Open Mic: What’s Your Guilty Pleasure?

Open Mic: Last week, I asked Synthtopia readers “What electronic music track changed your life?” – and got hundreds of responses, on the post and via Facebook.

They were thoughtful responses – from readers whose lives had been changed by electronic music classics by Wendy Carlos, Delia Derbyshire, Roger Powell, John Foxx, Gary Numan, Kraftwerk, Jean Michel Jarre, New Order, Daft Punk, The Propellerheads, Rick Wakeman, Steve Roach, Nine Inch Nails and dozens of other artists.

All great stuff – but we know that’s not all that you’ve got in your music library.

There are also the guilty pleasures – the stuff that you love, even though you’re a little embarrassed to admit it.

There are probably a few tracks like Kylie Minogue’s Come Into My World, one of the guilty pleasures you’ll find in my iTunes library.

I could probably explain to you that the song’s got a mind-bending music video by Michel Gondry.

But at the end of the day, it’s an earworm of dance track that features Kylie crooning “I want you to come, come, come into my world.” Hard to resist.

It doesn’t stop there, though. Dig deeper into my iTunes library and you’ll find the happy synth pop of Gershon Kingsley’s Popcorn. I’ll even admit to one Britney Spears tune – Toxic.

What’s your electronic music guilty pleasure?  We know that there’s more to your music library than Aphex Twin and Boards Of Canada………

78 thoughts on “Open Mic: What’s Your Guilty Pleasure?

  1. I’m a superfan of the Japanese techno pop group, Perfume. I even got to see them live a few weeks back. Normally I won’t come within 100 feet of an Autotuned vocal but whn it comes to Perfume, I can’t resist.

    1. Their 1980’s productions definitely deserve more recognition in music production circles. Top stuff which still has cult following 25 years later…

    1. Lady Gaga’s music does nothing for me, but the visuals in her music videos can be amazing.

      Maybe you better play a little Autechre after that BOC!

      1. I honestly wonder if pro dancers and designers feel the same way about Gaga’s visuals as music producers about her music…

  2. I’ve liked/loved a lot of music I am both embarrassed by and sometimes feel nostalgic about (pretty sure I could recite every lyric from _Who is Mike Jones?_ to this day—on a semi-related note, “I’m so DEDICATED right now!”), not sure about guilty pleasures though. My music tastes have never made much sense to begin with, I don’t get bent out of shape when I can’t reconcile them with each other.

    Maybe my guiltiest pleasure would be something like DeBarge? Although I don’t feel guilty about it at all, _All This Love_ is a great record.

    As far as electronic music is concerned, I’ll feel guilty the day I listen to a Deadmau5 or Skrillex song of my own volition.

    1. Deadmau5 has such an unattractive public personality, and I don’t even like him after meeting him in person, but bah, I think ghosts n stuff (or maybe one of the many youtube covers of it) seems to be burned somewhere into several of my brain cells. I’m never putting that cursed song on my iPod, and I have no idea how it got on my Spotify list.

  3. Tangerine Dream’s Risky Business soundtrack.

    I realize now that they sort of ripped off Steve Reich, but I still like it better than Steve Reich!

    1. 80s synth-pop rules. Did I mention just saw erasure?

      Really any band that uses analog synthesizers (or MacBook Pros with Logic playing recordings of analog synths, as the case may be) scores points with me, and I’m not even a synthtopia analog bigot!

      1. Or as we used to sing it back in the day:

        You can dance if you want to
        You can leave your friend’s behind
        ‘Cause your friends wear pants, and if they wear pants,
        Then their no friends of mine!

  4. i’d have to say Skinny Puppy, who I named last week as the band that changed my life, is also kind of my guilty pleasure as they seem to get little to no respect from any hip/mainstream music blog or publication. Their new record, Handover, was released last week, it topped iTunes charts and Amazon and it’s filled with synths galore, but not a peep from synthopia, cdm etc. Beyond Puppy, it blows my mind how many people aren’t familiar with Cevin Key’s solo work and his side projects such as Download, Plateau etc. Key’s created some of the best electronic music in the past 20 years and you’re really missing out if you aren’t giving it a listen. I did appreciate seeing Subcon’s modules covered but I think you can do better than that.

