A Music Junkie's "Guilty Pleasure" Songs

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

We've all got musical guilty pleasures...

Submitted: July 10, 2018

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Submitted: July 10, 2018




I was taking the subway home on a hot July afternoon, remembering my college voice’s teacher’s morning advice to listen to Violetta‘s part from “La Traviata” on the way home. As my fingers were beginning to tap on the train window to Katy Perry’s new bubble-pop hit, stuck in my head since the week has barely started, I thought to myself: “He wouldn’t be impressed.”


Now, if you are thrilled that you’ve finally found a fair article about how pop culture shamelessly and disappointingly soiled the platform of modern show business, putting the same, old and recreated generic beats out into the spotlight, diminishing the chances for raw talent - don’t get excited just yet. This isn’t the case. Let’s be honest - we have all been there. Who hasn’t collected numerous vinyls from The Beatles and Bruce Springsteen - and then heard that one song, or a couple of songs, with lyrics that may have been crafted by the collaboration of a kindergartener and his kitchen table. You know, something that could make “Barbie Girl” sound sophisticated and poetic in comparison. And it’s not even that you love the song passionately, but it crawls into your memory cells unnoticeably, like a mouse.


Some songs - you never end up liking at all, and may still bring up in a chat with your school friend five years later: “Geez, do you remember how annoying .... was?” But with other songs, you somehow give in and let them take over. Start tapping to the rhythm. Aren’t annoyed any longer when it’s played on the radio in your favorite shopping place. Gradually, “This makes me want to destroy every radio station with a hammer” turns to "Okay, I get what the craze is about” or “This song is stupid, but it’s just sooooo good.” It’s pointless for me to go on. I think you get the idea. Admit it - we’ve all got musical guilty pleasures.


At least that’s what I used to call these type of songs. Until I stopped and questioned myself - what’s so “guilty” about it? Why would you be ashamed of something you listen to? What is the objective way to rank good and bad songs? Sure, you could go by saying some music is meaningful, involves real instruments and a structure, and the artists could actually perform it live and not sound like they’re being dragged across the highway behind a racing car. The fact that some artists have actually earned their fame and worked their fingers to the bone, and therefore are actually worthy of respect as individuals. I get it, music police.


But looking at a simpler picture, wasn’t one of the primary and initial purposes of music to create balance and set a certain tone? A piece by a professional violin orchestra might sound absolutely stunning; however, it wouldn’t get your ass on the treadmill in a million years. Just like in the same way, the radio’s hot 50 tracks could hardly give you any musical experience from an academic view, or simply force the waterworks from under your eyes (okay, the latter - with some exceptions. I knew a lady who started sobbing to Adele’s “Hello” every time it was on the radio.).


I've come to find that while “real” (whatever the subjective definition may be) music is meant to make you feel, experience, dive deeper into art,  we also need the other side quite often. The “I just want an equivalent to a kick of extra caffeine at 7am, lyrics that will not cloud my mind, and a beat to match my walking/jogging pace". The "I've got to make it through these last twenty minutes of pilates class," or "I want the most glamorous, most sassiest song to make me feel like the biggest shopaholic of Miami Beach who never wears anything but oversized shades and gaudy leopard stilletos - in short, something I have never been." It's okay to fall in love with that other side, too - the many sides, shall I say. You're only truly devoted to art, once you've found you can’t have too much of one emotion on the color spectrum. There is no music to be ashamed of. Let the “guilty pleasure” terminology swing by, straight into the trash bin.


So if you’re the type of person to marathon the whole Led Zeppelin discography right after having a High School Musical throwback; if your playlist also ranges from soulful 60’s to your DJ friend’s Garage Band remix of Gangnam Style - please don’t think your taste is contradicting and cringe-worthy. It is not.

© Copyright 2019 Alexandra Layne. All rights reserved.

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