Your Take: Guilty as Charged

Karlie Justus Marlowe | March 19th, 2011

Thursday on the blog, Blake reviewed Brad Paisley’s new single “Old Alabama,” which pays tribute to, well, old Alabama songs.

The song received a thumbs down, and was criticized in the comment section as well. However, a few people were excited to hear the supergroup on radio again – regardless of how it was packaged.

Noeller lands in that group, categorizing the song as a “guilty pleasure”:

I know the song is stupid, I know the lyrics are hackneyed and lazy, and I know I should hate this.

……but I freakin’ LOVE it. Can’t stop spinning this. Most who are familiar with my posts on here, know that I love music that makes you think a little bit, but this is my “guilty pleasure” if you wanna call it that.

Can’t stop listening to this cut, and really REALLY can’t wait till it’s warm enough I can roll down the windows and crank this one while driving down the highway.

The term guilty pleasure is often thrown around when it comes to music, in reference to music deemed too cheesy to like or listen to in public. Matt B., however, pointed out that a guilty pleasure is usually more indicative of the music listener than it is of the music:

I don’t believe in ‘guilty pleasures’ Noeller. Just believe in like and dislike and love or hate when it comes to movies, books and music.

Give us your take – do you believe in guilty pleasures? If so, what are your country music guilty pleasures – and why do you consider them so?

  1. Paul W Dennis
    March 19, 2011 at 8:12 am

    Guilty pleasures

    Many of the singing comics such as Don Bowman, Jim Nesbitt, Ben Colder, Ray Stevens

    Joey Heatherton’s version of “Gone”,”Astrology” by Liz Anderson, “If I Can’t Be Your #1 (Then #2 for You)” by Roger Miller

    Almost any comic routine by Brother Dave Gardner,
    Junior Samples, Archie Campbell, James Gregory

    Kinky Friedman’s novels – anything by Lewis Grizzard

  2. Ben Foster
    March 19, 2011 at 8:53 am

    I do indeed believe in guilty pleasures, but I think they have to do with both the song and the listener. Some songs just hit certain listeners just the right way.

    My guilty pleasures are usually songs that, from a critical perspective, aren’t really very good or well-written, but that just make me happy. In that category, I’d say the biggest offenders are Katie Armiger’s “Kiss Me Now,” Sarah Buxton’s “Outside My Window,” and Sugarland’s “All I Want to Do.”

    My biggest guilty pleasure outside the country genre is probably (ahem, cough cough) “Wannabe,” by the Spice Girls. I don’t listen to it very often, but sometimes it just catches me in the right mood. Don’t judge.

  3. Matt B
    March 19, 2011 at 11:32 am

    I think my thesis behind my comment was if you like it, you like it. Who cares what other people think; Because in the end, they don’t really care, even if they say that they do!

  4. Eric
    March 19, 2011 at 11:47 am

    To me, a guilty pleasure is any music/movie/book/etc. that you enjoy, but feel that you might be judged by the public at large for. By that definition, my country guilty pleasures would have to be Taylor Swift, (early) Rascal Flatts, and Keith Urban. However, as a seventeen-year old male in a New York City suburb, I am forced to categorize most of my love for country, bluegrass, etc. as a guilty pleasure, although I rarely feel guilty listening to it. I think that if any of my friends knew of my tremendous appreciation for Sierra Hull, life would not be the same (just kidding, of course). My non- guilty pleasures would have to be John Mayer and “I Want It That Way”, by the Backstreet Boys. No Judgements, please.

  5. Eric
    March 19, 2011 at 11:48 am

    I meant to say “non- country guilty pleasures”, instead of “non- guilty pleasures”

  6. will
    March 19, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Marie Osmond. The Sonny James produced 1970s-Paul Worley produced 80s, very guilty pleasure. Oh the SHAME!!! I admitted it and it feels better!!

