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Absolved! The Quietus Writers' 50 Favourite Guilt-Free Pleasures
The Quietus , August 4th, 2014 11:13

Why exactly should the enjoyment of a great piece of music be marred by guilt? Following last week's Black Sky Thinking about the problems (and positives) of the concept of the 'guilty pleasure', the Quietus writers declare their undying, entirely non-ironic love for their favourite uncool songs. Introduction by Jimmy Martin

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There can be few more perfect examples of a stone cold classic tune than Dead Or Alive's 'You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)'. A vicious, technicolor collision of a glamourous bruiser from Liverpool and three backroom boys with a commendable passion for the most fierce, garish and out-of-order Hi-NRG on the dancefloor; as stupid as hell and four times as catchy. Yet last week, this triumph of camp menace and unselfconscious chutzpah placed sixth on Spotify's 'guiltiest pleasures' list collated from listeners' streaming habits, thus effectively relegating a masterpiece to a canon of 'cheese', of songs only enjoyable through a veneer of self-conscious irony. Where exactly does this guilt come from?

Somewhere in the unfortunate morass of personal confusion that looms in the slipstream of an aural epiphany, there are two phantom bogeymen, and their names are 'credibility' and 'authenticity'. These forces lead to the kind of warped logic that allows Jake Bugg to garner headlines attacking the X Factor as all that's wrong with modern music, as if his brand of luddite gruel isn't just as contrived and joyless as anything it's produced. The same mentality that leads to spurious talk of 'real' music, and to the bogus impression that a conservative and predictable mainstream rock band like Foo Fighters or Kings Of Leon is somehow more acceptable than a blast of iconoclastic mayhem by Carly Rae Jepsen or Spice Girls. The malign influence that leads to moans of 'manufactured pop', as if the Motown and Brill building scenes that spawned so many timeless classics weren't exactly that.

Spurious notions of 'cool' have warped and buckled over the last thirty or forty years, and guilt has followed in their wake; metal bands considered unconscionable by the hipster demi-monde in the 80s and 90s gain kudos either through fashion-mag irony or underground word-of-mouth, while their glorious din resonates at the same velocity regardless. Slowdive - a band considered a joke even by their own label and forced to split up in the face of complete indifference- reform twenty years later to joy, adulation and sold-out shows, having been discovered in the interim by electronic and metal fans unencumbered by the 90s indie fashion agenda that devoured them.

If there's a future for our tangles of vinyl, playlists and plastic in this irony-polluted and second-guessing era, surely it's with us looking forward rather than forever over our shoulders. A musical landscape without the eternal ball-and-chain of spurious notions of 'high' and 'low' art. A world where 'cool' means gleaning glory from the racket emanating from the speakers, no matter how primitive, simplistic or shameless. A world, indeed, where the 'guilty pleasure' is a thing of the past, and we can enjoy all these absolute monsters entirely on their own merits, with alacrity. Jimmy Martin

Listen to the full list via the Spotify playlist below, and click here to read Robert Barry's Black Sky Thinking from last week, on camp, cheese, and why we should enjoy guilt-free pleasures

Selections and words by: Jimmy Martin, Rory Gibb, Sophie Coletta, John Doran, Luke Turner, Laurie Tuffrey, Dale Berning, Petra Davis, Dan Barrow, Mat Colegate, Wyndham Wallace, Barnaby Smith, Matt Evans, Joel McIver, Andy Thomas, Nick Hutchings, Julian Marszalek, Nick Reed, Aug Stone.

Hall & Oates - 'Method Of Modern Love'
(1984)

Said to be the most successful duo of all time, Daryl Hall & John Oates nonetheless seemingly make little impact upon the general consciousness. Already by 2001, they were so unrecognisable to most people that Sebastian Coe – by then Lord Coe of Ranmore – was able to hold up mugshots of the two during Chris Morris' legendary Brass Eye special and claim that they were "two photographs of the same paedophile”. I have no idea why, seventeen years earlier, when it peaked at 21 in the UK charts, I found this song so compelling. Even their biggest hits, 1981's 'I Can't Go For That' and 1982's 'Maneater', two years previously, had barely bothered me. But 'Method Of Modern Love''s bizarre wooziness, stuttering drums, seemingly upside down central riff – and, of course, that primitive chant spelling out the song's title for the chorus – made this deceptively unimaginative slab of blue-eyed funk stand out from everything around it. I've never met a single other person who proclaims anything approaching fondness for the tune, but somehow its clunky charm never ceases to entertain me. Wyndham Wallace

Carly Rae Jepsen - 'Call Me Maybe'
(2012)

'Call Me Maybe', the 2012 track by Canadian singer-singwriter Carly Rae Jepsen, is the only counter-argument you'll ever need to the concept of the guilty pleasure. Its bright, tense vocal and the whirls and stabs of the production effectively convey the delirium of teen crushdom on the gorgeous queer boy next door. Somehow, though, its affect is plenty rather than longing: the track has a propulsive feel, a seemingly unending unfolding, already aware of the giant terrain a modern pop document can cover. In this it did not fail: the song generated an incredible proliferation of mashups, dubs and parodies from various shades of the performative spectrum: NIN, Justin Bieber, Girls Aloud, and the Muppets - everywhere a pop song can go, there went 'Call Me Maybe', and it never seemed lost. The track found its telos with a lipdub by comedian Steve Kardynal, a cross dressing beauty who filmed himself first horrifying, then charming horny international teens on videochat site chatroulette.com. Watching the various reactions turn from confusion and boner droop to delight and immersion is an object lesson in the queer allure of pop. Petra Davis

Boney M - 'Rasputin'
(1978)

What are the best things in life? What is it that you desire more than anything else, the pursuit of which pushes you through the day? Well, if you're anything like me then the three things that make getting up in the morning worthwhile are a) Drinking b) Lusting and c) A Hunger For Power. In fact I'd like to add a d) as well in the form of Ruthless Funk. Oh, and e) Balalaikas. With all these passions guiding me, can it be any surprise at all that one of my favourite records is Boney M's historical disco odyssey 'Rasputin'?

Some records are just unfair. They contain so much magic that other tunes are left looking a bit anaemic in comparison. Think of 'Mother Sky' by Can, or 'Digital Love' by Daft Punk. Tunes that can only come right at the end of DJ sets because they make all other records sound asthmatic. To this Holy Order of Ultimate Bangers one simply must add 'Rasputin'. Catchy as herpes, great to dance to, positively educational and - together with the album it hails from's title track, 'Nightflight To Venus' - an essential component of the greatest one/two opening punch in pop music history.

From beginning to end 'Rasputin' exhibits nothing but class. The massive tribal drums and handclaps, the glittery slashes of glam-tastic guitar, the balalaika skipping through the bars like a faun with a massive erection, before - "Holy shit what the fuck is THAT!?" - a cascade of bass, played with such gusto that it manages to hover right on the edge of timeliness and tunefulness, heralds the arrival of the funk.

And what funk! 'Rasputin' is undoubtedly the greatest ever record to dance to. Nothing else can even compare. Handclaps! Strings! Great choruses of "Hey"s! You can even try doing that cossack dance thing if you like! (It's not advised, but go for your life. It's a party, man!) The lyrics, of course, are the most wonderful poetry. Hilarious and strangely touching in their mangling of syntax and historical fact. What possessed these crazed Europeans to pen an ode to Russia's mystic bogeyman and his thoroughbred libidinous capacities? A man so evil that he could often be found in the Czar's palace rabbit punching his way through a bag of puppies, and so horny that if you left a beef burger on any of the royal home's many splendid kitchen surfaces while looking for some relish in the cupboard he'd have fucked it into paste by the time you turned back.

Whatever historical current it was that pushed Boney M. into the studio to record 'Rasputin', we must be thankful. It bangs like a barn door in a blizzard, soars high like an eagle through the Russian winter and educates even better than any of its spiritual mother country's many epic novels. And I haven't even mentioned the slightly drunk sounding voice over that comes stumbling in around the halfway mark. This growlingly priapic disco monster has the lot. Mat Colegate

Rui Da Silva - 'Touch Me'
(2001)

I admittedly can't work out whether anyone would consider this a guilty pleasure in the first place ("I have no idea," shrugged John when this was played in Quietus HQ, "this just sounds like shit music to me"), but in any case it's emblematic of a certain fondness I've always had for that particular turn-of-the-millennium school of fast, overblown chart trance and Ibiza-aimed house and techno. Blaring from radio and MTV around the time of my burgeoning awareness of dance music culture and what came with it, to a teenage mind 'Touch Me' and its accompanying video - hedonistic, romantic yet basically uneventful, something that could be said of most good house parties - hinted towards all sorts of strange and enticing mysteries that would come to be unravelled in time. That, I think, is largely down to the strange, intangible sense of melancholy at the song's heart, an affect far more complex than the strung-out, MDMA-fuelled joy overload of most late 90s/early 2000s 'euphoria' pop-dance. A swarming mist of high-pitched whistling tones, like falling drizzle captured in cobalt-blue light, parts in its opening minutes, creating a translucent screen between listener and the song's earthier dancefloor impuses; you're made to feel like a witness to a party you'll never be allowed access to, like gazing into a sweat-soaked club scene through a glass wall. That's heightened by the chasmic void between Cassandra Fox's vocals and Rui Da Silva's piston-pump peaktime production - swimming through a limpid sea of reverb, she drifts in space, far from the action as it unfolds, another outsider looking in. "You'll always be my baby," sighs Fox, almost through gritted teeth, as if in an act of self-steeling; but the tone of her voice hints that she already knows otherwise. The next line, delivered with a bitter tang, as if from that sad future now long come to pass, confirms it: "I'm always thinking of you, baby." It went to Number 1 in the UK upon its release, a reminder that for all the beige dross that clogs up the charts, moments of transcendent weirdness can still slip through the net. Rory Gibb

Robbie Williams & Gary Barlow - 'Shame'
(2010)

It's a mark of this song's quality that you can happily listen to it without being irritated to the point of asphyxiation by the singers who appear on it. Robbie Williams, unfunny sad clown with tedious issues, and Gary Barlow, slow-enunciating, X-Factor-soul-selling, monarchy-fellating dullard, possess wholly admirable vocal talents that almost, but not quite, outweigh their public personae. 'Shame', on which the two Take Thatters duet on the subject of the feud that dominated the red-tops for most of the 2000s, was written and recorded as a simple, cynical PR stunt, the aim being to demonstrate to anyone who cared that the two Northern warblers were on speaking terms again. By rights it should have been a horrible exercise in mutual wankery. Ignore the video, which is a feeble, Brokeback Mountain-parodying embarrassment, and focus instead on the outstanding vocal melodies, the close harmonies (at which both blokes excel) and the sweet, fake-country arrangement, all lo-fi acoustic fingerpicking and bittersweet lyrics that poke fun at the singers' own pretensions.

