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Guilty Musical Pleasures
July 2004

More from the Pile of Non-Posted Blathers. A pox on the Slacker Hacker!

One would think that I have no shame in regards to my musical tastes. I mean, I'm a Duranie. I've been an a-ha fan for almost as long. I still am rockin' the Spice Girls flag in 2004. I'm actually proud of my collections of Parisian café tunes, Annette Funicello vinyl, or pre-1920s Victrola music. But when me an' The Husband-Type Man moved, and were forced to sort through the hundreds - HUNDREDS! - of CDs we own, when we were forced to plow through the thousands - THOUSANDS! - of mp3s on our computers to consolidate playlists and prepare an all-new Media Server for the new pad, I realized that yeah, even Dwanollah's got some guilty musical pleasures in there.

And when one considers that I feel no guilt about the boybands or Kylie or Puffy Ami Yumi, you should, by all rights, be TERRIFIED of what my standards of "guilty pleasure" music might be.

Because, yeah, some people claim that they have some embarrassing things in their musical collections: that one Jennifer Lopez album, or the Sir Mix-a-lot "Big Butts" song. But really… that isn't all that embarrassing; in fact, it's more like downright kitschy! Or catchy. Or both. Whatever… it's still acceptable on some level. At least, to me it is. And then there's the whole thing about "so bad it's good" music being included in a ha-ha party song way on movie soundtracks…. As if *I* haven't been blasting stuff like "I've Been to Paradise, but I've Never Been to Me" and "Sometimes When We Touch" and "Eye of the Tiger" and "MacArthur Park" and "Caribbean Queen" and "Afternoon Delight" and the greater part of the disco canon and laughing hysterically all the while for DECADES?!

So when I say "embarrassing" or "guilty pleasure," you can bet I mean it.

Just to give you an idea, I own more than one Styx CD. And I've owned 'em since way before that commercial featuring "Mr. Roboto" began airing. Styx ROCKS! In fact, not too long ago, I had the telly on Classic VH-1, and they aired the video for "Come Sail Away." It was a live performance piece, and Dennis DeYoung is sitting there at the piano just belting out the opening verses… and Tommy Shaw is sitting playing guitar off to his right, and throughout the whole song, they just keep glowering and scowling at each other, and when the video ends, it's on a prolonged shot of them just glaring total hateful shit at each other. Oh, good stuff! Anyway, usually when I'm in the mood for Styx, I'm also in the mood for Queen and Journey... who also ROCK! That's crank-up-the-volume music, y'all… crank it up and yelp along! Just don't force me to choose between "Separate Ways," "Any Way You Want It," "Killer Queen" and "Another One Bites The Dust," because I'd rather choose between my own offspring.

Lord knows I have my share of embarrassing music in my past… seriously embarrassing stuff that had a short shelf-life in my cassette tape holder. I had an Amy Grant phase in high school. No sooner did that pass, and then I went through the Kenny G. phase. I have not one, but TWO Lionel Ritchie albums that I purchased in 8th grade with my own money at the same time I was buying Duran Duran and Wham!, because at the time I actually thought "Truly" and "Hello" were pretty songs. I have a Billy Ocean 45 someplace for the same reason, and, in the darkest recesses of Gramma's storage shed, there's prolly a Debbie Gibson tape lurking. But those phases passed, like any other healthy growing-up experience. Like hot rollers and AquaNet, or Goth.

But too much of the Questionable Music remains in my collection for me to be smug that I got over the Kenny G. thing (and realized he IS NOT JAZZ, GAWDDAMMIT!). For instance, to my chagrin, thanks to a very extensive 80s Playlist of mp3s, I've discovered that one of my favorite 80s tunes is… "Ya Mo Be There." Yes, that Michael McDonald/James Ingram song. Freakin' LOVE it. LOVE! Ditto Billy Squire's "Everybody Wants You" (so imagine my unadulterated delight when I recently obtained a mash-up of it with FischerSpooner's "Emerge"). I turn up my nose at Birmie when she starts bangin' on about the greatness of Billy Joel, but any musical credibility or superiority I might have is just flushed down the toilet like the poo that it is when one considers that I own and listen to a Kansas album. Because I think "Dust in the Wind" is one of the GREATEST. SONGS. EVER. I really, really have no room to talk.

I still listen frequently to albums that most people're using for coasters… if they even purchased them at all. I can still listen to Sting's Nothing like the Sun on repeat. I think Jamiroquois's music is brilliant. Ditto Terrance Trent D'arby's; is there anything sexier than "Delicate" or "Dance Little Sister"…? Well, not unless it's Chris Isaac! Yeah! Every so often, I feel the need to break out the Ballad of Hanford, otherwise known as Paula Cole's "Where Have all the Cowboys Gone?" The general American public considers swing music a mid-90s fad inspired by the movie Swingers, but not me… I'm still rockin' the latest Squirrel Nut Zippers albums, as well as Katharine Whalen's solo stuff, 'cos damn, that's good music.

And since I mentioned the swing music, now might be the time for me to 'fess that I think one of the bestest swing tunes ever was a rare and unreleased and non-commercially available composition! Doesn't that sound like it has potential? Don't get excited… I'm not referring to some hard-to-find Louis Armstrong thing, no. I'm talking about the theme song for "Gene, Gene the Dancing Machine" on The Gong Show! Pure genius.

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