Dear readers, you have guilty pleasures. You know it. I know it. Everyone knows it. We all have those pleasures that make us feel guilty and exposed— the things we can’t share for fear of judgment.
Not too long ago your humble editors were discussing guilty pleasure music, and a mutual one both of us had was Incubus. Frankly, though, I’m not sure why we feel guilty about it. Incubus was the hottest fucking fire in the early 2000s. It would have been more lame if either of us didn’t like Incubus, to be honest.
Today, I want to change that line of thinking. I’m here to say fuck the “guilty” part of “guilty pleasure.” Own the music that brings you joy. Have the courage to like what you like. Fuck those who judge you for it.
Incubus’ The Warmth has a blunt, honest message that got me through some tough times when I was an angst-ridden sixteen year old, and it’s a message I’ll share with you now.
Every Fall, as October creeps into the dark and scary territory, I like to reacquaint myself with my favorite stories, movies, and songs of the season. It has become increasingly more difficult to get into the season, with what seems to be the new normal of triple-digit heat waves in what was once the onset of sweater weather. While many of Halloween’s traditions have gone quietly into the night, as temperatures creep up and the inclination to spookify homes dwindles, the spirit lives on in our melancholy little hearts.
What usually hits the spot for those vibes is Timbre Timbre, and nothing does it quite like “Demon Host”, a song about struggling to cope with death and fading faith. It’s just so eerie, and the perfect setting for the macabre table. So, close the blinds, light some candles, and feel the fear.
There are so many things I can say about this song but I’ll keep it short.
When this song comes on, it doesn’t matter what color or race you are, or if you can dance or not; it makes your feet move to the beat and words. I mean, I can be having a bad day, but as soon as this song comes on, joy enters my soul, and I can’t help but smile and dance. I dare you to listen to this and see if you don’t move.
Waylon has been around my life as long as I’ve been alive. When I was little, some of my first memories are driving around in my dad’s pickup (two-toned brown, me without seat-belt) and the song that stands out more than any other is Waylon off of his Waylon Live album doing Jimmie Rodgers’ classic, “T For Texas”. Waylon’s version is a near-magical update, full of all the outlaw spirit: loud guitars, Waylon’s unique lead playing, and a timeless sound that never ages. Now that I’m working on a podcast, Soutee, this song was one of the first I thought of to create that image of late 70s freedom.
Remember in this day of cookie cutter country, Waylon reinvented the genre with a blend of rock sensibility with a deep knowledge of the history of the music. The live album more than any explores that spirit of expanded possibilities that would have seemed impossible just a few years before, when ol’ hoss was about to quit that business until he decided to go for broke with an album that became his biggest hit. He had creative control, and he created something special.
Think of cowboy shirts with wide lapels, green shag carpeting and turning a speaker up too loud, hoping to capture the feeling of being in Texas in those heady mid-70s days. It never gets old to me.
You get a bit over a century (at best) to kick around in the sand before you are buried under it. And the story always ends the same.
Tragedy at its finest.
Yet while the whole “ World going to shit” paradigm is a spicy aesthetic for your dashboard, as a way of life it is… well… fucking awful.
While seven minutes of effortless sounds and a tasty vibraphone solo isn’t going to change your worldview or alter your gut flora, the feeling it offers may have you glimpsing a different way of looking at things.
Listening to this song is the smoothest of reminders. No matter where you’re at, you’ve got something. If all you’ve got today is ten toes and a heartbeat, well I guarantee there’s someone out there with 9 toes who just had a heart attack.
Just be thankful for what you got. Not because “This too shall pass” or some other meaningful-but-now-clichéd hashtag, but because the alternative is quite literally hell.
Okay dude, if you are cheating on your girlfriend with Swedish pop robot, Robyn, you need to end things with your girl right now. I one hundred percent agree with Robyn on this one; it’s time you had the talk.
Beyond this advice, though, I think you can safely disregard everything else Robyn recommends on the subject of tactfully navigating the end of a relationship. Bless her heart, but the rest of the break-up advice in banger “Call Your Girlfriend” is straight-up trash.
Don’t: use this song as a guide to terminate an adult romantic relationship.
I’m not much of a dancer. I like to sing. Sometimes I’ll bob my head. I might even furiously drum on whatever surface happens to be nearby. But I don’t dance.
Instead I like to let the music I’m listening to do most of the dancing for me.
Here’s a dancey tune for you to take in on this fine day. Listen to the smooth voice of Le Cassette on your radio or whatever audio-injection method you prefer and time-travel to the future — a future where 1987 never ended.
Stevie Wonder’s magical music is one of the best gifts the world has ever received. And with the way we behave, we definitely don’t deserve it.
This is another song obsession that I inherited from my dad, who loves singing along with Stevie’s Spanglish in the intro, even if other people are around to witness it.
I like to listen to it when my self-esteem is running on empty and I need a reminder that everything is going to be okay, and that I’m actually a pretty cool person; I mean, I must be to love such a great song, right? Isn’t that how it works?
You can be cool too. Just listen to the song, and believe what Stevie is telling you with your whole heart. Don’t you worry ‘bout a thing. It’s gonna be okay. And even if Stevie can’t be standing on the side when you get off your trip, this song always will be there for you when you need it.