I make my living writing about bands like Cannibal Corpse and Slayer, often collaborating with such super-heavy metal people on various super-heavy metal books. My readers will no doubt snigger to hear that I'm quite keen on this lightweight, inoffensive song. I suppose I should feel bad about that, but then again, all I know is that 'Shame' sounds great after I've had a few jars. In vino veritas, eh? Joel McIver

Wham! – 'Last Christmas'
(1986)

For years the duo's only Christmas single – not counting George Michael's effusions on the Live Aid single the same winter – has been so exquisitely veiled behind scrims of autobiography that it would be impossible for me not to get a certain conceptual pleasure from its winking, stagy drama of regret and revenge amid the snows. My mother was (is) a massive Wham! fan and the song was omnipresent on the local MOR station in Bournemouth as a child, not just at Christmas. The paralysing arc of the band – from 'Do What You Like' (“D! H! S! S!”) to the Miami Vice frigidity of the sleeve of Make It Big – mirrored that of the period my parents had lived through, the creation of a new political consensus through the organised destruction of the institutions of the British working class. (The image that always haunts me, grotesque and somewhat theatrical, is of 'Last Christmas' playing on picket-line radios as the miners warm their hands over barrel fires.)

It may not rank with the great symptomatic 84-into-85 hits ('Boys of Summer', 'Wouldn't It Be Good', 'Running Up That Hill', 'Sunglasses at Night') but it has a way with atmosphere so profound – and so anathema to the Stock-Aitken-Waterman school of the period – that Michael's microscopic falsetto drama becomes entirely believable. The synths, plasticky and pink, that trot by like snow dogs, the near-constant jingle-bell percussion line, the decorative electric piano line that dots the end of the chorus, closer to an infant's glockenspiel, dropped in an echo that becomes sumptuous and warm rather than the chilliness of dub, frame the minor fact of love given and passed over like the appropriative tactics of the surrealists framed tacky erotic postcards and wax statues. The trash of culture is given grandeur just as the vastness of pop emotion is revealed as gimcrack garbage. (Notably, the fire-and-ice imagery derives ultimately from Petrarch – see also Nik 'frozen to the core' Kershaw.) The careless whisper of the song's central conceit – Christmas as an annual, endless ritual, every repetition a chance for redemption – becomes, against the band's will, the frozen image of forever-unanswered desire. The soft penetration of Michael's voice in the closing seconds – “someooooooone” – sounds as if from inside Charles Foster Kane's snowglobe, adrift in enclosed, endless time. Dan Barrow

A Flock Of Seagulls - 'Wishing (If I Had A Photograph Of You)'
(1982)

A friend of a friend has this great DJing story - he was playing funky house in the Met bar a few years ago when apparently all of Slayer trooped in looking like a hockey team from Hell and pulled up stools by the bar. I don't know this for a fact, but I would lay money that Slayer aren't that keen on funky house. Anyway, one of them came over to the DJ and said, 'Is there any chance of some Flock Of Seagulls?' The DJ had an MP3 of this song on his laptop and played it for them, which then sparked off much whooping, high fives and slamming down of shots of tequila. Then when the song ended they all got up and left again. Everything about this story makes me happy to be alive. And I could easily have chosen 'I Ran' by the same group as well. John Doran

Simply Red - 'Stars'
(1991)

I've long held the view that prejudice against those with ginger hair is a particularly English malaise, the result of some ancient cultural memory of flame-haired Celts pouring over the border for a pillage. I am fairly sure that much of the disdain and derision aimed at Simply Red over the years is the result of mistrust of the singer's hair. With this in mind, the success of Manchester's post punk soul group is a glorious achievement in English pop. Alright, so the video featuring Mick Hucknall walking across some 50p green screen background of a night sky and a desert strewn with giant Christmas decorations while flinging around a rug nicked from a cat lady's sofa is very much of its time, but the song itself holds up wonderfully. There's not a huge amount going on, but that's what makes it work: piano, terrific drums, layers of vocals, and a load of bonus hints of chorus snuck in amongst the verses. Luke Turner

Scarlet Fantastic - 'No Memory'
(1987)

This used to get the tambourines and inflatable guitars going at clubs like Flying in Soho and Venus in Nottingham back in 1990, and was always played by Andy Weatherall peaktime. "We have the sun in our hair, moon in our eyes, we just don't give a damn, 'cause we are free". Corny, maybe; brilliant, definitely. Andy Thomas

Scooter - 'I'm Raving'
(1996)

"Good artists borrow; great artists steal". If that adage is true, Scooter are the greatest fuckin' band on the planet. Through a career that's spanned twenty years, sixteen albums, and holy shit, 23 Top Ten hits, they've written very little original music; there's almost no rhyme or reason to what they do, but from time to time the stars align and they wind up with something absolutely incredible. 'I'm Raving' is an awkward rewrite of 'Walkin' In Memphis' that makes so little sense it's mind-boggling. Instead of starting "Put on my blue suede shoes" it's "Put on my raving shoes", and instead of a chorus they play 'Scotland The Brave'. And yet it works brilliantly, for reasons I can't quite figure out; there's such unbridled enthusiasm in what they do, or at least there was back in the days of Ferris Bueller, when it felt like they were about a little more than just chart success. And when all the world's a rave, who cares what you shout over?

As it turns out, the English group Shut Up And Dance also released a breakbeat version of 'Walkin' In Memphis' four years earlier, complete with the same exact "I'm raving, I'm raving" chorus. It may seem unfair that Scooter wound up with the bigger hit, but listen to them back to back and you tell me which one is the more fun. Anyone who complains about Scooter's "lack of originality" is clearly listening to the wrong band; Scooter are all about vibin', ravin', and shouting as loudly as you can. By those criteria, I reckon they do pretty well. Nick Reed

Maze - 'Happy Feelin's'
(1977)

"If you feel hung up and you want to string yourself up by the neck,” Loudon Wainwright III once sang, "it's alright, it's alright: go ahead.” Alternatively, put on 1977's Maze Featuring Frankie Beverley and skip to its exultant seven minute second track. Great soul truly is the best medicine. "These happy feelin's/ I spread them all over the world,” Beverley sings serenely over a feathery bed of organs, softly struck guitar chords and a beat so easy-going it buys you a Mai Tai before you've even asked its name. It's in fact impossible to believe these guys ever wore anything asides from tanned leather jackets with shirts undone to the navel, and wouldn't you know it? They looked fine. Put simply, if you don't want to hug everyone in sight after hearing this, then perhaps life really isn't worth living after all. Wyndham Wallace

Alice DeeJay - 'Better Off Alone'
(1999)

It would seem that the recent trend of male electronic musicians adopting female aliases is not an entirely new thing; Alice DeeJay was actually a euro trance project formed by a collective of male Dutch producers in 1999, headed up by Delft's DJ Jurgen. 'Better Off Alone' was recorded together with vocalist Judith Anna Pronk, whose "do you think you're better off alone" hook was the brainchild of member Sebastiaan Molijn, inspired by a tumultuous breakup he was going through at the time. Paired with a Eurythmics lyric sample, the track's ten word vocal packs almighty emotional pop punch alongside a hefty percussive backdrop and stuttered air horns that defy you not to fist pump. Despite being a massive global hit, it was initially deemed a "throwaway" track. However, its simplistic, catchy structure has since instated it as a timeless, YouTube-soundtracked house party classic that has gone on to be utilised in songs by the likes of Wiz Khalifa and David "no hands" Guetta, as well as receiving a slurred, down-pitched cover by Salem. Sophie Coletta

Level 42 - 'Something About You'
(1985)

There's often no smoke without fire when it comes to musicians. There's nearly always one or more redeeming features, no matter how low their critical stock. Cliff Richard and 'Wired For Sound'. The first UB40 album. 'Mama' by Phil Collins (not to mention a lot of his 70s/80s session drumming). I'm really not a fan of Level 42 at all, but this song just knocks it out of the park for me, it really does. John Doran

Kula Shaker - 'Tattva'
(1996)

Kieron Gillen's 2006 comic book exorcism of the Britpop movement, Phonogram, ends with his protagonist David Kohl standing on top of a hill and, flush with the forces of enlightenment, bellowing the words “I! FUCKING! HATE! KULA! FUCKING! SHAKER!” into the firmament. It is a moment of divine realisation - David finally understanding that whatever cultural force forged him growing up doesn't have to define him for the rest of his life. Ironically the objects of his ire were more than familiar with concepts of enlightenment and divine realisation, and it's their charmingly cack-handed attempts to catch divine lightning in a punctured bucket that make their hit 'Tattva' such a resounding success.

