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Guilty Pleasures


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#1 Andy Whitman

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 09:51 AM

We all have ‘em. Admit it. You do too. It’s not as big a problem with iPods, unless you happen to share your playlists with your friends. But with vinyl albums and CDs, they’re out there for all the world to see, displayed on the shelves. So if you’re like me, you do what any self-respecting music lover would do: you hide them behind various kitschy knickknacks and brick-a-brack that your wife purchased at vintage stores, and you hope that no one looks behind the lava lamp. Let’s just say that there are certain albums that push the Hopelessly Unhip meter way over into the red.

But look, I’m empowered, I’m strong, and I can take it. No more hiding albums behind the lava lamp. I am Andy; hear me roar.

John Denver – Poems, Prayers and Promises

I had a college roommate who looked just like John Denver. He played guitar. He sang John Denver songs, including the one that made all the girls swoon, the one that goes “You fill up my senses like a night in a forest.” God, I wanted to puke. You fill up my nostrils like the stench from a rotting corpse.

And for a long time I hated John Denver, the tree-hugging muppet. For a while there he had his own television show, just like Tony Orlando and Dawn. Both shows sucked. I secretly rejoiced when he was arrested for DUI. I wanted him to be eaten by a shark when he was out there diving with Jacques Cousteau. But a few years ago, long after his death, long after the college roommate jealousies had disappeared, I pulled out Poems, Prayers and Promises. That’s the album with “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” I like that song, even if the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah River are in western Virginia, not West Virginia. That’s the album with “I Guess He’d Rather Be in Colorado.” I listened in Ohio and thought he had a point. There are a few other good songs as well. I now proudly display this album on the shelf, for all the world to see.

America – Greatest Hits

They were CSN&Y Lite. Instead of writing about four dead in Ohio, they wrote about muskrats in love. “Don’t cross the river if you can’t swim the tide,” they told us, sensible water safety advice that I wanted to withhold from John Denver. They had the laidback hippie SoCal sound of the early ‘70s, they harmonized beautifully, and they wrote a bunch of inane pop tunes.

None of the official releases can hold up. But I’m telling you, this Greatest Hits album is chock full of inane, sweet goodness. The lyrics are inconsequential, unless you think “Oz never did give nothin’ to the Tin Man that he didn’t already have” borders on profundity. But “Lonely People” still sounds like the best song Neil Young never wrote, “Ventura Highway” really is a laidback hippie anthem, and “Sister Golden Hair” still holds a sentimental spot in my heart, mainly for the girl who got away from the guitar-playing clutches of my John-Denver-loving college roommate.

The Cars – The Cars, Candy-O, Panorama, Shake It Up, Heartbeat City

There is a school of music criticism that holds that you can’t be any good if you sell 10 million records; that popularity, in and of itself, is the death knell for creativity and innovation because the great unwashed masses don’t know jack about quality.

You know what? I don’t care. The Cars sold millions of records. They’re still a mainstay on Classic Rock radio. And the five-album run they had from the late ‘70s through the ealry ‘80s can hold up against anything released during that time period. Elvis Costello and Talking Heads get all the critical acclaim, but The Cars took New Wave and turned it into the perfect music for summertime cruises, releasing a couple dozen almost perfect pop tunes full of massive hooks, anthemic choruses, Ric Ocasek’s deadpan imitation of Lou Reed, and inventive guitar/synth interplay. Panorama is the only semi-weak link here, and it’s still decent. Everything else is very good to great. It’s time for a critical reevaluation of this band.

#2 Jason Panella

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 10:17 AM

I joined the Columbia House music club when I was a middle schooler, and I planned to use the service to get all of the Led Zeppelin cassette tapes. I order Zoso as one of my first picks, waiting impatiently by the mailbox for the cardboard box that held my rock and roll fantasies. When I finally fished the brown box out, I opened it...to find America's greatest hits album, not Page's sturm und drang.

Funny thing is, I like America now better than Zep.

But I do echo all three of those groups, Andy, though I think the Cars get a fair amount of respect.

Let's see...I really, really liked Blue Oyster Cult (sorry, not umlauting it) when I was in high school. I really defended them against the taste police. I think now I enjoy some of the their stuff, but the taste police won (white guys with fros from Long Island playing Michael Moorcock-written sci fi heavy metal ballads? Question mark?)

Marcy Playground's Shapeshifter, their second album, was a non-hit by a one-hit wonder. And I think it's a fantastic album, filled with great hooks.

