31 January 2012

1 February 2012 - Katy Perry - Teenage Dream

Wicked Guilty Pleasures' week-long tribute to Katy Perry rages on with what I think is her most infectious song.



While Katy's version of Teenage Dream is pure pop perfection, California indie/folk quartet The Rescues went in another direction on their cover of it. Gotta dig those harmonies.

31 January 2012 - Katy Perry - Hot 'n' Cold

For Scott, he was hooked at "I Kissed A Girl."  For Tony, it was this song.  For me, the song shows an awful lot of emotional depth, while still remaining fun.  Plus, any video with a zebra gets bonus points.



Bonus Katy: Here she is performing a modified version of the same song as a duet with Elmo.  This clip caused quite a stir on Sesame Street, mostly for her choice of "dress-up clothes."

30 January 2012

30 January 2012 - Katy Perry - I Kissed A Girl

So, I have this black Descendents hoodie that I pretty much wear all the time. I always get a good laugh when I'm wearing it on one of my afternoon walks to the bar for happy hour because I'm usually listening to some of the most unDescendents-like music possible (usually modern country or pop music). It gets even more comical when I run into my aging hipster DJ friend who always asks what I'm listening to. My typical reply goes like this: "The cool answer would be Afghan Whigs, the truth, Katy Perry." (note: the band names obviously change based on my mood of the day). I then get an earful about how bad manufactured pop/country music is...We pretty much have this conversation once a week. And while we agree to disagree, it's a typically fun chat for the both of us.

So that long-winded story is my way of admitting that I do indeed love Katy Perry. LOVE! I'm a sucker for an infectious pop song and both of her albums are filled with them. Pure pop perfection. I couldn't decide which video to post so I chose the one that started my Katy addiction. May have to listen to Teenage Dream on my walk today. Where's my Descendents hoodie?

29 January 2012

29 January 2012 - Phantogram - Mouthful of Diamonds

As some fine readers of this blog know, I am a member of a Track of the Day club group on Facebook.  It has been going on since the summer - right about the time Spotify hit the States - and it is the finest musical education I've ever had.  Finding out about new (and old) music from my fellow club members, scattered throughout the country (and in Japan), has been enjoyable.

As a result, I will have a lot of material for Non-Guilty Sunday.  Thanks to Frank Boscoe, this song was stuck in my head for weeks.  Anyone who has been my Facebook friend for any amount of time knows that I have, on more than one occasion, gushed over this tune.From Saratoga Springs, NY, Phantogram is a 2-piece band that sound like they are a 6-piece band.  This particular tune is from their 2010 album - Eyelid Movies. It's a great song, and a great looking video.  Enjoy.


Bonus:  Here is the band performing the song live at the SXSW festival last year.  They are really good, and I am going to catch them the next time they're in town.

28 January 2012

28 January 2012 - Christina Aguilera - Genie In A Bottle/Genie 2.0

I remember when Christina Aguilera first hit the scene.... well, I remember when she first hit the scene after doing the Mulan theme, which isn't the time I am remembering.  She was a fresh new pop star with a big voice, who everyone was comparing to Britney Spears.  They were both young blondes who were alumni of the Mickey Mouse Club.

Christina, however, had a bigger voice.  Much bigger.


And, I remember commenting that, although Britney was the bigger hitmaker at the time, that I thought Christina's career had legs, and we'd still be talking about her a decade later.  Of course, I could not have predicted that Britney would go and shave her head, but I stand by my analysis.

I gained a greater appreciation for this tune a decade later, when it was time for the Greatest Hits album, and Aguilera uncorked this:


What a fantastic, mature reinterpretation of an already clever song!

27 January 2012

27 January 2012 - Cinderella - Shake Me

First concerts are always a tricky thing. Nine times out of 10 when you ask someone what their first show was, they'll meekly shrug and admit to something truly embarrassing. And even though I was way into it at the time, I definitely do not fall into the one in 10 who can stand proud of their first concert experience (seriously, I know people whose first shows were The Clash and The Ramones...despicable sorts). Well, Cinderella was my first fist pumping arena rock concert. While I'm not ready to divulge who the openers were (those who really know me, know the answer), but I'm sure they'll find their way onto future Hair Metal Fridays.

26 January 2012

26 January 2012 - t.A.T.u - All The Things She Said/Y Soshla S Uma

International Thursday.  I'm starting to see a theme growing here.

Remember when this song was new, and these two young Russians were in "are they or aren't they lesbians" news stories all the time.  This video did nothing to change that perception.  More than that, though, is that this was a great song with a terrific beat and a spooky hook at the beginning.


