Midterm season isn’t complete with a good emotional break-down and a moment to just let completely loose. The best way to successfully accomplish both is by jamming out to your favourite guilty pleasure song, but not just any mildly embarrassing track. The perfect song for getting over midterm insanity is the type of track that you’ve been faithful to since middle school, the one you blast on your headphones in the middle of McLennan, the one that completes you in a way no other song can. For the March Trib Mix: Guilty Pleasures Edition, the editors at the McGill Tribune have selected their go-to guilty pleasure track to make up one of the most incredible and cringe-worthy playlists yet.
“Goodbye My Lover”—James Blunt
James Blunt received equal measures success and derision with his hit single “You're Beautiful.” His debut album Back to Bedlam/ (2003) remained stylistically true to his number one hit, and included the emotionally overwrought “Goodbye My Lover.”
Although commercially successful, Blunt has been plagued with criticisms of being self-indulgent and excessively cheesy throughout /Back to Bedlam/. However, no one is more critical than Blunt himself. A prolific and hilarious tweeter, Blunt is often self-deprecating in his online interactions, such as this exchange with Ed Sheeran:
My NME Award for Worst Album 2006 still hasn't arrived! RT @edsheeran: my urban music award from 2011 turned up today…
— James Blunt (@JamesBlunt) October 8, 2013
In “Goodbye My Lover,” the minimalist nature of the production does well to highlight the unique nasal quality of Blunt’s voice, forcing the listener to fully take in his vocal talents. His turn of phrase and unconventional pronunciation encapsulates his artistic talent.
“I know you well, I know your spell… / I've watched you sleeping for a while / I'd be the father of your child.”
Although both Blunt and “Goodbye My Lover” are objectively terrible, both have a certain /je ne sais quoi/. Melodically catchy and emotionally evocative, I catch myself happily singing along, in spite of the extreme levels of public embarrassment this causes.
As an initial disclaimer, I'm not a fan of Nickelback's music as a whole. But part of me does always feel bad for the reputation they get as being Canada's worst export. While their career, and Chad Kroeger's greasy hairstyle, has undoubtedly gone on years too long, my reservations about bashing them come from three songs from the early 2000s: "How You Remind Me," "Someday," and "Savin Me." Good things really do come in threes, because those three songs are literally it. Most guilty pleasures are songs that you kind of know are bad but usually were popular when you were younger so they make you feel nostalgic. MuchMusic definitely played the hell out of these three songs at the time, and I take that as a sign that I was not the only one who liked them.
"Savin Me" wins in particular because of the video. There's definitely a lot to say about "Someday" and its alternate endings, but "Savin Me" has stuck with me to this day as being so cool. It's one of the few music videos where Nickelback isn't performing, and I think that helps it not be too ridiculous. In the video, one person sees timers glowing above everybody's heads. He can't figure out what it means until he sees an older woman's run out, and he realizes that it's the amount of time until they die. He sees another woman's timer drastically dropping as she goes to her car, and just in time saves her from a giant falling sculpture, and the power is then transferred to her. It's emotional and creepy and guaranteed is one of the most memorable (Canadian) music videos from the time.
“Dance floor anthem”—Good Charlotte
I acutely remember sitting on the floor of my room covered in gel paints. I had an oversized neon yellow t-shirt spread out in front of me, and on it I had just finished writing every single word to the song “Dance floor anthem” by Good Charlotte. At 15, the angst and the despairing feelings of being single but wanting a boyfriend consumed me. “Dance floor anthem’s” gritty chords and speaking/singing lyrics fed precisely into the hungriest part of my soul. “If you’ve got nothing left / Say I don’t wanna be in love / I don’t wanna be in love,” the band swooned into my ears.
It was natural and easy to sing along with Joel Madden, as I dyed my hair with colored chalks to match other pop-punk kids. The song was relatable; any boy or girl who has felt like they were in love could be the ‘he’ or ‘she’ in the song. It’s catchy with that perfect 2010 dance-floor vibe, with the bridge leading into an optimistic end, “Now you know what to do / So come on, get up, girl.” A fusion between hellogoodbye’s “Here (In your arms)” and Green Day’s “American Idiot,” the song is satisfying, a little bit gritty, and the perfect combination for any 15 (and 22) year-old.