Windy Waters and I talked on the show this morning about “guilty pleasure” songs. The one I named this morning was Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone” but there are many others. It’s a topic that I love to talk about and one that always gets good participation. Honestly, I love every music discussion we have whether it’s your first concert, first record…doesn’t matter. I’m a music geek and it’s the main reason I got into radio. I wanted to listen to music I loved and share that love with the masses.
Wikipedia lists the definition of a guilty pleasure as “something someone enjoys and considers pleasurable despite feeling guilt for enjoying it.” However, I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. I don’t think you should ever apologize for what you love, no matter how ridiculous it may seem. I don’t have any guilty pleasures now, but that wasn’t always the case.
Back in 2000, I was working as a manager at KB Toys in one of the suburban-Cleveland malls. It was one of the most fun jobs I’ve ever had. We used to get these CDs in to play in the store that would have about 100 songs on them, plus commercials about specials we were running. One CD would last us 1 to 2 months, then we’d get the new one.
In the spring of 2000, there was a song on one of these CDs that I became obsessed with. It started with this killer harmonica part that led into ooey-gooey bubblegum-pop goodness. A catchy melody with smooth harmonies and a chorus that absolutely soared. I had no idea who this artist was but I knew that this song made me happy. I’d get goosebumps when that harmonica came through the speakers and I’d sing my heart out every time it was on. I didn’t care how many customers we had in the store!
After about 2 weeks, I couldn’t handle it anymore. I needed to know who the master songsmiths were that weaved this 4-and-a-half perfect minutes of musical brilliance together. Off to the office I went and dug through my desk until I found the envelope the CD came in. I pulled out the paper and eagerly scanned the list of songs on it. I was not prepared for what I found.
The song was called “If Only” by the band Hanson.
Wait…what? Surely I must have read that wrong.
Yes. THAT Hanson. The brothers who released MMMBop, one of the most infamous songs of the 90s. The 24-year old musical snob in me was NOT equipped to handle what was happening to my world at that moment. Everything I had come to believe about music was now in question. I think I kept my love for that song (and the band) in the closet until 2004, which was when their next record came out. The song Penny & Me forced me to admit out loud that the brothers Hanson had matured into an excellent band with some great songwriting skills and anyone who says otherwise is just wrong.
It was around the same time that I retired my use of the term “guilty pleasure” and went along with the idea that there are 2 rules to music (rule #1: if it sounds good, it is good; rule #2: there are no other rules). Yes, I like “Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus. Yes, I know every word to “Everywhere” by Michelle Branch. And you know what? I don’t feel the least bit guilty about it. As a matter of fact, I'll tell you what I want, what I really really want...