From its cascading sitar thrums – in which five centuries of musical tradition are enthusiastically reduced to the sound of a narky hornet – to its 70s-pimp-with-a-sprained-ankle wah-chika assault, 'Tattva' is, on paper, one of the most odiously retrogressive crimes of a musical scene that was never exactly backward in going backward. Any scene that gave us Cast, a band of Merseybeaters so amiable that the only sensible response to their plaintive entreaties was to throw flaming sticks in their general direction and hope one of their tracksuit tops would start a flash fire, and Ocean Colour Scene, a band so boring that...

... sorry, where was I?

But 'Tattva' is a different beast entirely. Where the above mentioned bands are forever dropping faulty payloads on oblivious livestock due to their gurning worthiness, 'Tattva' stands proud and erect, wearing a snorkel parka with the arms tied together as a makeshift cape and proudly flashing its recently Oxfam bought copy of Siddartha in your face. Take that, odious reality!

Name me another record that sounds like 'Tattva'. I'm sorry but you can't. You can name about 500 recards that sounds like bits of Tattva – from 60s Brit-psych explorations like The Sea-Ders 'Thanks A Lot', to the shuffling rhythms of the baggy era – but records stupidly audacious enough to grab all of the pieces on the retro rock Scrabble board, put them in a patchouli scented bag marked 'enlightened' and fling the pieces into the audience's stunned face are rare indeed. Probably for the same reason that people putting their hands into waste disposal units is rare as well. Why would you want to?

But it's this very brazen gormlessness that makes 'Tattva' so precious. It genuinely doesn't give a flying teapot what y'all think, because, you see, 'Tattva' knows all the answers. Its reality tunnels have been forced open by divine light; it smells new colours and sees new sounds. It's absolutely adorable, the audio equivalent of being cornered by a 14-year-old Kerouac fan high on his first joint. Such unselfconscious displays of brazen idiocy are a rare thing in the pop world and ought to be treasured when they occur.

'Govinda' can suck my fucking dick though. Mat Colegate

Gina G – 'Ooh Ah!... Just a Little Bit'
(1996)

The UK's Eurovision entry for 1996 – second only to Babylon Zoo's 'Spaceman' in dumb hit parade genius that year – enters the realms of unguilty pleasure mostly through its chorus, where the vocal drops registers of excitement to an almost-whisper, just as the arpeggios hit their peaks of Euro-trance intensity, the memory of house piano – the signifier of anticipation and release – leaking through the chorus. The high, almost toxic sheen of its opening fanfare of notes, a gateway drug to more louche pleasures. (Memory flickers: an aunt playing the CD single at a dinner party, puzzled at the succession of remixes; both '...Just a Little Bit' and Eiffel 65's 'Blue (Da Ba Dee)' playing at a Panda Popped school disco just before the millennium, me resting in a corner outside; first reading a description of the effects of ecstasy, marvelling at the kind of experience anyone would go so far out of their comfort zone for; hearing the magnesium shivers of 'I Feel Love' for the first time.) For its runtime you forget that pleasure is a finite resource, and a tainted one. Dan Barrow

Bran Van 3000 - 'Drinking In L.A.'
(1998)

To the ten-year-old me at home in a village in Derbyshire, 'Drinking In L.A.' sounded incredible. I don't think I understood what the radio presenters were going on about at the beginning, talking about Roquefort and giving them "a ring-a-ding-ding", and I definitely didn't know the identity of Stereo Mike or where Venice Beach was. But I think I liked the idea of having a friend whose name was Liquid, the particularly 90s hybrid of frazzled drum loop and grunge guitar chords appealed and Pacific Palisades, whatever they were, sounded exotic and cool. It's probably a slight on my personal growth that my residual enjoyment of this song is still pretty high, so much so that, Todd, if you're listening, I'll guess that your favourite cheese is brie and keep my fingers crossed for those three Bran Van tickets. Laurie Tuffrey

Ted Nugent - 'Stranglehold'
(1975)

There are a good many reasons to hate Ted Nugent. On the one hand, this is the man whose wildman rock theatrics - spanning from The Amboy Dukes' psychedelic barnstormer 'Journey To The Center Of The Mind' through the gonzo ludicrousness of his 70s output (and certainly not including the later, frightful debacle that was Damn Yankees) - set a new standard for boorish, brawny, blues-drenched rock. On the other, his even more ludicrous motormouth rants and his terrifying litany of anti-animal rights and anti-gun control activism, not to mention his fondness for the kind of homophobic horror-badinage that would raise the eyebrows of a 70s comedian, often make it very difficult to separate the art from the artist. 

The controversial personalities of many artists lead to a mystique and a frissante that lead some listeners, questionably perhaps, to celebrate their music more. Yet the finer musical moments of Ted Nugent lead to a curious kind of guilt in a left-leaning listener, as they try to reconcile an incredible tune like 'Stranglehold', whose sun-drenched vistas of blissful guitar scree and effortless rhythmic finesse are about as mighty as 70s rock gets, with the furiously objectionable dunderhead that created it. No irony or second-guessing of cool or credibility at play here, yet the unchanging presence of the Nuge in this writer's record collection, for all his transgressions, just proves that politics and timeless rock power can be extremely uncomfortable bedfellows. Jimmy Martin

Tears For Fears - 'Shout'
(1985)

The thing about Tears For Fears was they just weren't very cool. Maybe, for just a brief moment – at least early on – you could have argued that their spin on New Romantic and post-punk lent them a certain gloomy cachet. But their incessant talk of primal scream therapist Arthur Janov, Roland Orzabal's (ahem) 'eccentric' dancing in the 'Mad World' video, and their taste for chunky knitwear, made them seem just a little too geeky. That I connect 'Shout' to mowing my parents' lawn is indicative of how little I associate the band with the traditional glamour of mid 80s pop. Still, years on, the music endures.

These days, it's fashionable to suggest that The Hurting, their debut, is the one that captures Tears For Fears at their purest. It's Songs From The Big Chair, however, which still remains one of my favourite albums of all time. 'Shout' isn't necessarily the record's finest track: that might be 'Mother's Talk', or 'I Believe', or 'Listen', or 'Broken', or in fact any one of its eight songs. But 'Shout' is still the track that begins this fabulous record so dramatically, the one whose distinctive, percussive opening seconds are enough to evoke the vastness of the entire song. Its monstrous production, its lyrical directness, its sense of emotional emancipation, its strangely hypnotic quality and Orzabal's unconventionally over-enunciated delivery combine to make it one of the decade's finest anthems and a brilliantly cathartic, commercial pop tune. Who needs cool? Wyndham Wallace

Walker Brothers - 'No Regrets'
(1975)

It might seem odd having a Scott Walker related track in here given the high esteem he's held in, but if there's one thing that 99% of people seem to agree on, it's that he really lost the plot between Scott 4 in 1969 and his songs on Nite Flights in 1978. And this view will always be a mystery to me, mainly because of this song. A Tom Rush cover with an insane guitar solo, heart wrenchingly cosmic lap steel work from BJ Cole and a vocal turn from the great man himself with more drama than King Lear - to me this is an all-time essential. John Doran

Rod Stewart - 'You Keep Me Hanging On'
(1977)

Taken from 1977's Footloose & Fancy Free, one of those Rod Stewart records you'll see clogging up boxes at charity stores – the one where he's got a blonde mullet and his collar is turned up against a Californian sunset, and the one with 'Hot Legs' on it, too, which hardly helps – Stewart's cover of the Holland-Dozier-Holland classic is a truly magnificent, overegged work of ridiculous extravagance. The song may have only first made its mark on the public a decade earlier when performed by The Supremes, but this seven and a half minute long opener to side two of his eighth solo album found Stewart sounding like he was absolutely convinced that he could completely eclipse their interpretation.

Consequently, this no-holds-barred flight of fancy employs every trick in the book: gently psychedelic organs to lull us at its start, a battery of drums and guitar riffs, theatrical breakdowns, and the distinctive sound of Rod The Mod, his voice comically plaintive, his spirit so worn down that he can barely even utter the words "Why don't you, babe?” before, minutes later, he's doing his best, full-throated, Janis Joplin impression. Seemingly fearful that he's still not stamped his identity on the song, he then introduces an orchestra, before the kind of solos for which air guitar was invented kick in for the finale. Absurdly bombastic, it is, frankly, a total pantomime, with Stewart as Cinderella, and all the better for it. Wyndham Wallace

Katy Perry – 'Firework'
(2010)

I know you, she tells us. You feel downtrodden and overlooked, but one day – and soon – you're going to shine. In other hands, this soaring, precision-tooled uplift could be cynical, trite, cloying, condescending. But from Perry, I buy it. She may be a rich and beautiful global megastar, but she has a knack for making it seem like she's one of us – one of the ugly, the unsure and the completely invisible. Maybe it's because she's unafraid to appear foolish, or the fact that her voice isn't the strongest. Take, for example, the live version from the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. Much as its lingerie cheesecake presentation is uncomfortable (both politically and, it appears, physically), this is a stunning performance. Perry's voice is just gorgeous here - raw and powerful, lacking the flattering tweaks and glossy sheen of the record. Yes, she struggles to reach the high notes. And some of the low ones. But that just reinforces the lyric. She's not an impossibly perfect vocalist à la Aguilera or Beyoncé. She's talented, but not divine. She's successful, but flawed. She's us. I believe her. And if that belief is strong enough, then maybe one day fireworks will fly out of my tits, too. Matt Evans

Incubus - 'Wish You Were Here'
(2001)

