We’ve all been there: alone in the car at last, just in time for you to turn up the volume on a song you should be too embarrassed to like. How many of you have sat up a little straighter, cranked up the radio and sang your head off, secure in the knowledge that no one would ever have to know?
That’s what I thought. Music fans have shared their guiltiest pleasure songs all over the internet. This is a collection of the songs most frequently listed as the ones you hate to admit you love.
The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)
So many Christmas songs are cringeworthy, and this one is doubly so because a) it is from a cartoon, and b) it is sung by chipmunks. Still, that doesn’t prevent many of you from being unreasonably excited when you hear the fake chipmunks warbling for their Christmas presents.
Demi Lovato has a lot to overcome in music, like all singers who started out in the Disney stable. It was hard for people to admit they liked this song, and yet it was a big hit, so clearly someone other than teenyboppers was buying this record.
One Sweet Day
Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men combining for a ballad that memorializes their lost loved ones is the stuff that either melts hearts or makes you run screaming from the building. But some people really love to listen to this manipulative song and then cry, and there’s a 100% overlap between those people and those who are fans of NBC’s cry-fest, This Is Us.
Mambo Number 5
“A little bit of Erica…” If you were alive when Lou Bega’s one-hit-wonder arrived, you probably grit your teeth when you read those words. Still, there are times (albeit few and far between), when you might catch yourself shimmying to the tune of Mambo Number 5, but only when you are all alone.
I Think I Love You
“I Think I Love You” was the bane of David Cassidy’s existence. It was a smash hit, but a far cry from the music of the time, music he loved like Hendrix. A lot of people feel the same way about this song – loving the cool factor of the late 1960’s and 1970’s, yet capable of singing every word of “I Think I Love You.”
I Would Do Anything For Love
“I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)” commits two cardinal sins: being overly long and never answering the question posed by the title – what won’t Meatloaf do??? Gah! It’s enough to drive you crazy, and yet sometimes when one is feeling extra dramatic they get the urge to wear a shirt with pirate sleeves and howl every word.
A Thousand Miles
Overwrought, over dramatic and overly long, Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles” is as exhausting as that late night conversation you had with your very over-the-top college roommate at age 18. Still, the song persisted, and much like Meatloaf, Carlton’s song has a hypnotic pull on fans.
I Would Walk 5,000 Miles
At the end of the day, the Proclaimers probably made more money from their lone hit than the movie it appeared in (Benny & Joon). It was cloying, annoying and sung by two Scottish dweebs. And yet I bet you’ve belted it out in your underwear, all alone.
What would this list be without a Britney Spears song? “Toxic” happened when Spears was already past her prime. It shouldn’t have been a hit… but it’s too much guilty pleasure fun to pass up.
Livin La Vida Loca
Sure, it’s easy to laugh at Ricky Martin’s “Livin La Vida Loca” now, since we know how ridiculous the song actually is. At the time though, Martin’s arrival in America broke him as a star worldwide, with people comparing his hip-shaking to Elvis. It may be hard to believe now, but this was a critically acclaimed song. (Maybe it wasn’t – any port in a storm.)
Do They Know It’s Christmas
It’s only fitting that we end with another yuletide groaner – Band Aid’s 1985 charity song, “Do They Know It’s Christmas.” It also goes by the name “Snow in Africa” just to amp up the cringe. See, these rock stars were trying to help a real famine in Africa, but they wound up writing some very strange lyrics to go on top of a pretty melody (“tonight thank God it’s them, instead of youuuuuu!!!!” Bono wails).
It’s such a dumb song but also hard not to enjoy, with great performances by the biggest stars of the 1980’s. But also impossible not to feel guilty over it since they’re literally reminding you to raise a glass to starving children in Africa, “Underneath that burning sun.”
And that’s the tortured logic that makes “Snow in Africa” the guiltiest pleasure song of all.