  5. What, besides my stunning eurodance collection and anything by Günther?

    I’d have to say Alicia Keys’ retro-tastic “Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart” – a Prince rip-off which is almost better than the real thing. It even sounds like a faded audio cassette.

    Hmm, and Gabriella Cimi’s “Superhot.” No excuse really.

    And frankly, any of the delightfully disposable dance-synth-pop clone songs of that last few years: songs like Ke$ha’s “We R who we R”, Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite”, Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” (etc.), Rihanna’s “Disturbia”, Usher’s “DJ Got Us Falling In Love Again,” Katy Perry’s “California Gurls”, and, going back a few years, Cyndi Lauper’s wonderful “Into the Nightlife” (which greatly resembles Bad Romance.)

    And the soundtrack to Tron Legacy.

  6. Opening myself up to it here, mine was always Sigue Sigue Sputnik. Loved the driving synth rockabilly basslines with the combination of the wild guitar and the mad dub echoes they used. Then all topped off with samples from movies. They were doing that way before anyone else.

    Moroder produced the first album cos of his work in movie soundtracks…

    And they looked like nothing before. Awesome.

  7. italo disco ! 🙂 I’m a sucker for 16th note basslines and cheesy Polysynth action:

    +3 on Skinny Puppy – allthough i can’t see how this fits in to guilty pleasure- in any case it is
    highly underated stuff that helped shaped electronic body music and a good showcase for creative use
    of samplers in the late 80s. tracks like “Assimilate” really blew my mind back then :

  8. spice girls and new kids on the block, britney’s first albums, nsync! ok let’s face it i’m a sugar coated pop junkie! along with my reply to the last query with the REALLY GOOD stuff from the 80’s. Erasure, Men Without Hats, Anything Box, and OMD

  9. although right now my guiltiest pleasure are some of the tunes in the kiddie show lazytown! bing bang, growin good stuff, anything can happen, wake up, teamwork,step by step, there is always a way. let’s just say i’m trying to learn how to get this type of energy and feeling into my musical creations

  10. My iTunes is DROWNING in guilty pleasures. Cascada’s “Evacuate The Dancefloor”, Cheryl Cole’s “Fight For This Love” and boyband The Wanted’s “Lose My Mind”, cheesier than pizza!!! I’m very much aware they’re crap. And I love them all.

  11. Doobie Brothers ” what a fool believes”! Definately not !00% electronic but it just so happens to feature the greatest opening synth line ever!

  12. It’s so funny what some folks consider guilty — I was amazed at someone in the ‘changed my life’ thread having the sheer balls to admit to liking Axel F and Howard Jones, which are of course, the pink elephants hiding in the room when it comes to early 80s synthpop. Everybody loves it, no one says so, except that brave guy. Hats off, dude.

    Sigue Sigue Sputnik? Moroder + Eddie Cochran = GENIUS. I’m saying it loud and proud. Men Without Hats? Pop perfection!

    Guily pleasure. OK. How about …


    I’m so ashamed. Yes, yes, people will say, “Oh Rush are great musicians” and try to make me feel better. But that’s not going to make Rush cool. Ever. I understand. Thanks for the support, though. We can get through this together, if we stay honest like this.

    I’m also way more into Vera Lynn than I should be. And Kenneth MacKellar. That kind of stuff. Cooler than Rush, mind.

  13. Wait, is Duran Duran still really embarrassing, or have they been re-discovered as the true musical Gods they always were?

  14. I… I…

    I’m trying to force myself into typing something here…

    I honestly… love… Patience by Take That.

    Yes, it’s their new stuff. Yes, it’s the damn Take That. Yes! The track is friggin’ brilliant! Actually, I’m not even slightly embarassed to admit it. The track is great, the lyrics are great and I love Patience by Take That.

