FT5: Guilty Pleasures

Ok faithful ATH readers, here it is. A chance for everyone associated with this site to embarrass themselves to the world. We all have a handful of artists that we secretly listen to when no one else is around. Usually they are the kind of artists that, if caught listening to, we couldn’t even attempt to justify. We’ve asked 5 different ATH contributors to let us know their musical skeletons in the closet. We haven’t listed them in any particular order, so we’ll let you tell us which ones are the worst. We only ask that you will play along, maybe do a little confessing of your own and continue to visit us after reading. Full list is after the jump.

Marilyn Manson from nathan.lankford

At some point, you will all question my taste, and turn your backs on my suggestions from here on out; I’m willing to take that risk. So no, I didn’t don black eyeliner, nor did I rush out to buy fishnet elbow length gloves to impress my friends, though I am wearing all of the above right now. I had to get in the mood. Here’s the deal, Antichrist Superstar is absolutely brilliant.  Sure, hatred and dementia might not be your cup of tea, but as an angst-ridden youth, I was prone to a misstep here and then; I’m grateful that I was led down the path towards this teenage populace manipulator.  This record is still able to stand on it’s own as a piece of production brilliance. Then you add on to that the mass hysteria carried through all of the world due to the eruption of his popularity. Parents freaked out, mine included; they scampered and ran, afraid of the unknown. But, at the bottom of it all lay an album with cutting guitars and a dark energy that hadn’t been fully completed by anyone at this point.  Alice Cooper came out as a clown standing next to this guy. Trent Reznor came off like a sissy.  Standing atop the shock rock world at the end of the day was Marilyn Manson. Antichrist Superstar was the swan song for Brian Warner and his spooky entourage.  Listening to it now, it still has all the power and excitement it held for me as a young lad. Get your make-up ready boys and girls. It’s shock rock n’ roll.

Must-Have Album: Antichrist Superstar

Garth Brooks from RayRay

Forget Barry Sanders. Forget the Flaming Lips. Oklahoma’s greatest product has to be former OSU javelin thrower, Garth Brooks. The Thunder Rolls and the lightning strikes, duh duh duh!!!! Hell yeah!! Being from a small town in East Texas, you get exposed to all kinds of radio ready country but none of it has stayed with me quite as long as the master of modern country music. Yes, you will find all the hits in my iTunes and yes I sing along to every word. When the karaoke machine gets turned on, I always go with Brooks and never need the screen for lyrics. Did you know that GB is the 2nd best selling artist in American history?! His greatest hits album in 1994 sold 10,000,000 copies! I can understand your hatred for the overplayed bar anthem “Friends in Low Places”, but I want the ballads. Nothing does it better than “What She’s Doing Now” or “If Tomorrow Never Comes”. Are you really going to look me in the eye and say “The Dance” isn’t one of the best country ballads ever? You and your middle school girlfriend didn’t get frisky to “The River”? You sir, are a liar! Long live the king of popular country music!

Must-Have Album: Double Live

Cyndi Lauper from davatron5000

This visage of heaven shebopped onto the scene in 1983 with her genre-defining pop album “She’s So Unusual”. Cyndi Lauper was her name, and “just wanting to have fun” was her game. Must I make account for her accolades? I shall.

Girls Just Want To Have Fun” is the quintessential party girl anthem and sorority girls shriek and dance together in a circle every time it’s played. I DARE YOU NOT TO CRY while driving and listening to “Time after Time” or “True Colors”. As if that wasn’t good enough, “Good Enough” was the theme song of the Goonies, a.k.a. THE BEST MOVIE EVER. Epic. Historic. Not to mention, the video for that song had Andre the Giant in it (see picture).

But it doesn’t stop there. Cyndi was so awesome that she partied with all of the WWF in the mid-1980s. Honestly, life doesn’t get any better than this picture. After seeing that picture my life is complete. Take me now, Jesus.

