Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunday Confessional: My Favorite Bad Music

Obviously, music is far too subjective for us to really label anything irrefutably good or bad, but you know what I mean. I went to art school, where the majority tends to turn up its collective nose at manufactured pop tunes, that strain of music designed to be ear-wormish and profitable, to trick listeners into mistaking its catchiness for quality. Sort of the way fast food joints trick us into thinking their delicious fatty fare is preferable to nutritious, less exploding-in-my-mouth-with-flavors-spawned-just-off-the-New-Jersey-Turnpike options.

But I'll own it—I love shitty pop music. It started with Elvis Costello. My boy Elvis is not shitty by any stretch of the imagination, but when I heard "The Other Side of Summer" for the first time in eleventh grade whilst working at my local record store, I was hooked. Glib message or not, it was undeniably pop, yet I adored it. I'd long ago denounced the genre and had spent the years following that shift freebasing Nine Inch Nails and Tool and other dirgey, mopey, restless rock, and I was finally ready to enjoy some chirpy, commercial pop.

As I grew older and got more into exercising, I gravitated toward pop to accent my workouts. It's no fun jogging to Tori Amos. Also as I got older, I began to yearn for my favorite childhood albums, ones wrapped up in memories of my mom dancing me around the living room—The Monkees, Olivia Newton John, the Bee Gees, Debbie Gibson, Phil Collins, Tina Turner. Those examples are all on my iPod now and I listen to them regularly, probably driving my manfriend up the wall. I've also added some artists not favored by my parents, but burned into my earliest cultural memories nevertheless, such as ABBA and Prince.

My pod is equally rife with more current pop offenders, like Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, Rhianna, BeyoncĂ©… Then a few that are suspended somewhere between new and nostalgic—Eminem, Destiny's Child, Christina Aguilera, Mandy Moore, NSYNC. Those are the ones I probably secretly liked when I was in college and TRL was still reflecting (or perhaps dictating) the popular tastes, but I refused to admit my enjoyment of them to myself or my peers. Thank goodness I've since gotten over myself.

Let me scan my pod and see what other dark confessions lurk in my Artists list… Ah yes! Anastacia, Craig David, Elton John, the Fugees, George Michael, Jamiroquai, John Denver, Kylie Minogue (a LOT of Kylie Minogue), Ludacris, Mariah Carey, Missy Elliot (a LOOOT of Missy Elliot), Nelly, ODB, Salt-n-Pepa, Sean Paul, Shakira, the Spice Girls, Usher, Will Smith…

So, I've shown you mine. Now show me yours. What dirty little secrets is your iPod harboring?


  1. I've already confessed the ODB on Twitter. But the NWA - I can totally justify that! Social commentary.

    The :gulp: Buck Cherry; there's no defending that.

  2. Like you, I listen to music that keeps me up for my workouts. I also have Lady Gaga & Britney along with some Culture Club, Katy Perry, Bananarama, the GoGos, the Bangles and other assorted 80's upbeat songs. Not such a dirty little secret compared to my others!

  3. as a lifelong bon jovi fan, i'm used to the ridicule. lol

    i loved tiffany, debbie gibson, and en vogue.

    i love katy perry, that's my current offense and well as a deep and abiding love for all things 80's, pop, and yes...jt makes my list a lot.

    that song he did with timbalake. fast food or something like that? lol

    shameless love for the pop music.

    what a fun post!

  4. Thanks, ladies! I knew this sin had ot be a universal one.

  5. I also have A LOT of Kylie...but my true guilty secret is that I sometimes listen to country music and not ironically. I own an entire Rascal Flatts album. When my dad found out he asked what he and my mom did wrong in raising me.

  6. Wow! And here I thought I knew most of Kramy's deep dark secrets. Your undercover country habit has me beat. All I can claim is John Denver, that one Big & Rich song that gets played at every wedding to get the bachelorettes dancing with invisible lassos, a few Johnny Cash albums and one Hank Williams' Moanin' the Blues. The next time we have occasion to swap care packages, I want a top secret country mix CD!