Some songs are just plain guilty pleasures…

I may lose what little street cred I ever had by admitting that I kind of like Paris Hilton’s minor hit song from 2006, “Stars Are Blind”. Like a lot of people, I scoffed when I heard Paris Hilton, formerly famous for being a beautiful heiress who made a sex tape, had made an album. I didn’t bother to listen to it when it was popular because I figured it would suck. Then one day, I ran across a parody video on YouTube…

The parody was made by omovies and featured on YouTube during the summer of 2007, around the time Paris Hilton was serving time in a Los Angeles jail for reckless driving on a suspended license. I thought the parody was funny and I found that I kind of enjoyed the song’s reggae beat. It made me curious about the original, so I went looking for “Stars Are Blind” on YouTube.

While I do think I like the parody better, mainly because the person singing it has a much better voice and the video is more fun to watch, I will confess that “Stars Are Blind” is not a bad effort at all. I’ve certainly heard much worse. I now count “Stars Are Blind” as one of my many guilty pleasures.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Paris Hilton can sort of sing. Her mother, Kathy, was an actress back in the 70s and even tried out for the part of “Fake Jan” on The Brady Bunch Hour. Since this post is about guilty pleasures, I will confess that all things Brady, especially The Brady Bunch Hour, are guilty pleasures for me. Kathy Hilton lost the part of “fake” Jan Brady to Geri Reischl, who evidently has a better singing voice. Come to think of it, she also has a better singing voice than “Real Jan”, Eve Plumb. I’m sure that Kathy Hilton feels like she dodged a bullet by not being part of the pure weirdness that was The Brady Bunch Hour.

You can hear “Fake Jan” sing on this clip from the truly bizarre The Brady Bunch Hour.

You know who else was involved in the Brady Bunch Hour? Susan Buckner, famous for her role as “Patty Simcox” in the 1978 film, Grease, was one of the bizarre synchronized swimmers/divers featured on The Brady Bunch Hour. The Osmonds had ice skaters; The Bradys had Esther Williams like bathing beauties. And hey, former champion swimmer and movie star Esther Williams died yesterday, so this post is even a little bit topical!

Pop music is full of guilty pleasure songs. Consider the early 1990s, when there were two very similar songs out…

There was Tag Team’s “Whoomp There It Is”…

And there was 95 South’s “Whoot There It Is”…

They are sort of marginally different, I guess. I probably couldn’t tell the difference between the two unless I really concentrated. I will admit the chorus is very catchy, though. When these songs were popular, I was working as the cook at a church summer camp and one of the teenaged guys who worked as a dish washer used to sing these songs all the time. And now, they are guilty pleasures, though I don’t feel guilty about turning them off when they inevitably start to grate on my nerves.

Then a few years later, the Baha Men came out with “Who Let The Dogs Out”, a song that I initially found kind of infectious but later got really sick of hearing. Maybe it’s because it sounds so much like either “Whoot There It Is” or “Whoomp There It Is”.

I also got sick of “The Macarena”, though it was a guilty pleasure when I first heard it. It has a beat you can dance to; heck, the song is about a dance! How could you not love that? Every time I hear it, it reminds me of Istanbul, Turkey. I happened to be there on vacation in 1996 when this song apparently hit big. So instead of Spanish dancers, I think of Turks.

I never did learn how to do The Macarena properly.

You know what the ultimate guilty pleasure is? “MmmBop” by Hanson. I have to admit, I kind of like this song, even though it’s pure pop and consists of about four chords. This morning, someone on my Facebook said his wife actually rang off a phone call because “MmmBop” had come on the radio and she wanted to listen to it.

I never did learn how to roller blade, either.

Here’s an ironic twist. “The Macarena” is a song by Spanish singers that reminds me of Turkey. “MmmBop” is a song by adolescent Americans that reminds me of Spain. It happened to be very popular when I was visiting Barcelona in 1997, so now every time I hear it, I think of that city.

I do like “good” music that has a message or is performed by someone with legitimate talent. But I have to admit a weakness for the bizarre, the inane, and the ridiculous. Most of the songs profiled in this post fit that description very well and qualify easily as guilty pleasures. And since it’s Friday, here’s another guilty pleasure song to kick off your weekend.