Music is the great equalizer. Many forms of art still remain relatively unattainable to the masses without a big money commitment. But radio and home stereo ownership exploded music into pretty much any American home as long as you wanted it. I was raised in a home that was dominated with music. My father proudly built his stereo setup which included an enviable vinyl record collection, of which I inherited half.
My collection has expanded quite a bit, but a majority of his mint classics remain.
Music ownership and knowledge became a point of pride for my whole family and I began digging into each genre for hidden gems. It was around the time I could buy music that we also started getting Rolling Stone and SPIN on our doorstep each month. What followed was an education on classic and must-own albums. I began to despise most “Pop” music while in my teen years. The Popular Music that I enjoyed was stuff from earlier decades – The Beatles, the Rat Pack, Michael Jackson or even Elton John. But even as my tastes started to veer to the underground, to the hidden gems, there was always a part of me that could admit I enjoyed cheesy or catchy tunes. Some earworms took a deep hold of me and I would seek out songs that I wouldn’t dare admit to my guy friends or family.
This was the beginning of my admiration for guilty pleasure music. Tracks, artists and albums that I enjoyed despite the embarrassment or stigma. Some were choices that were before their time culturally, and some were just cringeworthy that I couldn’t help but love.
So, The Guilty Mixtape is my outlet for all the music I couldn’t share with the world, but enjoyed repeatedly in quiet. Some are #throwback picks that I wouldn’t admit when younger but proudly love today. Others are recent favorites that I think you should hear and guiltily love with me. The rest are submissions from people I respect — friends, journalists, musicians and more. Anybody who feels brave enough to confess their musical sins. Welcome!