Guilty pleasure: something you like, but feel guilty about liking, because you are aware that your fondness for said thing is a little embarrassing or not so great. Reasons for feeling guilty include: enjoying a silly pop song, liking a band for their hotness and not necessarily for their music, the genre of music is considered uncool, liking the artist makes you one of them — and you are sooo much cooler than that! But SO WHAT? WHO CARES? You like what you like. Let your cheesy, pop-song lovin', freak flag fly! Have long discussions about your favorite member(s) of One Direction! Just know that you are not ALONE!
"Call Me, Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepsen
This has to be one of the catchiest songs on the planet right now! Its beat practically begs to be danced to and the lyrics to be sung out loud as you walk down the street. I first heard it when my friend Sean sent me the video, featuring Rae Jepsen as she pines for the hot boy next door, then — PLOT TWIST — finds out that he's gay. It is perfect and charming, but almost even better is the viral video, featuring Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Big Time Rush, and Ashley Tisdale as they goof off to the song. Rae Jepsen was a Canadian Idol finalist and she can thank fellow Canuck Justin B. and his manager for signing her to a record deal. Listen to her two EPs Tug of War (2008) and Curiosity (2012 — includes "Call Me Maybe").
"One Thing" and "Tell Me a Lie" by One Direction
I love a boy band! I especially love a boy band with British accents, and this year we have two (!) British/Irish boy bands invading our shores (see Wanted, The below). One Direction has it all: catchy songs, sensitive ballads, great hair, fun personalities, and good fashion sense. I love that each member has his own fan base — Harry, Niall, Liam, Louis, and Zayn. Personally, I am torn between Harry with his fab hair and endless cheekiness; and Liam, the perfectly coiffed gentleman. According to this quiz I took, Liam is perfect for me, but I don't know... how accurate are these quizzes anyway? "One Thing" is my favorite song off their album Up All Night (2012), and "Tell Me a Lie" is probably my second favorite. There are days when I listen to the album on repeat during my commute. Do not judge me, you will do it too!
"Someone that I Used to Know" by Gotye (pronounced Go-tea-yay), featuring Kimbra
I wasn’t immediately in love with this quirky, plaintive cry of a break-up song, but it grew on me. So much so that I was listening to it on repeat. I am not alone in that impulse — the song, by the Belgian-born Australian Gotye, is a bona fide international hit — soaring to number one on the charts in countries all over the world. It’s not an obvious choice. How many songs containing a xylophone make it to the top of the charts? Off the album Making Mirrors, “Somebody…” has been covered by Glee and many, many others. Also, New Zealand singer Kimbra is featured on the track, who has her own album coming out soon.
"We Are Young" by fun, featuring Janelle Monae
I first heard this song performed on Glee last December, months before the song officially came out. Next thing you know, this NYC-based band and their song is EVERYWHERE. TV shows, commercials, the Super Bowl... all before its album Some Nights (2012) was even released. We Are Young is the quintessential sing-along party song. It embraces the joy of being young, prowling the city streets and getting into trouble with your friends. There is an artfulness to the song and lyrics — it's more than your average pop song. It will be a mainstay of dive-bar jukeboxes, high-school proms, and frat parties for years.
"Girl Gone Wild" by Madonna
I love Madonna. It's that simple and uncomplicated (I actually have a ticket to see her at Yankee Stadium this fall!). With her new album MDNA (2012), she announces that she is back with a vengeance, and the truth is, she never left us. I love it when she makes me feel good, but I love her even more when she makes me feel bad, and even a little wild. With this new song, a disco ball will float down — guaranteed — wherever you are. Colored strobe lights will start spinning and you will feel capable of being very bad indeed! The video is ridiculous and awesome and pure Madonna, and it has been banned for certain viewers on YouTube. Who knew she was still capable of shocking us?
"Glad You Came" and "Chasing the Sun" by The Wanted
Now we come to the second of our two British/Irish boy bands. Confession: I discovered The Wanted before One Direction, and from the first moment, I was a little obsessed. Is it the flirty performances? The addictive party tunes? Or maybe it's the lead singer, Max, with his thick, almost unintelligible Manchester accent, or Jay, with his mass of curly hair? Whatever it is, I am a now a huge fan of Siva, Jay, Tom, Nathan, and Max. There are differences from 1D — their ages for one (The Wanted is in their mid-20s), and their songs have a sexier sound too. 1D promises relatively safe, mostly domestic fun, while the songs off The Wanted (2012) album make you want to jet-set off to the Spanish party island of Ibiza (pronounced e-bee-tha) to dance and party until the sun comes up.
"Turn Me On" by David Guetta with Nicki Minaj
David Guetta is a musical wizard. With his 2011 album, Nothing But the Beat, he has had countless hits and one memorable song after another. "Turn Me On" is an infectious dance track that features the ultra-cool Nicki Minaj singing and rapping. Listening to this song just makes me feel cooler and makes me want to search for a dance partner. Someone recently asked me who NYC teens would rather meet: Nicki Minaj or the boys of 1D? Well, Nicki wins hands down. Who wouldn't want to meet her? Get wig tips, compare fake British accents, and explore a mutual love of day-glo moon boots... The 1D boys are more for a niche audience, whereas Nicki is for everyone.
"Good Girl" by Carrie Underwood
Newsflash: I like country music and you probably do too. Admit it: you are a closet Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, and Lady Antebellum fan. I first listened to Carrie Underwood a few years ago when I heard her Some Hearts album. I didn't want to like her. Up until then, I had defined myself as someone who didn't listen to country music, but I was soon hooked. Favorite songs include: "Wasted" and "Before He Cheats" from Some Hearts, "Last Name" from Carnival Ride, and "Cowboy Casanova" and "Someday When I Stop Loving You" from Play On. "Good Girl", off her newest album Blown Away (2012), is a fun, country dance track that proves it's better to be a bad girl than a good girl getting played by a bad boy.
"Princess of China" by Coldplay featuring Rihanna
In the circles I run in, Coldplay is the ultimate guilty pleasure. How they became so reviled is beyond me, but I shamelessly love Chris Martin, Jonny, Guy, and Will. Plus, how could I not include a Rihanna track? That girl is everywhere! She has taken over the world from a constant string of hit songs, endless speculation on gossip websites, and starring in the upcoming action film Battleship — which combines the board game with an alien invasion. Somehow we are supposed to believe that she is an ensign in the US Navy?! Anyways, "Princess of China" is a favorite track of mine off the album Mylo Xyloto (2011). It's another break-up song that always brings to mind a rainy day in NYC. I think it's the lush synth sound and the yearning in Rihanna's voice as she sings,"You really hurt me."