I Like Some Justin Timberlake Songs!!!

Guilty pleasures is a subject I’ve wanted to broach for awhile, because I think a person’s guilty pleasures–and her attitudes towards the notion of having guilty pleasures–says a great deal about someone.

Dudeskull has listened to your arguments and is ready to render a verdict re: your coolness.

I grapple with the idea of having guilty pleasures, because I’m not sure it’s entirely appropriate to feel guilty about liking stuff. On the other hand, there are things I like that I recognize are not sophisticated or nuanced or challenging, and I don’t mind acknowledging that.

I think that the term “guilty pleasure” is a rescuing phrase because it says “Hey, I like this…but I really am cool–HONEST!”

There are lot of things that interest me about the notion of guilty pleasures because I do think we discover things about ourselves when we really think about what we consider a guilty pleasure…and what we’re willing to reveal about ourselves via guilty pleasures. For instance, I will–without hesitation–cop to reading romance novels and watching daytime soaps. I’ll say it to anyone within listening range. JUST. DON’T. CARE. However, there a couple of songs in my iTunes liberry I’m pretty sure I’ve told exactly 0 people about. Why is that? And why is music the medium that I tend to be most discreet about? I think it’s gotta be because so for so many people, musical taste is an indicator of coolness, and, heck, just good taste in general. It’s almost like an outfit. And nobody wants to be caught wearing a day-glo orange fishnet wifebeater.

Amanda Marcotte has a great piece on this topic. I like that her angle focuses on guilty pleasures revealing prejudices. It’s really, really interesting and thought-provoking. Be sure to note the part where the dude says his guilty pleasures–music-wise–are Katy Perry and Lily Allen? Eh? Katy Perry and Lily Allen have nothing to do with each other except that they both happen to be in possession of vaginas (one assumes). Like Amanda, the first thing I wondered is if perhaps he felt guilty about listening to them because of said vagina-having status. Unfortunate. (For the record, I’d have no problem with anyone liking either lady, though I loathe the made-soley-for-the-male-gaze song “I Kissed a Girl” with a white-hot passion that burns with the heat of a thousand suns.)

And then  there’s the whole question of what constitutes a guilty pleasure. You’ll notice the title of my entry is “I Like Some Justin Timberlake Songs!” And that’s true, I do. But are they guilty pleasures? I don’t know. Are his songs slick, over-produced and palatable to large swaths of the listening public? Sure.  But I’d still contend those songs are good songs. So I’m not sure if I should feel guilty about liking to them.

 So, anyway, what are your thoughts on guilty pleasures? Do you think the term is useful? Do you have any? If you do, please share. This is a strictly judgement-free zone.  But please don’t blow your whole wad (at least re: music) today; I’d like to do a Guilty Pleasures Random Music Friday tomorrow. 😀

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42 thoughts on “I Like Some Justin Timberlake Songs!!!

  1. I'd say a "guilty pleasure" is something you enjoy in spite of the fact that people you like and admire might not share your interest. As a result, you hide it away bin order to avoid being shunned or disapproved of.My guilty pleasures involve reality TV. I know Deadliest Catch and American Chopper are shows I "shouldn't" watch because they offer zero intellectual challenge. I still watch them because they're fascinating, even though I know the storylines are being manipulated to maximize the drama.My musical tastes are only of the highest order and not at all subject to second-guessing.

  2. Thanks for your insights, WC! Yeah, I think the guilty pleasure thing definitely comes into play more when you're dealing with people you genuinely respect, especially when it comes to appreciating art in all its forms. BTW, I didn't blink at your guilty pleasures; some reality shows–thought I genuinely loathe most of them–are incredibly entertaining. O sure, people may mock; but that's the way things go.Own it.Tewts agree.

