Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Guilty Pleasures Episode One

Inspired by J. Lindo, I would like to start a periodically recurring post on this blog. It also has to do with music. I call it "Guilty Pleasures." We all have them: songs or artists that we outwardly mock or dismiss but which we secretly love. Whether that love is spurred on by nostalgia or just a musical proclivity that we would try to hide from our hip friends, we can't help but feel a bit ashamed. And the shame is part of what makes us indulge in it all the more. ("Come here, Hall and Oates' "Kiss on My List" 12" single from my parents' record collection, you make me feel so dirty! Shhhhhh!")

So without further delay, I bring you today's three contestants in the first installment of Guilty Pleasures. Today's theme is Never Give Up: Songs of Inspiration. Don't forget to vote on your favorite. (See poll on sidebar.)

Journey - "Don't Stop Believing"
: I know. Many of you feel no shame in stopping and singing along to this one when you catch it on the classic rock radio station (for the fifth time that day) as you're cruising the dial. I do it all the time. But never with a straight face, and always while trying to tamp down that embarrassingly real feeling welling up in my heart that says, "Don't stop, Joe! Don't stop believing! You will make it!" (I also have to ask myself, "Who are the streetlight people?")

Journey - Don't Stop Believin'

Found at

Chumbawamba - "Tubthumping": First of all, how many people actually know the title of this song is "Tubthumping"? Up until five minutes ago I thought it was "I Get Knocked Down." Where is Chumbawamba these days? Probably trying to figure out how to recreate the fame created by these four-minutes of shoulder-bopping indulgence. I've never heard a sweeter voice sing the words, "Pissing the night away . . ."

Chumbawamba - Tubthumping

Found at

Joe Esposito - "You're the Best": From 1985's Karate Kid soundtrack. In the movie, it plays during a musical montage at the final karate tournament. Do yourself a favor and listen to this all the way through. Picture Ralph Macchio with a clenched fist and the sneering face of that blond-haired bully dude. Think of every ten-year-old boy who has been picked on and then dreamed of crane-kicking their tormentors into Canada while this song plays in the background. Is your heart racing yet? Guilty as charged. "Fight 'till the end, cause your life will depend, on the strength that you have inside you!"

Joe 'Bean' Esposito - You're The Best

Found at

Okay, now is your chance to vote for your favorite guilty pleasure, then comment on why you voted the way you did. What was your criteria for voting? Sentimentality? Level of guilt evoked? Musical aptitude? Your vote counts!


davers said...

Just to name a few:

Without doubt, I'd say Chicago "Baby what a big surprise" is one sappy song who's equal I have not yet found. Good memories I have getting headaches trying to hit those high notes, wondering if getting castrated might be worth it just to beable to do so.

And why does Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing" have such an unbelievably cool groove. This is one song I'm embarrassed to say I like.

George Michael's entire album "Listen without prejudice" I believe is hated largely because and perhaps entirely because he's considered a social deviate. Maybe he is, I don't know ... I do know that like Larry Craig he fell victim to an anonymous men's bathroom sex sting which seems seedy even if you're okay with homosexuality (which I'm not). All that doesn't change the fact that I think it was an awesome album much of it well before it's time. I don't like it too much anymore though, but it was a guilty pleasure at one time that I'd kept hidden as much as possible.

Those are the one's I'm mot thrilled to admit. Now there are a lot more I'm happy to admit are guilty pleasures, things I love, but are still ancient. A lot of it I love because it reminds me of being an exchange student in Berlin Germany in 1982-83. Journey, BOC, Scorpions, etc.

davers said...

And Foreigner. Can't forget Foreigner. And Survivor. Fly-by-night 1982 bands. Very nostalgic ... but honestly I tire quickly of them now, but they still make me feel that way I felt then ... free, and constantly amazed and filled with boundless ambition but not enough courage to do anything about it.

Now I have the courage, but last the ambition, amazement, or sense of freedom. Meh, it all equals out.

Robin said...

Jukebox Hero - Journey

Dolphinsbarn said...

I <3 this idea/post, and am happy that I inspired such greatness. I'm not even going to begin to mention the guilty pleasures I have on my ipod (why, when I can look forward to you posting them on your blog), but I will say thie: I just put Journey on my ipod last night (and was looking over my shoulder at the time just to be sure nobody was looking), and I listened to Don't Stop Believing on my way into work. It gets my vote... hands down.

Ming said...

I LOVE that Journey song! And I have to say it's not a guilty pleasure because I feel no guilt listening to it. I flat out like it and am willing to admit it.

Which is why my vote goes to the Karate Kid song. That is a perfect guilty pleasure song. Terrible song, should hate it, but the happy memories it brings of watching the Karate Kid over and over again (even reading the book, yes there's a book) is just too good. Ahhhhh Ralph I pined.

David Grover said...

Juke Box Hero is a Foreigner song. And it's awesome.

I saw Foreigner and Bryan Adams in concert this summer, and pretty much every song they sang was a guilty pleasure.

Especially this one.

Wendy Weiler King said...

My vote is journey all the way. But my favorite all time guilty pleasure song? "I Would Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)" by Meat Loaf. It came on in the grocery store the other day and Harley and I were belting it out in the aisles, loving our lives. First of all, has there ever, EVER been a song with more passion? Second, what IS the "that" he WON'T do. Finally, whatever happened to that band?!?

Harley King said...

I loved the "You're the Best" song. I did picture myself in that stadium, heart racing, crane kicking the daylights out of every mocking thing.

And it felt good. It felt good to be the best. Around.

Les said...


I had to go with Journey on this one. #1, it was a song that only sounds proper in arenas with 20,000 capacity or more. #2, From the time I was about ten years old I would sneak into my oldest brother's bedroom, put on his Journey's Greatest Hits tape (this was track #2) and I would do push ups and sit ups and generally work myself into a frenzy while dreaming of glory. In some future day it would be said of me that I never stopped believing.

Zach said...

Back when I was into the Nickleback songs that were on the radio, I decided that there were no such things as guilty pleasures. They are really only based on some amorphous perception of things I am not supposed to or allowed to like, and I am way too conceited about my own opinion to get bullied around.