And yes, the song was originally in Russian.  "Ya soshla s uma" literally translates in English to "I have lost my mind."  Compare.  They clearly refilmed this, the original video, rather than redub.  The script, however, was the same.

25 January 2012

25 January 2012 - David Lee Roth - Just a Gigolo

It's my birthday today! I'm hoping the shenanigans will rank right up there with Diamond Dave in this video. Bozadee bozadee bop ditty bop!

24 January 2012

24 January 2012 - SSQ - Synthicide

Stacey Swain joined the band Q as a lead vocalist, and they took her initials as a return favor.  Then, of course, she sort of took off on a solo career - in the same way that Gloria Estefan was still the lead vocalist of Miami Sound Machine, even though they stopped getting credited - and took the original name with her.

So, yes, this is Stacey Q before she was Stacey Q.  Although I very much enjoyed Stacey Q - she keeps trying to make comebacks that don't go so well for her - I enjoy Jon St. James's harder edged keyboard sound here. That's right.  I was enough of a fan to know the names of the band members.


If you have Spotify, we now have The Official Wicked Guilty Pleasure Blog Playlist. You'll find a Stacey Q version of this song there - rerecorded after SSQ was done in name - as well as almost every song Scott and I have posted thus far.

23 January 2012

23 January 2012 - 'Til Tuesday - Voices Carry

I adore Aimee Mann. Over the last 10 years I've seen her perform a handful of times. Happy to say that I'm seeing her again tonight! So let's go back to Aimee's "care free and light-hearted 80s days" in 'Til Tuesday.

22 January 2012

22 January 2012 - Mala Rodríguez - No Pidas Perdón/Nanai

Welcome to Non-Guilty Sunday, where we wash the guilt away with an artist who isn't going to make you feel so bad about liking them.  I open with two songs that have been stuck in my head ever since I did that Shakira post.

Mala Rodríguez. At times, she has gone by La Mala - her name means bad.  As in, bad-ass.  From Spain, she has come to America to work with the top names in hip hop, a musical genre for which she obviously has a lot of respect and understanding.  She also worked with Nelly Furtado when she was going through her Spanish language phase, but we've all made mistakes.

It wasn't her birth name.  That was María.  Please don't make me type any more accent marks.  

This first video, from 2010, is for a song that won the Latin Grammy for Best Urban Song.  The video is one of those few that actually enhances the song, despite not really having anything to do with the lyrics. It is also pretty bad-ass.



Mala's fashion sense is nothing new, as can be seen in this 2006 video for an earlier song, Nanai.  Clearly, her music has matured since this time, but you can more clearly see her energy and her respect for hip hop.  In fact, I think it's much easier to see her energy from this video than in her later work.  The other thing that is clear in this video? The flamenco influence on her performance style.


UPDATE: The video above stopped working, so here's a live video for you.

UPDATE: I made the video above work again.



I discovered her music through a curling friend of mine from Schenectady, Victor Rodriguez, and his Spotify playlists, which correspond to two of her albums.  He knows his movies and his curling, and he has excellent musical taste.  He's also on Twitter, and you should follow him.  I give him full credit for making me a huge Mala Rodríguez fan. 


I know that 90% of you aren't going to understand these lyrics.  I think both of these songs transcend language barriers, as do most of Ms. Rodríguez's songs.  I just hope we hear more from her soon.

21 January 2012

21 January 2012 - Spice Girls - Wannabe

It was a huge hit, and it made a lot of year-end "Best of" lists.  With the caveat that they should stop at just one.  They didn't, of course.  Still, it's poppy, but catchy.  In all honesty, there were four rather talented singers in this group.  OK, three and one marginally talented one. And Victoria Adams*.


* I know she's Victoria Beckham now, but at the time of this song and this video, she was still Victoria Adams.

20 January 2012

20 January 2012 - Ratt - Round and Round

My Friday's at Wicked Guilty Pleasures are going to be dedicated to the wickedest of all guilty pleasures -- 80s hair metal. All I need now is killer name for the day (something like Hair Metal Fridays, but less lame...any help is appreciated). Anyway, lets get the party started with one of the Sunset Strip's finest -- RATT!!!

19 January 2012

19 Enero 2012 - Shakira - Suerte

Muchos de ustedes están viendo este mensaje, pensando que nunca han escuchado esta canción. Que usted tiene. Sólo que no han escuchado esta versión.


