Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Gauche and Unsophisticated List Part 7: Cover Your Ears - Music Guilty Pleasures

If you haven't noticed, I don't feel that guilty about many of my guilty pleasures. Everyone in my law school classes knows that I watch lots of cheesy TV and movies. For example, everyone in one of my classes knew how proud I was that I finally was able to give up watching Degrassi: The Next Generation (a girl can only take so much melodrama, character assasination, and inconsistant plot development), and how excited I was that Project Runway was back on the air. But one of the areas where I feel most guilty about my lack of sophistication is music. My music taste is something that is quite embarassing. I still try to apologize for/distract from my lack of music taste in various ways such as: "I went to Summersault 2000 (an alternative Canadian music festival) and saw the Smashing Pumpkins' (where the new bass player made even my Darcy-hating sister, Sis RoyalTurkey, miss Darcy) last concert on the west coast and lots of other independant acts such as The Catherine Wheel (not that I remember what they played really, but I saw them live)," or "I can tell Nirvana and Pearl Jam apart," or "I only like Shakira's songs that are in Spanish, the lyrics are so much better" or "At least I buy my cheesy music at independant, used music stores most of the time."

Now how can this be, you wonder? How can Miss RoyalTurkey, who grew up in Washington state, home of grunge, have such crummy taste and think its a point of pride that she can tell certain grunge acts apart? Or maybe you're wondering, "Miss RoyalTurkey is so shameless about aspects of her unsophistication, bad-liberalness, and general bad taste, why is music any different?" Well, here are the sources of my lack of taste and for my guilt.

I can blame other people for this, really!
First of all, when I was younger, before the advent of portable CD players and Ipods, one of the main sources of radio came from my family's Dodge Caravan, Old Besty, that only got AM radio. Also my mother controlled the radio all the time, so we only listened to country. So I could probably still sing most of the lyrics to any Judds song, or some of Wynnona Judd's solo efforts, and I know the chorus to "God Bless Texas." So my early years were marred by twangs and songs about lost love and alcohol. So when I finally got a clock radio, I thought it was a joyous day to be able to listen to Soft Rock Cafe, the adult contemporary station. And since I was in a small hick town, the Seattle radio stations did not come in very well on my clock radio. So while Nirvana was taking the music scene by storm with "Smells Like Teen Spirit," I was stuck listening to such gems as "I Got Friends in Low Places" or maybe some fine music by Michael Bolton.

Also, if that wasn't enough, one of my friends KR gave me Amy Grant's "Heart in Motion" cassette tape for my eighth birthday, and I thought "Every Heartbeat" and "Baby Baby" were so catchy. (But at least my first CD was the Reality Bites soundtrack, and that is slightly decent, right, right?)

So I lived in happy ignorance for awhile, prancing around to the Spice Girls, so excited that I mastered the Macarena and the Electric Slide, and listening to Casey Kasem's adult contemporary countdown. Then Sis Royalturkey met one of her really good friends Amythest, and when they were in the seventh grade Amythest introduced Sis Royalturkey to this "alternative" music, and then Sis was addicted. She listened to Smashing Pumpkins day in and day out. We finally had a new car, Big Blue - the Chevy Astrovan, that got better radio reception so we listened to alternative stations from those big cities of Vancouver or Seattle. Well she listened, and I whined about how "negative" it was and how I did not like getting yelled at by Billy Corgan. Both Sis and Amythest claimed I just did not understand the depth of Billy's pain and longing. And though I scoffed, in my head I was thinking "Are they right? Do I not understand good music? What is the matter with me?" And the guilt began.

Then finally my two big crushes throughout high school also liked alternative music. 4-HMike was so edgy and witty, and painted his fingernails black and went to concerts in Canada, and had black curly hair that he styled in many interesting ways, and was in a band. Jon Santiago was so quiet and mysterious, his name in Spanish class was Valentin (que romantico, no?), and he reviewed the Black Eyed Peas CD for the Eagle Eye (our high school newspaper) before Fergie joined the band. So there were these interesting, quasi avant guarde guys who listened to groups that I had never heard of. I felt unworthy.

Of course I can now thank Sis Royalturkey's music snobbery for giving me the ability to tell The Smashing Pumpkins and Our Lady Peace apart. Because of Jon Santiago, I knew who The Black Eyed Peas were before Fergie joined to group. Finally, thanks to 4-HMike, I can name some ever-so-slightly-obscure Canadian bands from the 1990s. However, the part of me that bopped along to Amy Grant and the Spice Girls still dominates my psyche and hear are the key songs that I dance around to, possibly download, but feel guilty about later.

Oh the shame!
First of all, let me start off by saying that though I might have bad music taste, I so-o was not a fan of Britney, Christina, or boy bands. However, I justified my love for the group BB-Mack with the excuse, that they are British and they play their own instruments! Also though Christina Aguilera may have grown musically in the past ten years, the only two songs I really like of hers are "Come on Over" and "Dirrty." Finally though I loathe Britney Spears and wish she would just go away, I love "Toxic."

Then there's Rihanna. I was not a fan of "Umbrella" (even Sis Royalturkey claims that it's a good song when someone else sings it). But I love both "SOS" and "Shut Up and Drive."

Paris Hilton better thank whoever pro-tooled "Stars are Blind" because I loved it. Out of all of the actress/famewhores that want to become singers, she did the best job. Linday Lohan and Hilary Duff should feel great shame in knowing that Paris Hilton is a better singer than they are, or has a better sound mixer than they do.

Then there's "Life is a Highway" by Rascal Flatts. Sadly I loved this song more than the original. And my mother's country indoctrination still persists.

Though I was never a big fan of Fergie and always thought to myself, "what a poser I remember when she was on 'Kid's Incorporated,'" a few of her solo efforts make me quite happy whenever I hear them on the radio: "London Bridge" - which makes very little sense and "Big Girls Don't Cry" sponsored by Candies.

Though most of my musical guilty pleasures are just a few songs, I love Avril Lavigne, and I even bought her first CD. When my car was broken into at camp by the most inept, unskilled thief ever (he shattered my driver's side window, when all he needed to do to break into the car was use a coat hanger, he cut my turn signals when cutting the cords to steal my radio/CD player, I had to use hand signals for two weeks before I could get that fixed - argh, the ineptitude still makes me angry!), I was upset that he had stolen all my music including my Avril Lavigne CD, and I was also worried that the jackass would mock me for having the CD. Also, though I was able to guess all the lyrics to "When You're Gone" when I first heard it (because Avril's rhyme scheme is not that sophisticated), the music video still makes me cry.

Well, that's all I can think of for now. I'm sure there's more. But I feel such absolution now, that should last until Sis RoyalTurkey mocks me about one of the latest songs I like.

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