If you've been reading my blog, you might have gotten the sense that I'll write about anything I'm watching or listening to, no matter how seemingly shameful. I mean, Criss Angel: Mindfreak? Fucking hell, I'll admit it—that show's pretty awful.
But nothing I've written about is something that I'd actually consider a guilty pleasure, per se. And I've always had a rather uncomfortable relationship with the concept of guilty pleasures, to be honest, because I believe that if you really enjoy something—whether it be music, or television, or films, etc—there's nothing shameful or guilt-inducing about that! Pride or guilt shouldn't enter into enjoyment of popular culture.
That said, though...
I'm actually perversely proud of listening to or watching certain things in my iTunes library, or our TiVo "Now Playing List." I think I may just like being contrary, in part, and consuming things that just really annoy people or make them mad.
And so those are what I tend to think of as my guilty pleasures, the guilt being my atonement for the pain that I'm purposely causing everyone else.
Clay Aiken, "Solitaire"
Much more histrionic than the Carpenters' version, and with some rather dodgy additional lyrics, it sometimes sounds like Clay is getting a bit lost beneath the surging orchestration. But I still love it.
The thing about Clay, for me, is that I actually get the sense that he means it. There's something very honest & true about Clay Aiken, and that's always really, really important for me when it comes to music—I grew out of my college-era irony phase a long time ago. And, frankly, if there's one thing that I always associate with guilty pleasure music, it's music that actually seems sincere, perhaps sincere to the point that it's a bit uncomfortable.
"His eyes are closed / His heart is broken..." Truly. Poor, confused, Clay.
Take That, "Back for Good"
This song just can't help but remind me of the Office Special, at the end, at the Christmas party, when Tim says goodbye to Dawn, and then she comes back, etc. It was one of the most unexpectedly sentimental—and touching, because of that—scenes I've seen in a long time.
It may be partly the association with the Office Special, but there's just something so junior-high dance about this song—it's that slow song that comes on near the end of the dance, when everyone is milling about, thinking they're going to leave, but it pulls you back in, all excited, for that one last slow dance.
What I really wanted was to have it played at our holiday party last Christmas, because I figured it would at first piss everyone off, but then they'd see how great it was, and all just start loving the song, too. But alas I wasn't in charge of the music.
"Degrassi: The Next Generation"
I really love "Degrassi: TNG," and it's not a guilty pleasure in the sense that I actually feel embarrassed about watching it—it's that I feel a bit creepy & old about watching it, because these kids are just so recognizably young. Anyway, I'm not going to write much about this, because I have a feeling it could someday inspire a post in itself.
Suffice to say, though, that when friends come over to watch TV with me, and they look at the TiVo "Now Playing" list, and it contains 5 Degrassi episodes—well, I guess I'd admit to feeling just a little bit embarrassed, then.