  3. I agree with WC's analysis, but also with VS's. It's possible the term 'guilty' is not perfectly adequate – 'embarrassing' might be closer. It is about our perception of ourselves, and our concern that other people will find us less cool than we wish.I have never had this problem with music, because a HUGE amount of my most fervent musical favorites are universal guilty pleasures. From the "corporate rock" of Journey, Starship and Boston to the "Power Balads" of, well, just about any metal or hard rock band in history to ABBA and Sixpence, the music I like is widely and mercilessly mocked. I simply cannot allow myself to care.TeeVee is a larger problem, in a sense, mostly because after about ten years in intensive therapy in the nineties I have a very bad Boehner-like tendency to cry over stupid shit. Ah well, as annoying as it is, you're going to have to trust me when I tell you that you are much better off with the leaky-eyed mikey 2.0 than what came before. So I REALLY liked Ally MacBeal. I was more outspoken of my love for Buffy, but somehow, although fairly widely mocked, Buffy never quite fell into that generalized 'guilty pleasure' category.But mostly I've never been cool, or particularly popular, so I had less at risk when I found myself drawn to something others felt was crappy, wimpy, childish or any of those other dwarves. Plus there was, for years, that whole people were afraid of me, so I didn't have to deal so much with the direct mockery. Thankfully, the internet has changed all that…

  4. I simply cannot allow myself to care.And I absolutely think this is the right attitude to have. BTW, I used to LOVE Ally McBeal. I look back on it now and find it extraordinarily annoying–drowning in forced, cutesy quirkiness…but back in the day, I was all like "This is awesome!" Now, I always thought "BuffY' was something all the cool kids watched…which explains why I never got into it.

  5. It is about our perception of ourselves, and our concern that other people will find us less cool than we wish.I agree with mikey, and I don't really think I have guilty pleasures. But maybe there are pleasures it's reprehensible NOT to feel guilty about. Slayer's most famous song is hard to see as anything other than a celebration of Josef Mengele. Should I really give those guys my dollars? What is wrong with me that I know every note and squeal in that song?A more ubiquitous pleasure-that-should-be-guilty is porn. It's really unhealthy and manipulative and dangerous to a lot of its featured performers, and what messages can be derived from it are often a pretty miserable indictment of all concerned including the viewer.

  6. crappy, wimpy, childish or any of those other dwarves. Childish? That's my totem! What I saw on my vision quest was that damned dancing baby from Ally McBeal. It turned slowly, looked at me, and gave me the finger.Then I woke up, covered in peyote vomit.

  7. My taste is impeccable: I like what I like, & hate what I don't like.Mikey's correct, they are really embarrassing pleasures, not "guilty" ones. Repressed losers unite, you have nothing to lose but your Puritan ethics! Pleasure is good.I first realized I was "bipolar" (but mostly just depressed) when I found myself sniveling at mawkish, calculated-to-make-one-cry drivel I would have laughed at before. And it didn't take therapy to realize it. (Maybe therapy would make me stop sniveling.)The most embarrassing thing possible in my book is to be a fan/idolator/worshipper of any popular culture, if only because the creators will eventually start making shit unless they die young enough. I don't care to imagine what Jim Morrison (most likely to have sucked if he lived; find your own examples, like Paul McCartney, who proved the rule.) would be spewing were he alive today.As far as porn: If you wanna whack/rub off, but don't have enough imagination/testosterone/memories to arouse yourself w/o outside inspiration, forget it & do something else. And why would Lily Allen embarrass anyone, let alone make them feel guilty?

  8. Pleasure is good.I think that's one of the reasons I'm uncomfortable with the phrase "guilty pleasures." I say take pleasure where you can get it. But then I am a depressed hedonist with impulse-control issues. As far as porn: If you wanna whack/rub off, but don't have enough imagination/testosterone/memories to arouse yourself w/o outside inspiration, forget it & do something else. I have no issue with folks having access to visual stimulation…I'm just uncomfortable with many of the what I suspect are not too savory aspects of the porn-making. (Starting with the fact that I doubt any little girl has ever said "Some day I wanna be a PORN STAR!!" 😦

  9. In Matt's defense (I can't believe I'm still using this phrase) perhaps he meant to display teh range of music he considers his guilty pleasures. i.e. it's not a grouping, it's a from A to B statement.Yeah, I like to think teh best of people.Anyways my guilty pleasures involve mothers.

  10. or A to Z or wev.Anyways, speaking of your mom – I'm am totes for guilty pleasures being that (guilty that is). Because there's a bit of pleaure associated with teh guilt. From teh "Fuck It All, I Think Hanson Rocks*" variety where you get to revel in your outsider status to teh "If Anyone Finds Out Then I'll Be Ruined" type where teh naughtiness is teh charm.*Confession Time: I actually do think that Hanson rocks.

