TOP TEN: ‘Guilty’ Pleasures


‘Guilty Pleasures.’

What does this even mean? I’m not going to look it up or anything, but am working on the assumption it’s about something we like or enjoy that we should feel a degree of guilt or embarrassment about.

In Picky Bastards and other more and less reputable outlets, we speak and write frequently about differing tastes, how music is subjective and why one man’s Radiohead is another woman’s race to the off-switch… so why would anyone feel *guilty* about liking something?

So, regardless of what is commonly understood by the title, I’m going to run with the concept: “Songs You’d Not Expect Someone With My Record Collection To Like”. Punchy AF.

But I don’t just passively like them… ooohhhh no, I love them. They invoke emotion, memories of bedroom walls, tears and dance moves. Zero shame, zero guilt, all pleasure.

1. Erasure – Chorus

Come at me all you want, unless you have danced for two and a half hours in front of Andy Bell (who was in chainmail waistcoat) just the six days before your baby’s due date, I dont want to hear it. Bangers. One of the greatest Greatest Hits (Pop! 20) of all time and I will croon Ship of Fools at you for free. But this, this is divine.

2. Britney Spears – Toxic

Belter. Absolute pop heaven. She’s a queen.

3. Marc Almond and Gene Pitney – Something’s Gotten Hold of My Heart

What a pairing. Another one I’ll belt out for nothing and if I’ve had enough wine, I’ll do both parts with a spectacularly insulting Gene Pitney impersonation

4. Roxette – Fading Like A Flower

So I have Tourist and Joyride on cassette somewhere and I don’t care. Best thing to come out of Sweden by a country mile so fuck your Ikea bookcase.

5. Little Mix – Salute

I have an 8 year old daughter who, whilst also picking up her Mam’s usual taste, is also discovering her own. Which includes Little Mix. We have dance offs in the kitchen to this: I take them very seriously and I will put a hip out with a winning slut drop. Might struggle to get back up at my age but still… good on these girls. And, I urge you to watch Jesy Nelson’s documentary about the bullying she endured from adults.

6. Def Leppard – Pour Some Sugar On Me

The drummer had one arm ffs. One arm. I saw coverage of them recently with Joe Elliott wearing a sequined union jack t shirt and back-combed hair like a recently divorced Karen. Regardless, this is my stripper anthem and that’s all of you warned.

7. Starship – We Built This City

Long before some YouTube wallers did something with sausage rolls which, I admit, made dollars for foodbanks (fuck the Tories), Starship released this. Marconi played the mumba, I dont know what it means but I will go full Carlton Banks when it’s on.

8. Alice Cooper – Poison

I had the lyrics cut out of Smash Hits magazine and pinned on my bedroom wall underneath an Our Price sale poster of Michael Stipe (with hair, thats how old I am). If I gave it some thought, it might put me off. But I love it. It’s hair-rock-karaoke at it’s best so leave me alone.

9. Men Without Hats – The Safety Dance

“If you won’t dance then you’re no friend of mine”. Harsh but fair.

10. Matthew Wilder – Break My Stride

Yeah I did leave the best til last. One of the best songs ever made purely for rhyming ‘find ya’ with ‘China’, with perhaps the best appearance on German TV ever. The man has made a mint writing Disney soundtracks so who am I to comment on his turquoise boat-neck tops. Ain’t nuthin gonna hold him down. Oh no.

Done? Sorry, I was distracted looking for the guilt I don’t feel about any and all of the above. I didn’t even get within whiffing distance of Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake and whoever did On A Ragga Tip.

You are all welcome to study my collection and Spotify lists – you’re guaranteed to find all of these proudly sat in my most listened to next to Slayer, Mogwai and early Nas. Guilt schmilt.


Words by Lisa Whiteman.

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