Guilty Pleasures Week: Music
Because we’re celebrating Guilty Pleasure Week here at the Cup, I’m skipping today’s weekly soundtrack series. Instead, I’m going to embarrass myself by revealing my musical guilty pleasures. We’ll return to the highly popular soundtrack series next Tuesday morning.
You know you’re too cool to love it, but you can’t help it. You love that guilty pleasure playing on the radio, blaring through your iPod speakers. Maybe there’s a wonderful memory attached, or maybe it’s because it gets your hips moving, or it’s a great heartbreaker. Whatever the reason, we all have guilty pleasures in our song closet, and today I’m woman enough to admit to mine. I had to narrow it down, and classics such as Elvis’ “Kentucky Rain” and Richard Harris’ “MacArthur’s Park” didn’t make the final cut … but I secretly enjoy those, too.
“Everything She Wants”
I. Love. This. Damn. Song. It reigns at the top of my guilty pleasures charts. Must sing loudly and dance wildly whenever I hear it … and, I must admit, I tend to raise my right arm and punch the air with every “Somebody tell me.” Sadly, this display of complete uncool is a common Cup occurrence since “Everything She Wants” is on my favorites playlist. I was never a Wham! fan (although I do enjoy their cheesy Christmas song), but this one is brilliant. And I’ll punch the air until you agree with me.
This was the number-one song in London the first time I went to Europe, in May 1984. The sister and I heard it everywhere we went, and we both love “The Reflex” to this day. Always reminds me of the excitement of your first time abroad. I cannot control the urge to dance whenever I hear the opening notes of “The Reflex.” It’s so of its mid-1980s time and not the best Duran Duran tune by a longshot … but it will always be my favorite. And you have to respect a song that rhymes "valentine" and "the danger line."
"Rock Your Body"
Dance beats seem to rule my guilty pleasures. This is another one loved by both the sister and me. “Rock Your Body” has a beat that demands my hips and shoulders must move and sway whenever I hear it. Sadly, the rest of my body feels it must move like a Timberlake dancer, which can be embarrassing for both me and those who catch me at it. I never thought I’d own a Justin Timberlake single, but this is a prized, much-played possession. Sexy, too: Gonna have you naked by the end of this song. Oh, yeah; he just might.
Nobody pops schmaltz like The Carpenters. When you’re filled with self-pity and want to nurse it, you need Karen to help you through the long night. I must duet with her, loudly and passionately. And this is my favorite; a paean for groupies. It demands the singalong, accompanied by a single tear. Okay, so I’m not really that dramatic when I listen to “Superstar” (having graduated from high school a very long time ago), but I love singing along with Ms. Carpenter. Have you seen this scene in the Carpenters TV movie? Heartbreaking.
The Free Design
“Kites Are Fun”
An excellent example of goofy, shallow, hippy sixties pop. (Is that a pan flute I hear?) “Kites Are Fun” is, well, it’s as much fun as flying kites: See my kite it’s fun / See my kite, it’s green and white / Laughing in its distant flight / All that’s between us is a little yellow string / But we like each other more than anything / And we run along together through the field behind my house / And the little drops of rain caress her face and wash my blouse / And we’d like to be a zillion miles away from everyone / ‘Cause Mom and Dad and Uncle Bill don’t realize / Kites are fun. It does have a level of cool, though; the Twilight Singers did an awesome cover a few years ago. And I’m proud to say that I own both recordings.
“Having My Baby”
If you weren’t living in Atlanta and following the music scene in the early 1980s, you’re woefully unaware of this vinyl gem. The Coolies were a local band helmed by the great Clay Harper, already a local legend as cofounder of Fellini’s Pizza. Their first album included punk covers of Simon & Garfunkel songs (on the liner notes, the band is asked why they didn’t recorded original songs; they pointed out that they did, that Paul Simon wrote all but one). Their S&G covers are fun and silly. But their cover of Paul Anka’s “Having My Baby” wins the prize. I think it’s Clay’s freeform moment in the middle of the song: But woman, you ain’t the only woman in town / And, come to think of it, baby / Come to think of it / You ain’t the only woman in town that’s / Having my baby. It’s just this side of stupid. You had to be there.
A Guilty Pleasure Confession
I can’t close out today’s post without admitting that I have every guest appearance of Misters Buck, Stipe, Mills, and Berry. (For the uninitiated, those are the original members of R.E.M.) These tunes even have their own MP3 folder, titled (yes, embarrassingly titled) Wandering Dreams. Two or three times a year, I execute an extensive Google search to ensure I’m up to date. Do you know how many records, CDs, and MP3s that is? Peter Buck can’t go a month without sitting in with someone (he even sat in with Tony Trischka and Cedell Davis, by God), and Michael Stipe’s in big demand himself. Name one recording (no bootlegs, although I have a helluva lot of those, too) and see if you can trump me.
So ... do you still respect my musical genius?
Now, head on over to Haahnster’s Hallucinations to check out his guilty confessions.
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