Ah, guilty pleasures. We’ve all got them. Whether it’s that really creamy cake that the local baker makes, that film that you watch even though your friends think it’s weird that you like it, or that song that you love, even though you know that if anyone knew that you sing along to it when you’re alone, they’ll take the piss out of you… We’ve all got them. As part of our community outreach initiative, which is being both hastily made-up and called The Shared Opinion Initiative, I’m going to tell you all about my Top Ten Guilty Pleasure Songs. When it’s all over, why don’t you participate in The Shared Opinion Initiative and tell us some of your guilty pleasure songs?
Okay, so, for clarification, all of these songs are considered ‘Guilty Pleasures’ because they’re not the kind of songs you’d typically expect me to enjoy, particularly not as much as I do. They make me happy, they make me smile, and most of all, they make me feel like I’m worth it.
So, what are they?
10 – Chumbawumba – Tubthumping
Everyone’s heard of this one – everyone knows this one, to some extent, usually the chorus. Considered by some to the most rousing song in the world, considered by others to be mating call of the alcoholics, one thing can be agreed upon by all – it’s a happy song. No matter what, you can’t disagree that it’s a cheerful song. It’s also one of my guilty pleasures, my tenth favourite, in fact.
It’s the way that it has this knack at getting me out of a funky mood that puts this one on the list. It’s not the best song for that, but that’s why it’s on the list. I’d happily belt this one out on the way home on the bike, to hell with who might see or hear. Heck, I’d expect them to join in. Why wouldn’t they? Everyone loves this one.
9 – Toni Basil – Mickey
Fun fact – I actually owned this on Vinyl when I was… I think nine years old. That’s a whopping 14 years ago. God, that’s gone quick, and has dated me a bit too, and speaking of dated, here’s my number nine spot, Toni Basil with Mickey. The song of a lady who desires a man who seems to be a heart-breaker, all masked in an upbeat tune, a thumping beat and a strong cheerleader vibe. I mean, who doesn’t like cheerleaders? Plus, the 80’s were a weird decade. Songs like this became anthems for… well… high school romances, I guess. I dunno, I’m a 90’s kid, what the fuck do I know about the 80’s?
8 – Divynls – I Touch Myself
Okay, so this one’s just dirty, and I feel dirty even bringing it up. I mean, it’s raunchy, it’s flirty, it’s been the back track for a hairy Canadian rubbing his topless body in a comedy movie… What’s not to love? I think this one makes the list because of just how fun it is to sing. I mean, just give it a go, maybe add a bit of emphasis to the “ooh’s” around the 2-minute-45 mark and you’ve got yourself something that is guaranteed to make everyone either cringe or laugh and at the end of the day, that’s what a song like this all about. Also, I’m quite fond of the “I honestly do” line. It adds that almost confessional feel to the whole thing, like you’ve just caught her in the act and she’s trying to justify it. Well, you know what, she might be a deviant, but at least she’s a happy deviant. Touch away!
7 – Vengaboys – Boom Boom Boom Boom!!
This is another one from my childhood – I remember singing and dancing along to this one when I was, ooh, maybe five, six years old. Not a clue what the words meant back then, and truth be told, if I knew how saucy it was back then, I would have been ashamed of myself. These days, I get that nostalgic feeling from the song, the song that introduced me to EDM, the song that is the only song that I’ve even semi-enjoyed that classifies in any way as EDM. Apart from Sandstorm by Darude, but you can’t sing that, no matter how hard you try.
Back on track. It’s upbeat, it’s easy enough to sing along to, it’s got a beat you can bop to, do a little head wiggle to, and what’s better than that? Well, in terms of guilty pleasures, about 6 more songs…
6 – Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive
Jesus got me into this one. Seriously. If you haven’t seen it, Google it. In fact… just click here. It’s a cheerful song about self-empowerment, something that we, as a society, need reminding of. We’re important and we matter. Maybe not to society as a whole, but to those in our lives. We all matter to someone, and if there’s someone who we don’t matter to, then they shouldn’t matter to us. Cut that person out of your life. Not physically, mind, you’ll be done for murder. I don’t know most of the words to this one, but I know the chorus with some of the lines on either side – that’s all it takes to get into that self-empowerment mindset – in a way, this isn’t about being a guilty pleasure, but about being a song that reminds me that I matter, and in a way, I guess I do feel guilty about that, and that’s okay. You know why? Because fuck you if you think it isn’t.
