What you like matters. It does. If someone tells me that his favorite author is Dan Brown, it says something. This also applies if someone tells me that her favorite director is Truffaut. How we judge other people’s taste says something about us too. The two fictional people I just mentioned are, in my opinion, basic and pretentious, respectively.
My first lesson in keeping my mouth shut about my real tastes came in high school. The Spin Doctors were cool for about a month. After that brief span, I still wore my Spin Doctors t-shirt that I got at a concert. I got mildly made fun of for that. I still liked Two Princes but I realized that liking Spin Doctors was no longer considered cool, neither was liking The Red Hot Chili Peppers. If one was a true connoisseur of pothead music, one must direct one’s attention towards Phish, then namecheck their obscure opening bands like Bela Fleck or Medeski, Martin, and Wood. To go in the other direction – the alternative music route, if you will – one must go deeper and more independent. Don’t admit that you like Pearl Jam, for example. Start listening to Fugazi or Sonic Youth.
It then takes one a decade or so to admit that, when it’s last call, there’s nothing better than listening to Free Bird, the long version. But, I digress.
So, I learned not to volunteer my music tastes. However, I’ve grown up a bit, become more comfortable with the fact that I enjoy Journey’s Greatest Hits and Heat of the Moment by Asia. That being said, there are still some songs that I am ashamed to like. The shame can stem from my status as a thirtysomething adult male or popular culture’s perception of the song.
Remember when I said I liked Two Princes? I still do. It’s not a bad song. But that doesn’t even approach the shame I feel for liking the songs listed below.
A thirty-eight year old man who enjoys Katy Perry is kind of gross. I really don’t care. She belts out that chorus and it kicks ass.
We Are Never Getting Back Together
Any Taylor Swift song could make this list. I don’t know if she’s a pop genius or if there are people behind her with algorithms churning out golden hooks. Gyllenhaal, you heartless hack, how could you turn your back on this angel?!
Call Me Maybe
“Before you came into my life, I missed you so bad.” Carly Rae has a playful, poetic take on time and matters of the heart. You like this song, too, don’t lie.
The St. Elsewhere Theme Song
What? This doesn’t even make sense. This counts? Why on earth do I like this? I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “both the Barney Miller and Night Court theme songs are more funk influenced.” I know it but this one gets me.
I Want it That Way
Where would pop music be if “fire” and “desire” didn’t rhyme? I also have yet to figure out who is supposed to want what which way but no matter.
Don’t Lose My Number
This song is from No Jacket Required, the album made infamous by both Patton Oswalt and Patrick Bateman. I have no idea who Billy is but not only do I like the song, I like this video, and all of the Phil Collins dad humor that goes with it. (How racist is the Japanese translation bit in 2015?)
What is Love
There is no excuse for this one. None. I’m really really ashamed of this. It’s from Night at the Roxbury for Christ’s sake. Look at the video, this creepy, dated, Euro-trash vampire movie of a video. But 90’s dance music gets to me.
Sum 41 Fat Lip
“The doctor said my mom should have had an abortion.” Edgy! This is corporate punk that should have made John Lydon kill himself just to roll over in his grave. But hot damn is it poppy.
Speaking of manufactured, corporate punk, did you know she was supposed to be a country singer before they re-branded her? Who cares? She’s causing quite a stir at the mall and it’s adorable.
I remember this video coming on MTV and thinking “if anyone walks in on me watching this, I’m going to get beaten up.” But I didn’t change the channel, did I?