Oh, Those Guilty Pleasures!

Have you ever been caught humming a terrible song and struggled for an explanation as to why you even know the song in the first place? Why is it so embarrassing to love a bad song? Why do we even have musical guilty pleasures?

Psychologists and more recently, sociologists often point towards the emotional power of music as the raison d’être, but, considering his usual tastes, that still doesn’t fully answer why a tough happily married police officer can’t help raising the volume to 11 when Gloria Estefan’s cover of “Turn the Beat Around” starts playing.

Deena Weinstein, Ph.D., author of Heavy Metal: A Cultural Sociology, often lectured that the music is a means towards community, and that the community is ultimately what determines the music’s survival. In terms of a musical guilty pleasure, one can extrapolate that the feeling of acceptance one gained as a teenager listening to Motley Crue is reinforced each time “Girls Girls Girls” is heard. Each time the simple chorus rings out, one is reminded that he was intimately linked to a group, despite developing new musical tastes through adulthood.

However, Dr. Stephen Diamond, a psychologist, asserts that music removes us from ourselves. “Music, like movies or a good book, temporarily takes us far away from our ordinary troubles and tribulations…” In that view, musical guilty pleasures are simply a form of escapism rather than community.

Returning the policeman mentioned earlier, he has been drilled time and again for an explanation regarding his guilty pleasure and does not agree with either Dr. Weinstein or Diamond. “I just dig it!” is his reply. At Audiogon, each one of us has a song that we’d rather not admit to liking when in reality, we love it. Bobby Brown, the Carpenters, Sonny & Cher…  Here’s a sampling of ours:


Some of our users have admitted to theirs as well.

Neway317: “We all MUST have one… Are we bold enough to admit it? Annie the musical? The Sound of Music? Debbie Gibson? Let’s all fess up…”

Seasoned: Disco singles! I have about 15 ultra rare extended-play “promotional copy” 12″ 70’s disco singles that I acquired from a discotheque in 1978. I like to play them to bring back memories and to enjoy the great dynamic range these discs have (many are 45 RPM). Here are a few: Boogie Nights, Which Way is Up, Night Fever, Love Hangover, Dance Dance Dance, Miss You (Rolling Stones), and Groove Line”

Wharfy: “Magic Carpet Ride”-Steppenwolf, “Hush”- Deep Purple, “Gotta Get a Message to You”-Bee Gees, “Dancing Queen”-ABBA, “Midnight Confessions”-Grassroots, “Amy”-Pure Prairie League, “Nights in White Satin”-Moody Blues…Go easy on me mates :-)”

Mapman: WARNING: if you cannot handle “The Partridge Family,”ABBA, and Barry Manilow just to name a few, please, please stay clear! On the other hand, your system may just be so good these days that even this sugar coated pop candy sounds great.”

What are your musical guilty pleasures? Why do you think we have them? Enter a comment below!

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