Thursday, May 10, 2007

From the "Embarrass Yourself" Department: My Top 5 Guilty Pleasure songs

Some of my fellow Deadspin commenters have been posting their top five guilty pleasure songs all week on Janie's blog. Some of their choices have been hideously awful but strangely catchy. I'd never listened to Insane Clown Posse before, and after hearing "Hokus Pokus" I don't think I ever will again. On the other hand, Hank's selection of Kid Rock's "Bawitdaba" has been stuck in my head for a few days now.

Inspired by their willingness to open their hearts to the Internet, I now present the five songs I'd really never wanted the rest of the world to know I love:

5. "Obsession" -- Animotion (1985)

I had no idea what this song was about when I first heard it, but the bass line and keyboards are irresistible. I taped the song off the radio and I'd play air keyboards in my bedroom while listening to it. And no, that's not a euphemism: I was 12.

4. "Bird of Prey" -- Uriah Heep (1971)

For about 5 years I listened via the Internet to an afternoon radio show on ROCK103 in Memphis, TN hosted by two guys named Drake and Zeke. They used to play "Bird of Prey" as a joke, and usually just the opening minute. Just when you think it's going to be a power metal number, the vocals come in. I dare you not to laugh. Also, throw up the horns and bang your head. You've earned it.

3. "High Enough" -- Damn Yankees (1990)

The late 1980s and early 1990s were the heyday of "hair" metal bands. The longer the hair, the better the band. And nothing exemplifies the best and worst thing about metal bands than the power ballad. Everyone had at least one, and a supergroup like Damn Yankees is no exception. It's hard to believe that "Motor City Madman" Ted Nugent is in the band that produced this song. They've got a string quartet in there! How the Nuge didn't kill Tommy Shaw with a compound bow is a mystery musical scholars will ponder for decades.

2. "Informer" -- Snow (1993)

Even Snow isn't sure what he was trying to accomplish when he mixed Jamaican patois with rap in 1993, resulting in this grotesque masterpiece. I don't know what the hell he's saying (neither did MTV when they tried a "follow-the-bouncing-ball" version of the video) but the bass line gets my ass moving whenever I hear this song.

1. "After The Loving" -- Englebert Humperdinck (1976)

My man Arnold George Dorsey once said of himself "I can hit notes a bank could not cash" (according to Wikipedia, anyway). In this song, he hits some valuable notes indeed. It's '70s Vegas showiness at its most opulent: full orchestra, a chorus of backup singers, and
the heartfelt words of a man who's just gotten freaky with his lady and has to tell her how he really feels. Does it get any more beautiful than this?:
Thanks for taking me/
On a one-way trip to the sun/
And thanks for turning me/
into someone.

I will neither confirm nor deny rumors that this is a song on my standard karaoke set list.

That's it, folks. You've seen one of the dark places in my soul. Next time you see me with my iPod, you'll wonder "Is he listening to one of THOSE songs again?"


The Great Barstoolio said...

Wow. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Informer song. And Damn Yankees. And Obsession. I'll have to listen to the others when I get home! Thanks for sharing them; this is hilarious.

JHC said...

High Enough almost made my list, but I decided since it had The Nug, I couldn't be embarrassed by it. And Informer was also one of the final cuts when I realized I didn't have it on my iPod.

That's a really bad list man. There is something wrong with you.

PhilCatelinet said...

Like Patrick Swayze is better than Englebert Humperdinck. Who's had the bigger musical career? Who has more hit songs?

I rest my case.

JHC said...

You're exactly right. Patrick Swayze is better than The Dinck.
1 song, 1 mega-hit. I rest my case.

Also, I'd like to see The Dinck clean up the Double Deuce. Not bloody likely.

PhilCatelinet said...

'Bert doesn't need to clean up the Double Deuce. He's already back home, serenading his woman.

Unknown said...

It appears that you need a little help on the Uriah Heep reference.

The album was 1970, not 1971 and needs to be properly framed to be appreciated.

For it's time, the Uriah Heep album was fairly radical and, to a degree, experimental. Remember, in 1970 the top ten songs of the year included the Carpenters "Close to You", B.J. Thomas' "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head","I'll be There" by the Jackson 5, and the Beatles "Let it Be".

Uriah Heep was often described as "The Beach Boys of Metal" for their use of three and four part harmony, and this song displays that well. At appx 3:00 into the song is a short guitar solo that any aspiring metal guitar player should study and appreciate.

You have been taken this out of context. Uriah Heep was one of the best early metal bands. Go back and do your homework rather than being led by the nose by those two chuckle heads from Memphis.