I like the Bacon Brothers.

I like Urge Overkill, a fact I have to often defend. Their final album Exit the Dragon is easily one of my all-time favorite albums.

#3 Hugues

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 10:19 AM

Never heard the Cars, but Elliot Easton produced the first two Amy Rigby albums, which I'm quite crazy about. He signed one of my favorite songs of her, "Dirty Bridge" (on the Middlescence album). But it's really fine, it sounds like Ron Sexsmith (or Paul McCartney).

My guilty pleasures? Don't know. Some French yé-yé stuff maybe, like Sylvie Vartan (but honestly, I don't feel guilty about it), or some girl group bands. I mean, I really like "Please Mr Postman" by the Marvelettes. When I catch myself in plain enjoyment of this music, I wonder if I'm not doddering.

Actually, pretty much every thing with a big dose of sugar and simplistic hooks, can make me feel a bit guilty. I think I may be too lazy to dig free jazz instead.

Tell me, people, should I feel guilty of being taken by this: http://fr.youtube.co...h?v=RyM7Jq01Mw8



#4 Greg P

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 10:25 AM

Great thread Andy. I have a buttload of guilty and very uncool pleasures that I keep well-hidden. Here's a few off the top 'o me head:

Red Octopus, Spitfire- Jefferson Starship-- both albums are deliberately mislabeled "Misc. Deerhoof Songs" on my ipod. Just in case some snooty critic looks at my player.

KISS-- every album from 1973-1977 including the oft-dissed ALIVE II and Ace Frehely's solo album... I really dont have too much guilt over these, because in truth I believe them to be classics. But when folks hear me listening I always feel the need to run them thru a ten-minute apologetic on the merits of early KISS. I think this reaction may be guilt induced.

Van Halen, Van Halen II and Women & Children First

The Grease Soundtrack

Any album by Ween

QUOTE (Jason Panella @ May 2 2008, 11:17 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Funny thing is, I like America now better than Zep.
I appreciate your courage, but keep that one low my brother. wink.gif

QUOTE
Let's see...I really, really liked Blue Oyster Cult
I second that!

I can't believe I neglected my number one guilty pleasure, which i've mentioned here before:
Bread, Greatest Hits A great collection that gets no love from anyone under 55. Very influential slab of vinyl for me.

Edited by coltrane, 02 May 2008 - 10:27 AM.


#5 Christian

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 10:29 AM

QUOTE (coltrane @ May 2 2008, 11:25 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Van Halen, Van Halen II and Women & Children First


I think we need a definition of "guilty pleasure."

I've never felt any guilt about the pleasure derived from listening to the above albums. OK, the lyrics are pretty vulgar in spots, but musically? It's great stuff. I don't dig it the way I once did, but I don't feel guilty about having loved it for a time.

#6 Jason Panella

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 10:31 AM

QUOTE (coltrane @ May 2 2008, 11:25 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I can't believe I neglected my number one guilty pleasure, which i've mentioned here before:
Bread, Greatest Hits A great collection that gets no love from anyone under 55. Very influential slab of vinyl for me.


I know a girl from high school, now in her early twenties, that performed a number of Bread covers at a talent show. She was 14 at the time, and (literally) had a flower behind her ear.

I forgot about WEEN. I feel dirty just telling people about them, but I inevitably end up with their new albums when they're released.

#7 Christian

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 10:32 AM

I should add my own. I'm listening to the new Martina McBride CD, which I've written elsewhere is pretty good, but I don't think this is embarrassing, or something I want to hide.

I do like Kenny Chesney's song Don't Blink. Does that qualify? And I like a few Diane Warren power ballads, including one that shall remain unnamed, by Celine Dion! Definitely guilt-inducing.

#8 Greg P

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 10:36 AM

QUOTE (Christian @ May 2 2008, 11:29 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I've never felt any guilt about the pleasure derived from listening to the above albums. OK, the lyrics are pretty vulgar in spots, but musically? It's great stuff. I don't dig it the way I once did, but I don't feel guilty about having loved it for a time.
Depends on who the crowd is, i suppose. I have to defend them all the time. Try playing "Everybody Wants Some" at the pool party, right on the heels of a little Iron & Wine. Pure mockery. I think those albums are brilliant, even though i sometimes wish i could dial-down DLR.