  7. Donald
    March 19, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Non-country guilty pleasure- Wings.
    Country guilty pleasure- tearjerkers like “Teddy Bear’s Last Ride.” And Shania Twain, for some reason. I don’t think I’ve turned the radio off while one of her uptempo, mindless songs have been playing. And I guess, Alabama.
    As for the Paisley/Habalama song, I wrote the following before anyone else had posted about it, but held off on posting my own the other morning because I was distracted while writing. But, I think I was approaching the topic of guilty pleasure without realizing it: Nit-picking and perhaps misguided on the reviewer’s part to criticize the lyrical inclusion of Sinatra and Coltrane. Within the context, with the Righteous Bros. and Barry White, the reference is appropriate-does nothing to ‘distract from their talent,’ IMO. That this song ‘feels’ good- to someone who doesn’t give a damn about commercial country- notwithstanding hackneyed lyrics and (deliberate, obviously) familiar riffs- is more worrisome. (That would be the guilty pleasure part!) As hinted at in the review, a mindless summer song. When Alabama is what conjures up images of trad. country, it is time to move on. I recall not liking their type of country when originally released because it was too much like rock and roll- I didn’t want country to be polluted by such influences. We played those first five albums- mostly Mtn. Music and Roll On- a lot in the record store in the mid-80s; they were- along with Piano Man and the first Romantics album- guaranteed sales while playing in the store.

  8. MayorJoBob
    March 19, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Country Guilty pleasure: Rascal Flatts
    Non Country: Simple Plan, a glitch in my otherwise normal play list.

  9. Fizz
    March 19, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    In theory, I don’t believe in “guilty pleasures.” But in reality, I’m just like everybody else, and there’s stuff I wouldn’t cop to liking with just anybody. In country, got to admit, “Trailerhood” made me laugh in spite of myself (especially paired with the video), even though I knew it was stupid. Same goes for “Pretty GOod At Drinkin’ Beer.” Also had a little bit of a thing for Gretchen Wilson when she first came out.

    Non-country, probably a lot of cheeseball mid- and late-’80’s pop that I grew up listening to before (and in the early days of) my discovery of metal. Was listening to XM’s ’80’s channel doing their little “this week in 198?” retro countdown last night. The year in question was ’89, which was smack in my Top 40-listening prime. Anyway, the song “Walk The Dinosaur” came on, a completely idiotic song, but one I had loved at the time, and one I always used to play drums along with (I was just learning at the time). I made sure nobody was around and then cranked it. Beyond that, there’s a lot of guilt-tripping in the metal community, a lot of “poseur this” and “trendoid that,” and in that regard, my parameters for what’s “acceptable” are a LOT wider than a lot of folks.

    I second the mentions of Brother Dave Gardner, and of course, the late, great Lewis Grizzard. Also throw in the late Jay Hickman (if you never heard of him, think of a triple-X-rated Jeff Foxworthy).

  10. Fizz
    March 19, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    I also have a thing for old cowboy songs …

  11. Kari
    March 20, 2011 at 11:16 am

    My guilty pleasure is a Jim Lauderdale song called I Met Jesus in a Bar.

  12. Thomas
    March 21, 2011 at 5:51 am

    …guilty pleasures are a wonderful little escape from rationality. they allow us to do or enjoy things, of which we quite clearly know that they are not exactly generally accepted – those little oddities of life that make us slightly “more human”.

    and if this term didn’t exist, how could i possibly say that “don’t take the girl” is a country song that gets me almost every time i hear it.

  13. Jon
    March 21, 2011 at 6:56 am

    they allow us to do or enjoy things, of which we quite clearly know that they are not exactly generally accepted

    But in fact, as every invocation of the term here makes clear, it is precisely the kinds of things which are generally accepted that folks around here say they feel guilty about liking. The illicit act is not dissenting from, but rather sharing in a widespread enjoyment, which, I contend, exposes one of the flaws of the concept: it’s snobbery. The guilt allows one to feel elevated above the rabble even while sharing its taste.

  14. Thomas
    March 21, 2011 at 7:27 am

    …, well jon, quite right, it can be snobbery. on the other hand it’s a handy way of communicating the not so obvious, when it comes to our personalities.

    i also think, that “guilty pleasures”, which stay mostly in generally accepted areas are a harmless expression of someone’s, quite often surprising, soft spots that we all share in one way or another.

    a nice hommage to harmless “guilty pleasures” was alan jackson’s “i still like bologna” song.

