By Princess Stomper
If Everett True can own up to some howlers, perhaps catharsis can be gained by confessing to musical sins. Of course, as I type this, I’m listening to the Penderecki/Greenwood collaboration, which would be most people’s idea of impeccable taste – but not Everett True’s, no doubt, since his pathological hatred of Radiohead would mar his enjoyment of the noodly strings. It just goes to show: you can’t please everyone, and taste is subjective.
That said, there are certain songs in my collection that make me blush if someone notices them. Songs I feel compelled to justify, even though I’d normally take the “I like it so deal with it” attitude. I’m not talking about novelty hits I loved when I was four, because I was four and you’re allowed to love crap when you’re four. I’m allowed to smile reflectively about some of the dodgier stuff from the early 90s because that was a coming-of-age thing. You’re allowed to love bad indie when you’re 14. I’m talking about bad songs now. Songs that make me feel a bit grubby about liking. It just feels wrong. The epitome of the guilty pleasure. Such as:
Black Eyed Peas – Shut Up
Yes, I know that ‘I Gotta Feeling’ is one of the worst songs ever recorded. I appreciate that ‘Where Is The Love’ is eye-watering bland. I understand that BEP lost it when Fergie joined – so former fan Matt tells me – but, dammit, I love this song! I love the strings, I love the guitar, I love the varying rap styles, and I really love Fergie’s vocals on this. It’s a very, very clever little song.
Apoptygma Berzerk – Eclipse
Is there anything less fashionable than electro-goth? Apoptygma Berzerk were always the poor man’s Covenant at the best of times, but once or twice they managed to do something worth hearing, and this is one of those occasions. It takes me back to the total eclipse of 1999, when everyone walked out of the office, climbed the stairs of the building next door, and stood on the roof to watch the last eclipse of the century. I’d wanted to see an eclipse ever since I was little and quivered at Disney’s fright-fest The Watcher In The Woods, and this was my dream come true. So yes, I smile when I hear “I guess we will be making history/When we all join hands and just watch the sky/For a moment”.
Evanescence – Bring Me To Life
Oh, the shame! The shame! But it’s such a pretty tune! It’s so overblown, I’m surprise Meat Loaf didn’t sing it, but here we are with Amy Lee’s cloying, saccharine whine. It’s Paul McCoy’s guest vocals that really make the song, in that very of-its-era Linkin Park sort of way. I never liked anything else by the band.
Inon Zur – Fallout 3 Main Title
It’s fairly uncontroversial if you actually hear the piece, which is a Hans Zimmeresque orchestral thing with big pummelly drums. It’s just that it’s from a video game, and people aren’t supposed to enjoy the music from video games. Even though Zimmer himself made the music for Modern Warfare 2, game music just isn’t afforded the same respect as film and television soundtracks. I’ll continue to love those scores by Jeremy Soule for the Elder Scrolls games, and can’t wait to see what Clint Mansell comes up with for Mass Effect 3, but I’ll still have that guilty pleasure blush whenever I play them.
The Human League – The Lebanon
“And where there used to be some shops”. Isn’t that the textbook example that gets wheeled out every time someone talks about banality in lyrics? It’s a ridiculous song, with a subject matter way too weighty for radio-friendly electropop, but there’s something absolutely exultant about the guitars that even makes me forgive Phil Oakey’s dubious facial hair.
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