Remember the rock ballads you listened to when you were fourteen because you thought they were the perfect reflection of your teenage angst? What about that song you only keep for when you’re driving alone and you want to sing your heart out? Or that tune you love so much but wouldn’t listen to with your friends because they’d think you have your parents’ taste? I bet there are many songs running through your mind right now. We call them “guilty pleasures” because even if we know they’re corny, old, one-hit wonders, or just bad, we love them.
The idea of feeling guilty or embarrassed for liking a song has more to do with maintaining a façade, an image of ourselves and our likes. However, we are complex beings. We shouldn’t be ashamed of enjoying today’s number one pop hit, the cheesy songs we sang out loud when we were teenagers, or even those golden oldies we associate with our parents and grandparents, because they are part of ourselves. So, be proud of that playlist you’ve kept hidden for so long, and get rid of the “guilty” part of the pleasure they represent. Here are some songs you (and many other people out there) probably have on that playlist.
1. “Africa” – Toto
Let’s begin with an classic. I have to confess I don’t know any other song by Toto, and maybe that’s the reason why this song is such a popular guilty pleasure around the world. Although the band isn’t really a one-hit wonder, the fact that this single keeps being played as if it were their only hit might make you look like a poser or that your tastes don’t go beyond what’s played on the radio. (If that’s the case, what’s the problem, really?)
2. “Total Eclipse of the Heart” -Bonnie Tyler
3. “Don’t Stop Believin’” – Journey
4. “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)” – ABBA
5. “American Idiot” – Green Day
Shout out to all emo kids out there! “American Idiot” became an anthem for every teenager out there who found in music a way to express themselves and their rebelliousness. It didn’t even matter if you were emo or not: when this underground music genre reached its height, the rhythmic chords of this song made you want to lose yourself to the lyrics and the music. Even though it’s been years since the emo boom ended, some of the songs that were associated to this genre will remain with you, no matter how much time goes by.
6. “Welcome to the Black Parade” – My Chemical Romance
7. “Sugar, We’re Going Down” – Fall Out Boy
8. “Bring Me to Life” – Evanescence
9. “Bye Bye Bye” – *NSYNC
Now, let’s go back to the nineties. That decade was full of boy band hits and pop icons whose songs made us dance and sing out loud. Like emo songs, these ones take us back many, many years, and inspire nostalgia in all of us. Maybe we’d cringe if we saw artists today dressing and making the same music these pop icons did, but these nineties stars will always have a special place in our hearts and our playlists.
10. “Everybody” – Backstreet Boys
11. “(You Drive Me) Crazy” – Britney Spears
12. “Genie in a Bottle” – Christina Aguilera
13. “Don’t Cha” – The Pussycat Dolls
Finally, to round up the list, let’s take a look at the songs you can’t help but dance to and sing out loud. Even if the lyrics are strange –or even objectifying to a certain degree–, they’re so catchy and the energy they exude is so fun that you just have to love them. “Don’t Cha” by The Pussycat Dolls is the best example: its sexy beats invite you to dance and bring on the attitude. But yeah, you probably think it’d be really embarrassing to sing out loud on the street, “Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me?” Forget about that shame and dance with all you’ve got!
14. “Milkshake” – Kelis
15. “Yeah!” – Usher feat. Lil Jon and Ludacris
16. “Work” – Rihanna
Want to check out more awesome playlists?
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15 Songs That Tell Better Stories Than Your Favorite Novel