Trapped in the closet

For the Record

For the Record

ARE YOU SQUINTING at my column photo closely, wondering, “Gee, is that that girl I saw on the Blue Line/ 624 S. Michigan Building elevators/ Walgreens this morning spilling her coffee all over the place while she danced like an ABBA backup dancer to whatever was buzzing out of her ‘noise canceling’ headphones?”

Yep, that was probably me. I have been rocking out to Katy Perry’s new song “Walking On Air” incessantly. It’s so glorious that it just might have changed my life.

If you’re like most people I’ve talked to, you’re rolling your judgemental eyes, but deep down, you know you sometimes hit up your old Shaggy CD when no one’s around. 

You could call “Walking on Air” my recent “guilty pleasure.” But I wouldn’t call it that—it makes me feel like a sparkly, fearless goddess, and I just don’t feel sorry ‘bout it. 

“Guilty pleasures,” when applied to music, are songs you can only listen to in secret because they are deemed socially unacceptable. Like high school clique classifiers for us so-called adults, our love for Coldplay or Gucci Mane’s Track Back 2 makes us lame to our desired social group, so we hide it. 

People who use the term “guilty pleasure” are the same people who kicked your ass on the playground, wear strictly designer brands, never leave Wrigleyville and lie about having an OkCupid profile. Practicing such narrowminded actions is keeping a social scorecard, using what makes us want to dance as a measure of who we are allowed to be. 

Many people also use the term to bond with others who share the same distaste for similar genres, poking fun at the ridiculous chance that a certain artist could ever be taken seriously. But music, just like any art form, is subjective. 

So, your friends like Dr. Dog and you like Justin Timberlake? They listen to Bon Iver while you like Chief Keef? Who cares?

New genres are formed almost every day as different artists create new, innovative sounds to express themselves. And believe it or not, it is possible to jam out to both Lil B and Adele, regardless of your homies’ preferences.

The biggest problem with classifying songs as “guilty pleasures” is that it imposes objective measures on subjective content. Music has been scientifically proven to make us feel good, and no matter if it’s the Beatles, Diplo, Nickelback or Katy Perry, we shouldn’t apologize for it if we like it.