published Thursday, August 14th, 2014

In Tune: What songs are on your list of guilty pleasures?

While visiting my normal circuit of pop-culture websites last week, I ran across an article that reignited my fervor for campaigning against the rampant abuse of a certain musical term.

Earlier this month, Spotify apparently decided to air out its users’ dirty laundry. The musical streaming service analyzed the contents of more than 120,000 play lists that users self-described as “guilty pleasures” in an effort to determine the songs that are publicly reviled but secretly beloved.

Given the widespread derision for the songs that made the cut, the official Top Guilty Pleasures play list is hardly surprising:

  1. “Mambo No. 5” by Lou Bega

  2. “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” by Wham!

  3. “My Sharona” by The Knack

  4. “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey

  5. “Cotton Eye Joe — Original Version” by Rednex

  6. “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)” by Dead or Alive

  7. “Who Let the Dogs Out” by Baha Men

  8. “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley

  9. “U Can’t Touch This” by MC Hammer

  10. “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen

Normally, I’m a huge fan of lists since they’re created in good fun and tend to lead to spirited debates. But while there certainly are songs on this list that I would skip past if they came on, I fundamentally disagree with the underlying concept of guilty pleasure music.

I think it’s distasteful to think one should feel shame at liking a particular song, as if some music must only be enjoyed on the sly simply because some nebulous cool-kid-club majority have decided it lacks merit.

For my part, I prefer to follow a different philosophy. As far as I’m concerned, you like what you like, and anyone who disagrees with you can take a long walk off a short pier.

(Unless of course you like Justin Bieber’s music, which transcends any open-arms philosophy and is just categorically worthless drivel. We owe it to ourselves as a species to avoid his music at all costs.)

I assure you none of my offended diatribe is the result of having added Wham!’s sunny pop masterpiece to my own Spotify play list the day before the article came out. That would make this column far too self-serving, right? (Right!?)

So ignore Spotify. There’s nothing wrong with asking who let the dogs out or wanting a little bit of Monica in your life.

Let’s dish, folks. Email me a list of your favorite songs that others might deem “guilty pleasures”? And make it snappy. Don’t leave me hanging on like a yo-yo.

Or call me, maybe?

Contact Casey Phillips at cphillips@timesfree or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @PhillipsCTFP.

about Casey Phillips...

Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, consumer technology, animals and news of the weird. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German from Middle Tennessee State University, where he worked as the features editor for the student newspaper, Sidelines. Casey's writing has earned numerous accolades, including first and second place ...

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