Friday, March 07, 2008

Guilty Pleasures - A Mr. Dilettante/K-Tel Joint Venture

Our old pal Gino has been running a version of "Battle of the Bands" on his blog, getting his vast North American audience to vote on the relative merits of bands (sample battles have included Scorpions vs. Gorky Park and the B52s vs. Devo - he's now taking votes on Flogging Mollys vs. the Dropkick Murphys here - go vote).

Since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I'm just going to steal his idea and give a just a little twist. We got some excellent suggestions for the Barack Obama soundtrack thread that I posted earlier. So I want to do two things here.

First, I want your votes on who you prefer between two 80s Britpop dance numbers. Then, I want your suggestions for other "guilty pleasure" songs that we might put up for debate right here, on the big stage. By "guilty pleasures" I mean songs that might have been (or still be) considered uncool, but that are actually pretty good. If it has a cheesy (or vintage) video to go with it, even better. It's a wide canvas and of course there's a lot of room for debate on the topic. By way of illustration, I'll give you my eternal example of a "guilty pleasure" band.

The Sweet. If you're old enough, you'll remember these guys, a British pop band that had some rock power and wrote dumb but enjoyable songs that were hits throughout the 70s. They were responsible for such dubious but fun ditties as "Little Willy," "Fox On the Run" and, quintessentially, "Ballroom Blitz." Thirty years on, these guys are still dumb fun.

So here are the first contestants:

ABC: "Poison Arrow"


Scritti Politti: "Perfect Way"

And remember, this is a Chicago-style election. Vote early, vote often. Next contest will feature "University Marxist" bands.


Gino said...

thanks for the plug.

and i'll cast my vote for 'poison arrow'.

and a perfect genre match,these two. spot one.

and sweet! love that band. you forgot 'love is like oxygen', the first song that got me glued to them on the radio.

Uncle Ben said...

The two on offer are equally bad. Just absolutely atrocious. However, I'll cast my vote for Poison Arrow because of the lady in the toga.

Strolling Amok said...

Gotta go with Poison Arrow as well. I'm going to have that chorus brain wormed all day.
As for my own guilty pleasure nominations how about 'Green Grass and High Tides' by the Outlaws v. 'Bounty Hunter' by Molly Hatchet.

Daria said...

Both are awful, but I have to go with Poison Arrow for the general cheesiness of the video.

Did anyone else notice Maggie Thatcher shakin' it on the dance floor at about the 1:00 mark?

- D

Mark said...

Thanks for the votes so far -- I've now added authentic K-Tel art to this post for your viewing pleasure.


I haven't forgotten "Love Is Like Oxygen." Who could forget that? But with such an embarrassment of riches, something had to be left behind.


See? There's the second toga reference in a few days. You gotta ditch the suspenders and wear one to your Romans class, like Gino suggested. It's destiny, good sir!


That's an excellent idea - B-List Southern Rock bands and you've identified two perfect examples. Someday I'll have to share my Molly Hatchet story in this space some day; I believe the statute of limitations has now run.


Yep - those Britpop bands were pretty obsessed with Maggie Thatcher. My all-time favorite Thatcher cultural reference came from an episode of "Cheers," of all places. The gang is sitting around watching an awards show on television and the announcer says: "and now to present the next award, here's Margaret Thatcher and LL Cool J." I'm just picturing Mrs. Thatcher in a Kangol hat, throwing down.

Maria said...

Well Dad, the thing is, you can tell in both videos that the men are trying to impress women (but they're not doing a good job). I know that because you see the women frowning and in "Poison Arrow" I think you know what happens already.

But, I'd have to say "Poison Arrow" is funnier, so that's what I'll vote for. And Dad, make sure that people come visit my blog, too! P.S., that never happens anyway.

Anonymous said...

As one raised on bad 70's music on lousy radio stations during my youth in North Central Wisconsin, it is hard to pick only one song, but if you put a gun to my head it would have to be "Lonely Boy" by Andrew Gold, simply because it may be the dumbest lyric in rock history. But one must never forget Ace Frehley's "Back in the New York Groove," or Jay Ferguson's "Thunder Island," though one could argue the latter is not really a bad song. All of these are on my i-pod and a regular part of my life.

I also recall many a day in the northwoods where the Starland Vocal Band's "Afternoon Delight" came on the radio, and, like the character in Citizen Kane who never forgot a fleeting glimpse of that woman on a boat, I remember a rather cool dark haired girl, way out of my league, singing softly along to Abba's "Fernando" while we were all working on the high school homecoming float. I am pleased to report that these songs are NOT on my i-pod, but they are unfortunately embedded in my memory.

Anonymous Truck Driver

Ben said...

I'm voting for "Perfect Way." Less cheesy. But both of these videos really stink, Dad! Go to YouTube School!


Mark said...

Glad to see my kids voting. Ben, you're probably right about going to YouTube school. But don't you have some homework to do or something?


You may be 8 years old, but I think you understand more about the world than you actually realize you do. Very astute.


Wow, I don't think I'd ever heard that story before. And funny you should mention "Lonely Boy" -- that just may pop up in a future installment of this feature. Stay tuned.

Dan S. said...

Both are exquisitely painful, but I'll follow the masses and vote for "Poison Arrow."

Daria said...

For a guilty pleasure I nominate "Star Baby" by the Guess Who.

There's was a lot of debate around junior high lunch rooms at the time about who the song was referring to. The lyrics are mindless and refuse to leave your head, but the performance is actually a pretty good vehicle to show off Burton Cummings's vocal range and piano skills. There's also some pretty classic 70's bar-chording going on in the solo!

- D

Right Hook said...

A couple of B-squad Brits, but I'll go with the trend for Poison Arrow for the more interesting video.

Mike said...

I am going to be a bit of a contrarian and vote for "Perfect Way." While "Poison Arrow" is a fun little song, "Perfect Way" to me is one of a few quintessential 80s songs. Drum machines, synthesizers, trite lyrics, it's great stuff!!

Now, if "The Look of Love" was nominated, I maybe would have voted differently. Anytime the words "hip hip hooray" are part of the song, that makes it cheese-a-riffic!