The Oxford Dictionary defines a ‘guilty pleasure’ as “Something, such as a movie, television program, or piece of music, that one enjoys despite feeling that it is not generally held in high regard.” Everyone has these things we love but really don’t want anyone else to know about. Mine most often happens with music. I have written about all kinds of music here on the blog so it’s fairly certain to say I have a very diverse, eclectic taste. It comes from all sorts of places. My dad was a rock music listener. My mom more pop. My grandparents listened to all things 1950s/60s. When it comes to guilty pleasures, mine usually aren’t a secret. I typically don’t even feel all that guilty about liking them.
I will 100% sternly say how great a song is directly to your face if you call me out on it’s horrible qualities. Sometimes I’m doing it ironically and sometimes I’m really not. I’ll never tell. For the purposes of this post I tried to find songs I’m slightly ashamed to love, but shortly came to realize I’m not all that ashamed by them. In fact it was really hard to sift through what was ironic and what wasn’t. But in the end I came up with 5 and here they are.
22 – Taylor Swift
I’ll confess there’s quite a few Taylor Swift songs I may or may not enjoy. 22 is by far my favorite of those. It’s addicting. It’s danceable. It’s youthful and fun. I can’t help but sing along with it when it comes on. That said, she may be feeling 22, but I am not. In fact when I was 22, I wasn’t wearing cat ear headbands and having bike races with my friends in the backyard. I definitely wasn’t dressing like hipsters. I was going out to nightclubs, pretending overly expensive drinks were worth the hassle of watching slutty girls cry, and seeing a 1980s hair metal cover band in a now defunct dive bar. Okay so maybe that 1980s hair metal cover band were really awesome. Actually, jumping on a trampoline and dancing around wearing horned rimmed glasses sounds more my style in retrospect. Either way, I had (some) fun when I was 22, and this video makes 22 look way more fun that it actually is. I want to live in this video. Have cute clothes, dance around, and eat cake. But instead, I’m 27 and listening to Taylor Swift while pretending I don’t have grown up responsibilities. No shame because twinkle lights on swings no doubt solve everything.
Never Gonna Give You Up – Rick Astley
I’ve never wondered what it would be like if a really rich white guy who owned a yacht decided to sing about relationships. The reason I’ve never had to wonder is because Rick Astley made that dream a reality with Never Gonna Give You Up. The song is super catchy. It’s impossible not to bust a move when it’s on and it’s forever stuck in my head once the song is over. I listened to it 30 minutes ago and it’s still going strong. It doesn’t get much better than this. The message here is pretty simple. Rick is never gonna give you up. He’s never gonna let you down. And he may wear double denim but he’s never gonna desert you. The video also has a really cool bartender, who quite honestly, could have quit his job to be a dancer. Maybe he felt no one could clean a bar with as much flair. He could have at least taught Rick better moves than the ‘white guy hip shuffle.’ I never get sick of this song. It’s the song internet dreams are made of. The Rick Roll is still one of my brother’s favorite pastimes. Only I’m never upset when it happens to me.
Mamma Mia – ABBA
Everyone knows the three things I love about Sweden: IKEA, chocolate, and of course, ABBA. ABBA was one of the greatest imports of the disco age. They had extremely catchy pop songs about a variety of subjects. Not only do they have the best pop songs imaginable, BUT the best matching outfits. I think there’s even a museum dedicated to the wonder known as ABBA. Mamma Mia isn’t my favorite ABBA song, but it’s really high up to the top. There’s not anything to dislike about it. This video has such great choreography not to mention a high production value. That zoom focus on the different mouths is brilliant. Way head of it’s time. It even spawned a musical with a plot I can’t really understand. Seriously what does it have to do with the themes of ABBA’s music? The only way I could love ABBA more is if it was played on near constant rotation in IKEA. Hey there’s an idea…everyone will avoid the shop and maybe I wouldn’t have to maneuver around confused lost souls trying to find the 17 boxes needed to put together a kitchen table.
We Can’t Stop – Miley Cyrus
Ah Miley Cyrus. Good ol’ Miley has the songs worthy of guilty pleasures. There’s The Climb which I love pretending I can hit the high notes on. There’s 7 Things which is filled to the brim with angst. The undisputed champion of songs about America: Party in the USA; which told me it was okay to move my hips like ‘yeah.’ And now We Can’t Stop which was a giant hit last summer. I tried to put off liking it for as long as possible and eventually it faded into obscurity. Recently I heard it on a playlist I was casually listening to and my instant reaction became ‘dammit, I like this song.’ I don’t like ‘twerking’ and I’m not an expert on ‘Molly’ far from it actually. I’m not sure what we ‘can’t stop’ or what we ‘won’t stop’ or who is policing parties for what people are saying/singing/loving, but Miley seems to think that’s a problem. All I know is I’m on board for a 3 minute song and a video filled with product placement.
Hold On – Wilson Phillips
In the 90s there was a super empowering girl group made up of daughters of famous rock musicians. They were called Wilson Phillips and their song Hold On was the jam. It was my jam. I was young, but I definitely loved it every time it came on the radio. But like most great songs they hit their peak and fade away to obscurity (aka lite radio with the greatest hits of 80s, 90s, and today). Thank god for the classic comedy Bridesmaids or I wouldn’t have renewed my passion for this jam. I hadn’t heard Hold On in at least 10 years up to that point and from the very first note it became hard to contain myself in the theater. It’s so inspirational. Someday somebody’s gonna make you wanna turn around and say goodbye. They are gonna hold you down and make you cry. But if you change, things will go your way. If you holdddddd on for one more day. Things will go your way. If anything the nature shots in this music video are revolutionary and worth the viewing all together. All I know is I sing along to this song at the top of my lungs in my car (passionate diva hand gestures and all) and I’m not even a little bit ashamed of it.