I loathe hipsters, but I have been known to judge people based on their musical preferences. Still, I try not to overdo it by making unnecessary references to Wilco or Lupe Fiasco. As in the previous sentence.
But even the most insufferable music snobs have a list of Certified Guilty Pleasures, and I am no exception. A bad or challenging day demands my Guilty Pleasures Mix, Vol. 1: eleven cheese-powered anthems made for air guitar and tossing up devil horns. They made it possible for me to drive across town at 7:15 this morning, without weeping, to transport my rambunctious* 8-year-old to an out-of-school "refocusing" program. It would be a perfect compilation if not for the grievous omission of Night Ranger's "Sister Christian." Mistakes were made.
And just to be clear, there is nothing ironic about my affection for the following:
1. "Alive and Kicking" by Simple Minds: This is almost too good to qualify as a guilty pleasure, but the over-emoting sends it just across the line. Remember the awesomely generic video with the band singing on a random hilltop? Of course you do. Soul-stirring!
2. "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey: Show me the man who doesn't love this song, and I'll show you an utterly broken human being. Why did it take the final episode of "The Sopranos" to give this song the legitimacy it so richly deserves? Aren't we all just strangers on that mythical midnight train going anywhere? Steeeeeve!
3. "Oh, Sherrie" by Steve Perry: I'm not sure why Steve Perry needed to go solo to produce this, since it sounds JUST LIKE a Journey song, but whatever. Who is this Sherrie, and why does she keep on hurting Steve? Would she really be better off alone? Did she, indeed, hold on? It's a question for the ages, man.
4. "Panama" by Van Halen: How awesome are Eddie Van Halen's guitar licks in this song? Hagar, Schmagar. Even now, I would pay good money to hear David Lee Roth growl, "We're running a little bit hot tonight." Yes, David Lee. We are.
5. "Pour Some Sugar On Me" by Def Leppard: A filthy, bombastic, high fructose delight. I have yet to meet the person who doesn't secretly like this song. Because HE DOESN'T EXIST.
6. "Round and Round" by Ratt: If I were a stripper, this would be my pole-dancing jam. Still can't hear it without thinking of Milton Berle, though.
7. "Valotte" by Julian Lennon: It's the only ballad here, but it has enough pathos for an iPod Shuffle full of ballads. Damn shame that this wasn't the beginning of a long, successful music career for Julian.
8. "Wanted Dead or Alive" by Bon Jovi: Because life is such a blur of gigs and groupies that we can only tell the day by the bottle that we drink.
9. "What a Fool Believes" by the Doobie Brothers: The only '70s song on this list is propelled by what sounds like a child's Casio keyboard and the soulful, indecipherable vocal stylings of Michael McDonald.
10. "You Give Love a Bad Name" by Bon Jovi: It just rocks. Okay?
11. "Working for the Weekend" by Loverboy: It's indefensible. The synthesizers. The fifth-grade lyrics that rhyme "start" with "start". It's the sound of dozens of telemarketers tearing out of the parking lot on a Friday afternoon, headed to happy hour at the nearest Applebees. Hell, yeah.
I've told you mine. Now it's your turn.