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ACRN Editorial: Guilty Pleasures

By ACRN Staff

Everyone has a "guilty pleasure"--that song you practically dive across the room to skip when it comes up on shuffle, but, in the privacy of your own headphones... well, you know what we’re talking about.Maybe the Biebz gets you hot, but gets your ears hotter. Maybe the early recordings of Britney Spears really speak to you. Maybe you too wonder why he “had to go and make things so complicated” or have “cried a river and drowned the whole world.”To each their own.Here, a few select Rock Lobsters check their indie cred at the door and shamelessly tell you of their most shameful musical escapades.


As much as I usually detest dance music, Abba took hold of me over the summer and still hasn't let go. A band usually laughed off today as an embarrassing relic of the disco era, I find their output to be incredibly consistent in terms of quality, to the point that they rivaled The Beatles in their ability to make every single song memorable.They wrote perfectly composed and produced pop, always managing to stuff at least three or four hooks in every song. While a few of their songs come off as corny and dated today, their music has always had a kind of class and technique that was lacking in the decadent popular music scene of the late '70s."Dancing Queen" is still one of the best songs of the last 40 years, as far as I'm concerned. Abba's music never provided food for thought, but grabbed a hold of the heart in such a compelling way that one can look past their gaudy outfits and just admire their songwriting craft.

-Colin Roose, Staff Writer


Last year, a friend of mine recommended that I check out some of the Korean pop music that's been taking over the music industry. Being so viciously anti-mainstream, I almost didn't believe it myself when I got addicted to 2NE1. I spent an absurd amount of time hunting down mini-albums, watching their YouTube channel for news of new single releases or tour dates, and trying to find a way to go to New York to see them in concert. I feel like I'm getting dangerously close to learning Korean to properly sing along, but I'm not there...yet.

-Travis Boswell, Staff Writer

Katy Perry

I used to be a major indie snob. To my 16-year-old self, if there wasn't a sad guy with a guitar or a sonic boom of rich fiddle-y noise, it wasn't real music. And pop music... such low brow entertainment. And whenKaty Perry bursted onto the music scene in 2008 with "I Kissed A Girl," I HATED it. It was vapid, shallow, overly-sexualized and everything about popular music that I couldn't really stand. She'd come on the radio, and I would instantly began to rage.But then, the summer before my freshman year of college, my best friend and I were on a quest to learn "what the kids were listening to" so we could properly socialize ourselves into the party scenes at our respective schools. And during that journey, I heard more of Perry's music and slowly became addicted. I never liked any of her songs right of the bat, but after hearing "Waking Up In Vegas" about a hundred times, her music really started to grow on me.I realized not every single thing in music had to be so serious. And Katy Perry's music captures that for me. She wears cupcake bras and giant yellow cubes in her frosted pink hair. She sings about partying over a smooth sax melody and "peacocks." And unlike some other pop stars of our era, Perry does it all with a sense of irony and fun. She knows that what she does for a living is kind of ridiculous, and homegirl embraces it, which I love.Her upbeat pop tracks like "Hot 'n' Cold" and "Last Friday Night" are something I will always want to dance to, and they cheer me up when I'm feeling down. And her slower, more serious songs like "Thinking of You" or "Not Like The Movies" hit that girly, mushy part of me, and I can totally relate to what she's saying. And for the indie snob part of me... Perry actually has a decent voice, writes her own material and can really play guitar, as demonstrated in her MTV Unplugged session.So, you can have talent with your music, yet be silly and fun at the same time, which is something Katy Perry has shown the music world. So, sorry 16-year-old Carolyn, your 20-year-old version loves Katy Perry unabashedly.

-Carolyn Menyes, Interviews & Live Reviews Editor

Barenaked Ladies

A decade ago I was a pudgy, moody little brunette fond of hamsters, Egyptology, and Canadian alt-rockers Barenaked Ladies. My infatuation is hard to trace, although it probably stems largely from the inclusion of the band’s infuriatingly infectious hit “One Week” on theDigimon: The Movie soundtrack.And while I grew out of most of the music I adored as a pre-teen (sorry, Avril Lavigne and Michelle Branch), BnL manages to continually satisfy some deep longing for tackiness inside me. It wasn’t until I was in my late teens did I begin to recognize the deep cynicism and sadness that runs pretty concretely through the songs I’d been humming for years--try listening to the band’s 2006 single “Pinch Me” without feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders.Songs like “If I Had $1,000,000” should make me cringe--and kind of do, until I realize that they are crooned by the four Canucks that have acted as a sort of a personal Greek Chorus for yours truly.

-Emily Votaw, Staff Writer

Backstreet Boys

With my musical preferences leaning towards the post-hardcore/metalcore scene, it may seem completely odd that I still loving listening to the Backstreet Boys. Pretty much from the time I was in preschool, up until about second grade, I loved singing their music with my brother and some of our friends. I was borderline obsessed, trying to gain all of their music as possible, learning all the lyrics, and getting stoked for each new CD.Looking back now, I am still like that today with my current favorite musicians. Spotify has made it so I have all of my favorite tracks of theirs in once place, and I'm not ashamed to say that I remember every single word.

