On Guilty Pleasures

What is a guilty pleasure, exactly, and who gets to define what that is? I've long thought there is a certain degree of cultural snobbery involved in labeling, for the rest of us dummies, what constitutes a guilty pleasure. Case in point: Kid Rock.

I work with someone (who won't read this blog) who loves Kid Rock. This person elects to spend their time listening to, and enjoying the hell out of, Kid Rock. Kid Rock combined rap and metal and never stopped. Kid Rock is a rust belt icon. Kid Rock speaks to a certain segment of the culture that others choose not to engage. And his shows are affordable and so is the beer


Despite his attributes, Kid Rock is also an idiot who wants to run for U.S. Senate in Michigan. And his music leaves much to be desired, perhaps because of he represents the worst of rap, rock, modern southern/heartland rock, and the like. 

But who am I to decide what the best music is? And if I liked Kid Rock, would I consider it a "guilty pleasure"? I would, but I'm not really sure why. I want to make the bold claim that Kid Rock is a blatantly commercial artist who isn't emotionally honest in his music. However, he seems to want to make his shows affordable for his fans and I have no reason to think his lyrics aren't honest ("we were smoking funny things" sounds true enough). He is universally maligned by the critics, but so is one of my favorite artists, David Bazan

So what does "guilty pleasure" really mean to me? I suppose it means that it is a piece of music or art that I enjoy even though I feel like I shouldn't, I'm "above it", or that I inherently get a sense that it isn't worth advertising to the world that I like it. 

This only leads me to one conclusion: I should probably get rid of the term, and even though I think Kid Rock sucks, this song doesn't:




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