There’s a time and a place for everything.
I would never be caught dead seeing one of those oh-so-angsty “Twilight” movies in the theaters, but I can think of worse ways to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon if they’re on cable.
I would never pass up a meal at some hip new restaurant promising locally sourced ingredients prepared by some up-and-coming chef, but sometimes nothing beats a couple of dirty water hot dogs.
I have some sartorial wherewithal, but who doesn’t love those days when you change out of that comfy, beat-up old T-shirt and a perfectly worn-in pair of jeans only to shower before hopping right back into the same lazy day outfit?
I love “The Wire,” “Mad Men” and PBS’ “Frontline,” but could just as easily knock out an entire afternoon watching “Boy Meets World” reruns.
Just because you like the finer things in life doesn’t mean you can’t also indulge in life’s guilty pleasures. They are not mutually exclusive pursuits.
The same logic can certainly be applied to music.
In the eight months or so since this column first appeared, I’ve dedicated this space to songs and artists that I find musically significant, worthwhile and otherwise life-affirming.
That doesn’t mean I can’t, and don’t, appreciate a sugary sweet, infectiously catchy, here-today gone-tomorrow pop song.
“Mambo No. 5.” “Summer Girls.” “How Bizarre.” “Tubthumping.” “You Get What You Give.” These songs are the cotton candy of the music world.
Everyone loves cotton candy but no one would ever mistake it for actual food. There are no articles published in the New England Journal of Medicine about the health benefits of an all-spun sugar diet.
A little bit of junk food is delightful but, as kids, we all learned what happens when you eat too much of it — time to get out of the pixie dust. Or lapse into a diabetic coma.
It’s all about moderation. It’s all about balance.
The same goes for this music.
Listening only to these kinds of songs is bad for you. Bad for your heart. Bad for your soul.
But every once in a while, there’s nothing better than turning off your brain, cranking up the stereo and mindlessly singing along to a song you’ll barely remember this time next year.
This week, here’s a playlist of eight songs devoid of any artistic value yet so fun that they should be occasionally enjoyed without irony or shame.
Live a little. A life spent listening only to Tom Waits or Sigur Ros is like the Paleo Diet. It’s probably good for you, but no one likes that much kale.
• Train, “Hey, Soul Sister” — The “I Ching” of stupid, catchy pop songs. The lyrics are utter nonsense.
• Miley Cyrus, “Party in the U.S.A.” — Try not to sing along, I dare you.
• Taylor Swift, “The Story of Us” — Yes, her “Aw, shucks” folksy-ness is totally disingenuous, but some of her songs are not that bad.
• OneRepublic, “Good Life” — This song is not good, by any standard, but it’s inclusion in a heartfelt ad campaign for Walt Disney World wins it a spot on this list.
• One Direction, “What Makes You Beautiful” — This British boy band is carrying on the age-old tradition of producing catchy, fun pop songs you would never want your buddies to catch you singing.
• Justin Bieber, “Boyfriend” — You were kidding yourself if you thought I’d make a playlist like this and not season it with a dash of Bieber Fever.
• Ke$ha, “We R Who We R” — A song so patently bad and brainless that it becomes transfixing.
• Carly Rae Jepsen, “Call Me Maybe” — There’s a reason this song has spawned so many viral videos.