Indulging musically......

Aside from the music that seems to be mainstream/popular, we always have those songs/albums that we consider our "guilty pleasures." It's the type of music that would not be expected, yet you are consumed by it. You (sometimes) own more than one album. You've tried (or thought about trying) at least a few times to see a concert (even though you sometimes try to avoid admitting it out of embarrassment.) And while nobody understands it, you can't seem to stop playing that one song or album for hours, days, weeks, sometimes months. You love it so much that it doesn't matter that people may think you are weird for liking what you do........but you dig it and that's all that matters.

1) The Monkees - Headquarters Album: When I reached my senior year of high school, I got into a HUGE Monkees craze! Part of it could be the reason that I watched the VH1 movie-documentary about their rise and fall. Part of it could be how Fox put on old Monkees episodes, while AMC was hell-bent on showing their movie flop, Head. Or maybe, just maybe, it was a combination of all of it. But whatever the case may be, I was HOOKED! And in my natural fashion, I set out to learn everything and anything I could about the band, which brought me to purchasing this particular album. While it was their third album, its significance is big. It was the first Monkees album where they had creative control of what songs were chosen. They could write their own music, play their own instruments, and sing on their album. Prior to that, they had very little control over the song choices. Peter Tork and Michael Nesmith were featured very little, if at all, on their albums. It may have been the eventual downfall of the band, but this gem has always been one of my favorites to listen to whenever I just need a throw-back.

2) Hanson - Middle of Nowhere Album: From the three blonde-haired musical prodigies from Tulsa, Oklahoma came this little gem. The thing is, I can remember the craze over "Mmmbop" when it came out, then the immediate backlash from any person who either had a penis or a sense that this band was considered cheesy teen-pop music. While yes, the songs are simple and sometimes a little 'over the top', consider that the three brothers Zac, Taylor, and Isaac Hanson had been creating music for a few years before they hit the mainstream circuit. This was not their first album, and even though their fame fizzled out quite a bit before they released their future albums, I commend them on continuing to write and perform music for the masses. The whole idea of mainstream did not corrupt their own goals in life, nor did it hinder their ability. If I didn't consider them to be quite awesome, I wouldn't own at least three of their albums, two imports, a handful of posters, a t-shirt, and have concert tickets from three different shows.

3) 98 Degrees - ANY of their music: Granted, I got into a HUGE boy-band craze as I went into high school. If you look at the one above this one, you would know that. But while it took me a longer time to truly get into music like Backstreet Boys and *NSync, I was ALWAYS a fan of 98 Degrees! From the premiere of "Invisible Man" to their last album Revelation, I always made an effort to keep in the know for this band. I tried several times to win concert tickets......which never seemed to pan out. Fortunately, I DID have the chance to see them at the Beacon Theater during either my sophomore or junior year of high school......the year eludes me now. Fast forward over 10 years later, I have been known to search through my iPod and select their album as a means of evading boredom. And sometimes, you still catch me lip-syncing all the words to every song. 

4) Glee - pretty much any song I've downloaded: As I stated in one of my previous blogs, this show took me a LONG time to get into. About halfway through this season, when the Madonna episode aired, I finally caved and started to spend my Tuesday nights watching the ins & outs of the relationships and scandals that the Glee kids faced on a weekly basis. But even before that, I was digging the music. On the premiere episode that was aired about a year ago, I caught the tail-end of the show......the part where Finn & Rachel were singing "Don't Stop Believin'". Intrigued, I continued to listen to the previously-recorded performance.....and knew that I HAD to have that song on my iPod. As I tried to avoid watching episodes, I then managed to watch the "Mattress" episode, where I heard them perform the song "Jump." It was all downhill from there. Now, over 25 downloads and one DVD set later, I can't help but break out into song anytime I hear a Glee version of a song.....or the original song that they covered. 

5) Tim Myers - The Good Life: I don't remember how I came across this musical gem, but I know that whether it be through my iTunes or my iPod, this song has been played possibly a hundred times or so since I purchased it. The words are uplifting, the beat is uplifting, and put together, it makes for one of the most positive songs I've heard in a while. Whenever I hear that beginning piano beat, the idea to get up and dance along becomes almost a necessity. While the meaning is as simple as it can be, it's an important one nonetheless: the idea that sometimes, getting away to better things is a necessity to keep life balanced. That there's no better time to start really living your life than now.

