Thursday, August 5, 2010

I Throw My Hands Up in the Air Sometimes

I remember once reading a journal entry my friend Anila wrote, about guilt pleasures and why we even call them such. One of the points she noted was that by calling something our guilty pleasure, we were, essentially, labeling ourselves ashamed of liking something. Music is a really prime example for guilty pleasures, though movies and television and reading often find themselves labeled as such. Lately, at work, I’ve found myself contemplating this matter, and always returning to Anila’s thoughts of the matter in my head.

My co-worker likes the Top 40 station. I’m not typically a huge radio fan, as it’s inevitable you’ll hear the same stuff repeated throughout the day. Radio plays what the people want because if you don’t, they’ll find something else. Recently, I’d taken to the local “hard rock” station (a label laughable as half of what they play could hardly be considered hard, but I digress upon that matter), but my co-worker favors the Top 40 station and when he comes into the back to take of his job, he’ll change the station to that.

At first, this annoyed me. I was back here first, I changed the station, I staked my claim! Mostly, I was just antagonistic about the matter because I had declared disdain for the Top 40 station. And I must point out, in this entry, I will not take back this assertion for I’ve not recently fallen in love out of nowhere with the station. I still find it to be annoyingly repetitious and this is what most grates me about it. But I have to admit that I cannot say I hate everything on the station, like I have for so long.

Recently, I’d begun to contemplate a few of my own “guilty pleasures”. More and more, I found some of the songs lingering in my head increasingly more and more catchy, to the point where I was beginning to enjoy hearing them. Yes, Enrique Igelsias, I’m talking about you. At first, I was ashamed of myself. “My music” tends to be oldies, rock, punk, power-pop, power-punk, adult contemporary, etc. Certainly, songs by bands I like would wind up on a top-40 station, but my scorn was directed more to the rap, the hip-hop, whatever you’d want to call all of that.

But there I was, throwing my hands in the air with my co-worker as Taio Cruz says AYO! Gotta let go! And I didn’t bother to hide it or fight it. Fergie blasted through my consciousness and I swallowed the urge to change the station. Katy Perry rasped through my mind and I sang along. Even Ke$ha, for all her terrible singing, played on and on in my mind, though this one very much to my chagrin.

And as I recalled Anila’s statement on guilty pleasures, I had to pause to contemplate: why was I so ashamed? Just because Enrique wasn’t a part of my daily course of listening didn’t mean I shouldn’t listen to him, especially if his song made me want to dance around and sing at the top of my lungs. Is it the best thing in the world I’ve ever heard? Hardly. But that’s the beauty of music. It’s not always about a fantastic song but what moves you, what you feel.

On InkPop one night, in the Insomniacs thread, music was a topic discussion. I remember Megan talking about her favorite music – stuff more obscure to me and my limited music knowledge, though I recognized artist names. This boy tried to say that he didn’t know any of her music and told us that his favorite artist was Lady Gaga, continuing on that most people don’t really listen to the lyrics of the music they love and he tried to claim we only listen to music for background noise, etc. etc. Essentially, he tried to state we don’t understand the music we like and we like it because we think we’re supposed to like it.

I remember I “got into it” with him (and I use this phrase loosely as I tried to come off mature and not as if I was trying to pick a fight – because I wasn’t) about how people like the music FOR a reason. They like the instrumentals, the lyrics, the voice singing it, the message, etc. He seemed to think we only liked music for a superficial reason and, even if that IS a reason, at least they’re listening to what they like, right?

For the record, no, I still do not care for Lady Gaga. I still find that she seems overly hyped than what she really is, that her “feministic ideal” is still skewed. Embracing your sexuality as a female does not count as being a strong feminist. Regardless, I’ll go ahead and take Enrique Igelesias off my “guilty pleasure” list and just embrace and admit my like for his song. Because, I, too, Enrique, “Like It”.

If it makes work all the more bearable, why not?

So, those who still lurk this blog. What are some of YOUR “guilty pleasures”, and why do you consider them such?

- Lady Ashlie