With its quiet/loud dynamic and relentlessly sunny disposition, 'Wish You Were Here' has all the endorphin-rush glee of Nirvana, had they written songs about living in the moment and added some spectacularly ill-advised scratching. It's all about simple pleasures - really primary colours, square-peg-in-a-square-hole simple - this one, with howlers of similes ("The sky resembles a backlit canopy with holes punched in it"?) and more ill-advised scratching. But the declaration from Brandon Boyd (thankfully having by this stage ditched his former alias, "Happy Knappy") that "I lean against the wind, pretend that I am weightless and in this moment I am happy" does seem to come from a place of unadulterated sincerity, and that's hard to knock. Laurie Tuffrey

Hanson - 'MMMbop'
(1996)

It's around 2am in the Walled Garden at the Green Man festival when those arpeggiated notes, shuffling beats and strolling basslines come tumbling out of the PA system. In seconds I'm on my feet, and dancing with an unrestrained sense of joy. By the end of the first chorus a trestle table has become my own personal stage, and I'm grinning like a loon. Some of my friends give me bemused looks, shake their heads and return to their beer, but I don't care. I might well be in an, ahem, advanced state of refreshment, but that's not the reason. This is pop at its very best: hooks so big they could catch a swordfish, unabashed lyrical positivity and a chorus that doesn't so much ignite as explode. Like all the finest bubblegum pop, 'MMMBop' is a wonderfully jarring sugar rush designed to thrill rather than nourish. Funnily enough, if you switch the speed from 45rpm to 33rpm, it sounds remarkably like Eels. Julian Marszalek

PM Dawn - 'Looking Through Patient Eyes'
(1993)

PM Dawn's four-album oeuvre may have contained some achingly saccharine lyrics - and, by their final LP, an almost pervasive, and somewhat disconcerting, Christian message - but the pair had a certain knack for combining imaginative and sensitive sampling with their lightly psychedelic take on soul and hip-hop. Their biggest hit, 'Set Adrift On Memory Bliss' with its sample of 'True' by Spandau Ballet, was quite, quite awful, but on this 1993 single they managed to harness the very best bits from George Michael's 'Father Figure', its familiar two-note synth refrain giving way to a splendid chorus that, admittedly, is rather similar to the original's. They also managed to build upon 'Father Figure''s sweet but brief backing vocals (the 'do-do-do-do'), building rich layers of voice that are among Attrell Cordes' best moments from PM Dawn's mercurial, curious career. Barnaby Smith

Vanessa Carlton - 'A Thousand Miles'
(2001)

Well, apart from pretty much every song U2 have written – and I have no shame admitting that I love them all – Vanessa Carlton’s 'A Thousand Miles' is up there with the best of them. I mean, this track features on the soundtrack for Legally Blonde, a prime candidate, if ever there was one, for the films-I-can't-quite-admit-out-loud-to-loving-so-much-that-I-know-every-word-of-every-line-of-dialogue category. The video to Carlton’s teen dream includes lacey tops and smokey eyes, a baby grand with swirly gilt ornaments, the naffest non-ironic close-up on lip-glossed lips, black stallions galloping in slow-mo on a fucking beach, Carlton singing about needing you and missing you and walking a thousand miles if she can just see you. Yes, yes, yes, I know all of this… But I still can’t get enough of the song. I have been listening to it for years, and literally have walked many miles with it on loop – because it loops perfectly. Maybe it’s the Dawson’s Creekness of it, I don’t know, the Angela Chase pining for Jordan Catalano feel to the lyrics that gets me? I don’t think so, though, because as much as I love My So-Called Life and any number of high-school TV dramas that could definitely have had this playing in the background, I hate nostalgia as a reason for loving a song. So I’m left to conclude that it really is the song itself. The piano motif, simple and beautiful and almost contrapuntal, the suspended harmonies between the keys and the strings and the bass line, the scattering drums. What to do? It is what it is. Dale Berning

Baha Men - 'Who Let The Dogs Out'
(2000)

I was on a spectacularly enjoyable pill at Carnival weekend in Notting Hill in 1999, and was mooching behind a flatbed truck overburdened with speakers and a DJ trundling slowly down a back street. There was a hype man on the roof of the cab with a mic, who kept on asking us if we wanted to follow the truck all the way to Brixton. It sounded good to me, as I'd planned on going to the Dog Star anyway. I hit a particularly hectic rush just as the DJ dropped this insane tune. "Who Ba-Ba Baa Baa! Voop. Voorp Voorp! Who Ba-Ba Dogs Bah! Woof. Voorp-voorp!" It was hard to tell what the words were, because I was battered, but I instinctively knew that it was one of the greatest records ever made.

I didn't make it to the Dog Star in the end. The last thing I can remember about that day is dancing round a children's toy tractor in an alleyway a few hours later in Islington, and feeling like my head was melting. Funnily enough, the next time I heard the song, about a year later on the radio, it didn't have quite the same colossal impact on me. (There's every chance the track I heard in Notting Hill was the original version called 'Doggie' by Anslem Douglas. However, there's no real way of telling, as it essentially just sounded like God singing to me.) However, I've now taken to playing it to my three year old son… except something tells me he doesn't quite enjoy shouting along to it as much as I do. John Doran

Phil Collins - 'Against All Odds'
(1984)

I don't like his politics, I don't care much for his smug grin, I can't stand Buster, but its hard to argue against Phil's ability to pen a sad classic that can make the hairs on the back of your head (if not on the top of his) stand up. It's been said that I look a bit like a young Collins, though I wish I could write an air-grabbing tune like this. He may not be able to reconcile with his partner in the song, but I can reconcile my love for Collins. Nick Hutchings

Clarence Carter - 'Strokin''
(1985)

There's so much to love about this song. The incredible Casio arrangement that sounds like it came right out the box. The way Carter obliviously asks uncomfortable questions about your sex life ("What time of the day do you like to make love?" "Have you ever made love right before breakfast?" "Have you ever made love on the back seat of a car?" "Did you make love yesterday?"). The way he handles charges of public indecency (Clarence Carter to police officer: "I'm strokin', that's what I'm doin'"). The fact that he feels the need to censor the word "ass" but is okay with "shit". The synthesized victory trumpet in the end. And that final lyric - "I even stroke it with my... WOO!" Oh, it's dirty, a little too dirty for radio promoters, who refused to play the song. But more than that, it's downright aloof, and quite frankly today's soul and R&B could use a little of that. When was the last time soul music made you uncomfortable? Did it make you uncomfortable yesterday? Nick Reed

Barbra Streisand & Barry Gibb - 'Guilty'
(1980)

Absolutely nothing 'Guilty' about this beautiful piece of music from Babs and Barry. A bona fide two step classic that I first heard played out at Horsemeat Disco by Luke Howard. For further proof of her genius, check 'Promises' off the Guilty album. One of the great white soul voices. Andy Thomas

Aqua - 'Doctor Jones'
(1997)

Aqua's music isn't exactly built to last, but they at least got the important things right; they were more tuneful than the Vengaboys, funnier than Ace Of Base, and seemed to understand irony way better than the dozens of imitators that spawned in their wake. Aquarium was full of little gems that beg to be screamed at the top of your lungs at 1 AM, but the one that stands out is 'Doctor Jones'; it's so effortlessly catchy, with all these little bouncy melody lines, an awesome call-and-response bit, and a chorus with an out-of-nowhere "Wake up now!" line that still makes me laugh today. For this one moment, Aqua were able to channel ABBA at their best, and managed to write a truly perfect pop song in the process. Nick Reed

Baccara - 'Yes Sir I Can Boogie'
(1977)

On paper, everything about Baccara's 'Yes Sir I Can Boogie' spells disaster: a European perspective on disco sung in heavy Spanish accents by a pair of ladies more suited to Abigail's Party than Studio 54, sweeping yet ersatz Philly strings, a pumping bass probably played a 50-year-old flamenco guitar player sitting in on the session between gigs, and some brilliantly cack-handed double entendres that attempt yet fail to suggest a degree of sophistication.

So why does it work? Probably because it's a European perspective on disco sung in heavy Spanish accents by a pair of ladies more suited to Abigail's Party than Studio 54, and awash with sweeping yet ersatz Philly strings, a pumping bass probably played a 50-year-old flamenco guitar player sitting in on the session between gigs, and blessed with some brilliantly cack-handed double entendres that attempt yet fail to suggest a degree of sophistication. Julian Marszalek

John Farnham - 'You're The Voice'
(1986)

The best thing about 'You're The Voice' is just how inspirational it is. He's a shrewd one, that Farnham - his lyrics are so broadly applicable that you can't help but get caught up in the wave. "We have the chance to turn the pages over," he says. Yeah - time for change, I can get behind this. "We gotta make ends meet, before we get much older." Well, I have got rent to pay, and certainly time waits for no man. "We're all someone's daughter/ We're all someone's son." Hold on, that's definitely me! "How long can we look at each other/ Down the barrel of a gun?" Err... sure! "You're the voice, try and understand it/ Make a noise and make it clear - " - I'm with you now John! What clear noise of righteousness should we make? What unified sound of the masses can we draw on to finally do verbal battle with The Man? " - oh-woah-oh-oh-woh-oh-oh-oh!" Yes! That'll learn you, powers of corruption and malice! You hear that? Hear the people sing! "Oh-woah-oh-oh...!" Quake at their might!