QUOTE
I do like Kenny Chesney's song Don't Blink.
Over the last few years me wife has ONLY listened to top 40 country music. My kids have been swept into this obsession as well, much to my anguish. Brad Paisley's last album is on an endless loop at our house. AND... I cant believe I'm saying this... Letter to Me is... pretty great. Gulp.

Edited by coltrane, 02 May 2008 - 10:41 AM.


#9 Nick Alexander

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 11:17 AM

My top five Guilty Pleasures, from 5 to 1...

5. Second Chapter of Acts - 20 - first disc. (This is their greatest hits box set, with the first three tracks being recorded before they created an actual album... Matthew Ward must've been around 13 years old... and it even has a <gasp> a... a... <can't believe I'm fessing up to this...> a kazoo.

4. Petra (Greg X Volz-era). The band sounds all-too sparse today, but back then, with a four-album stretch, and a live album, they transitioned from guitar-oriented folk-rock to synth-dominated pop-rock. And Judas Kiss remains their crowning achievement.

3. Peter Wolf - Lights Out. Why, oh, why is this album out of print? Love it, love it, love it, love it, love it. Even Rolling Stone gave it four-and-a-half stars at the time. Bonus points: Mars Needs Women is an awesome novelty track.

2. Sun City - the single. Bonus points for having both Bono AND Peter Wolf in the same song.

... drum roll please...

1. The Xanadu Soundtrack. - Especially that song where the 40's and the Tubes'-era 80s fuse together, not entirely successfully I might add... but I still love it regardless. I wish I understood why.

Edited by Nick Alexander, 02 May 2008 - 11:53 AM.


#10 Christian

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 11:28 AM

QUOTE (coltrane @ May 2 2008, 11:36 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE
I do like Kenny Chesney's song Don't Blink.
Over the last few years me wife has ONLY listened to top 40 country music. My kids have been swept into this obsession as well, much to my anguish. Brad Paisley's last album is on an endless loop at our house. AND... I cant believe I'm saying this... Letter to Me is... pretty great. Gulp.


Yeah, that entire album, Fifth Gear, is solid. I had thought Letter to Me was one of the lesser numbers. Couldn't figure out why it was released as a single. But it dawned on me a few weeks ago that the song is, as you wrote, pretty great.

QUOTE (Andy Whitman @ May 2 2008, 10:51 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
We all have ‘em. Admit it. You do too.


OK, so this thread is about albums we own, not just songs we like, as I was assuming earlier. So, playing by the rules, I can say that I've pretty much weeded out the embarrassing secular music in my collection. The embarrassing stuff that remains is the CCM I still own, and sometimes listen to. If I had to peg one artist, I'd point at Michael Card. I never liked the string-arrangements. But I have to say that I learned more theology listening to Michael Card's songs than to anyone else's music, and I still admire many -- but not all -- of his lyrics. The guy's a teacher first, a musician second.

Edited by Christian, 02 May 2008 - 11:28 AM.


#11 Crow

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 05:48 PM

My guilty pleasures mostly have to do with leftovers from my teenage years:

Bloodgood - The Collection - They were out of the so-called 80s "heavenly metal" scene, with a lead singer with a dramatic, almost operatic voice. Like any self-respecting Christian metal band, a lot of their lyrics have something to do with demons: beating up demons, stomping on demons, cutting demons into tiny pieces and feeding them into the woodchipper. The songs rock out, though.

DC Talk - Jesus Freak - This was when they cut down on the cheese factor enough to put out some decent rocking songs. Their version of the Godspell song "Day by Day" is terrific.

Stryper - To Hell With the Devil - I admit I have a soft spot for these guys. Only for the music, not because of how cute they looked in their bumblebee suits.

Edited by Crow, 02 May 2008 - 05:49 PM.


#12 Thom Wade

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 07:13 PM

I just recovered some stuff for my collection.

Emusic has the entire discography for Jerusalem. I now have Dancing on the Head of the Serpent, Warrior and Volumes 1 & 2.

These are anything but good, and the lyrics tended toward absurd cheese...but it's fun!

#13 Rich Kennedy

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Posted 03 May 2008 - 12:17 AM

I think I'm the cheesiest at the moment. One song will do it and this is sincere. "Afternoon Delight" by The Starland Vocal Band. I always have to stop what I'm doing and listen to the close harmony on this song. I REALLY, REALLY like the sound of this song.

As to Van Halen, I'm partial to Diver Down.

Oh, and this high churchman is a sucker for some of those Bill Gaither Homecoming shows sometimes found on christian cable channels. Never liked Gaither at all, but I like those.

