Thursday, April 12, 2007

I know I mustn't fall into the pit...

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.


John said...

I do love "Defying Gravity" and "Love Shack," I must admit. I played music from Chess in my high school marching band, so there's a love-hate relationship there. I love "Nobody's Side" and especially "Anthem," but I really would like to never hear "Someone Else's Story" ever again.

My biggest guilty pleasure: Goo Goo Dolls. Oh yes. Sing with me! "And I'll do anything you ever dreamed to be complete / little pieces of the nothing that fall." What does that even mean? I don't care, I still love that song.

Mollie said...

"Love-hate" might be a better label for Chess and how I feel about it than "guilty pleasure." I played an instrumental suite from Chess in a piano recital once. It was mostly "Endgame," but without Tim Rice's contributions ("Is he still in bed / or in the shower?" etc.). Awesome.

Re: Goo Goo Dolls, I remember hearing "Name" on the radio every single morning when I was on my way to high school during my freshman year. So whenever I hear a GGD song I instantly feel like I'm 15. Which isn't totally unpleasant...

Anonymous said...

Mollie, I seem to recall a converation from many years back when, after lamenting the frequency of "I Will Never Leave You" from Side Show being performed at various awards shows/Broadway on Broadway/parade spots, you said something to the effect of (but far more eloquently, of course) "I mean, OBVIOUSLY they're never going to leave each other, they're stuck together! And come on, two WOMEN singing that to each other? I could see it being used as a wedding song, maybe, but jeez..."

Now. There you have it. I just solved all of your wedding music problems.

And, hoenstly, doesn't the fact that I can remember that conversation get me some kind of prize? seeing you and Tim dance to "I Will Never Leave You" at your wedding, maybe?

As for my guiltiest pleasures, I think Children of Eden is the Broadway CD I most often sneak into the player when no one else is looking. And The Last Five Years, of course, but I can hardly feel guilty about listening to that.


Mollie said...

I haven't actually watched the YouTube clip I linked to (since I've been in an office all week), but I believe it's a clip from the 98 Tonys of Skinner and Ripley singing "I Will Never Leave You." That clip is near to my heart, since I watched it about 100 times that summer with Stephen. I still maintain that it is maybe the dumbest 11th hour number ever seen in a musical. Or, at least, ever to be performed outside of the musical it came from.

My problem is not so much that the singers are two women as that they're conjoined twins. I can imagine it being repurposed for a wedding, maybe even (and, in fact, especially) a gay wedding. It would still be banal, but it would at least make sense. But for two people who are physically unable to "leave" each other to pledge not to leave each other is totally meaningless. "Evermore and always, we'll be one though we're two" -- touching if you're committing to someone voluntarily; moronic if you're just pointing out the fact that you are conjoined.

Anyway, yes! I will be walking down the aisle to "Who Will Love Me As I Am?" and then a string quartet will play "I Will Never Leave You," softly and sweetly, as we take our vows. But seriously... if my dear fiance and I couldn't agree about "Love Shack," there's very little chance he'll be joining me in a Side Show duet, even an ironic one. But perhaps my bachelorette party should be a showtunes karaoke cabaret? You know you'd be there.

Anonymous said...

'Defying Gravity' is one of several "guilty" songs I am not afraid to admit I've either downloaded independently or purchased the entire CD for.
'Killing Me Softly' by the Fugees no less, is another one.

And honestly, who could hate the Goo Goo Dolls???