5 – Shania Twain – That Don’t Impress Me Much
Shania Twain is, in my eyes, underappreciated by the youth of today. She’s the woman who taught me that just because a guy is rich, or good-looking, or intelligent, I don’t automatically have to love him… Or, well, maybe not exactly that, but a whole generation of people learnt that some of the qualities that make a partner desirable need to be taken in moderation. It’s all well and good having the most beautiful partner in the world, but if that’s all they are, what are you left with when that fades? Throw that in with the idea that she’s just looking for that special someone, a quest that we all face at some point, and you’ve got an instant hit – heck, it was. It’s fun to sing along to, it’s another great one for bopping along to, and it hits that equality high-note, for me. Find the person you want, not that person you think that society wants you to want.
4 – Aqua – Barbie Girl
The ability to sing this in a high pitch voice, then drop straight down to the husky “come on Barbie, let’s go party”, alongside the sexually charged lyrical semantics are the only reasons this song makes the list. That said, I do find it very enjoyable to do the sudden pitch changes. Very enjoyable.
3 – Shampoo – Trouble
This one invokes another nostalgic feeling – music was weird when I was a kid – and that’s partly because it sounds like a bunch of kids singing it, rebellious kids at that, fully aware of the trouble they’re in and determined to see it through regardless. That’s the kind of thing I sort of looked up to, growing up, and when you throw in a 90’s pop feeling, a few references to cool stuff (like space shuttles) and you’ve got another hit. Shampoo knew exactly what they were doing with this one – which can’t necessarily be said for their song Kinky Ken…
But Trouble hits me in just the right spot. I enjoy hearing it, I enjoy singing it, I enjoy knowing that it exists.
2 – Abba – Fernando
Fernando is a more somber song – a song of reflection, a song of lost love, a song of revolution and wistful memories. I went through a phase of listening to this one near enough every day, listening to the well crafted lyrics, the well constructed tune and the clever imagery of the message behind the song. And who can forget that Malcolm In The Middle scene?
When I sing along to Fernando, I feel like there’s a hidden away history that I’m finally letting surface, as if there’s this grand story behind who I am. It makes me happy to think that maybe, I’m more than the guy I am, because really, the guy that I am kinda sucks. He’s dull, he’s got no personal interesting stories, and he knows it. Throw in Fernando, and all of a sudden, I feel like a revolutionary, someone who fought for what he believes in, and someone who years later will reflect on it and all that happened as a result and decide it was all worth it.
1 – Shania Twain – Man! I Feel Like A Woman!
And a second spot for Shania – this time, Man! I Feel Like A Woman! Now, I’ve never wanted to be a woman, I just wanna say that. I mean, it wouldn’t matter if I did, not really. Such things should be inconsequential these days. It is 2018 after all. Aren’t we supposed to be “woke”?
That doesn’t mean, though, that I can’t enjoy this funky, upbeat homage to being a woman who wants to say fuck it to all the societal norms and just go out and have some fun. Throw in the guitar, throw in that bassline, the beat and the way you sing the chorus with it’s fast and slow sections… It’s just brilliant. Truly brilliant. Women power in a happy, boppy song that anyone can enjoy. I defy you to find a bunch of “tough” guys that wouldn’t be happy enough singing along to this one. They would, at the very least, do the title line and be loving every second of it.
So they’re my guilty pleasures. Tell us what you think, whether you share any of them, what your guilty pleasure songs are and, while you’re at it, why not check us out on Facebook and Twitter? Links on the right hand side of the screen if you’re on a desktop, and… somewhere, if you’re on a mobile or a tablet. Go and hunt for them, I assure you, it’s probably worth it. Probably.