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Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 1

Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 1

 

I previously posted this mix and a second volume in January 2009. I’m reposting it now (and Volume 2 later) in preparation for a third mix.

I’m on a mission to expose the notion of “guilty pleasures” in music for the putrid fraud it is. Few things about music annoy me as much as the idea that we should qualify our enjoyment of a song, and compromise or emotional reaction to it. Of course, there is a caveat: our full freedom to enjoy any kind of music should be rooted in what one might call an informed conscience.

It is okay to like Coldplay or James Blunt if you are aware of and open to alternatives to Coldplay or James Blunt (though if you are, chances are you won’t like them that much anyway). If all you have in your collection is Coldplay and James Blunt, if your horizons are so closed and your ambitions so limited that Coldplay and James Blunt and all the other big names on TV and supermarket shelves populate your music collection exclusively, then you ought to feel guilty. But, of course, such people typically exhibit no musical conscience anyway. Their likes have given rise to the description of Coldplay and James Blunt as “music for people who hate music”.

But all that is academic. If you are here, if you read serious music blogs — and please indulge me the illusion that the present blog meets that definition — then you probably do so because you truly love music, engage with music. You most likely have an informed conscience. And thus equipped, I submit, that there is no music you ought to feel guilty about enjoying.

There is much less reason yet to confess to “guilty pleasures” when the music is actually good. The label “guilty pleasures” is applied, on compilation albums and VH-1 countdowns, to much of the music on the mix I am presenting today.

The sound has attracted other dismissive tags. Yacht Rock is one I particularly dislike. The more official terms AOR (adult orientated rock) and MOR (middle of the road) acquired a bad rap in the punk and post-punk eras, and have not quite recovered their credibility. So the critics have bashed the sound, and the marketers have decided to dress it up as something appallingly appealing. By calling it a guilty pleasure, as a Magnum ice cream is to a habitual dieter, they are telling us that we can enjoy what they clearly regard as kitsch only “ironically”.

Their condescension is not only objectionable, but it also betrays a singular lack of appreciation of well constructed music. Being embarrassed about music is for the confused. It’s a dark place to be. Far from feeling guilt, we must embrace the music we like. All of it. Hence the title of the present mix, which these asinine marketers would doubtless categorise as a Guilty Pleasure.

Some of the performers’ names, it must be said, might not inspire confidence: Fogelberg! Vanwarmer!!

Most of these songs put you in a good mood. The lyrics may be sad — the pleading in Baby Come Back, or Bill LaBounty’s post-break posturing — but the music grooves, usually aided by pretty funky basslines; of course, the genre is infused with the jazz fusion sounds of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Some songs are happy. Orleans’ Still The One defines the greatest ambition for middle-age. And the late Dan Fogelberg weighs in with a sweetly poignant number. Be sure to listen to Jim Messina’s Love Is Here, as jazzy an AOR track as you’ll ever get. And Messina’s old sidekick Kenny Loggins features as his backing singer Michael McDonald, who later appears on his own right with one of the greatest tracks in the genre.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, and includes covers (which the original mix didn’t). PW in comments.

1. Kenny Loggins – This Is It (1979)
2. Bobby Caldwell – What You Won’t Do For Love (1978)
3. Bill LaBounty – Living It Up (1982)
4. Player – Baby Come Back (1977)
5. Nicolette Larson – Lotta Love (1978)
6. Ace – How Long (1976)
7. Rupert Holmes – Him (1979)
8. Ambrosia – How Much I Feel (1978)
9. England Dan & John Ford Coley – I’d Really Like To See You Tonight (1976)
10. Alessi – All For A Reason (1977)
11. Orleans – Still The One (1976)
12. Gino Vannelli – Feel Like Flying (1978)
13. Michael McDonald – I Keep Forgettin’ (1982)
14. Jim Messina – Love Is Here (1979)
15. Gallagher And Lyle – Heart On My Sleeve (1976)
16. Linda Ronstadt – It’s So Easy (1977)
17. Randy Vanwarmer – Just When I Needed You Most (1974)
18. Robert John – Sad Eyes (1979)
19. Rita Coolidge – We’re All Alone (1977)
20. Dan Fogelberg – Same Old Lang Syne (1981)

GET IT!

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  1. January 12th, 2009 at 04:23 | #1

    YES! The first paragraph of this post made me want to stand up and cheer. I am much too comfortable where I am, lounging on the chesterfield to ACTUALL get up, but I am standing and cheering in spirit. :) I’m waiting for this download to complete, and am looking forward to NOT feeling guilty about enjoying the music. Thanks!

    (PS – as a Canadian, I would just like to apologise for the insanity that is Céline Dion.)