A fine example of its potency appears in the 2007 film Hot Rod, where the filmmakers have not only understood its strength as a motivational anthem, but the dangers of when the power unleashed goes awry, visualising it as a bagpipe-soundtracked riot hitting smalltown America. Terrifying. Laurie Tuffrey

Miley Cyrus - 'Party In The USA'
(2010)

As opening lines for aspirational teenagers go, you'd be hard pushed to beat "I hopped off the plane at L.A.X./ With a dream and my cardigan”. This was especially true when sung by a 17-year-old teenager who'd found fame aged 14 as a global, Disney-backed TV idol, and who had just relocated from Tennessee to California in an attempt to reinvent herself as a little less wholesome than her original paymasters had insisted. Originally – foolishly – turned down by Jessie J, and only adopted because Cyrus was short of songs for her first EP under her own name, 'Party In The USA' begins with an effortless guitar lick, proceeds to strut lazily like it hasn't got a care in the world, and then rejoices deliriously in the joy of sitting in a taxi and enjoying a Jay-Z song on the radio, or hearing the DJ drop her favourite Britney song in a club. Simple pleasures, one and all (even if she might have been underage for the club).

Hearing it for the first time, blasting out in 2009 as I drove down a potholed freeway in Nashville – the same city Cyrus had just left behind – I too was infused with a comparable, uncomplicated thrill, something underlined when the chorus' bass synth line thumped me from the considerable speakers hidden in the SUV in which I was travelling. By the time this precocious child was singing with splendid inarticulacy of "noddin' my head like yeah/ Movin' my hips like yeah”, I was sold. I've not paid a moment's notice to a single thing she's done since, but you'll find me throwing clumsy shapes like the awkward youth I was any time this track comes on. "They're playing my song, and everything's going to be OK…” Wyndham Wallace

Haddaway - 'What Is Love?'
(1993)

I have a dream that, one violent, sweat-soaked, fruity night in a bleak disintegrating railway arch packed with taps-aff gurners, someone will drop Haddaway's 'What Is Love?' at the climax of a 133bpm stern-hammer techno set. That place would, as they say, go off, and men and woman of all ages and persuasions would lock lips and plunge hands under hip height in communal, uninhibited abandon. Just imagine the taxi rides home... My fantasising aside, 'What Is Love?' bangs because it manages to be two things - a terrific soul tune but also rather stern as well, with infernally naggy synth lines and drilled repetition in the rhythms. Wild Beasts have spoken about this song being a major influence on most recent album Present Tense, and they're undeniably classy young chaps. Luke Turner

Enya - 'Caribbean Blue'
(1991)

The case for Enya's Watermark has already been argued on these pages by my Quietus colleague Luke Turner, who is fond of half-jokingly referring to her music as "Celtic shoegaze"; it's certainly a markedly stranger and more uncanny record than her frequent dismissal as a perennial mum's favourite would suggest. But there's also a definite argument to be made for her output quality having declined over the years since that early, erm, high watermark - her later albums often occupied a very similar place to her debut, but leavened with higher quantities of shimmmery New Age synth naffness. Nonetheless (and that's probably to do with hearing it played so much as a kid on the family stereo), that's the Enya I'm most fond of: the Enya of the galloping intrigue of 'The Celts', and of the moonlight-dappled romance of 'Caribbean Blue'.

Having not listened to the latter for years, I was reacquainted with it a few years ago while staying with a friend in Berlin whose record collection, it turned out, contained quite a few gems from early-to-mid period Enya. As I recall, we listened to it alongside then-recent records from Oneohtrix Point Never and Laurel Halo (whose Hour Logic had just been released), and the kinship in sound and mood, if not in intent, was striking. Indeed, listening to 'Caribbean Blue' in 2014 rather than a decade ago - with the re-emergence of New Age sonic traits via the US cassette underground now even reaching as far as post-grime producers like Visionist, Zomby and Fatima Al Qadiri - it feels weirdly rehabilitated, liking it no longer the terminally uncool admission of yore. Give the song a spin now, and within those staccato disembodied choral voices and glassy arpeggios you hear echoes of OPN's R Plus Seven, still locked in deep evolutionary time. (And extra props to the uploader of the most-watched version of the song on YouTube for accompanying it with suitably desktop background-esque holiday snaps from Hawaii.) Rory Gibb

James Blunt - 'Wisemen'
(2004)

Before James Blunt became ubiquitously repugnant, with both his offensively insipid series of singles from 'You're Beautiful' onwards and his grimly unrelenting media presence, there was this fascinating single, the second from the tedious Back To Bedlam. As such, it gave a false impression of the artist with its charismatically ambiguous lyrics, terrifically catchy chorus and imaginative production that featured bits of organ and a surprisingly tasteful acoustic guitar solo. The song has a melodic depth to it, and a certain swagger, that is so far removed from the rest of his output as to make one wonder if he actually wrote the thing. If 'Wisemen' was a track from, say, John Grant's Queen Of Denmark, it may well have been heralded as a luscious gem of baroque pop. Barnaby Smith

Chris Rea - 'Josephine'
(1985)

While it might go down as a crime in the name of Balearic to some, for me Chris Rea's 'Josephine' still captures that time perfectly. I didn't get to Ibiza in 1989, but this made me think I was there - even if I was dancing in a bar in Ealing. Andy Thomas

Hot Chocolate - 'Emma'
(1974)

My guess is that a lot of people don't really rate Hot Chocolate because they're English, mixed race and singer Errol Brown was a Tory donor - three no-nos on the authenticity chart. But they were certainly an amazing singles band, and it's a crying shame that more people don't realise what a fantastic disco/funk crossover act they were; although admittedly things like The Full Monty, acne commercials and Cud cover versions probably didn't help. Either way, I could have picked one of about twelve songs for this list without missing a beat. The proto-'Loaded', baggy funk of 'Could Have Been A Lady'; 'Heaven's In The Back Seat Of My Cadillac'; 'Are You Getting Enough Happiness'. But nothing comes close to the transgressive, emotionally pummelling death disc, 'Emma'. Suicide is an extremely rare subject in popular music but Brown and co. dignify this portrait of the short and unhappy life of a failed movie actress with enough conviction and gravity that it doesn't feel odd or in bad taste. The Sisters Of Mercy had a habit of taking unusual songs and covering them in their trademark, cathedral-sized dread style, drawing out grand bathos and gothic undertones that were maybe obscure in the original (see their cover of Dolly Parton's 'Jolene' for example), but their cover of 'Emma' is essentially a faithful, straight bat version of the brilliant original. John Doran

George Michael - 'Careless Whisper'
(1984)

Like Gerry Rafferty's 'Baker Street', George Michael's debut solo single is defined by a lazy saxophone, its smooth, instantly identifiable melody written by Michael himself – on the number 32 bus, apparently, from Edgware to Kilburn Park – and played by session musician Steve Gregory, whose credits span Chris Rea and Fela Kuti. But it's not what makes 'Careless Whisper' so magnificent. Nor is it Michael's sensual voice, which slowly swells from a restrained hush to an impassioned, despairing howl, his delivery – however unexpected a comparison this might be – distantly echoing the manner in which Bowie had built up pressure on 'Heroes', and neither is it the tension in the way he picks up momentum during the bridge as he lists the could-have-beens that are now will-never-bes, before reaching for the top of his register and then dropping down to beg, broken-spirited, "Please stay.” It's not even the production, which encapsulates the slick mainstream soul of the time, but whose tropes are only one step from the currently reclaimed sound of yacht rock. (In fact, Michael was so resolute about what he was hoping to achieve that he rejected an earlier version produced by the legendary Jerry Wexler at Muscle Shoals, in favour of his own recording.)

No. All these, naturally, play a role, but 'Careless Whisper's crowning glory is a set of lyrics so emotionally transparent as to be distressing. A description of the agonising guilt one feels at having betrayed someone close - and of the torrent of regret that follows – 'Careless Whisper' is candid, heartfelt and entirely realistic. Even more impressively, Michael manages simultaneously to spell things out while retaining a sense of poetic mystery worthy of serious contemplation. He's dismissed his words as having been written "flippantly”, but perhaps, in the peculiar manner of the English, he's simply ashamed of, or embarrassed by, their sincerity. Scoff all you like, but the man gets right to the heart of the matter.

With Michael nervously guiding his cuckolded lover to the dancefloor as the curtain rises on the song, the first verse immediately loads up on pathos: "As the music dies/ Something in your eyes/ Calls to mind a silver screen/ And all its sad goodbyes”. From that point on, the zingers just keep coming: "Time can never mend/ The careless whisper of a good friend”, immediately followed by "To the heart and mind/ Ignorance is kind/ There's no comfort in the truth”. Then, soon after, there's Michael's painful concession that there's little hope of ever repairing the damage he's wrought – "I wish that we could lose this crowd/ Maybe it's better this way/ We'd hurt each other with the things we want to say” – and the final kicker, his self-deceiving, self-piteous and doomed plea: "Was what I did so wrong/ So wrong that you had to leave me alone?”

Michael's lyrical pièce de résistance, however, is the line that's perhaps most mocked by those eager to dismiss the Wham! member as a mere pretty boy: "guilty feet have got no rhythm”. This succinct and almost surreally imaginative statement, an acknowledgement that even traitors betray themselves, is as enigmatic and romantic as the song itself, whose polished sound belies its unvarnished content. At the time, I loathed it. It would be another three years – following the sentimental outpouring of 1986's almost as wonderful 'A Different Corner' – before the release of the provocative 'I Want Your Sex' single, and Michael's debut solo album, Faith, finally encouraged doubters like me to take him seriously. But, in retrospect, if anything deserved to knock Frankie Goes To Hollywood's 'Two Tribes' from the top of the UK charts, it was George Michael's sublimely wretched masterpiece. Wyndham Wallace

Five Star - 'System Addict'
(1985)

I still love the first record I ever bought, and not out of nostalgia. A British Jacksons could never match the military might of Reagan-era R&B, so it's as well that Five Star played to their strengths: making solid dancers and smoochers aimed at karate-dancing boys and crimp-haloed girls at village hall discos. 'System Addict' was probably their answer to The Pointer Sisters' 'Automatic', the veterans' cocaine glide replaced with a sherbety clank. They'd jumped on that short-lived fad, people worrying about spending too much time on their home computers. This nightmare was dramatised with sulkomatic Jackson moves, all arm-blocks and taciturn volition. "Tapping on a keyboard / what's happening to me?” pleaded Denise, dressed as a Regency-era American footballer.

