Sunday, August 05, 2007

Between "Innocent" and "True Confessions" There Should Be a Clever and Cryptic Garland Jeffreys Allusion in This Title, But I'm Not that Smart

Got caught in an argument not of my making, so feel like I need to reset and explain. Scott Long over at The Juice Blog asked for 10 Desert Island Discs (no comps, no greatest hits, no sdtrks) plus one guilty pleasure. I orginally said this:

In the order I'm thinking, not the order I'm listening, I think:

Magnetic Fields "69 Love Songs"

Brian Eno "Another Green World"
Yo La Tengo "Electr-o-Pura"
Roxy Music "Siren"
Lucinda Williams "Lucinda Williams"
Elvis Costello "Imperial Bedroom"
Frank Sinatra "Songs for Swinging Lovers"
Mekons "Mekons Rock 'n' Roll"
Richard & Linda Thompson "Shoot Out the Lights"
Matthew Sweet "Girlfriend--special edition"*

WC--OK, it's not really a guilty pleasure, but leaving out Tom Waits' "Rain Dogs" just left me feeling really really bad. Plus I need some Marc Ribot.

*I'm assuming my wife will be there, and it's her favorite album. Plus then I get to listen to some Robert Quine.

Eventually, after a whole bunch of us posted, Scott got a bit pissy (it's his blog, that's his right):

Breaking my rules on compilation, live, or soundtrack has been flouted, but the people who can't understand the concept of a guilty pleasure is what makes me crazy. Some of us have dressed up for the costume party, and those of you who haven't are making us feel a bit self-conscious in our efforts at opening ourselves up to a bit of ridicule.

Which he later followed with a list of Google-found definitions for guilty pleasures:

something you enjoy, even though you know it's bad for you.
something that I pretend to like ironically, but secretly really like.
something that would ruin us if our friends knew about.
something you would listen to, but sure as hell wouldn't wear a t-shirt in public of.

Of course I kept jumping in, because the only thing I think I have more of than taste is opinions, and therefore I wrote:

I don't listen to the radio beyond NPR (in my Volvo, yes, why do you ask?). If I had to go with a guilty pleasure CD, which would mean I'm leaving behind a good 100 others I'd take before it, I'd grab ABC's "The Lexicon of Love" because it seemed easier back in the day to try to be Martin Fry rather than Bryan Ferry.

So of course I know what a guilty pleasure is--not only did I grow up Catholic and more or less survive my mom, liking what I tend to like (what no one else likes, let alone has heard of) means I can feel guilty mighty fast. I mean, I loved Peter Gabriel for years, but my love for him diminished as the places I saw him grew larger, and he does put on a fascinating enough live show to pull off that 20,000 seat arena, if anyone can. But I also think the more an artist appeals to a larger audience, the less he or she can be artistic. I really do believe artistry--the expression of an individual--can't have mass appeal. (This is where, for instance, Trekking Left at Average Man and I will split company on television as art.) Commerce kills art. It's that simple. (Is this just an excuse for me never having made money?)

So I will try to come up with videos this week that embody some of my musical guilty pleasures. For instance The Hold Steady today--could any narrative be more brilliantly rigged? Craig Finn proves that live, underlining everything clever in his lyrics, but they ARE clever lyrics (just the oranges and cigarettes bit is worth the price of admission). And when the woman and man first sing together, the song sort of lifts off--of course they hook up and "sing." It's theatrics at its simplest, and it's got a piano part to drive the point home. And I haven't even said the words "Bruce Springsteen"yet.

There will be more. What makes me guilty might leave you nonplussed, but that makes my sins no less a cause to keep me from a heaven that only I can make for myself.

Feel free to drop in your Desert Island Discs, too. Or your guilty pleasures. (And I haven't even mentioned it's easier to sustain a pleasurable guilt for a song rather than a wh0le album. You almost have to have greatest hits count for a guilty pleasure CD.)

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Blogger juiceblog said...

Wow, Garland Jeffreys. Here is a new title suggestion for your blog, George. Volvo driving, NPR listening, Guilty Pleaures be damned George!

I like it.

2:37 PM  
Blogger juiceblog said...

Wow, Garland Jeffreys. Here is a new title suggestion for your blog, George. Volvo driving, NPR listening, Guilty Pleaures be damned George!

I like it.

2:38 PM  

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