  2. sluggo
    January 12th, 2009 at 13:17 | #2

    this is great..we all have musical guilty pleasures…
    I`m a stone cold blues nut however one of my guilty pleasures is acker bilk`s stranger on the shore…thanks for doing this one..!
    sluggo

  3. Walter
    January 12th, 2009 at 19:15 | #3

    Top post again
    I shan’t be availing myself of the download as I already have all of the songs !
    Agree with your view about the tripe around so called Guilty Pleasures. If it’s good it’s good no matter what
    Some suggestions
    Land Of Make Believe by Bucks Fizz (yes that Bucks Fizz)
    Home LovinMan by Andy Williams
    Key Largo by Bertie Higgins
    Reminiscing by The Litle River Band
    Leader Of The Band by Dan Fogleberg
    Goodbye Girl by David Gates

    Oooh I could (in a Celine styleee) go on and on etc

    Finally, saddest song ever – Alone Again (Naturally) by Gilbert O’Sullivan

    Love the blog
    Keep doing it

  4. dickvandyke
    January 12th, 2009 at 22:31 | #4

    Yes, a cogent piece that needed to be said. I could never have put it so well.

    I have a deaf friend who gets a bit fuckin irate when people moan about so-called crap music! He’d love to hear anything from Vanwarmer to Wagner.

  5. Bill from Illinois
    January 13th, 2009 at 08:12 | #5

    Honestly, if I sat down to put together a mix of late-70s soft rock, it would look almost exactly like this. Not that I’m holding that up as a test of your good taste — but it does mean that I really, really like this mix. Maybe the only thing I’d change is to swap “You’re the Only Woman” for “How Much I Feel” — both are great songs, but I always loved the killer interlude toward the end of “Woman” — anyone else out there like it too?

    And as someone who’s commented on your previous posts about Hall & Oates and John Denver, I join the others in cheering your comments about “guilty pleasures.” Thanks for that, and for this always great blog.

  6. January 13th, 2009 at 11:45 | #6

    MY guilty pleasure:
    And as a HEAVY Metal fan (MY Chemical Romance, Sllipknot etc) fan this is VERY hard to admit:
    Busted.
    Absolutely FUCKING amazing band.
    I ALSO liked Chares & Eddie’s “Would I lie to you” but the album was my BIGGEST waste of cash to date. Even AFTER the obligatory 17 plays (in order to give it a fair ‘hearing’) it was STILL under par.

  7. January 13th, 2009 at 15:26 | #7

    Very well put.

    Any list with Player, Ambrosia, and Orleans is OK by me.

  8. January 14th, 2009 at 05:35 | #8

    Great post, as always, but especially nice here. I do have a fair bunch of these songs, but the mix is pristine, and it is fun to listen to these songs as a group and bask in their glow, the kind of stuff you hope someone walks in on your listening and asks about.

  9. haptor3
    January 14th, 2009 at 15:09 | #9

    Great post, as always! A “guilty pleasure” to me is something I don’t really listen to all that much. And the fact that some of my “narrow minded” (musically speaking) friends would never admit to liking!

    Keep up the great work!

  10. January 14th, 2009 at 19:17 | #10

    I enjoy the concept of the guilty pleasure, if for no other reason than it laughs in the face of the too-cool people at the other end of whatever spectrum you’re talking about.

    As for the mix, well, I have to admit there are a couple there that make me cringe (but I’ll leave it a mystery as to which ones they are).

    Which ones they AREN’T are “This Is It” (a very funky number in spite of Kenny Loggins), “Lotta Love” (‘cuz I could listen to Nicolette Larson all day) and “Still The One” (what great harmonies).

    I was talking with a friend the other day about Orleans: John Hall was from my hometown in upstate New York; my brother (a piano player) actually played with him for awhile in the late 60’s before he went off to college (and John went off to pop stardom).

  11. January 18th, 2009 at 07:47 | #11

    Great mix! I too applaud your calling out the “Guilty Pleasures” concept as BS. You see what kind of stuff I post publicly … you know I agree. :)

  12. halfhearteddude
    March 6th, 2014 at 07:28 | #12

    PW = amdwhah

  13. JohnnyDiego
    March 6th, 2014 at 13:24 | #13

    With an iPod set on shuffle and crammed with over 30,000 songs I rarely hear the same song twice in a month, let alone in a week. And my tastes in music run from acoustic to zydeco. So that is why I am downloading this guilty pleasures mix; because the chances of me hearing any of these songs is slim. If all one eats is Bœuf bourguignon, Escargots de Bourgogne, and Oeufs en meurette its nice to have a gummy bear or some pop rocks now and then.
    I have plenty of these guilty pleasures type tunes already and it is nice after listening intently to “serious music” to have a John Sebastian, England Dan & John Ford Coley, or even The Archies pop up now and then.
    So, thank you, Dude. But put these on a CD and listen to them in succession? I don’t think so.

  14. Clarence
    March 7th, 2014 at 01:46 | #14

    Well said! I took a long (40+yrs.) & painful road to get to the same place, & I still have to remind myself “It’s all Music”.

  15. lugworm
    March 8th, 2014 at 08:52 | #15

    Wow! Right on the money. Thank you.

  16. dogbreath
    March 11th, 2014 at 18:08 | #16

    Absolutely fabulous compilation & absolutely no guilty feelings need be experienced! Many thanks as always.

  17. May 22nd, 2014 at 17:25 | #17

    Vous publiez sans cesse des postes attractifs

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