We’re launching a new blog this week called Spotify Shame. Essentially a music confessional, through which various NME staffers, bands, and readers can do the brave thing and just come out there and go ahead and admit their dirty secret musical loves, it’s a chance to outwardly celebrate those bands and artists whose reputation is so shoddy no sane person would usually dare back them in public. It should see some interesting names thrown up over the coming weeks. We’ve already got 50 picks from the likes of Slash, Hurts, Miles Kane and numerous others – see the full list here.
I’ll kick things off. My name’s Tim and I like Bush. And you can stop the Butthead sniggering right now because I’m talking about post-grungers Bush the band, those mid-90s guitar fakers who took America hostage for a decade but got put in the stocks in Britain.
On the face of it so wrong they’ve gone round the block and become right – poster boy frontman that looked and sounded like Kurt but wouldn’t scratch himself with a compass, scuzzy grunge vocals and guitar chords straight outta, erm, Shepherds Bush, one band member dressed in feathers – for some reason, they struck a chord with my teenage self.
I loved ‘Sixteen Stone’, and not only the relatively acceptable full-on likes of ‘Everything Zen’ and ‘Machinehead’, but also the plaintive, I’m-so-fucked-up-honest, dogged drawl of the slow ones like ‘Comedown’, whose lyrics – ”I don’t want to come back down from this cloud / It’s taken me all this time to find out what I need” I found myself relating to. Well, we’re all young once. I didn’t really know what I was on about, but then I don’t think Gavin Rossdale did either.
I drew the line at ‘Swallowed’, the breakthrough dirge from second album ‘Razorblade Suitcase’, dismissing it as lazy, turgid, woe-is-me gibberish packed with an inordinate amount of senseless lyrical misery (blackened lungs, selfish sons, self esteem getting pissed on) – even though, in hindsight, that was their MO – but happily lapped up the utterly Nirvana B-side-esque ‘Bonedriven’ (bad track titles were a hallmark – ‘Monkey’, ‘Glycerine’, ‘X-Girlfriend’, ‘A Tendency To Start Fires’), and ‘Cold Contagious’. ‘Mouth’, meanwhile, got more than its fair share of repeats.
And like any music experienced during the teens it stayed with me in a way exeperiences don’t in adult life, irrevocably lodged in my brain behind a memory box full of endless summers, teenage heartache and Die Hard Trilogy on the PlayStation. So even though I’d be mortified if they spilled out through my headphones into the office I’ll still occasionally indulge in a little misguided faux-grunge angst every now and again, for old time’s sake. Hey, it could be worse. It could have been Nickelback.
Sign up for the newsletter
To mark the start of the series we’ve been asking everyone we know for their own guilty pleasures (for want of a better phrase). About 70% of them prefaced their choice with some kind of “guilty pleasure? I don’t believe in the concept / I don’t think pleasures are guilty” schtick. 90% chose stinkers. The rest, stone cold classics. We’d have never pegged Romy from The XX as a Mariah Carey fan, not did we ever think we’d have the image of Jack from Bombay Bicycle Club getting freaky to Diana Ross’ ‘Upside Down’, but there you go.
Professor Green, Mark Ronson, Bernard Sumner – they’ve all got a secret shame. Guess which one of those chose Take That? You can read the full countdown online now, and here’s a few others discussing their own picks.
Luke Lewis, Editor, NME.COM – Whitesnake, ‘Here I Go Again’
Yes, it’s as stuffed full of lyrical clichés as David Coverdale’s crotch is stuffed full of gym socks, and yes the guitars are as epically overblown as the band’s haircuts at the time – but what a chorus! The perfect song to hear drunk at 3am with your best friends, shortly before vomiting into a plant pot.
Krissi Murison, Editor, NME – Gwen Stefani, ‘The Sweet Escape’
Is it wrong that of all the albums released in 2004 (‘The College Drop Out’, ‘Desperate Youth Blood Thirsty Babies’, ‘Aha Shake Heartbreak’…) the one I actually still listen to the most is ‘Love Angel Music Baby’? Or that my favourite song on it wasn’t, y’know, ‘Tick Tock’ or ‘Hollerback’ or any of the universally-agreed good ones, but the teeth-rottingly cute, Akon-featuring sap-fest with the video set in a Ferrero Rocher box? Hmmm…
Priya Elan, Assistant Editor, NME.COM – The Dream Academy, ‘Life In A Northern Town’
Yes, it might be available on a million terrible 80s compilations. And yes, it may contain a chant which makes many think of ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’ but to me it’s weird, magical and rather beautiful.
Rebecca Schiller, Editorial Assistant, NME.COM – Chumbawumba, ‘Tubthumping’
Does anyone really know what tubthumping means? Probably not. Does it matter? Not really. I remember buying this CD (and loving the weird purple baby on the cover) when I was 10. I brought it to a sleepover that night, and we had a big singalong and giggled every time we said “pissing” (it means something completely different in America, mind you). Plus it’s got a killer trumpet solo.
Mike Williams, Deputy Editor, NME – Lisa Loeb and Nine Stories, ‘Stay (I Missed You)’
“Guilty pleasure? Nah, fuck that. I don’t believe in guilty pleasures, and therefore feel no guilt whatsoever about my weird infatuation with Lisa Loeb and Nine Stories’ ‘Stay (I Missed You)’. What’s not to like? It’s catchy, it doesn’t really have a chorus, she’s got amazing glasses, it was on the Reality Bites soundtrack and I once had a dream where I was playing it on an acoustic guitar at the back of the school bus and loads of girls fancied me. Okay, so it’s also the worst kind of wet-the-bed indie and she’s probably got loads of cats, but hey.
Matt Wilkinson, Radar Editor, NME – White Town, ‘Your Woman’
From the very first time I heard about it – watching a Newsround broadcast when I was about ten, if I remember rightly – I fell for this computer-classic. I don’t care what anyone says – it’s catchy as fuck, lyrically deceptive (“Your woman”? But you’re a bloke!) and equally eerie/freaky/weird. AKA everything wicked pop music should be.
What’s your Spotify Shame? Let us know below.