Casual Cadenza: Guilty pleasures

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The mind can only handle so much — might as well binge iCarly for the eighth time in a row and rot your brain with the sweet, sweet tunes of songs that are so bad they’re actually good. Here is my way of enabling you. “Photo by Haley Powers on Unsplash

I knew this topic would come in handy at some point. These past seven days have only confirmed the premature arrival of the worst part of the semester — at a record-breaking week four! Not a single thing went right: tears were shed, breakdowns were had and the prospect of dropping out was considered. But what else is new? Difficulties come and go; that includes long, gruelling, painstakingly stressful, no good, very bad periods of time.  

Unfortunately, being distracted by the terribleness of one’s week leaves little room for engaging in standard activities like starting a new show or listening to preferred music artists. The mind can only handle so much — might as well binge iCarly for the eighth time in a row and rot your brain with the sweet, sweet tunes of songs that are so bad they’re actually good. Here is my way of enabling you. 

One Direction — “Taken” 

Objectively, it’s One Direction’s worst song. Subjectively, it’s their best one next to “Fool’s Gold.” Like many of the tracks from their debut album, “Taken” carries a blatant simplicity within its lyrics that remains unmatched by any other work of art. Sung from the perspective of being in a new relationship, Harry, Liam and Zayn explore the heartbreaking matters of a past love, all without the help of Louis and Niall whose parts simply don’t exist. It proves that even three-fifths of the group hold enough power to deliver a masterpiece. If you’re not convinced of its musical superiority, try blasting the song in your car while scream-belting the words out a rolled-down window. For best results, do it whenever you feel sad, angry, confused, overwhelmed or all of the above. You’ll never underestimate the cathartic capabilities of a failed teen pop ballad ever again. 

Mayday Parade — “Terrible Things” 

Purchasing my first pair of black high top converse and wearing a “Normal People Scare Me” T-shirt from Hot Topic was the closest I got to having an emo phase in high school. Other than the occasional wearing of flannel and playing “Stressed Out” by Twenty One Pilots, it never got as far as listing Mayday Parade as one of my favorite bands. In fact, I’m pretty sure “Terrible Things” is the only song I know from them. Despite being the absolute epitome of the emo genre, the addictive nature of yelling along to the track’s fourth verse never fails to compel me, and is by itself the one trait that designates it as a guilty pleasure. Who knew singing to your son about the tragic loss of your wife and warning him about the consequences of falling in love could be so uplifting? 

LILHUDDY — “21st Century Vampire” 

Yeah. 

If there is any song that perfectly encapsulates the concept of a guilty pleasure, it’s this one. The guilt I feel in admitting the unironic goodness of Lil Huddy’s newest single “21st Century Vampire” is immeasurable. In my defense, I have yet to condone the illogical pattern of TikTok stars entering the music industry, nor do I have any interest in the lives of mainstream TikTok creators. Actively listening to Lil Huddy’s music is both enjoyable and incredulous, answering the popular question, “What feels illegal but isn’t?” But somehow, something went right. Huddy released an acceptable alternative rock piece that thrives on oversimplified lyrics saved by catchiness and an impressive guitar instrumental, which absolutely no one saw coming. It’s painful to admit, but good job to him I guess. 

The Chainsmokers ft. ROZES — “Roses” 

Say what you want about The Chainsmokers — that their breakthrough song “#Selfie” only got famous for delivering an unfunny meme and the rest of their music remains incredibly overrated with its overused EDM beats and superficial lyrics. All of that is true, but let’s face it: “Roses” is a good song. Again, from an objective standpoint, it’s not. The track has one verse while the majority of the chorus is just “ah” being repeated. No surprise there, considering it was made in six hours. But that beat drop cannot be ignored, nor can it be shamed for holding the entire song together. Objectivity has no role in brain rot; if you’re already at wit’s end, listening to The Chainsmokers will either have little to no impact on your mental status or it’ll positively alter it. That’s the one good thing about reaching your mental limitations: the only way to go is up. 

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