  11. I find the fact that you like Hanson incredibly endearing. Assuming you are not yanking my chain. I totally see your point about the guilt itself being pleasurable. Guess I'm not wired that way. Id rather lay myself bare and have people be ok with it.

  12. I'd like to do a Guilty Pleasures Random Music Friday tomorrow.From the sound of things round here, you're gonna need to go get some extra pixels!W/V is actually an ad today, for a product that helps you when you simultaneously squeak and mutter: mutorol

  13. Starting with the fact that I doubt any little girl has ever said "Some day I wanna be a PORN STAR!!" 😦I'd imagine there are plenty once they've reached adolescence, but it has a lot to do w/ awful things that happened to them as children, & is hardly a free choice. And as porn is more "mainstreamed" & accepted, fewer will think it's that awful. Meanwhile, WordV notes music you pervs can all feel guilty about pleasuring yourselves w/: norkpop.

  14. "I'd imagine there are plenty once they've reached adolescence, but it has a lot to do w/ awful things that happened to them as children, & is hardly a free choice. "There's that and there's the lure of the validation of the male gaze. It's fun when men think you're hawt and jerk off to you. I'm sympathetic to that way of thinking. I'm just uncomfortable with young women getting into porn for that reason. I'd prolly be ok if they were exploring their sexuality. I doubt they are.

  15. I don't care to imagine what Jim Morrison (most likely to have sucked if he lived; find your own examples, like Paul McCartney, who proved the rule.) would be spewing were he alive today.As a fan of bands that have had long carrers like Jethro Tull, Mooby Blues, Yes, Pink Floyd and even Paul McCartney, I will have to make a counterpoint to this statement. Certainly none of these bands have been spot on with each and every album. But they also have the burden of each of their albums being compared to the great stuff that they have already put out there. Most of their albums, even the weaker ones are better than the vast majority of what's out there. But for the fans it is always a big let down if the next album is not better than the last. Even the Beatles released several albums that were met with less than enthusiastic responses for this reason.

  16. …and there's the lure of the validation of the male gaze. It's fun when men think you're hawt and jerk off to you. I'm sympathetic to that way of thinking. I'm just uncomfortable with young women getting into porn for that reason.I've become really uncomfortable with porn (and strip clubs and the Mustang Ranch etc.) because of the news that's coming out about how many of the women are there due to human trafficking.I mean it's one thing to think of a girl who had a shitty home life and ran away to be a stripper or whatever because that was her best option (sad as that is) and it's quite another to think that the odds are pretty high that she was put into that position against her will.That really squicks me out.

  17. You have to be true to yourself in what you get pleasure from. Then you will find stuff that you like because you like it, not because other people will think you're cool. And it frees you up to things you might have missed, AC/DC music for example and the Ramones and The Stone Roses (thanks, whoever posted the "I wanna be adored " clip).So I gave up on feeling guilty about My Stuff some time ago.It certainly helps to have very few friends, though.

  18. Well, since Morrison's actual career was mostly shitty,Wrong, dogbreath.You're using some kind of absolute scale of measurement and that's just silly. Jim Morrison, Janis, Carlos, Jerry – you very likely don't realize how powerful and intense the LSD of the period was.These doods went on stage and played. Dock Ellis threw a no hitter. I got on my motorcycle and rode until I knew where I was.You should be mourning the fact you'll never understand what happens when you swallow an eight-way mini-barrel and just open up your soul to the experience…

  19. That's an awesome song. Plus that album had deep thoughts about art.Boney M. is–instantly–my new favorite band. Also, B^4, you're linking to a Dick in a Box vid? DUDE. Do you click ANY of my links? If you did, you'd know I'm a huge Lonely Island fan. 😉

  20. I mean it's one thing to think of a girl who had a shitty home life and ran away to be a stripper or whatever because that was her best option (sad as that is) and it's quite another to think that the odds are pretty high that she was put into that position against her will.Oh yeah, that's hugely disturbing.

  21. I think there are only a few things you should feel truly "guilty" about — e.g. trying a McMegan recipe, kicking a puppy, liking cats, not liking beer — you know, truly horrendous uncivilized things like that.Otherwise, enjoy.

  22. I like it: CATS, the OS. Keeps laptops running at a minimum 50% processor load no matter what so that your lap stays warm. Wakes you up at 5AM every day regardless of the "alarm" setting.

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