#14 draper

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Posted 03 May 2008 - 01:30 AM

!!! A cars reevaluation!!! Let's Go!!! Elliot Eastman is a very underrated guitar player. Ben Orr could sing. David Robinson was a Modern Lover and an amazing minimalist. Ric Ocasek could write an interesting song.

I will admit that I have ridiculous amounts of AC/DC and ZZ Top on my iPod.

Much to the chagrin of my very Jazz knowledgeable friends, I am very fond of Sonny Rollins, "Way Out West".


Marty Robbins.



#15 Christian

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Posted 03 May 2008 - 07:54 AM

QUOTE (mumbleypeg @ May 3 2008, 02:30 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Much to the chagrin of my very Jazz knowledgeable friends, I am very fond of Sonny Rollins, "Way Out West".


blink.gif

#16 opus

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 10:17 AM

I know it's blend of pop and electronica can sound a bit dated in places, but I still love Everything But The Girl's Walking Wounded even though it reminds me of some painful (relationship-wise) times.

#17 Christian

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 10:37 AM

I know it's blend of pop and electronica can sound a bit dated in places, but I still love Everything But The Girl's Walking Wounded even though it reminds me of some painful (relationship-wise) times.

Where's the guilt? All Music gives Walking Wounded 4.5 stars (out of 5).

I love Amplified Heart, which reminds me of when I used to think about phantom relationships that I'd never had, and how those relationships simply hadn't worked out. ::blushing::

Edited by Christian, 30 March 2012 - 10:37 AM.


#18 Josh Hurst

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 11:03 AM


I know it's blend of pop and electronica can sound a bit dated in places, but I still love Everything But The Girl's Walking Wounded even though it reminds me of some painful (relationship-wise) times.

Where's the guilt? All Music gives Walking Wounded 4.5 stars (out of 5).

I love Amplified Heart, which reminds me of when I used to think about phantom relationships that I'd never had, and how those relationships simply hadn't worked out. ::blushing::


To be fair, the review comes from Tom Erlewine, a man whose shameless love of trashy pop makes him a legend among music critics.(Pretty sure he gave a rave review to Paris Hilton's album, for instance.)

#19 Christian

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 11:08 AM



I know it's blend of pop and electronica can sound a bit dated in places, but I still love Everything But The Girl's Walking Wounded even though it reminds me of some painful (relationship-wise) times.

Where's the guilt? All Music gives Walking Wounded 4.5 stars (out of 5).

I love Amplified Heart, which reminds me of when I used to think about phantom relationships that I'd never had, and how those relationships simply hadn't worked out. ::blushing::


To be fair, the review comes from Tom Erlewine, a man whose shameless love of trashy pop makes him a legend among music critics.(Pretty sure he gave a rave review to Paris Hilton's album, for instance.)

Ah, good point. Wasn't it his review of Toby Keith's "Red Solo Cup" that I was trashing in another thread? Probably.

#20 morgan1098

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 01:27 PM

I have a strange, uneven playlist on my iPod that fits this category perfectly called "Rock Radio!." It's a weird mishmash of mostly metal power ballads from the 80s, mixed in with... other stuff. Just looking at some of the songs/artists makes me cringe, but there's no denying it's fun to put this on while driving around town on a summer evening.

1. Boys of Summer/Don Henley
2. Angel/Aerosmith
3. Owner of a Lonely Heart/Yes
4. The Search is Over/Survivor
5. Hero/David Crosby & Phil Collins
6. Old L.A. Tonight/Ozzy Osbourne
7. Something That You Said/Bangles
8. Oh Sherrie/Steve Perry
9. I Won’t Back Down/Tom Petty
10. Animal/Def Leppard
11. Heaven/Warrant
12. Hole Hearted/Extreme
13. Feel It Again/Honeymoon Suite
14. Every Breath You Take/The Police
15. Your Love/The Outfield
16. Heaven Knows/Robert Plant
17. Carrie/Europe
18. Mama, I’m Coming Home/Ozzy Osbourne
19. High On You/Survivor
20. Love Song/Tesla
21. Jump/Van Halen
22. Second Chance/Shinedown
23. For You/The Outfield
24. I Can’t Hold Back/Survivor
25. Until the End of Time/Foreigner
26. Free Fallin/Tom Petty
27. Hysteria/Def Leppard
28. Don’t Know What You Got til’ It’s Gone/Cinderella