25 July 2006

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.

Duran Duran
“The Reflex”
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."

Justin Timberlake
"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.

The Carpenters
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.

The Coolies
“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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At 7/25/2006 07:47:00 AM, Blogger Dale said...

Highest respect is due for these admissions Beth. The Reflex is my favourite Duran Duran song too. I even like the video.

Olivia Newton John - a song called Magic. Olivia gets all sultry and you sweat more than she does during that Physical one she sang.

I'm going to stop there and remind you that I also love R.E.M. and Nine Inch Nails. And The Carpenters.

At 7/25/2006 09:35:00 AM, Blogger Old Lady said...

I posted on hh first, I too am a secret Carpenters devotee.

At 7/25/2006 10:13:00 AM, Blogger Bill said...

Much like I don't trust anyone who blanketly dismisses large genres, anyone without a few annoying pop songs on their music playlists should be looked upon with abject suspicion!

My latest guilty pleasure is the first single by Angels and Airwaves- The Adventure Final. It would probably be cool if I was a 16 year old emo boy, but I'm almost a decade past there (as was brought to my attention when I was at a show they played.) I probably have too many other ones to list, many from the 80s. I've always expected that I listen to Crystal by New Order way too often considering its musical merits or lack thereof.

At 7/25/2006 10:53:00 AM, Blogger Marni said...

My secret pleasure - Air Supply! OMG - how gross is that? But for some reason I love them. I purchased one album (back in the day) but have not ventured forth to buy a CD. (blush)

At 7/25/2006 12:22:00 PM, Anonymous REnae said...

Burt Bacharach and Neil Diamond. I mean, really, how can you NOT sing those songs? Loudly.

Yeah, and I can do a good Karen driving alone in the car.

And the Coolies!! hahaha! Hadn't thought about those days in a while! Those were fun times.

At 7/25/2006 01:26:00 PM, Blogger Benny said...

Beth, you still rock. No worries.

My guilty pleasure: I go to Napster and listen to free Grateful Dead.

... and Tori Amos.

Yanno. The stuff I wouldn't buy in person. Or buy at all, for that matter.

Don't hate me! Hehe. ;-)

At 7/25/2006 02:25:00 PM, Blogger barista brat said...

dale mentioned a song off xanadu! that is my guilty pleasure soundtrack, but mostly for jeff lynne. what a genius!

and renae mentioned burt bacharach! who needs the pain of an actual break-up when burt has already gone through it and put it to song?

oh, and duran duran is an all time favorite of mine (and i get sad every time i watch 'sing blue silver' because i was not a teenager then).

right now my guilty pleasure is anything atomic kitten, hearsay and (dare i say?) bananarama. i just watched a 'behind the music' sort of show about them on youtube.

At 7/25/2006 04:07:00 PM, Blogger patrick said...

goes back to high school - loverboy's 'turn me loose' and def leppard's 'photograph.' oh, yeah. makes me wanna grow a mullet again.

At 7/25/2006 05:31:00 PM, Blogger Scrivener said...

I don't really think I have guilty pleasures, because if I like it then I'm willing to argue about why it's so fantastic that I should feel no guilt about liking it. But if I had to pick, it would be Rush. I was totally into Rush in high school, have a bunch of cassette tapes of theirs, which I never listen to anymore, but when I hear Rush I'm happy. What's to feel guilty about, though?

You've got the REM and Wilco singles from 2003? "It's the End of the World" and "Country Feedback."

At 7/25/2006 05:55:00 PM, Anonymous DJ Cayenne said...

Wow. I haven't even thought about Dig? in maybe 20 years. What a great album. Have you heard the Sonic Youth cover of Superstar on the Carpenters tribute album? Fantastic. There is no excuse for Wham!, however.

At 7/25/2006 07:07:00 PM, Blogger mat said...

I will go more modern here, like yesterday. Gulp... I like.... can't say it...oh, what the hell....I like "My Heart Will Go On". There, it is out. I feel so much better (maybe)! You shouldn't feel guilty about Duran Duran though. Their mid 80's stuff was cool!

At 7/25/2006 07:22:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

DALE: We are twin sons of different music mothers, aren't we?

OLD LADY: Who our age isn't a Carpenters fan?

BILL: I need to check out Angel and the Airwaves. And, for some reason, I hear "Crystal" everywhere I go these days.

MARNI: No. Cannot go there. Please step away from the greatest-hits CD.

RENAE: Now you’re talking. Mama always said that Neil Diamond looks like the type who’d fart during sex. Yes, my mother said that. I threw The Coolies in for you and Simeon; good times.

BENNY: Still love and admire you, kid. But Tori Amos is a cheap Kate Bush.

BRAT: No need for embarrassment on your list; you did well. I was afraid you’d list some Hear Music.

PATRICK: Omigod! You’re talking the little brother’s list. He took me with his friends to see Loverboy; wasn’t interested in the show, but was glad to go with four cute boys. I love “Photograph”; still have the 45 somewhere …

SCRIVENER: Good argument; you should be a professor or something. But I can’t go down the Rush road. And, of course I have those tracks; I believe I got them with my Christmas fan club package. Do you have Wilco’s cover of Big Star’s “Thirteen”? I’m beginning to like their version better than the original.

