As promised (or threatened), here are my musical guilty pleasures. Some of these artists are has beens or never was(es) were(?), some of them are thoroughly embarrassing, which is kind of the point, right?
First up, someone from my early teens. Bryan Adams was a pretty popular guy in the early to mid 80’s, getting to play in the Live-Aid festival in 85 as well as doing an awesome duet with Tina Turner. Basic rock and roll with killer riffs and a gravely voice. Cuts Like a Knife and Its only Love. And also, Tina Turner is still a badass.
I was not sure I liked Korn the first time I heard them. Shoots and Ladders seemed silly to me. I kept imagining the meeting where the intro to the song was discussed. “Bagpipes? Really.” Then I heard the track Blind and I was hooked. Some people lost interest after a mediocre second record, but they came back hard with “Follow the Leader” for a third record. I can agree that some of the later work is not as good, but check out these tracks from the first record as well as a great song from the third. Blind and Dead Bodies Everywhere. I can’t Let Korn go without mentioning how fantastic they are live. So much energy.
Back and forth and back to my teens again. This band made one really great record and then also flopped a bit on their second. Sadly, they never really recovered. That being said, I love the firt record song for song and two or three songs of the second. The Hooters (what a name, eh?) were pop gold. Just weird enough that most kids had never heard of them or hated them and normal enough that my emerging musical palate could still enjoy them. And we Danced and Johnny B. P.S. The ads really blow, right?
Chevelle is a band that gets thrown in the Nu Metal category. Their songs are often played in D tuning, with heavy power chords and the like. I don’t necessarily see that as a bad thing. The songs are simple, and often less produced than other bands. I have seen them live a few times and they put on a solid show. Unlike some bands, their sophomore release, “Wonder What’s Next” was the money maker for them. I can say I like all their records. That is not the case with any other band on this list. Send the Pain Below and The Clincher.
I thought Loverboy was the heaviest of the heavy from the time I was 11 to about 14. This was the band that I knew every word and every guitar riff (on my air guitar, that is) on their first three records. Whenever I played at being a rockstar as a boy, I was gonna be as cool as Mike Reno. This is the second of three Canadian artists to make this list. Hmmm. Jump and The Kid is Hot Tonight.
I can admit it! I like Godsmack. Ok, I like their first three records. I really like the self titled record-a great deal. This is some killer cliche rock and roll. Another fun live band and one that likes to get the crowd involved. They are totally full of themselves for no good reason and their music has gotten progressively less interesting, but I am still a sucker for some songs-like these-Whatever and Stress.
In 6th grade I fell in love with arena rock. It was the very early 80’s and I was 11. Sheesh, give me a break. REO Speedwagon is one of the bands I liked then that I still listen to now. They can make some serious cheese when it comes to love songs, but they did give us the best break up song ever. Listen to that as well as another fine track off the Hi-Infidelity record. Time for Me to Fly and Tough Guys.
Not sure this one really counts as a guilty pleasure type of band, but few artists have more severe dividing lines between love and hate as does Marilyn Manson. Because of some ridiculous corporate censorship, I was denied an opportunity to see Manson perform and a scheduling conflict kept me from seeing him on another Salt lake visit. No stranger to controversy, Manson makes some interesting and crazy songs. His cover of Sweet Dreams(Are Made of This) is haunting. I will give you that as well as another favorite track. Sweet Dreams and Tourniquet.
The third Canadian on this list is Corey Hart. What a sexy beast. I enjoy his first three records immensely, especially “Boy in the Box”. I wanted him to be considered part of the New Wave bands that I loved so much, but let’s be honest, it is total pop. Still, the dude writes groovy love songs, over the top and oh so tasty. You get three, yes that’s right, THREE Corey Hart love songs (and come on, one of them has the word “ain’t” in the title). It ain’t Enough, Everything in my Heart and Eurasian Eyes. Gosh, he is so dynamic! Heh.
Last on the list is a band I found listening to WFNX out of Boston. What a cool station! Nothing but alternative rock all day and night. They had a program where on Tuesday nights, they would present a live performance of various bands, including Jesus Jones. Jesus Jones was a band I thought was going places. They instead chose obscurity. They put out four records that I know of. Three of them are alright. Maybe their sound was not interesting enough to sustain more than one record at one time in history. Regardless, I love that one record. Two songs off of it that did not get played on the radio. Trust Me and Blissed.