Guilty Pleasures. We all have them, whether or not we choose to admit it, in various forms of entertainment. Why are they called “Guilty Pleasures though?” Yes we enjoy them, but should we feel bad about our entertainment options? In short, today’s entry won’t be super long, or have scientific research to back it up. Quite simply, I’m going to share my thoughts and feelings on why the term exists, and why I think it’s silly and unfair.
If you;ve been following my instagram posts over at @thedeathofthemixtape, you’ll know this week is my unofficial “Guilty Pleasures” week. I bring this up as a point of reference, not only because my weekly mixtape was themed “GUILT,” but more importantly because all the songs featured are genuinely good songs, that most folks wouldn’t openly admit to liking.
For instance, take a song like “Mandy” from the classic crooner Barry Manilow. Sure it's cheesy as hell, but the song itself is filled with emotional currents of regret, sadness and all the other somber tones that made the song so memorable and popular in the first place.
One the other hand though, you have artists like Kiss or Disturbed. You might say to yourself, those bands are way past their primes, and you;d be correct, but that doesn't mean they dont have at least one good song. That to me is the damage of acknowledging things as Guilty Pleasures.” For the record, no i don’t think Distubed, Kiss or even other mixtape included bands like Dave Matthews are inherently good bands (they aren’t), but it doesn mean that certain songs have a way of latching on to you and delivering a great moment on music, even if its few and far between.
You might be wondering- what am I working towards here? WELL, my point is that in this day and age, fan bases and genres are starting to merge, and become obscured. People aren’t just sticking to one style or genre, but exploring everything. It’s much easier to go down unfamiliar paths and find great artists. This is helped greatly by how easy it is to get new music, and also to music festivals that push the boundaries of the types of acts they stick together. I once saw Public Enemy, Phish, the Dillinger Escape Plan, and Bon Iver in a weekend. That simply would not have happened twenty years ago.
Years ago I spent a weekend at my sister's wedding, and being a groomsman I was with the groom's family for a significant portion of the time, and one thing stuck out to me. In the limo, on the way from the church, I found myself with multiple grown men… dancing and singing along to “Shake it Off” by Taylor Swift. Unabashed, thrilled, and fun. Now I’ve grown love Taylor Swift, but back then they already loved the song. This is why the term “Guilty Pleasures” is both unfair and bullshit. In truth I’ve thought about this for a long time.
I’ve been told I myself have GP’s for a long time and I've Always defended them. I have a certain penchant for Romantic Comedies starring African American casts. I love them, just like I love bands that you would think wouldn't be caught dead listening to. I’ve also unproudly spent the majority of the last year watching every Wrestle Mania and Royal Rumble (it was the pandemic yall, cut me a break). My point is, no one should be ashamed of where they get their pleasure from, especially in forms of entertainment. Yes I may think some choices are simply not of good quality, but who am I to tell anyone they should feel bad for liking it. I’m the guy that happens to like death metal such as Cannibal Corpse and Deicide, but I also LOVE Sade, “Two can Play that Game,” and even Taylor Swift. They bring me joy and pleasure in various ways, and i don’t give a shit if you think a man who is of a certain age can’t like things that might not be the norm.
The too long didn’t read of this article for too long is this: Who cares what anyone thinks about what you like. You do you, and enjoy what you want. Life is short, and we’re all allowed to like what we want, even if it’s not expected. Thanks for reading!
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Landon Murray is a music connooisseur who craves sounds of all shapes and textures. He's seen over 2000 bands and looks forward to welcoming you into his world of sound,
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