DJ CAYENNE: You were around and dancing back in the day, too? My favorite Atlanta era. I have both “Dig!” and “Doug” on CD and in MP3 format. Be happy to send you copies since you sent me the book. And of course I have Sonic Youth's cover of "Superstar"; isn't it brilliant???

MAT: No, please, no. Not Celine. At least you love Duran Duran.

At 7/25/2006 08:09:00 PM, Blogger Dale said...

I never cared a lot for Rush which almost got me kicked out of Canada.

At 7/25/2006 08:24:00 PM, Anonymous dayle said...

I will admit - I like Justin Timberlake - I can shake my ass to him. And my deep dark secret - I like music that my mom likes - Styx, Foreigner, Chicago, Adam Ant, Eddie Money. I was told today by a co-worker that I am "too young" to know those songs. I about kissed her when she said that!

At 7/25/2006 08:30:00 PM, Blogger Scrivener said...

I went out and got Wilco's cover of "Thirteen" when you mentioned it to me a while back. It is really good. I also have a good Elliott Smith cover of it.

At 7/25/2006 08:38:00 PM, Anonymous Glassmeow said...

Hee! Did your Mom really say that? My Mom liked Neil Diamond. I listened along, but I was just a kid. Getting multiple influences. Crosby Stills Nash & Young and really early Elton John from my uncles (her little brothers, two of them only 5 and 6 years older than me) along with the Beatles, Cream, Iron Butterfly. All on 8 track - gotta love the 70's.

Oh. Yeah. The Carpenters were my first concert. I was all of 14. They were pretty good as I remember it.

At 7/25/2006 09:44:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

DALE: You are one cool mofo to turn your back on your country's favorite band.

DAYLE: Don't forget; I'm your mom's friend and we enjoyed many of those bands together. Now I feel old ...

SCRIVENER: Glad you found it. I have the Elliott Smith version, too, but I find I always go for the Wilco one. Do you have the bootleg of that Green concert? If not, I'll get a copy to you.

GLASSMEOW: My mother is wonderfully witty. I had an eight-track player in my car; loved the fade and chu-chunk in the middle of a song. Did you jam at The Carpenters' show? If I were really honest, I would have told my Helen Reddy concert story (Simeon lost all sorts of musical respect for me over that one).

At 7/25/2006 09:52:00 PM, Blogger Dale said...

You know I thought of Helen Reddy when I was thinking who I used to secretly like? I didn't dare mention her though. Uh oh.

At 7/25/2006 10:11:00 PM, Anonymous DJ Cayenne said...

Beth, sure you can send me a copy of Dig? (wasn't a huge fan of Doug). That would be great. I was not in Georgia at the the time, so I never got to see the Coolies live. I was just a "Georgia music" fan.

And if you want to talk Duran Duran, how can you put "Reflex" ahead of "Planet Earth" and "Girls on Film"?

At 7/25/2006 10:27:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

DALE: We do share music DNA, don't we? Scary, huh?

DJ CAYENNE: I much prefer Dig myself. Send me your address, and I'll get it in the mail this week. And "Reflex" wins due to the first time abroad memory.

At 7/25/2006 11:20:00 PM, Blogger Writeprocrastinator said...

I haven't been able to listen to "The Reflex" this side of '89, but it amazes me to think that was state of the art sampling back then, with the "whyyyy-wah-wah-whyyyy-yeahh."

"Rock Your Body?" A damn good dance song is a damn good dance song. You shake your ass to it at the club or at home, then you try to pretend that it didn't happen.

Axl Rose said that George Michael was an excellent lyricist, I have to begrudge him slightly by saying that he wrote some of the catchiest songs of all time.

"Everything She Wants" and "Hard Day" are the only two George songs that I will admit to still listening to when they come on the radio.

At 7/26/2006 05:56:00 AM, Blogger Beth said...

Write Procrastinator, pull out "The Reflex" today and dance to it today for me. Just once.

At 7/26/2006 09:24:00 AM, Blogger Benny said...

Beth! Here's the worst part. I like Kate Bush. I know she's the original, as anyone past a certain (but still rockin') age will snootily inform me.

But I still like Tori Amos MORE.

Heh. ;-)

At 7/26/2006 06:33:00 PM, Blogger Shroom-Monkey said...

I am gonna have to go with you on Wham but for me it was Young Guns, Bad Boys or even Club Tropicana. Duran Duran it was those little off beat songs like Friends of Mine and Sounds of Thunder. But Mr. Timberlake for being a youngster gets me all hot with Rock Your Body...

I love Rush- Subdivisions and KISS- I love it Loud.. songs that I get all excited about if I hear them on the radio.

Good List- and thanx for checking out the interview.....

At 7/26/2006 08:53:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

B: Your youth is showing, child.

SHROOM-MONKEY: I really enjoyed reading it! We Atlanta bloggers need to stick together!

At 7/26/2006 09:44:00 PM, Blogger Shroom-Monkey said...

True Dat- everyone I know in Bloggerworld is Canadian and European- where are all the locals?

At 7/26/2006 10:27:00 PM, Blogger Scrivener said...

I do not have a bootleg of that Green concert. That would be awesome!


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