Monday, November 19, 2007

Listening Post: Guilty Pleasures Edition

Okay folks, many of you have spent the past year-and-a-half (or however long you've been reading this occasionally unrestrained dreck) complaining that I'm an intellectual elitist who delights a little too much in ridiculing any taste or opinion I consider inferior to my own.

To those who feel this way: now's your chance to have your revenge; I'm handing it to you on a silver platter.

I admit having to stifle a wave of borderline nauseaous laughter at the fact that at last night's so-called "American Music Awards," both Daughtry and Rascal Flatts -- rather than having a pair of those phallic trophies rammed up their respective asses -- managed to walk away "winners." (Once again, if someone would please give Chris Daughtry his job back pumping gas at that Chevron in Lubbock, I'd be eternally grateful.) That said, I'm also forced to admit that while I detest both of the above blights on the musical landscape, there are a few bands and artists which many would consider cut from the same worthless cloth as any Daughtry or Rascall Flatts for whom I have an inexplicable and indefensible affinity.

I'm willing to loudly proclaim my devotion to My Chemical Romance and even my strange attraction to Kelly Clarkson, but for these I pretty much have no excuse.

So here you go -- feel free to mock away: It's five of my favorite guilty pleasures.


For the most part, Saliva sounds like about ten other bands I can think of off the top of my head (at least one of which is on this list). At the same time though, there was something about their big label debut Every Six Seconds that caught my ear and kept it. Their singles have always been average at best, but it's the songs in between -- like Storm from 2002's Back Into Your System -- where these guys actually shined.

Yes, I know, you can save the reminders that this song has been adopted by the WWE -- it's still not a bad single.

Saliva's Ladies and Gentlemen.

Breaking Benjamin

The aforementioned band that Saliva sounds quite a bit like?

Breaking Benjamin.

Once again, I don't like everything they do -- but the songs of theirs that I like, I really like.

This is one: Polyamorous.

Jimmy Eat World

Technically, I'm not sure I should feel too guilty about liking Jimmy Eat World; I'm including them because I have several friends whose opinions I respect who seem to feel that I should not only be ashamed of myself for loving this band, but that I should consider either a steady diet of Nick Cave or outright suicide as a means of atoning for my crimes against quality musical tastes.

Maybe it's the fact that Jimmy Eat World, for the most part, regularly churns out unabashedly optimistic youth anthems -- the kind that just a few decades ago were the bread and butter of bands like Journey.

Regardless, not one but two songs from the band's 2004 album Futures haven't left my main iPod playlist since the record's release: Polaris and 23.

From their new album, Chase this Light, this is Big Casino.

Puddle of Mudd

Fuck it, I'll say it: Puddle of Mudd's Come Clean was, at the time of its release, the best debut rock record I'd heard since Alice in Chains' Facelift.

I still like them.

Sue me.

Here's Control.

Limp Bizkit

I've saved the best (read: most embarrassing) for last.

My name is Chez -- and I'm a Limp Bizkit fan.

I'm the first one to admit that the world always would've been a better place if Fred Durst had been aborted in the first trimester, but for some reason the first time I sat down and gave Significant Other a real listen, I couldn't help bobbing my head and, yes, wanting to rush right out and start breaking stuff.

I'll do you even one better: I think Chocolate Starfish was a fucking great album from start to finish. A little on the self-indulgent side sure, but anything that ends with Scott Weiland's sullen contribution to Hold On earns a place in my heart.

Here's the Bizkit at their most simultaneously bloated and viscerally brutal -- Boiler.


girl with curious hair said...

Oh dear. When I started reading, I really thought you were going to say you like Whitney Houston or Celine Dion. I was really worried for a second.

Monique said...

Hey leave Nick Cave out of this!

TK said...

I admire you courage, buddy. So let me just say: I love Jimmy Eat World, I rock out to Puddle of Mudd whenever I hear them on the radio, and I still own and listen to LB's "Three Dollar Bill" album. So who am I to judge.

Saliva sucks, though.

Anonymous said...

Those aren't bad at all. I was hoping for something much worse.

I feel the same sort of shame about Jimmy Eat World though, and I'm not sure why.


sparksinner said...

There should be no such thing as a guilty pleasure.

I remember a bit of WNYC's Sound Check where a music journalist said most critics actually like ABBA.

So fear not. Do keep Nick Cave nearby though. Your friend has the right idea. Without a regular dose of Nick you might slide totally off the deep end.

Swami "So Uncool" Dearest said...

Here's something to up your Cool Quotient and redeem your self-respect just a teensy bit: one of your regular readers (that'd be Swami Dearest) has no idea who the hell ANY of them are. Swami is not even cool enough to disdain you.

Chez said...

Spark -- I agree that you like what you like, and also that the more different kinds of music you listen to, the less it seems ridiculous if you happen to admit to an affinity for something regularly played on, say, the W-SHIT Tampa Morning Zoo with Bobbo and the Crazy Guy. I think the point I was making is that it's strange to draw some kind of distinction between Breaking Benjamin (whom I like) and Daughtry (whom I'd love to see dragged behind a truck). Then again, maybe I wasn't making a point at all. Winter's started. I'm hibernating.

