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Guilty Musical Pleasures
PAGE TWO
July 2004

I have a deep and continuing obsession with hippie music, and for me, it isn't some first-year-of-college/check-out-my-tattoo/wasn't-Woodstock-'94-rad dealie. No, I mean I regularly listen to multiple songs/albums by The Cowsills, Judy Collins, the Byrds, and the Mamas and the Papas. I dig CSNY, and still get chills when I hear "Ohio." Some of my all-time favorite songs come from the 1960s: "Bus Stop" by The Hollies, "Ferry Cross the Mersey" by Gerry and the Pacemakers, "Incense and Peppermints" by the Strawberry Alarm Clock (and this is even WAY before I saw Beyond the Valley of the Dolls with the Slacker Hacker!) I never understood why everyone seems to think "In the Year 2525" is that bad. Ya'll, I have multiple - MULTIPLE - Leslie Gore albums, and I think "It's My Party" is garbage; she has at least two dozen better songs than that. Folks, I GOONED when Neil Sedaka guest-hosted American Idol last year, because he's the bomb-diggity! And one of my lifelong favorite albums is Loggins and Messina's The Best of Friends, and not just for it's massively HoYay album cover, neither. It's like the ultimate Sunday summer afternoon soundtrack. "Vahevala" and "Peace of Mind" and "Be Free" and "Watching the River Run" are gorgeous, and "House at Pooh Corner" never fails to (shhhh!) make me weep. In that vein, "I'm Alright" is one of my favoritest rockin' out tunes, too; it always makes me want to drive really fast when I hear it. Yeah!

There are things that don't quite make sense, too. F'instance, I've been known to bang on extensively about how much I HATE c(o)untry music… violently hate it! I cannot change the station quick enough if there's a c(o)untry tune a-janglin' away; it's a deeply physical response. I fart in the general direction of Alan Jackson. I hope Toby Keith burns in hell. I think the Dixie Chicks kick, but I couldn't listen to even five seconds of one of their songs without practically turning myself inside out in a visceral effort to turn off the c(o)untry music! So then… why do I love Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash? Why did I buy a Loretta Lynn album? This is a serious issue, folks; I have more guilt over this than my belief that Bobby Vinton and Jerry Vale are red-hot studs.

Ask me who one of the greatest female vocalists of all-time is, and I won't mention Aretha, Barbra, or Tina Turner… instead I'll say Karen Carpenter. I have been a Carpenters fan since early childhood… but it's a weird kind of fan-ness. See, I hate their songs, but love Karen's voice so much that I'll listen to their stuff anyway. I think her voice is perfect, but was done an amazing disservice by being a product of the schmaltziest era of lame-ass music known to humankind (and influenced by the second schmaltziest). Oh, God, if only Richard had been listening to even semi-dirty blues instead of Burt Bacharach… … just IMAGINE what directions Karen might've gone vocally! If only they'd lived five years earlier or twenty years later! If only- Sometimes, if I feel like depressing myself, I'll indulge in this kind of Karen Carpenter What If. Karen was a vocal goddess. GODDESS! (And I can't tell you how pissed and cheated I felt when I heard someone on one of those VH-1 countdown shows bitch about how Karen's voice was awesome but all her songs were about getting' married and livin' in the suburbs- WHAT HAVE I BEEN SAYING FOR A DECADE, NIMROD! Now repeat after me, "As Dwanollah has often pointed out for many years….")

People usually bang on about 80s music - namely, New Wave - being guilty pleasure music, but since I've been resurrecting 80s music since riiiiight about 1986, it's not too difficult or shameful for me to admit to listening obsessively to every album a-ha has ever made, or even owning and often listening to more than one album by Bananarama, Howard Jones, The Go-Gos, and Blondie. Some naïve folks might consider that to be a Badge of Dishonor enough, but not Dwanollah. I have scads of random and semi-obscure synth pop and New Wave music that the average music listener resigned to the garage sale pile twenty years ago… if, indeed, he or she had even heard of it in the first place. I'm still groovin' to China Crisis, Japan, Nik Kershaw, Cetu Javu, Ultravox, Ian Dury, and Celebrate the Nun.

I'm not much better in the realm of movie soundtracks. Yeah, there's Star Wars and Pulp Fiction and Lord of the Rings… right next to Annie and Josie and the Pussycats. I've been known to sing along to Annie in the car as much as I do my Spice Girls karaoke CDs (yes, plural). And I think the Josie soundtrack is AWESOME! (Plus it has the boy band DuJour on it. Hee hee! Boy band Du Jour! Haw haw haw! "Backdoor Lover!" *hysterical giggling*)

And, ah, there are numerous Guilty Pleasure Songs that affect me in extra-special ways…. I'd never confess this to just anyone, mind, but… some are known to make me weep or give me chills (as the aforementioned "House at Pooh Corner" and "Dust in the Wind"). I wholly disparage hokey soundtrack songs like "Wind Beneath my Wings" and "My Heart Will Go On"… which makes the fact that "Once Upon a December" from Anastasia totally gives me chills really freakin' hypocritical. Of course John Lennon's "Imagine" gives me chills… but so does Julian Lennon's "Valotte." *sigh* Weep-worthy Bad Toonz are particularly problematic, when one considers how much I HATE sappy love songs and gicky "E-Z listenin'" crap. I mean, I'd no more cry over something like "I Hope You Dance" by LeAnn Womack or "Living Years" by Mike & the Mechanics than I would over Morris Albert's "Feelings"; I know those songs for the runny cow turds that they are. But... but if I sneer at those songs, how can I rationalize my blinking back tears when I hear Journey's "Send Her My Love" or Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely?" or Paul Stookey's "Wedding Song (There is Love)" or Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters" or, Lord help me, DISNEY MUSIC?! I'm not kidding! And the Bird Woman song from Mary Poppins will make me SOB! Oh, the shame! If I hate Richard Marx, how can I love the song "Hazard"? WHY DOES THE SPICE GIRLS' "VIVA FOREVER" MAKE ME CRY?!?

*snurfle*

'Scuse me now, guys… I'm gonna go listen to my Donovan box set to cheer up again.

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