. Justin Timberlake - Futuresex/Lovesounds - This is my first of the mainstream artists to admit to liking in this list. I hold no shame in loving Styx or Journey at all, but when to comes to a former member of 'N Sync, that's nearly inexcusable.

3. Prog Rock - I'm talking about Rush, Genesis (the Gabriel years), Yes, Porcupine Tree, Coheed & Cambria, Pink Floyd and Muse. If it's highly technical music, I probably like it. It's about the second-most-nerdy genre of music that there is. (Number one is Heavy Metal. Speaking of which...)

4. Stabbing Westward - This band qualified as industrial metal, apparently. They existed before the pejorative "emo" label came about. They were dark and heavy, and their lyrics were very intense and emotional. NIN is gradually gaining acceptance among my music-loving peers, especially when I tell them that Trent Reznor cites Bowie as an influence. But I doubt that Stabbing Westward will ever enjoy an evolution from the realm of nerd music.

5. "Beautiful" by Christina Aguilera - I actually think that this is a well-wriiten and well-executed pop song. But it comes from an artist I could never have imagined listening to. I guess we all know who won that Aguilera-Spears battle from way back when.

Honorable Mentions - any mainstream song that I happen to end up either liking or getting stuck in my head (e.g., "Umbrella" by Rhianna)

Tim's Top 5:

1. Music that's cooler than I could ever hope to be - The fact that I enjoy Dead Kennedys, Sex Pistols, Ramones, Jay-Z, Kanye West (ok...never mind about Kanye, he's not cool at all) says one thing about me -- I don't know my place and I've had a lot of awkward moments with cashiers who look at what I'm buying and then look at me and immediately call security. I could pass for being really into The Clash, because they did record Rock the Casbah. But Dead Kennedys...yeah, that's well beyond the pop sensibilities I'm permitted under the Geneva Convention.

2. Things involving Don Henley - I own Don Henley's greatest hits. And the Eagles greatest hits double album. And I listen to his solo greatest hits album (not so much with the Eagles album). Yes, even Heart of the Matter. Yeah, I've even listened to All She Wants To Do Is Dance. I blame Bruce Hornsby...because End of the Innocence forced me to buy the greatest hits album, and turned out I listen to the rest of it. Man, I suck.

3. Michelle Branch - I don't ever listen to her albums anymore, since my IPod is the source of all my music and it's listened to mostly at work, where I shan't dare to reveal my forbidden love. But deep down, I still like her and I think I'll end up buying her next album.

4. The Wallflowers - Part of me doesn't feel guilty...the rest of me knows that if I was spotted wearing a Wallflowers t-shirt, I'd have to join the Witness Protection Program. Their albums are actually relatively good, with the exception of Bringing Down The Horse, but it's also totally indefensible to own ALL of them.

5. James Bond themes - Yeah, all of them. Even if it's Sheryl Crow, Madonna, Sheena Easton, Rita frigging Coolidge...yeah, I can't separate them from the movies. So I enjoy them.

Honorable mention: Bruce Hornsby, Bobby Darin. Did I mention I'm 68 years old?

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