  15. Miss Leslie
    March 21, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Shock of the day: My guilty pleasure is Lee Greenwood.

    Me and my drummer used to piss off the band on roadtrips by singing Lee Greenwood songs. And yes, I know a ton of them.

  16. Noeller
    March 21, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    Glad that my comments can, once again, generate some discussion via a “Your Take” segment.

    I don’t generally have a lot of “Guilty Pleasure” stuff, ’cause normally I’m not afraid of admitting to any music I like, though with that said, there was a time when I’d stick up for Backstreet Boys and ‘NSync as legitimately talented Pop superstars. I’m not sure I have quite the same conviction anymore, but there was a time.

  17. Jon
    March 21, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    a nice hommage to harmless “guilty pleasures” was alan jackson’s “i still like bologna” song.

    That song has nothing to do with “guilty pleasures,” harmless or otherwise.

  18. Thomas
    March 22, 2011 at 4:30 am

    …not as sure as you are there, jon. in a world where salt has to be “fleur de sel” coming from some seewater basin on the french coast, where coffee beans seem to be so much better, when having passed the bowels of some night-active species that lives near the street of malakka and fish, until a few days ago, better had had some japanese finish – well, in such a world a simple bologna-sandwich might qualify as a “guilty pleasure” not to mention not making maximum use of every electronic device on the market that puts you on an online-status 24/7.

  19. Jon
    March 22, 2011 at 6:07 am

    As Red Allen said, if it don’t fit, don’t force it.

  20. Fizz
    March 22, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Lee Greenwood … saw him at a Boy Scout Jamboree when I was a kid. Not exactly the most attentive audience, but he made the best of it.

    Regarding “bologna,” isn’t it … subjective? Or are only qualified professionals allowed to interpret songs now?

  21. Jon
    March 22, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    @Fizz It’s a matter of understanding the lyrics. The song is about how, despite his appreciation for modern conveniences and sophistication, the protagonist still enjoys some of the simpler things. That just doesn’t line up with “guilty pleasures,” because not only is there no guilt associated with the simpler things, they’re explicitly identified as good – in fact, at the end of the song the lyric says that in some ways they’re even better than the newer stuff.
    There’s not even a trace of guilt implied, much less stated.

    So no, you’re wrong. But thanks for playing! And have a nice day!

  22. Fizz
    March 22, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    I actually agree with your interpretation, personally, but I can also see where Thomas might interpret it as a “guilty pleasure.” There’s a slight ring of defensiveness to it, as if to say, “Yeah! I like bologna! Got a problem?”

Tagged In This Article

// //

Current Discussion

  • Paige: Oh damn. :( I never commented here and I haven't been listening to any music at all since Thanksgiving (it …
  • Dave W.: Just read the news here. Will miss E145 very much - love this site. All the best to you Juli …
  • Leeann Ward: Oh, dang! This is real. Farewell to the most generous, informative, quality, intelligent, consistent, ethical country music blog! You …
  • bll: Thanks Juli for all the great articles and information; you'll be missed by me and I suss several others. Best …
  • Both Kinds of Music: I hope people appreciate the irony that one of the best "Americana" albums is titled Metamodern Sounds in COUNTRY Music.
  • Barry Mazor: I would not rule out that possibility..There's a different set of voters involved..
  • Dana M: Does anyone else think that Brandy Clark actually has a good chance of winning since this isn't a country awards …
  • Juli Thanki: UPDATE: Brandy Clark got a Best New Artist nom. BEST AMERICANA ALBUM: Rosanne Cash -- The River & The Thread John Hiatt -- Terms …
  • luckyoldsun: Glenn Campbell is great and I'd love to see him get an award, but the words of that song may …
  • Casey Penn: Juli, it was an honor to write for you here on You're good at what you do, and The …

Recently Reviewed Albums

  • walkerandthetexasdangers3
  • deadmanstown
  • tom t hall storytellers
  • paulthorntooblessed
  • duhksbeyondtheblue
  • kelleymickwee
  • sandrarhodes
  • candi staton