I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. If you fucking like something, like it. […] Don’t fucking think it’s not cool to like Britney Spears’ “Toxic.” […] Why the fuck not? Fuck you! That’s who I am, goddamn it! That whole guilty pleasure thing is full of fucking shit. — Dave Grohl
Dave Grohl is right — the “guilty pleasure” music concept is bullshit.
Everyone has at least one band (or genre) that is largely considered uncool, but still listens to it. For me, that genre is emo — particularly, Dashboard Confessional. I started listening to Dashboard Confessional in high school, when “A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar” was released. Like all emo music-obsessed teens, I scribbled my favorite lyrics from “Hands Down” (and later, “Vindicated”) on my Converse sneakers. I listened to that album on repeat while typing angsty posts in my livejournal. Later, I discovered that my favorite albums are the earlier acoustic ones.
In college, my journal-writing ritual was this: I’d crawl into bed, put on headphones, and blast “The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most,” followed by “The Swiss Army Romance.” If I still wasn’t done sorting through whatever it was in my composition notebook, I’d put on “Dusk and Summer,” and then “A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar.” There’s something so earnest about Chris Carraba’s lyrics and voice that’s lacking in similar songwriters today. Like Bon Iver — people will wax poetic about “For Emma, Forever Ago,” but fail to address his smugness about being heartbroken and the fact that his voice is terrible.
I started listening to Dashboard Confessional out of curiosity, then quickly fell down the rabbit hole of becoming a huge fan. None of their music is a guilty pleasure to me. People think it’s lame because Chris Carraba sings about the full scope of his feelings. But I’ve always thought that was admirable. The root of why people listen to so-called guilty pleasure music is because it makes them happy. It’s contradictory that emo music would make me happy, but it’s the music I’ve always listened to while writing. It’s cathartic. As I write this post, I’m listening to “Alter The Ending” (the deluxe edition with the acoustic versions of each song, naturally).
At some point, you have to stop worrying about being perceived as cool. It’s exhausting to have to keep up with what’s acceptable to admit that you listen to and what isn’t. Most people won’t judge you based on your music taste. They have better things to do. And honestly, self-proclaimed music snobs can be pretentious yet shallow assholes. You don’t have to qualify why you thoroughly enjoy a certain band or artist with “well, it’s my guilty pleasure, but…”
Your disregard for people’s opinions will trickle into other aspects of your life and you will be happier for it.