    Take… er, that!

  15. “The Story of I” by Patrick Moraz. I don’t think I’ve ever known ANYONE who likes it as much as I do. Pure analog synth and Brazilian percussion insanity.

  16. My guiltiest pleasures in music … ?
    Demis Roussos, Gregorian and various 1960’s psychedelic garage bands…

  17. I’m confused about what you mean by “electronic music.” Synthesists make electronic music. Kylie Minogue is a singer. Unless you are meaning music that is reproduced for your ear by electricity or electronics, in which case why include the word at all? And, no, I don’t consider any pop star to be a creator of electronic music. Keith Emerson, Wendy Carlos, Vangelis, Kraftwerk, even quite a bit of Rush is electronic. But not Brittney Spears. Sorry, I refuse that definition.

    One of my guilty pleasures just happens to be very electronic, in spirit and in fact: the soundtrack from WALL-e.

  18. bright eyes – I just think he has some really clever lyrics, even if they are often emotionally-juvenile

    Taco – yeah

    and my track which I most ashamedly love is… a tie, between Sinead O’Connor’s version of “Nothing Compares 2 U” and “We Built This City (On Rock and Roll)” by Starship.

    Now I have to feel clean, so I’m gonna go listen to John Zorn or Birkowitz Lake and Dahmer

    1. I honestly played this for about 3 days with nothing else. Overdosed a little, recovered, and now bumping her albums too much (obviously when no one else can hear what I’m listening to). Her new one came out in Japan last month – Pika Pika Fantajin. Reckon she could be the first japanese pop singer to break internationally, especially if her rumoured European production experiments come to anything.

  19. I knew people would mention stuff that has no reason to be a “guilty pleasure”
    Erasure (Vince Clarke), OMD, Skinny Puppy (cEvin Key) are legendary musicians that belong right up there with the Gary Numan and John Foxx etc. that where mentioned in the article.

    I’m going to say Kajagoogoo – White Feathers as an album with not one bad song on it.
    No matter how ridiculous they are I still like Die Antwoord.

    1. I grew up with and wore out my vinyl copies of those early ’70s Moog albums – Sear’s “Copper Plated Integrated Circuit,” Hyman’s “Eclectic Electrics” and “Age of Electronicus”, Perrey/Kingsley’s “Kaleidoscopic Vibrations”, Kingsley’s “Musc to Moog By”, Trytall’s “Nashvill Gold – Switched On Moog”, “Swtiched On Rock” by Moog Machine, all of the Carlos albums on Columbia – the list goes on. These may not really qualify as guilty pleasure releases, though at the time I can tell you that precious few of my peers at the time considered it worthy to listen to any of these.

      But for sheer guilty pleasure goodness, nothing in my book can beat the entire Scritti Politti “Cupid & Psyche ’85” album.

  20. That new Miley Cyrus album is hella dope. Also, Bangerz. I think I’m a fan. And Dark Horse by Katy Perry, I’ve definitely listened to that more than a couple of times. I dunno, some of these pop megastars at the moment are actually releasing some good music imo

  21. [youtube

    yes this is a shameless plug, but bear with me – there’s a moral to this story. i observed a few years ago that many very popular artists were getting lots of airplay for what i would call “ego songs”; songs that do nothing but extol the virtues of the artist. this is most evident in Rap and R&B, but you see it in other genres as well. i was annoyed by this, so i decided to do an experiment. they say, “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”, so i wrote my own ego song, and published it as a bonus track to a Silicon Carbide album. given the simplistic structure of the song, and the tongue-in-cheek nature of the lyrics, i expected that nobody would pay much notice to the song. much to my bewilderment, many people have told me that it’s the greatest thing i’ve ever done! while i’m not sure that i would agree on that point, i occasionally find myself listening to the song when i need a pick-me-up, and it always seems to do the trick. i would encourage EVERYONE to write and record their own ego song. it’s a fun and liberating experience, and it provides a guilty pleasure even the fluffiest Britney Spears track could never upstage. 😉

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