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Guilty Pleasures

Nuala Swan


I’m pretty sure everyone must have a few guilty musical pleasures tucked away, songs and artists which make us dread the idea of having our ipods put on shuffle at a party, or having someone we want to impress browse through the playlists on our computers. Well, I say, embrace the guilty pleasure; refuse to be ashamed by your love of the cheesy, the dated, the sentimental or the just plain bad.

I, for example, have a love for George Michael that is rather out of kilter with the rest of my musical tastes. On an ipod that is mostly populated by the Bowies, Morrisseys and Buckleys of the musical world, there he is, with Careless Whisper and Club Tropicana as beacons of shiny cheesy goodness to cheer up any bad day.

So, if George is the leader of my pack of guilty pleasures, then who is its leading lady? Step forward Miss Dolly Parton, the woman who has borrowed more than a few styling tips from Barbie, but who in actual fact has great songs and an awesome voice. Jolene is probably one of my most played songs, it’s just so damn catchy, and yet so heartfelt too.

So what’s the next act that I’m going to admit indulging in? Well, I have to admit to a bit of a penchant for a bit of Big Band music. I’m not talking cringy wedding singer here, I mean the real thing, a bit of Rat Pack, a bit of Old Blue Eyes himself. I got myself in a bit of a strop when I saw Frank Sinatra was left off Rolling Stone’s list of 100 Greatest Singers of All Time, that guy could sure belt out a tune, and he was so damn cool whilst doing it!

Actually, the singers listed above aren’t actually that shocking in the guilty pleasures scheme of things; they’re all just a bit out of step with my usual musical tastes. If you want to learn of something truly awful in my collection then I shall refer you to exhibit A: N-Dubz. What initially started out as a joke between me and a friend unfortunately turned into a slight fondness for those cheeky chappies, and, incredibly, I actually like the song they have with Tinchy Stryder.

Moving swiftly on, I come to the band of Gossip Girl actress Taylor Momsen, the imaginatively named The Pretty Reckless. I hasten to say that I’ve never listened to more than one of their songs, Make Me Wanna Die, and that it is basically one big melodramatic teen cliché from start to finish, but it’s so catchy that I just can’t help myself from allowing it to creep up my most played list. It’s embarrassing, but there it is. 

Room for one more? Ok, here they are, everyone’s favourite man band, Take That. I loved these guys the first time around, when they were doing too many covers, and wearing too little clothes. I was excited when they came back, I was excited when I went to see them in concert at the should-know-better age of 22 and I was excited (and subsequently disappointed) when Robbie came back.

Here I’ve only really scratched the surface of all the guilty pleasure that I partake of when no one else is listening, and I’ve only actually revealed two that I’m properly ashamed of. However, I can’t completely open myself up to ridicule, one step at a time please!