Look, I like what I like. I’ll be the first to admit that I have great taste…and I also love the worst shit. One of the nice things about being a mature adult, as opposed to a scared little boy, is that I just don’t care what people think. Which is why I’m able to speak openly about so-called “guilty pleasures.” You know, those things we all like but wouldn’t necessarily admit.
Well, no one’s twisting my arm, here are 5 of mine:
1. ROBBIE WILLIAMS: Britain’s most popular entertainer is also one of my all-time favorites. The bravado. The ego. The amazingly catchy (and increasingly kitchy) songs. The positives are also the negatives when it comes to Mr. Williams. Though he started out in a dopey boy-band, Robbie’s been realeasing consistently great pop records since the late 1990’s. Too bad his fey, anglo-saxon schtick didn’t catch on over here in America. Oh well, I guess it’s just another example of Europe’s superiority.
CHECK OUT: 2002’s ESCAPOLOGY is probably the best “mature” Robbie record to date. You should also pick up THE EGO HAS LANDED which is an American-only compilation of hits from first few British releases.
AVOID: The over-the-top dance/techno record RUDEBOX is awesome, but will probably turn most people off.
2. GENESIS: Everybody agrees that after Peter Gabriel left Phil Collins ran Genesis into the ground. Well guess what? I find myself listening to “I Can’t Dance” way more than “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.” There’s a reason that Genesis went double-mega-ultra platinum after Collins took the helm: I only sometimes want to hear a 7+ minute prog-rock song…but I always want to hear a 3 minute pop song.
CHECK OUT: INVISIBLE TOUCH and 1983’s GENESIS are pretty much the gold-standard when it comes to Genesis. Sure, they’re mostly Phil Collins solo-records, but who cares?
AVOID: STATION TO STATION the record the band released after Phil Collins left in 1996. No Collins? No Gabriel? No dice.
3. LADY GAGA: This one surprise you? Well it shouldn’t. Lady Gaga’s first two records are pretty damn good. “Bad Romance” and “Paparazzi” are great, catchy songs. The production alone is fantastic, period. I’m seeing a pattern here with these guilty pleasures: they’re all “pop” music. What is it about a good pop song that makes us love it despite ourselves?
CHECK OUT: THE FAME and THE FAME MONSTER.
AVOID: BORN THIS WAY. My how the mighty have fallen.
4. METALLICA: Alight, now we’re getting to embarrassing. I think I’d rather tell people I like Lady Gaga before I told them I liked Metallica. Why? We’ll besides being pretty meat-headed, Metallica has cultivated a reputation over the years as pretty much hating their fans (see Metallica vs. the Internet and LULU). That said, once upon a time Metallica WAS metal. To this day I get goosebumps listening to “One” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” Sure, “Enter Sandman” has been overplayed, but that’s because it’s an awesome song. It sucks to admit it: but I like Metallica.
CHECK OUT: MASTER OF PUPPETS and RIDE THE LIGHTNING.
AVOID: For crying out loud stay FAR away from LULU. If you don’t know what that is, consider yourself a lucky (better) person.
5. BREE SHARP: This is totally random. I almost didn’t put her on the list because she’s pretty obscure. I decided I liked Bree Sharp after hearing her do a cover of Don Henley’s “The Boys of Summer” on an all-covers podcast a few years back. I downloaded her album MORE B.S. and thought it was fantastic. Songs like “Everything Feels Wrong” and “Morning in a Bar” are melancholy yet kinda dreamy at the same time. I then proceeded to do a little research and found out that she’s mostly known for her semi-novelty song “David Duchovny” which is about her infatuation with the former X-Files star. Yikes girl.
CHECK OUT: MORE B.S. and her live album LIVE AT THE FEZ (if you can find it).
AVOID: Her 1999 debut record, A CHEAP AND EVIL GIRL, is pretty lame and dated. A song about Agent Mulder, seriously?
(DIS)HONORABLE mentions must also go to: Van Hagar/Sammy Hagar, Jay-Z, Duncan Sheik, 14:59-era Sugar Ray, Lilly Allen, Sade, Mick Jagger (solo), and Ben Folds rapping.