Yesterday my affianced sent me a link to this list of "guilty pleasure" bands, as compiled by some Rolling Stone blog. He had some quibbles with their picks, which I pointed out was not very sporting of him considering that the headline says the list is "Undisputed." It all seems pretty solid to me, and so I will continue to tease him about his appreciation for Hall & Oates, and expect to be teased in turn for my affection for America and the Monkees.
We've been learning a lot about each other's guilty (musical) pleasures lately, as we're in the process of finding a band to play at our wedding reception. That has led to a number of scenes like this one: We're in the car, headed for Scranton, and I'm playing with the radio trying to find an acceptable station (in that radio-reception vortex near the Delaware Water Gap). Finally I come upon "Love Shack" (by the B-52's, "The World's Greatest Party Band," hello), and as I turn it up, I say, "This definitely goes on the reception playlist." And I wait for him to say, "Oh, yes, you can't have a dance party without 'Love Shack,' and I will now sing along because I, too, know all the words," and he waits for me to say, "...That was a joke, of course." And then we realize that "Love Shack" is actually not a place where we can get together. So to speak. And we must reevaluate whether we really ought to be planning a wedding, given that we can't agree about something as fundamental as the indispensability of "Love Shack."
We musical theatre lovers have our own guilty pleasures, don't we? Chess is at the top of my list, for the same reason ABBA comes in at number 4 on the RS list referenced above. And if anybody wants to do me a favor, they will translate Tim Rice's execrable lyrics into some other language, like German or French, and rerecord all the songs (in total fidelity to the original's 1980s synth-pop sound) with their new non-English words. That way I can listen without worrying about the characters or the story (also idiotic -- and, surprise, surprise, the show is "based on an idea by Tim Rice"), or the abominable lyrics that I find myself singing anyway, because the music they're (awkwardly) set to is so damn catchy. (At the moment the line I hate most is "It's not just black and white / If I may coin a phrase..." Listen, lady, whoever you are, you're not "coining a phrase," you're making a play on words. "If you'll pardon the expression" is what you really mean. Oh, but I won't start listing examples of why Tim Rice sucks, or we'll be here all day.)
Tim Rice is actually a useful indicator of guilty-pleasure status; his very attachment to a project renders any pleasure you might derive from that project inherently shameful. Another guilty-pleasure mainstay is Carolee Carmello, whom I love... and who has no shame about appearing in something like Lestat. Or many things like Lestat.
Are you ashamed that you know several brainless ballads from Side Show? Do you get a secret thrill from "Defying Gravity"? Can you name a song, any song, from Starlight Express? Now is the time to leave a comment and confess your guilt.