If you read her wikipedia article you’ll find that it reads more like the inspiring story of a saint than the story of a pop star. I also might add, I think she was always cooler than Madonna and I think she has aged way better.

My obsessive love for Cyndi runs deep. I was so impressed by her that around my sophomore year of high school that I started calling her “my girlfriend*” and was so anxious I chickened out sending her an email directly back when the web was young.

Writing this has gotten me all riled up. Karaoke anyone?

*For what it’s worth, I also once called a bottle of Mt. Dew “my girlfriend”.

Must-Have Album: She’s So Unusual

Neil Diamond from raygun

Lights slowly fade in. Smoke fills the stage. The sequenced jacket glitters and reflects light on stage. Hundreds of middle-aged women roar their approval when the first few notes are played which lead into “Where it began…” Neil Diamond, a.k.a “The Diamond Cutter” or “The Jewish Elvis” is in his element. A true showman in every sense of the word. It is the spectacle of Neil Diamond that brought me in.

Neil Leslie Diamond has gained all kinds of popularity as a guilty pleasure in recent years through “The Diamonds In The Rough”, a memorable SNL “Storytellers” skit (This next song, I wrote after I killed a drifter to get an erection) and a Ron Burgandy pool party. If you want music where everyone can sing along (Sweet Caroline), or slow things down a bit to get your lady in the mood (Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon)… you can’t go wrong with Mr. Diamond. I WILL LEAVE YOU IN!

Songwriting? Neil’s got it. I’m a Believer, Red Red Wine, Solitary Man? Check, check and check. He’s been covered across all genres. Johnny Cash. Waylon Jennings. Elvis Presley. Deep Purple. UB40 for crying out loud. He was the songwriting brains behind the fake Beatles, a.k.a. the Monkees.

I think Bill Murray said it best during a therapy session in the movie What About Bob?: “There are two types of people in the world: those who like Neil Diamond and those who don’t.”

Must-Have Album: Hot August Night (Live)

Lionel Richie from MrTrent

When you’re enjoying your favorite guilty pleasure you don’t want to have to think. Lionel eliminates all the guesswork. He’s idiot proof! How long are we staying up Lionel? All Night Long? Where will we be dancing tonight Lionel? On The Ceiling? That’s great! Who’s the sun? Who’s the rain? You are Lionel, you need to know I love you so and I’d do it all again and again.

Lionel Brockman Richie, Jr. wrote another fabulous guilty pleasure song, Lady, for Kenny Rogers, Sang Endless love with Dianna Ross, had Easy covered by Faith No More and is, of course, the lead singer and saxophonist of The Commodores.

Perhaps most incredible is the fact that he is the David Hasselhoff of the Arab World. I am serious; Shiite and Sunni Muslims don’t agree on anything except the fact that Lionel Richie is pure gold.  In Baghdad, when the bombing started in March 2003, people started pointing their speakers into the streets, blaring “All Night Long”.  I don’t really know exactly what to make of that, but it sounds awesome.

Lionel is a uniter whose powers transcend the bounds of language, religion, space and time; sort of like C3PO with the Ewoks in Return of the Jedi or Joan Wilder with the drug cartels in Romancing the Stone.

Must-Have Album: Can’t Slow Down

So there you have it folks. Who disappointed you the most?  Come on out of the woodwork and tell us how you secretly listen to Michael Bolton at night or sing along to Celine Dion in the shower.


  • Horray, we have a post with a lionel richie tag on it. It’s about damn time!

  • Who disappointed you the most? Raygun. Neil Diamond was a monster singer songwriter that inflenced Dylan circa Street Legal, played on the Band’s Last Waltz, and is one hell of a showman. There is nothing to be guilty about, the dude is amazing. I mean mabey his 80’s scholck like coming to America could be a guilty pleasure and that piece of crap Rick Ruben album he put out a few years ago but Hot August Nights is awesome. And for the record my guilty pleasure is The Crash Test Dummies something to be truly ashamed about.