Angela said...

4 out of 5 of those are my guilty pleasures as well, except that with Jimmy Eat World I feel far from guilty. They're amazing. So don't feel too bad!

winged unicorn said...

de gustibus non est disputandum. my 6 year old loves Barry Manilow's big band stuff. go figure. my [musical] guilty pleasure? gregorian chant. yep, nice jewish girl from brooklyn LOVES gregorian chant. as for limp bizkit and jimmy eat world: chez, somewhere inside that intellectually superior misanthropic exterior lurks a 15 year old boy. nothing wrong with that. uh dear? your eyeliner is smudged.

Vermillion said...

Dude, Limp Bizkit? That's the worst you have? For a second there, I thought you were going to whip out something REALLY shameful, like Hannah Montana or something.

winged unicorn said...

btw: my 14 yo has breaking benjamin on her ipod too. along with marilyn manson, the soundtrack to chicago, some weird japanese stuff and thing i have no idea about....

Robo said...

Daughtry is a douche and so is Rascal flats.

The distinction I see between Breaking Benjamin and Daughtry is talent. Sure they are a little cookie cutter but I can't say that I felt like a douche when I heard them on the radio. Daughtry on the other hand...

One other band I'd add to this list is Three Days Grace but I don't feel guilty for liking them.

Also what do you think of the new Foo Fighters? Just curious since you're a music elitist and all...

Oh and since we're talking about Music and I'm a "resident" (I've been reading since a month after you started this thing) Hip-Hop Expert, Wu-Tang is going back out on Tour. They are playing at a hole in the wall called Toad's Place in New Haven CT in January. If you've never seen them it's worth every penny. I saw them at Toad's in 2006 and it ranks as one of my top 3 Hip Hop shows ever. Let me know if you're interested since it's just a 1.5 hr train ride out of Grand Central.

Toad's is quite an amazing little place. Everyone from Zepplin, Ozzy, G-n-R, Doors, Rolling Stones, and other HUGE historic acts have played there.

Check out the Wiki entry...Toad's Place

Juju said...

Yeah, I know you really wanted to confess your love for Robin Thicke. That's just testing the water and seeing what the reactions will be, then on Friday, after everyone is overdosed on turkey and stuffing you'll hit us with it.

Of course I say this knowing that you have no clue what's in my music selection.

choenbone said...

fred durst is a douchebag, however Wes is an amazing bassist, so it evens out i suppose.

Oh and you forgot to mention your affinity for one of my personal favorites Pantera. Deep down i know you want to thrash around and break shit. Besides its therapeudic.

Captain Babypants said...

"My name is Chez -- and I'm a Limp Bizkit fan."

You are dead to me.

I.S. said...

The truth finally comes out: You really do like Good Charlotte.

Chez said...

Actually, Borland's their guitar player, but he is in fact damn good. Almost makes up for Durst's douchebaggery.

And no -- I don't like Good Charlotte; as a band and as human beings they suck in all kinds of ways. What I said was that every Good Charlotte album has one amazing pop song on it -- which is still true.

sparksinner said...

I should have left my confession as well: I like Brazilian music. File that under "the more different kinds of music you like." It's not a guilty pleasure. Do you still welcome me on your blog?

Any disgust I might have felt at your confession, by the way, was tempered by my thanks for turning me on to The Guggenheim Grotto and for reminding me about "No Suprises" on Radiohead's OK Computer.

Mika aka Xeyli said...

I'm glad I haven't been reading you for very long. if so, I might've been crushed for this list of bands. so just knowing your writings for a short while, I am only disappointed in Limp Bizkit.

Anonymous said...

Good God, man. I do love your writing.....but your taste in music?

Yeah, not so much.

Stick with Tom Waits.

Manny said...

My name is Manny - and I'm a fan of Presidents of the USA...blow me.
Music videos + ninjas = awesomeness.

sheryle said...

wow, i cant believe i found another limp bizkit fan !

Bernard said...

I never read blogs however I do perform "douches of rock" internet searches. The results are amazing. As it turns out all the bands I hate are hated by other people too!

Personally it's hard to see how anyone considering themselves "intellectual" could like any of the bands you mentioned. Hipsters, which is what you are, do however have nasty trends and frankly this list of yours is not surprising.

A lot of people love these bands which is why, even though their music sucks, they are popular. Bands like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd come once a century. Besides Rodger Waters (cheeky blighter) inspired grunge which
led to so-called "Shit Rock". Although bands like Nickelback and Three Doors Down populate mainstream media there are bands which an iota of decency on the radio.

Chez said...

Thanks, Christgau, for coming down off Mount Olympus to give us all a display of your finely tuned musical sensibilities. And to do it by visiting a blog, no less. It truly is a special, special day for us mortals.