Yo estudié español (literatura), e hice algo de trabajo de la escuelade posgrado en lingüística española del Ohio State, donde también enseñó español 101 como un socio de la enseñanza de postgrado. No puedo hablar  español como solía hacerlo, pero yo todavía lo ama y lo entiendo. Shakira es una de las más grandes estrellas del mundo de habla españolay una de las pocas que han atravesado con éxito en en el mundo de habla Inglés. Shakira cruzó tan bien, ella fue capaz de liberar con éxitoen los Estados Unidosun álbum en español que terminó siendo una alta (Fijación Oral Volumen 1).


Este fue su primer single cantado en Inglésy fue un éxito. Más o menos. Esta no es la versión en idioma Inglés.


OK, I'll be nice.  Here it is in English.


A lot of you are looking at this post, thinking that you have never heard this song.  You have.  You just haven't listened to this version.


I was a Spanish (literature) major, and I did some grad school work in Spanish linguistics at Ohio State, where I also taught Spanish 101 as a graduate teaching associate.  I really can't speak the language like I used to, but I still love it and understand it.  Shakira is one of the biggest stars of the Spanish speaking world, and one of the few who have successfully crossed over into the English-speaking world.  She crossed over so well, she was able to successfully release, in the United States, an Spanish language album that ended up being a hit (Fijación Oral Volumen 1).


This was her first English-language single, and it was a hit.  Well, sort of.  This isn't the English-language version.




For those who are so inclined - here is the English-language version, titled Whenever, Wherever.  It's pretty much the same song, right down to Shakira feeling lucky that her breasts are small and humble so you don't confuse them with mountains - 'Suerte' is the Spanish word for "lucky". I just don't think it's quite as good as the Spanish version.



18 January 2012

18 January 2012 - Avril Lavigne - Complicated

I had this whole speech prepared about how much I enjoy the bratty pop stylings of Avril Lavigne, but it pretty much went nowhere (it sucked). Then I realized that with today's induction, 40 percent of my posts so far have been about Canadian artists. Can liking Canada be a guilty pleasure? I kid. Of course it is. I kid again. Here's a fun video from her debut album. (editor's note: we here at Wicked Guilty Pleasures LOVE Canada and it's wonderful people). (editor's note No. 2: except for Jim Carrey).

17 January 2012

17 January 2012 - The Bangles - Eternal Flame

I know my co-author knows this song well.  We once sang the song as a duet at a wedding.  Our friends Mike and Lisa were married that day, and rather than the whole clinking-of-the-glasses thing, anyone who wanted the bride and groom to kiss had to belt out a romantic song.  Scott and I happened to both be in the wedding party and sat next to each other at dinner.  And we spent the entire meal 1. drinking and 2. trying to come up with the perfect song.  It was during dessert that we both had a eureka moment.  And we immediately belted it out.  And the bride and groom kissed. And we would NOT shut up.  I'm pretty sure we got through two verses.

I absolutely love The Bangles.  Perhaps the most underrated band in history.  Those four women were all excellent musicians, and at least three of them had the pipes to match their instrumental prowess.  Is this my favorite Bangles song?  No.  I absolutely hated the song when it was new.   But since that wedding, it's on my good list.


15 January 2012

16 January 2012 - Dashboard Confessional - Screaming Infidelities

This is an odd choice for me, mostly because I don't really think of Dashboard Confessional as a "guilty pleasure," but I know plenty of people who would. I can't say I've been on board with DC since the beginning (I discovered their second album when they opened for the Get Up Kids years ago). While the heart on your sleeve lyrics may turn off some (and yes, I've heard the claims of him sounding whiny), I always found it refreshing. They have remained one of my favorite bands to see live...it's always a great experience to hear about 10,000 people singing every lyric (and while the person next to you may be tone deaf, it somehow sounds like the coolest choir ever). It goes without saying, but this video is from one of my favorite movies ever...


15 January 2012 - The Captain and Tennille - Love Will Keep Us Together.

This was a feel-good song in the era of Studio 54.  Clearly not in that scene, this real-life couple had the biggest hit of their career with this song, which also got them their own variety show.  The song also marked the return of the legendary Neil Sedaka, who wrote this song, except for the ad-libbed line at the end, "Sekada is back."  That was all Toni Tennille.

I saw them live in Rochester in 1997.  My brother-in-law (at the time - he isn't anymore) was (and still is) a huge fan of Toni Tennille.  After the show, I got to meet them.  Genuine, kind people.  I talked with the Captain about web site development for the better part of a half hour.

Now try not to clap along.