  • I skip the Neil Diamond song on my Last Waltz DVD everytime… raygun can probably give more insight into this but didn’t Levon Helm, Ronnie Wood, and even Dylan himself wonder what Diamond was doing playing with The Band? raygun wins…

  • I dunno, i’d feel pretty guilty if I were Nathan, too. I was always creeped out by the Manson kids.

    The real test for guilty pleasures is how comfortable you would feel driving someone around, not your best friend, but an acquaintance, with this artist unironically blaring out of your car.

    Of the five up there, i’d feel the most guilty about Marilyn Manson, then Cyndi, Garth, Neil, and then Lionel.

    Mark me down for Foreigner (any of the greatest hits)

    Hot blooded
    dirty white boy
    juke box hero
    Cold as ICE
    the list keeps going…

  • Yea, and him and Dylan also said some words offstage, but Dylan also aped his production and stage style for a while. I’m not saying he’s on the level of the Band or Dylan, just that he’s not really something to be guilty about. And although Levon may have wondered why Neil was there the song he sang was co-written by Robbie Robertson.

  • Now that I’ve picked my jaw up off of the floor…

    Kelly Clarkson. If loving her/”Since U Been Gone” is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.

  • I do think Nathan takes the cake here. Please tell me you have some of those big pants with the crap attached.

  • Levon Helm’s gripe with NLD was one of many stemming from Levon’s (and The Band’s) deteriorating relationship with Ronnie Robertson. They all pretty much hated his guts by that point. The bigger picture was the rest of The Band being pissed off about the movie focusing on Robertson (Robertson and Scorsese were also big pals at the time) . The Diamond Cutter’s inclusion just added fuel to the fire.

    Would you expect anything less from NLD saying “”You’ll have to be pretty good to follow me” to Bob Dylan? Balls of steel, man. Balls. Of. Steel.

  • It isn’t who your guilty pleasure as much as it is how you love them. Dave definitely wins IMO.

  • I don’t care if “Dry Your Eyes” was co-written by Robertson. It still sucks. Neil might have his moments, but that song is completely out of place on The Last Waltz. I give him no credit for that.

  • This coming from the guy who loves Chris Gaines. FACE.

  • Nowhere in that post does it say I approve of the king of country music’s decision to go into rock n roll. I’m also not trying to justify my guilty pleasure in any way.

  • Wait, Corey. Did you just give me a hard time about MM? Didn’t you mention your love for the Crash Test Dummies? Just because I wear Jncos when I cruise for chicks at Hot Topic doesn’t mean that the record is good.

  • In the Crash Test Dummies defense they do a Replacements cover on their first album.

  • If liking Lionel Richie is wrong, I don’t want to be right. Maybe they can parachute him into the Gaza Strip and he can settle that shit.

  • Lionel Richie: acceptable. perfect tunes for slow dancing with the ladies when I was a wee one.

    Cyndi Lauper: of course. She wrote a song about female masturbation.

    Neil Diamond: absolutely, and very acceptable.

    Garth Brooks: absolutely not. sorry, but under no circumstances.

    Marilyn Manson: scared the shit out of a lot of people. no guilt here.

    And for myself? I have a few, but as I was watching Saturday Night Fever the other night, I came to the realization that, I really like the Bee Gees.

    nice post fellas!

  • Can I get a witness for some Billy Ocean?

  • I second that, Greg. Motion carried.

  • This song is my absolute guiltiest pleasure: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXgpnjMYnM4 . Also on the list: They Might Be Giants, Hall and Oates, Lorne Green’s “Ringo.”

  • Savage f-ing Garden. This shit is real. I’m talking about being taken to a place where your crystal mind and magenta feelings take up shelter in the base of my spine sweet like a chick-a cherry cola.

    GOD it feels good to get that off my chest…

  • It’s okay Holyfield, I had to struggle with this track here:

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