None of this would endear them to critics or people who think acoustic covers of 80s hits are dead classy. But those people's concerns are mostly skin-deep; true music fans know that when a song works, it works. Five Star may have loved empty luxury and an American dream which was never going to work out for them, but they also ran up a greatest hits' worth of insanely catchy songs that adults and kids alike could dig: the hooks were irresistible without being crass, the arrangements economical enough to avoid aggravation. It was great being a kid in that blockbuster era, because everything was made big, simple and efficient enough to get through to you. I was eight years old when this song came out, and it's still what I think music naturally sounds like – everything else is an exotic aberration. Lee Arizuno

Lena - 'Satellite'
(2010)

I hate the Eurovision Song Contest. On one hand, it's an ugly celebration of mediocrity taken to the uttermost limit, and on the other an opportunity for patronising, spiteful, often xenophobic sanctimony. I'd therefore never have heard Germany's winning entry from 2010 if it hadn't been for the fact that I live in Berlin and, for a while, it was as omnipresent and irresistible as Pharrell Williams' 'Happy' became in 2013. At last, grocery shopping became an entertaining experience as Bloodhound Gang's 'The Bad Touch' and Opus' 'Live Is Life' were finally interrupted in the aisles by the undeniable jollity and excitable squeaks of a cheerful, red-cheeked girl-next-door.

She wasn't actually a girl-next-door; Lena Meyer-Landrut instead apparently came from mildly noble ancestry. She, however, seemed to think she was Lily Von Allen, given her wholesale adoption of the English singer's mockney persona. 'Satellite' is thus a riot: it finds her mangling the song's English and delivering oddly flirtatious lines as though she's utterly oblivious to their meaning. "I bought new underwear, they blue,' she sings early on in a bewilderingly unsexy, pidgin fashion, before adding prosaically, with all the seductive appeal of a Victorian china doll, "And I wore 'em just the other day”. Later on, she confesses additionally, "I even painted my toenails for you/ I did it just the other day”, and it's the little squeal of excitement in her voice that makes her performance so precious - unlike most teenage pop stars, whose sexuality is exaggerated and exploited, Lena is entirely unselfconscious, and the song's innocuous chastity in turn feels entirely credible.

This was the sound of a little girl pretending to be an adult, rather than a little girl being forced to behave like an adult. That she sang the word 'day' as though it were 'die', and seemed to be telling us that she'd left on the 'pork light' (rather than the porch light) weren't reasons to laugh at her. They were endearing qualities, like a lisp or a squint, that perfectly matched the naive elation at the heart of a song that stole from Motown's more euphoric moments and had seemingly only one, simple goal: to raise a goofy smile. But it's still no excuse for Eurovision. Wyndham Wallace

Mike Oldfield - 'Moonlight Shadow'
(1983)

In so many ways, 'Moonlight Shadow' makes a good bid for being one of the best songs you could hope to hear. What need doesn't it sate? It's got a melody that's flat-out great, the ur-earworm if you will. The lyrics are about trying to "push through" and communicate with Houdini after his death, but they're just as entrancing without knowing that, sentences from some lost 19th century romantic serial. "The trees that whisper in the evening... Sing a song of sorrow and grieving"? Woah! Maggie Reilly's vocals sound like they were recorded using an Alpine valley for reverb, and, to cap it all, there's a blazing guitar solo followed immediately by a blazing guitar solo. Listen to it now, and tell me you don't feel immense afterwards. Laurie Tuffrey

Lime - 'Guilty'
(1983)

I fondly remember hearing this for the first time in New Haven, Connecticut circa 2000. My friend Jim had just carted boxloads of records back from Goodwill. After he finished showing me how he had decorated his doorway with the coloured circles and squares found under the folds of certain food packaging, he pulled out Lime 3, remarking on how the cover looked like a Trapper Keeper he had in the 80s. The cover is quite something to behold – the yellow polka-dotted bikini bottom of an electric blue woman holding a soda can that reads 'Lime 3'. The back read 'All songs recorded on Roland TR-808, Jupiter-8, SVC-350, Juno-60'. I needed to hear this. Seven minutes of Joe Cocker singing for New Order. I genuinely love it. Makes you laugh, makes you smile, makes you wiggle your hips. What else do you want from good-time music? Chorus of "Guilty, we're all guilty…” And what are we all guilty of? Love. That's right. Put this on in certain quarters of Boston, Massachusetts, and the room will explode into a dance party. Aug Stone

Korn – 'Here To Stay'
(2002)

I'd always dismissed Korn, for what might be obvious reasons, but Britney Spears changed all that. It was the realisation that she and Jonathan Davis both pronounced the word 'me' in the same idiosyncratic manner ('mai-ee'?) that first made me listen more closely. Sometimes it's the minor details, you know? Only then did what should have been an instant hook draw me in – for all their interminable whininess and endless angst and pre-adolescent beardage and dubious lyrics and kilt-and-bagpipe gimmickry, this band have some truly hefty riffs, and the guitar tone to back them up. It's an unreal, almost cybernetic sound – unfeasibly dense and pitch-black, ultra-processed by Ross Robinson into something that sounds more like a legion of analogue synthesisers than a couple of surfer dudes with guitars. And 'Here to Stay' is the mightiest riff in their catalogue – a churning, oversexed rumble, downtuned to several levels below the sub-basement and crammed into a massively danceable pop tune with disco hi-hats and a hardcore breakdown. Matt Evans

Simply Red - 'Holding Back The Years'
(1985)

Originally recorded in 1982, 'Holding Back The Years' was the final single released by Mick Hucknall's post-punk band, Frantic Elevators. Given its nostalgic, early rock and roll style, it was perhaps an incongruous release for an act who earlier had sounded like The Buzzcocks. It was rather more suitable, though, for Hucknall's next musical venture, Simply Red, which he'd formed with, amongst others, former members of Vini Reilly's Durutti Column. The song actually stiffed upon its first release, but in 1985 it would rise to the top of the American charts and eventually to number 2 in the UK, and it's easy to see why: Hucknall's voice shivers and swoops amid a sparse arrangement, with occasional, gentle prods of strings adding an understated but welcome sophistication to this mournful tale of a wasted, unhappy childhood. It's easy to be cynical about Hucknall these days, but 'Holding Back The Years' – like the album from which it comes, as I've argued elsewhere – is a vivid cri de coeur, a true tearjerker, the sound of a singer and songwriter hitting his stride long before he's become drunk on his own talent and entered the realms of pastiche. Wyndham Wallace

Status Quo - 'Marguerita Time'
(1983)

I should say, for the record, that I like Status Quo. Or at least I like several of their 1970s twelve-bar blues albums such as Piledriver and On The Level. Quo by 1983 were a different band, however - they'd settled comfortably into the flabby middle age of covers such as 'The Wanderer'. 'Marguerita Time' is ostensibly cut from the same working man's club boogie-woogie cloth but for some reason (as far as I'm concerned at least) it towers over everything else they did post 1976. Whether it's something to do with Noel Coward's observation about the potency of cheap music or not, this song is exquisitely judged, and I'm not the only one who feels this way. If you haven't heard it already, try and track down the cover by Dexy's Midnight Runners. John Doran

Exile - 'Kiss You All Over'
(1978)

Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn's imperial phase might well have been over by the time of 'Kiss You All Over''s release in 1978 but, as evidenced by this gem, they still knew how to craft a delicious pop confection. Despite being sung by a man who looked as if he was ready to audition for Jon Anderson's soon-to-be vacated slot in Yes, and played by men resembling the stars of some long forgotten 70s porn movie, 'Kiss You All Over' is evocatively sleek, thanks to synth washes that sounded not only futuristic but otherworldly, paired with a gently pelvic thrusting bottom end. The two note upward shift to the middle eight is sheer genius, as the song moves up a gear to create a superb sense of yearning. I heard this again a few years ago, coming through a massive PA ahead of Yann Tiersen taking the stage, and let me tell you, it sounded every bit as good as the days when the chart rundown on a Sunday night meant the world to me. Julian Marszalek

Supertramp - 'Better Days'
(1985)

Brother Where You Bound, Supertramp's eighth studio album, bears little relationship to the records that made them world famous in the mid 1970s: 'Breakfast In America' and 'Take The Long Way Home' are far from this oft-forgotten, glossy, textured concept album. Having lost co-founder and co-frontman Roger Hodgson two years earlier in 1983, the now Rick Davis-led band returned to their prog roots, and consequently 1985's Brother Where You Bound – if it's remembered at all – is normally recalled for its sixteen-minute title track, with David Gilmour guesting on guitar. Its piano-fuelled jazz-funk single, 'Cannonball', may have charted in the US at number 28, but it didn't register in the UK, and the album barely grazed the British Top 20.