14 January 2012

14 January 2012 - Mandy Moore - Senses Working Overtime

Years ago, my old office had an administrative assistant who listened to a lot of the same indie rock and alt stuff as I did at the time. Needless to say we got along smashingly. One day I was asking her a question and today's song was playing on her computer. I then had a non-work question: "who's this covering XTC?" She wisely asked if I liked it. I said, "yeah, it's pretty cool." She said, "It's Mandy Moore." I died a little inside that day. Fortunately, Mandy went on to marry Ryan Adams which of course made her cool in the eyes of hipsters everywhere (I'm certainly making that last part up). I should say though that her last two records: Wild Hope and Amanda Leigh are some damn fine folkie/pop.

13 January 2012

13 January 2012 - Rebecca Black - Friday

You all asked for it.  I'm not one to ignore requests. Here it is.

I've written pretty extensively about this particular tune already over in my other blog not about curling.  Now if only @MsRebeccaBlack would follow me back....I will add this, however: To slag on Rebecca Black for the song's poor lyrics is a mistake.  She didn't write the song.  She merely did an earnest rendition of a poorly written song.

Please, let us know your thoughts in the comments.

12 January 2012

12 January 2012 - Barenaked Ladies - One Week

Years ago I remember watching one of those VH-1 countdowns that they seemingly used to puke out every other month with an old friend. This one was about 100 women who rock. I forgot what number she was, but Jodi Mitchell was in this countdown (ROCK ON JODI!!!!). Anyway, they interviewed the Barenaked Ladies about Jodi (I suppose because they are both Canadian). One of the singer guys said and I quote: "Jodi really influenced our songwriting," to which my friend retorted, "Yes, I'm sure the line Chickity China the Chinese chicken, You have a drumstick and your brain stops tickin' was a direct result of the Blue album." Well put old friend. Well put.

11 January 2012

11 January 2011 - Vixen - Edge of a Broken Heart

Vixen was a group of women trying to make hard rock music in an era when that did not happen unless you were Lita Ford (who might be featured at a later date).  They succeeded where others had failed by 1. being a little bit better at playing their instruments than Warrant, 2. forgetting to get fully dressed for this particular video, and 3.naming themselves Vixen.

In all seriousness, despite their vampy look, they rocked hard and deserved a lot more respect than they got.  They're still around, too, although I don't think they dress like this anymore.


10 January 2012

10 January 2012 - Roxette - Joyride

This minor hit by Sweden's greatest export since the Saab is a fun, light-hearted romp.  With whistling.  And a ride on the hood of a car!


09 January 2012

9 January 2012 - Selena Gomez and The Scene - Love You Like A Love Song

This was not my intended posted song for today - it was a different one that will come out at a later date.  Instead, I chose this one, in tribute to the finale last week of The Wizards of Waverly Place, which starred Selena Gomez. Long-time readers of my blogs know that this isn't the first time I've featured Selena Gomez. Here, this Disney star goes a little more grown-up in a over-the-top video with a song that really isn't innocent enough to be sung by Justin Bieber's girlfriend. Still, it's got a nice beat, and I can dance to it. And, with this video, you can sing along, too!

07 January 2012

7 January 2012 - Ke$ha - Blow


The song, all by itself, is a guilty pleasure.  The video, which opens with Ke-Dollar Sign-Ha making this statement, and I quote, "So I grabbed the bear by the throat, looked him right in the eyes, and I said, 'Bear, you have to the count of zero to put some pants on and apologize to the president. And, um, that's the story of how I was elected to the Parliament of Uzbekistan." to a bunch of unicorn people, and ends with James Van Der Beek's head mounted on a wall, takes it to another level.

All I have to say is, edible lactose gold.

06 January 2012

6 January 2012 - Kelly Clarkson - Since U Been Gone

Anyone who knows me, knows that my biggest guilty pleasure is Kelly Clarkson. Hell, I can hardly call it a guilty pleasure these days as Stronger was in my top 60 records of the year at Your Forgotten Favorite (cheap plug No. 1 for my other blog). So before you judge an old punker for over-indulging in some American Idol pop goodness, just remember this video. Clearly if Mr. Leo thinks it's cool, it must be...and I'll just keep telling myself that over and over and over again.

05 January 2012

5 January 2012 - Ashlee Simpson - Boyfriend

Let's open up this blog with one of the guiltiest pleasure songs ever performed.  It's hard to be bad-ass in argyle, but Ashlee Simpson tries, and pulls it off to some extent.   It's really hard to say "Ashlee Simpson" and "bad-ass" in the same sentence while keeping a straight face.