-Kyle Rutherford, Contributor

Justin Bieber

The main demographic of Justin Bieber fans can be categorized by three qualities: female, pre-teen and madly-in-love. I plead guilty in regards to the third category.There are multiple reasons for the love though. The kid is the epitome of viral, gaining his success purely from getting hits from a YouTube video that showcased his stage presence and ability to sing. And that was just the beginning.Since his discovery, Bieber has achieved chart-topping success and in a matter of twenty-two minutes, he became the youngest solo performer to sell out Madison Square Garden. He’s achieved great things and is enjoyed by millions. He has talent as a performer and a musician, his live performances have been compared to Michael Jackson, he has been playing the drums since he was young and the kid can rap. Besides, who wouldn’t want to be Justin Bieber’s one less lonely girl? Just look at that hair.

-Matt Bemer, Staff Writer

“Second Chance” - Shinedown

A typical answer would be Nickelback or Justin Bieber, but everyone likes them so it’s not that big of a deal. Shinedown is a rough one though. They’ve got to be one of the worst one-hit-wonder rock bands in recent memory.I hardly know any of the words to this song, just the chorus, and italways comes on whenever I listen to the alternative rock channel back home. Whether I’m driving with my friends or solo, it demands a sing along every time, and the gruffer and louder the better.“I’mmm not angrrryyy, I’m just sayinnngggg / Sometimes goodbye is a second chah-yunce / [screaming] SOMETIMES GOODBYE IS A SECOND CHAH-YUNCE!” It’s so very wrong, but it feels so right.

-Ross Lockhart, Staff Writer

Hans Zimmer

Let me be clear, however--SORRY I'M NOT SORRY. Yeah, I know these are supposed to be guilty pleasures and all, but if you know me, you know I'm notoriously not guilty about any of the music to which I listen.But in the spirit of contributing, let me talk about Hans Zimmer.The German composer, who began his music career playing synths and keyboards as part of a number of bands when the instruments were just becoming "cool," has since scored a plethora of beloved films, and is consistently referred to as one of the best in the trade.What makes this a guilty pleasure is the fact that I listened to his (and others' in the genre, but not to this extent) music so often. Listen, homies, when you need some nice background filler music when you're studying for an exam, or need atmospheric music to which you can write the next great American novel, or simply need to relax and unwind, Zimmer's your man.From the larger-than-life "Time" from Inception to the soaring, majestic melodies of Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron's "Homeland,"Zimmer's score work will always be among my favorite music ever recorded, and is constant go-to music when I need to settle down a bit from listening to too much Lady Gaga.

-Kevin Rutherford, Editorial Director

“SexyBack” - Justin TimberlakeThere will always be one particular song that will continue to entice me onto the dance floor and "get my sexy on." Yes, I am referring to the one and only "SexyBack" by Justin Timberlake.I was always a huge *NSync fangirl during my pre-teen years, and when the group went their separate ways I truly thought that the apocalypse was upon us--that is, until "SexyBack" hit the airwaves years later. With its infectious beats and utterly repetitive lyrics, it's nearly impossible to pass on this club-inspired hypnotic trance. I was always embarrassed to admit that I found this track appealing, but I now take pride in this guilty pleasure of mine. So turn up the bass, grab some cheesy strobe lights and "go 'head be gone with it."

-Capri Ciulla, Staff Writer

All Time Low

There’s something I don’t really like to admit: I’ve seen All Time Lowlive about eight times. I would consider them the deep, dark secret of my musical affections. Though I no longer attend ATL shows for fear of being bit or scratched by a love-sick teeny-bopper clawing her way to the front of the stage to drool over Alex Gaskgarth, I find myself listening to "Jasey Rae" or "Coffee Shop Soundtrack" here and there. It’s more of a comfort than anything.Those four jokesters are a large part of my high school career whether I like to admit it or not and my loyalty to them will stay strong... just not in public settings.

-Katie O’Leary, Art Director

Strait from the Heart - George Strait

I, like most audiophiles, reference two “first favorite” albums. There is the first album that you are proud of--the one that gave you street cred/made everything make sense/you can still cite without cringing--and there is the first album you knew all the words to and that you bumped relentlessly from your tape deck whenever the hard, stressful days of second grade would get to your poor, overwhelmed little soul.It’s no secret that the former, for me, was Led Zeppelin II. It is however a secret--until now, because I am revealing it in a public forum--that the latter was country musician George Strait’s 1982 classic albumStrait from the Heart. My earliest memory of music is listening to that cassette, over and over, through my media-play Walkman. I knew--and still know--every word to every song. “Fool Hearted Memory” was my favorite, in case you are wondering.I never had a boy-band phase, never had much sympathy for Avril Lavigne, but somewhere in my house is this cassette, filed right next to my cover album of it, recorded on a blank at age seven.

-Amanda Norris, Staff Writer

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