It's nonetheless superb, a brilliantly produced mixture of their progressive roots and their pop sensibilities summarised by 'Better Days', which sounds like a full-blooded, feverish Steely Dan. A bitter, satirical look at the superficial nature of political campaigning, its playing was immaculate, full of dramatic synth fanfares, sprightly little piano patterns, hard rocking guitar riffs, the sound of cheering crowds and a fierce vocal delivery from Davis himself. "No war and no inflation/ No more desperation/ You'll see, we can show you/ Better days, Better days,” he rants sinisterly. "No hunger, higher wages/ Good schools and smiling faces,” he continues, oozing insincerity before the song breaks off into a final coda featuring sampled soundbites from 1984's American presidential candidates including, of course, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. For those familiar with Supertramp from 'Breakfast In America', it's perhaps hard to believe, but 'Better Days' is absolutely, gloriously furious. Wyndham Wallace

Fatman Scoop - 'Be Faithful'
(1999)

The equivalent of a cluster headache compèred by a furiously excited man hellbent on taking down everyone's zodiac signs and shoehorned into three-and-a-half minutes, I shouldn't enjoy this, but I really do. Probably because it sounds like the intro to a song that never actually gets going, and is instead looped over and over again, leaving me filled with anticipation. Plus, Scoop's undeniably democratic about wanting everyone - people holding dollar bills in any of the $100, $50, $20 or $10 denominations; women, long haired, short haired or wig-wearing; The Crooklyn Clan; "FELLAS!"; the list goes on - to have a good time. It's not really clear why the "Engine, engine, number 9…" Black Sheep sample gets thrown in - maybe Scoop just needs a breather? His pursuit of an "oo oo!" has, to be fair, been tireless - or why the track's called 'Be Faithful', but it doesn't matter, there's no time to think about that. "Stop playing," as Scoop says. "Keep it moving!" Laurie Tuffrey

The Waterboys - 'Fisherman's Blues'
(1988)

Contrary to the basic idea of this feature, and despite my entirely non-ironic appreciation for the song, I do still find it harder to admit to a long-running love of 'Fisherman's Blues' than to any others I've selected for this list - perhaps it's something to do with the shameless, husky openness of the emotions on display here. Then there's its back-to-the-basics-of-existence sentiment, paired with the back story of the band's decamping to Ireland to steep their sound in the country's traditional folk music. Yet those are also the traits that make it such a charged listen, all captured in Mike Scott's little chorus whoops that set alight the song's theme - of a desire to retreat from a fast and distracting modern world into a hermetic existence, tied to the patterns of the seasons and the ecology of the natural world. It's an age-old and played out theme (and this even before the emergence of the internet and the brain-scrambling filter feeds of social media), but it rarely sounds as heartfelt as it does here. It helps, of course, that there's personal nostalgia inbuilt: this was on constant rotation throughout the many long car journeys around the west coast of Ireland that made up my childhood holidays. Rory Gibb

The Quietus' Writers 50 Guilt-Free Pleasures List:

Hall & Oates - 'Method Of Modern Love'
Carly Rae Jepsen - 'Call Me Maybe'
Boney M - 'Rasputin'
Rui Da Silva - 'Touch Me'
Robbie Williams & Gary Barlow - 'Shame'
Wham! - 'Last Christmas'
Flock Of Seagulls - 'Wishing'
Simply Red - 'Stars'
Scarlet Fantastic - 'No Memory'
Scooter - 'I'm Raving'
Maze - 'Happy Feelin's'
Alice DeeJay - 'Better Off Alone'
Level 42 - 'Something About You'
Kula Shaker - 'Tattva'
Gina G - 'Ooh Ah! ... Just A Little Bit'
Bran Van 3000 - 'Drinking In LA'
Ted Nugent - 'Stranglehold'
Tears For Fears - 'Shout'
Walker Brothers - 'No Regrets'
Rod Stewart - 'You Keep Me Hanging On'
Katy Perry - 'Firework'
Incubus - 'Wish You Were Here'
Hanson - 'MMMbop'
PM Dawn - 'Looking Through Patient Eyes'
Vanessa Carlton - 'A Thousand Miles'
Baha Men - 'Who Let The Dogs Out'
Phil Collins - 'Against All Odds'
Clarence Carter - 'Strokin''
Barbra Streisand & Barry Gibb - 'Guilty'
Aqua - 'Doctor Jones'
Baccara - 'Yes Sir I Can Boogie'
John Farnham - 'You're The Voice'
Miley Cyrus - 'Party In The USA'
Haddaway - 'What Is Love?'
Enya - 'Caribbean Blue'
James Blunt - 'Wisemen'
Chris Rea - 'Josephine'
George Michael - 'Careless Whisper'
Hot Chocolate - 'Emma'
Five Star - 'System Addict'
Lena - 'Satellite'
Mike Oldfield - 'Moonlight Shadow'
Lime - 'Guilty'
Korn - 'Here To Stay'
Simply Red - 'Holding Back The Years'
Status Quo - 'Marguerita Time'
Exile - 'Kiss You All Over'
Supertramp - 'Better Days'
Fatman Scoop - 'Be Faithful'
The Waterboys - 'Fisherman's Blues'

tomasz.
Aug 4, 2014 11:28am

who did Carly Rae and Kula Shaker? no names at the ends of those paras.

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tomasz.
Aug 4, 2014 11:28am

who did Carly Rae and Kula Shaker? no names at the ends of those paras.

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tomasz.
Aug 4, 2014 11:28am

aargh sorry about the double post there

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James Holloway
Aug 4, 2014 11:42am

Absolutely anything by Andrew WK ticks this box for me. I remember him getting both hyped to the stars back when he first came round only to see his debut in the Our Price bargain bins for 99p months later.

What tune? ANY tune. All of his tunes, even the solo piano stuff he self released.

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tony m
Aug 4, 2014 11:57am

For me Eiffel 65's "Blue (Da Ba Dee)". Vocoder's rule!

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Paul
Aug 4, 2014 12:02pm

Some of my favourite pop songs in there. Also some tunes I utterly loathe.

Nice feature.

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Aug 4, 2014 12:17pm

Needs more ABBA

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mrg
Aug 4, 2014 12:51pm

In reply to James Holloway:

I love Andrew WK. Doesn't everyone love Andrew WK? Who are these people who don't love Andrew WK? I want names and addresses.

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Stuart
Aug 4, 2014 1:34pm

Great to see Gina G on the list - "Ooh! Aah! Just a little bit" is a stone cold pop classic as far as I'm concerned. The follow up, "I Belong to You" was great too.

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Simon K
Aug 4, 2014 1:39pm

My top ten guilty pleasures are :

1. Black Lace - Agadoo
THE most hated, naff, despised song of all time, no question. I just love it though; the steel drums, the holiday rep vocals, the harmonies, everything about it makes me smile! See also: Gang Bang by same band.

2. Toto - Rosanna
Toss up between this and 'Africa'. Went for this because my wife used to instantly switch the radio off when it came on. Love the drama, the sickly sweet vocals, the guitars... a cheese-rock classic!

3. Katrina And The Waves- Love Shine A Light
What can you say? BIG chorus, epic vocals, insanely optimistic vocals... a masterpiece, no wonder it won Eurovision!

4. Whigfield - Saturday Night
Incredible piece of Euro cheese, so unhip it's almost cool! Fair few indie clubs used to play this 'ironically' back in the day, I was the only person present dancing to this like I meant it! Lovely stuff.

5. Billy Joel - Uptown Girl
EVERYONE loves this song secretly. How can you not? Really?!

6. T'Pau - China In Your Hand
A supremely moving, underappreciated stream of conciousness classic. Awesome vocals.

7. Celine Dion - Think Twice
Great for a slow dance. Kissed my wife (who mainly listens to punk and reggae) to this for the first time at a wedding party, that's the power of pop!

8. Bombalurina - Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini
Timmy Mallett's vocals are actually really good! Love the video too.

9. Bonnie Tyler - Total Eclipse Of The Heart
Brings tears to my eyes. No, really. 80s power pop bombast at its very best.

10. Candy Flip - Strawbery Fields Forever
Better than the original in my opinion. Love the baggy beat and the sense of mystery.

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Aug 4, 2014 1:42pm

Or "normal, good music" as people who don't listen to Fat White East India Grumbling Floor bollocks might call it.

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Col
Aug 4, 2014 2:06pm

Ol' Wyndham really let the cheezy floodgates open wide didn't he, by the end he was butting in every other choice.

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Fearghus
Aug 4, 2014 2:15pm

Right Down The Line by Gerry Rafferty taps into some part of my lizard brain in a powerful way. Great feature btw.

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Fearghus
Aug 4, 2014 2:15pm

Right Down The Line by Gerry Rafferty taps into some part of my lizard brain in a powerful way. Great feature btw.

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Wyndham Wallace
Aug 4, 2014 2:30pm

In reply to Col:

Yep, Col. I took the top off the Primula and squeezed it dry. And I didn't even get to 'Billy Idol's 'Eyes Without A Face'...

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ashamed
Aug 4, 2014 2:50pm

Ine Komoze (sp? of course) Hotstepper

A View To a Kill, Duran Duran

Too Young To Fall In Love, Motley Crue (the video is a straight up masterpiece, with foley)

Madonna, many tracks off Confessions on A Dance Floor

Yes, as said above, Drinking in LA

and You Get What You Give, by that guy in the hat

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Emma
Aug 4, 2014 3:25pm

Couldn't agree more on Careless Whisper, I've always thought the lyrics are outstanding. Simple yet totally gut wrenching.

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Matt
Aug 4, 2014 3:28pm

Terrance Trent D'arby - Wishing Well

Can't turn it off whenever I hear it.

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steve
Aug 4, 2014 4:19pm

In reply to Wyndham Wallace:

oh what a brilliant monster of madness Eyes Without A Face is! And what about Flesh For Fantasy? Taste dictates that I ought to be somewhat ashamed of my love for that song, but the psychotic instrumentation during the verses is so good that I will not deny the glory of Idol.

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caonai
Aug 4, 2014 6:23pm

This was an enjoyable read, and props to the authors for in effect, defending the indefensible (more or less) - especially the careless whispers, emma and satellite entries (indeed I literally *lol*ed upon reading the latter, no doubt because I live in Germany too, and it just rang so true! Yer woman Lena also turned out to be a bit of a Lou Reed grump when it came to banal interviews, which was a nice bonus.)
The article made me think about cases of where you've read a review, bought the album and it turns out the review was actually better… a list of the author's experiences in that respect would be interesting.

