On Guilty Pleasures

by Jessikah Hope Stenson

One Direction, Kylie Minogue, Take That, Paramore, All Time Low and Girls Aloud.

These artists all have one thing in common – they’re often referred to as guilty pleasures. If asked your favourite musician and you name one of these it is customary that you blush and/or look ashamed while you admit to it.

They’re either too old or too childish. If unsure as to whether or not an artist is deemed a guilty pleasure first ask yourself whether anyone over the age of forty or under the age of fifteen would enjoy listening to them. If the answer is yes then steer clear. But why are guilty pleasures termed just that? Why should we feel guilty for enjoying particular genres of music or artists that are associated with people of different age groups?

If someone told the nation that Justin Beiber would make a comeback like no other popstar in 2015 and release some decent songs, no one would have believed it. Yet, nowadays Justin Beiber is not considered a guilty pleasure like he used to be. It’s important to mention, that this is about as rare as an albino alligator. For people under the age of fifteen to still enjoy Beiber and it not be deemed uncool is… bizarre. Not every artist can do a “Beiber”.

Logically, guilty pleasures just don’t make sense. Paramore, a band labelled as “childish” by my peers, have a fan demographic of around the ages 16 – 24. As they’ve grown up, so have their fanbase and these days the young teens at Paramore shows are in the minority. Plus, Paramore are not widely unpopular – quite the opposite. With over 24 million Facebook likes (obviously the best indicator of fan numbers), Paramore seem to be adored in America. But in the UK, if you as much as mention Misery Business or spot someone at the gig with red hair they must be utterly besotted and have dyed their hair for the sole purpose of becoming Hayley Williams. This is because for many people Paramore are an example of a band they listened to in their early teens and associate them with the horrors of growing up. But there’s a gap in the logic here. That band didn’t change, only you did. While it’s okay to move on and change in music taste, disregarding a band because they appealed to fourteen-year-old you is completely irrational.

Disliking music because it isn’t a genre you enjoy or because it is technically bad – like a vocalist who can’t hold a note – is fair. Selena Gomez, as shown in her acoustic performances, isn’t the strongest of singers. So it’s fair to say that her fame outweighs her vocal talents. However, claiming that she’s bad simply because she appeals to girls aged thirteen and fourteen degrades a fanbase that are entitled to their own opinions and degrades Gomez for the wrong reasons.

The guilty pleasure bracket is constantly evolving. Instead of bothering to keep up with it and letting other people dictate what’s acceptable to like, let’s throw away the notion of guilty pleasures and proudly admit who our favourite artists are. After all, we love them for a reason.