6) Norbert Leo Butz & Sherie Rene Scott - The Last Five Years Soundtrack: For anyone who has not listened to the music from this show, you do not know what you're missing out on! While I'm still fairly new to the idea of Broadway musicals gracing my iTunes collection, I must admit that this soundtrack in particular is indulgent, emotional, and catchy. Butz & Scott play a couple, yet one of them tells the story from the beginning of the relationship, while the other tells the story starting from the end of the relationship. Come the middle of the show, both of them meet in the middle for their marriage, then continue on the timeline, where we find out what causes the end of the relationship, as well as just how much in love these two characters were when they first met. Every song is catchy while some incorporate funny lyrics, yet by the end, I guarantee you'll be in tears.

7) The Beatles - ANYTHING by them: While this doesn't exactly fit under the category of others understanding why you love it so much, The Beatles.......are iconic. I cannot even tell you how many albums I've purchased (or downloaded), posters I own, solo albums I've purchased, or all the memorabilia that is in my possession. When it comes to John, Paul, George, and Ringo.........I am completely in love. Their music transcends everything in life, brings me to a place of higher understanding and reason. Where The Stones, The Who, and Pink Floyd all played music that I feel is slightly rougher around the edges, The Beatles were known for their never-ending proclamation of love, peace, and understanding. They wanted people to embrace life and happiness, not to fight and kill one another. While some of their songs were a little silly and cutesy, most were amazingly touching and profound with the musical score, lyrics, and the combination of their vocal abilities. I mean, who else could sum it up on their final album with these words: And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make. Epic.

8) Bright Eyes - First Day of My Life: While not exactly my cup of tea in the realm of music, Conor Oberst really hits it home with this song. Off of the album I'm Wide Awake It's Morning, it is what I consider one of the best Alternative/Emo-style love songs that one could write. The words simply explain the way the singer of the song feels about the one he loves. Instead of hoping for the unattainable, he has a sense of realism and knows that what he has right in front of him may be more important than trying to search the world for anything better. Because who is to say that there is anyone better? One of the most profound lines to me is the following line: But I'd rather be working for a paycheck than waiting to win the lottery. Some may interpret this as just settling, but I see it as someone who wants something substantial out of life, rather than holding onto a dream or fantasy. I'm surprised this song has not started skipping on my cd yet......although I have made sure I've backed up my album on iTunes.

9) Jason Mraz - Life is Wonderful: Jason Mraz is a musical genius! Even though his music may come off as poppy and sometimes a little cheesy for the masses, some of his other works on the album are even better than the ones that make it onto pop charts! Aside from the fact that the album Mr. A-Z did not fare as well as Waiting for My Rocket To Come and We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things, this particular album's title track is one that I can't help but just play over and over. It also doesn't hurt that in a completely dorky way, Jason Mraz is cute! He carries that plaid fedora-guitarist look well. Profound lyric after profound lyric, and still kinda catchy all at the same time. While most of my friends don't get why I can like this song so much, I don't really care. It's one of my faves and I'm stickin' to it!

10) Jazz Music: I couldn't just pick any song, so I decided to make my last one on this list an homage to one of my favorite genres of all time......jazz. Most people I encounter look at me with confusion when I mention that I LOVE jazz, yet I'm sure if they listened to some of today's classics, they'd find that a few are covers of jazz standards. Just to name a few of my favorites: Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Rosemary Clooney, Billie Holliday, John Coltrane, Erroll Garner, Hoagy Carmichael.......this list could go on! Each of these musicians perform songs that have made an impact on me musically, emotionally, and personally. What I love most is how the style of jazz evokes such emotion and depth. When I used to be painfully single, I could always find a song to fit that emotion. In times of needing peace, Coltrane became my method of unwinding. And even when I found love, I could always locate a song that fit that moment too.


What I may consider a "guilty pleasure" may not be the same as the next person, but I don't care. I love to indulge in music altogether........and these are just a few of my favorite indulgences.

~Jenny Rockstar

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