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Jeff
Aug 4, 2014 6:31pm

I like everything, even if it sucks!

Internet, consider yourself won.

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Aug 4, 2014 7:41pm

Are Flock of Seagulls a guilty pleasure? Oh God, where has music come to?

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Sciflyer
Aug 4, 2014 7:45pm

Very nice article. Could've used a little more of London Beat's "I've Been Thinking About You", but an enjoyable read nonetheless!

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Apop
Aug 4, 2014 7:52pm

Watch it Mr. Wallace, Eyes Without a Face is in my top 10 songs of all time! Guilty pleasure or not, that's a masterpiece!

I'll add Take That "Back for Good" - didn't get much airplay here in the States (nor did any of their tracks for that matter) but man that's a catchy SOB of a song. Love it.

Good call with Miley's "Party in the USA" - was caught on a road trip with my 12 year old neice back then and it was one horrifically awful song after another from her iPod. And then this one hit and my brother and I (snooty original post-punks we think we are) were dancin' like, well, a couple of 12 year old girls. Made her immediately play it again.

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Wyndham Wallace
Aug 4, 2014 8:18pm

In reply to Apop:

My statement was one of regret, Apop, that I hadn't thought of it early enough.

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Wyndham Wallace
Aug 4, 2014 8:18pm

In reply to Apop:

My statement was one of regret, Apop, that I hadn't thought of it early enough.

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Tony C
Aug 4, 2014 8:30pm

I am rather surprised that The Quietus - a haven of independent thinking - has gone down the "guilty pleasures" route, being, as Jamie Stephenson suggests above, a somewhat repressive concept.

Anyway, "Drinking In L.A" is indeed a great tune and I'd have no problem admitting it. Indeed with my unapologetic love of the likes of James Taylor and Crosby, Stills and Nash I'm shamelessness personified.

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Tony C
Aug 4, 2014 8:30pm

I am rather surprised that The Quietus - a haven of independent thinking - has gone down the "guilty pleasures" route, being, as Jamie Stephenson suggests above, a somewhat repressive concept.

Anyway, "Drinking In L.A" is indeed a great tune and I'd have no problem admitting it. Indeed with my unapologetic love of the likes of James Taylor and Crosby, Stills and Nash I'm shamelessness personified.

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Tony C
Aug 4, 2014 8:30pm

I am rather surprised that The Quietus - a haven of independent thinking - has gone down the "guilty pleasures" route, being, as Jamie Stephenson suggests above, a somewhat repressive concept.

Anyway, "Drinking In L.A" is indeed a great tune and I'd have no problem admitting it. Indeed with my unapologetic love of the likes of James Taylor and Crosby, Stills and Nash I'm shamelessness personified.

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Johnny Nothing
Aug 4, 2014 8:51pm

Dropping this sort of thing in amongst a set of say Cabaret Voltaire, PiL, Contortions, Pop Group, New Order, Prince or whatever works because a. my god he can't be serious, then b. my god this is as much fun as the so-called serious stuff, then c. my god it's actually really not that different. Tune is a tune is a tune. But I never want to lose that initial reaction.

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Steve C
Aug 4, 2014 9:05pm

Twisted Sister: I Am I'm Me
Don Henley: Boys of Summer
Dire Straits: Romeo and Juliet

Like someone says here, a lot of the stuff on the list is just good pop music. I never saw the likes of Hot Chocolate as controversial: just not my cup of er tea and Emma is a truly great song. Likewise the Waterboys, Wham, Chris Rea, Phil Collins, Enya: not my thing but the best at their particular game. A bit sad that so many (me too) feel the need to reduce stuff we like to a guilty pleasure at the sidelines of our collections. Let's all stop pretending. Not Simply Red though: utter toilet and always will be.

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Mil
Aug 4, 2014 9:42pm

Intrigued to read the point about Hanson's "Mmmbop" sounding like Eels at 33rpm. The song that eventually became "Mr E's Beautiful Blues" was originally written for Hanson, if the "Blinking Lights" Eels biography is accurate...

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Aug 4, 2014 10:43pm

Brilliant, thank you.

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matt
Aug 5, 2014 12:34am

"I surrender" by Rainbow

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echorich
Aug 5, 2014 2:24am

I have to say I agree with about 40% of the songs listed. The ones which have the most going for them are the ones released during the musical desert that was the mid 80's. Any pop group or artist that could create a memorable track in that wasteland deserves recognition.

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F Again
Aug 5, 2014 3:17am

Oooh! Can I play?

'Detroit Rock City' by Kiss, and

'I Feel Love' by Donna Summer and Giorgio Moroder.

That is all.

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John Doran
Aug 5, 2014 4:25am

In reply to F Again:

Donna Summer - 'I Feel Love', as in the greatest track of all time? I give up.

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eric christian
Aug 5, 2014 5:36am

Typical Quietus. They are so "hip" that they choose cool songs to be guilty pleasures. How can "Stranglehold" be a guilty pleasure, even Ian friggin Mackaye and Henry Rollins like the Nuge from the late 70s. A guilty pleasure should be a song that almost no one loves anymore with a straight face, not just the hipper than thou. Yesterday I was in a store when "Dizzy" by Tommy Roe came on. Liking that would be a guilty pleasure. Not "Careless Whisper", a huge hit by someone who was/is considered a serious artist by millions no matter what someone's personal feelings are towards him. These would be guilty pleasures in my opinion:
"Long Haired Lover From Liverpool", Jimmy Osmond
"The Lord's Prayer", Sister Janet Mead
"Afternoon Delight" Starland Vocal Band
"Barbie Girl" Aqua (A classic that I feel no shame about loving though my wife mocks me constantly about it).
anything sung by David Hasselhoff.

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RussellChap
Aug 5, 2014 8:17am

You should be guilty of those choices as some are just simply awful songs. Everyone should be guilty about liking Phil Collins, I have a feeling he does too.

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Aug 5, 2014 9:24am

(Feels Like)Heaven - Fiction Factory
Everytime - Britney Spears (Although that's been rendered 'cool' now due to Spring Breakers)
Round and Round - Ratt
Always - Bon Jovi
In Trance - Scorpions

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James H
Aug 5, 2014 10:04am

Either a slow news week, massive ironic joke or the precise moment at which The Quietus jumped the shark. Smart money on the former.

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Video Buddha
Aug 5, 2014 10:13am

Ooh it's funny how some former "guilty pleasures" are now bonafide classics...

If you knew how much stick I got for liking Abba's "One of us" in the 80s at school, but now hardly anyone would dare question Abba. Especially funny given that Simple Minds were the choice of the hip crowd at the time...

So how about

Aha - Sun always shines on TV
Chicago - 25 or 6 to 4
Buggles - Video killed the radio star
Marillion - Kayleigh
Dire Straits - Sultans of Swing

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Gooseman
Aug 5, 2014 2:21pm

Of course there is a difference between Motown and The Spice Girls. Despite being largely manufactured in its early years, the Motown singers were signed because of their talent, NOT just because they had a look about them which fitted in with a demographic set by the record label to corner a gap in the market. I have no idea who Carly Rae Jepsen is so cannot comment on her artistic worth, but on becoming 'independent' did any members of The Spice Girls produce any solo albums which came close to What's Going On or Innervisions? Well? No, thought not. There lies the answer. Simple really. A decent article apart from the cringeworthy levels of 'aren't I cool, radical and a little bit daring' student iconoclasm.

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James H
Aug 5, 2014 4:58pm

I agree with Gooseman. The “Motown as manufactured pop” angle has been de rigeur amongst music journos to defend any old tossed-off pap since about the mid 90s to the point of being really lazy and tiresome. I think everyone who likes music has these kind of chats down the pub. They’re good fun and why not see what Quietus writers like from outside of the zeitgeist or accepted critical channels. But Scooter? Fatman Scoop? Williams/Barlow? Korn? Really? At some point this seemed just to become “list any old tat then try to defend it”. And am I the only person who cringes from start to finish during ‘Drinking in LA’? It’s the hideous bastard son of the naffest outreaches of pop and hip-hop and really only gets away with it by being of both but essentially neither.

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Apop
Aug 5, 2014 7:40pm

F Again - good call with Detroit Rock City. Eric Christian, Barbie is a stooooopid good hooky little ditty. Disagree with Hasselhoff tho...he's not a guilty pleasure, he's just guilty of gawd awful music.

I'll add 'Return of the Mack' - can't remember the artist and i AM actually too lazy to google it just now (that's really lazy, i know). How 'bout the Sytem's "Don't Disturb this Groove" - or Al B Sure's "Night and Day" - i'm pretty sure with Al's awful sweaters and monobrow he's in guilty pleasure territory. Love that fookin' song tho.

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Taun Aengus
Aug 5, 2014 8:20pm

You should all feel VERY Guilty. HAHAHAHAHA The sweet ones are especially so, but the stinkers----oh my! Perhaps a good brain scrub would help.

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Chris
Aug 6, 2014 9:22am

No Sylvia Vrethammar, disgraceful. Amateurs!

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Aug 6, 2014 2:04pm

Damn! I wish I'd been able to contribute to this list!!

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Angus
Aug 7, 2014 12:19pm

I'm sure Laurie knows this anyway, but 'Be Faithful' is called that because the main sample is from Faith Evans' 'Love Like This'. Which itself is a sample of 'Chic Cheer', so Fatman Scoop missed a trick by not calling it 'Be Chicful' or possibly 'Be Cheerful' really. Erm... cheers, AB

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Aug 7, 2014 7:19pm

no burzum?

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