Eleven records I’m embarrassed about liking
It’s a nonsense concept, of course. Why should you be embarrassed by your musical taste? The fact I like some of these might surprise some people, though.
The Like – Release Me
This one immediately comes to mind. Everything about the way this group is put together, their privileged backgrounds, their affected “look at us darling we’re so decadent” image … the beautiful people … I despise. These people are not my people. I cannot deny that sumptuous Sixties horn-led Mark Ronson production, though – nor even some of the songs, crass and obvious and mentioning of privileged lifestyles as they are. This is the album that Amy Winehouse never made, but should have.
Supertramp – Breakfast In America
I would list Pink Floyd’s decade-destroying Dark Side Of The Moon here, but I’m not remotely embarrassed to be caught liking that. Maybe I should be. I’m not sure that I do really like this Supertramp album. But if I do then, yes, I am embarrassed for myself.
Kylie Minogue – Can’t Get You Out Of My Head
I’m not even sure why this on the list. I like it. It’s a great song. It’s a great performance. Who cares whether it’s by an annoying media cipher or not?
The Cranberries – Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?
I can only put my liking for this down to some kind of sadomasochistic sexual attraction towards Dolores; her personality and her voice. I really can’t account for it otherwise: the music is so generic and the singing so soulless. And let’s not start on the lyrics … ! There’s a part of me that really hates myself and some of that part of me often finds stuff that winds me up sexually attractive. I can’t help it, and while I probably should deny it, today I’m not going to. Maybe this could apply to much of this list? Looking at the other names listed here, probably not.
Beady Eye – Different Gear, Still Speeding
I don’t like the Noel Gallagher solo album at all. Guy can’t sing. This one, however … it’s so crass, so bludgeoning, so obvious, so naive in its arrogance, I find it near impossible to resist. This, despite having written stuff like …
Sure, Different Gear, Still Speeding is a sorry half-assed pretence of an album, sure it could have done with some judicious editing (most of the songs drag on at least two minutes too long). Sure, it’s like classic Cockney pub rockers Chas And Dave bashing out the greatest hits of The Beatles on piano. Sure, it doesn’t even make an attempt at hiding its source material most the time. Sure, it’s like if Gem (formerly of the atrocious Heavy Stereo, don’t ever forget), had been allowed to handle songwriting AND production duties in Oasis. Sure, it’s like a fifth-rate Rutles, a third-rate Status Quo, a second-rate La’s, an OK Oasis.
It’s still quite probably the finest album Liam Gallagher has been involved in since What’s The Story (Morning Glory).
… when it came out. I have a real soft spot for tribute bands when it’s done well.
The Rolling Stones – Some Girls
Anything by The Rolling Stones, actually. I interviewed Keith Richards once in a hotel room in Oklahoma. I said, “So you’re responsible for all this crap music from the past four decades. Thanks. How do you feel about that?” He said he felt pretty good, actually.
Boney M – Greatest Hits
Not embarrassed now, but I’m 50. At the age of 50 you pass embarrassment. I’d be more embarrassed to be thought of as close-minded. (Never used to be. Used to pride myself on my tunnel vision and lack of perspective.) These songs were part of my formative teenage years even if I did hate them at the time. But now there are no tribes for me to claim allegiance to? I love the extravagance, the relentless ear worms. It was mainly the inescapable presence of this music that I hated. Odd. I’ve always loved ABBA – and Grease.
The Clash – The Clash
I’ve denied my love for this ever since it first appeared: I love it because it’s always been comfort wallpaper music to me – there to play in the background when I need to work or focus. It doesn’t challenge, it reassures. That sounds like a series of put-downs. It’s not meant to. Music can serve many purposes. Leaving that aside, ‘London Calling’ remains a devastatingly good 12-inch.
Lana Del Rey – Born To Die
See Cranberries and The Like above. Spoiled, rich, privileged. Sings like Brett Easton Ellis writes novels. Lyrics are asinine when not borrowing from other songs.
Nirvana – MTV Unplugged In New York
It’s not Nirvana. It’s Kurt Cobain solo. It’s MTV. Am I embarrassed to admit to liking – what? – three, maybe four songs from this album 20 years on? No reason why I should be, except I still feel bad that I turned down the opportunity to attend the filming of this (damn, I’d just driven into NYC with the band) because I was too cool, too ‘punk rock’. Idiot.
Adele – Rolling In The Deep
Why should it bother me I like this? Partly because I don’t trust the taste or motivation of the people who feel so free to give away awards on ‘behalf’ of the common herd. I’m a snob, sometimes. I can’t deny it. I don’t like to think I’m one in 250 million (YouTube hits on this video). Also, I enjoy choice, disparity. I can name music equally as fine as this – loads of music – that’s been listened to by less than 250 people. Why don’t folk branch out more? It doesn’t mean this song is any the lesser for it. (And, as I don’t access mainstream television, radio etc, I haven’t suffered from overexposure.) It reminds me of The White Stripes’ ‘The Hardest Button To Button’, and that’s dandy. I don’t understand her album at all, however: more bland music made for people who don’t really like music, like those kings of bland rock, Foo Fighters.
I just like the way the glasses rattle in the video.
Eleven records I wish I liked more