It’s hard to separate music from the concept of “cool.” Not only does liking music in general help define you as cool, but there’s a vague, subjective hierarchy within music fans that defines your coolness, depending on what you listen to. Just imagine an illuminati of music snobs huddled together in a Masonic lair, surrounded by flame-lit torches and old 45s, deconstructing why Lorde should be cool while Tove Lo isn’t. It’s to the point where people buy — and brag about owning! — music they don’t even like just because they think it helps make them cooler.
We think that’s kind of ridiculous. The only factor that should decide what music is in your collection is whether or not you actually enjoy that music.
To us at UPROXX Music, there is no such thing as a “guilty pleasure” because we don’t feel guilty about our musical history. To prove it, we’ve let our guard down and decided to share our most embarrassing admissions with you. Whether it’s a deeply uncool album or artist we love or a particularly regretful moment, we’re letting the skeletons out of our musical closet.
And you can, too. Comment below with your own embarrassing admissions, and we’ll highlight the best entries in the near future. It’s okay. This is a safe space.
(Note: You won’t be able to listen to any of the Spotify widgets below unless you’re already a subscriber. Which you should do! Spotify is awesome.)
As an angsty suburban teenager oft ignored by girls in the late ’90s, I naturally turned to emo music. The CD case in my first car sported the likes of Jimmy Eat World, The Get Up Kids, American Football, Promise Ring, etc. and, of course, everyone’s favorite sad-sack troubadour Dashboard Confessional. Man, did I like Dashboard Confessional. Like, drive-around-alone-at-night-screaming-the-lyrics type of like. So when it was time to declare my love for a particular girl, and I was 17, I did what any good emo kid does: I bypassed direct communication and wrote a letter comprised solely of Dashboard Confessional lyrics, giving it to a mutual friend to deliver while I cowered at home waiting for a response. That response? It never came. She went to senior prom with someone else. “The Sharp Hint of New Tears,” indeed.
Dan Seitz, Senior Contributor
“Cotton-Eye Joe” is, and remains, the song I listen to the most on Google Music. Checking my iTunes, Amazon and Google plays, I’m at something like 568 recorded listens. That’s more than the number of times I’ve listened to my favorite album, Abattoir Blues, all the way through.
… Come to think of it, that probably explains why I get nothing but EDM recommendations on Pandora.
Andrew Husband, Contributing Writer/Editor
Annie Lennox’s “Walking on Broken Glass” is hands-down the best song to play on repeat. I keep a one-song playlist set to loop on Spotify. Even so, I still have the Diva CD my mom bought me for my birthday in 1992. (My dad questions this purchase to this day.) BONUS: Hugh Laurie is in the music video in character as Prince George from Blackadder the Third. “Lucky, lucky us!”
I made an Ace of Base station on Pandora a few years ago, and it’s still the first station that comes up whenever I log in. So, without fail, there’s usually “Never Going To Say I’m Sorry” or “Don’t Turn Around” or some sort of extended dance remix of “All That She Wants” that starts blasting. On more than one occasion, my phone has gone rogue on me and opened Pandora without me hitting the button. Let’s just say not everyone is as amused by hearing Ace of Base in a client meeting as I am.
I still own ska albums, so I have a lot of embarrassing musical tastes. But I think the musical choice I have to defend the most is the Spin Doctors, also known as the Smash Mouth of the early ’90s. As a guy in A.V. Club’s HateSong series put it when writing about “Two Princes,” “It’s ‘white people without problems’ music. I just envision hippies in a VW driving around San Francisco like, ‘Weee!'”
Which is exactly why I love it. “White people problem” music is mostly bullsh*t anyway. You think Springsteen ever actually worked in a factory? I’ll take stoners slappin’ da bass and singing about Superman any day.
Chris Mottram, Managing Editor (Sports)
I wrote a ska magazine in high school — a skazine, if you will — called Ska Mania from my parents’ basement… literally. It ran about five issues during the summer between freshman and sophomore year. I had my mom print hundreds of copies of it at her office (which thankfully didn’t get her fired), and I would staple them together myself, then drop them off at D.C.-area record stores for people to take for free. The main perk of all this was that Moon Ska Records sent me free copies of every new album that came out. They thought I was some kind of reputable publication that would review them. I continued getting packages in the mail with CDs years after I stopped doing the ‘zine. And now I have all those ska CDs, along with all the other ones I actually purchased, in a CD tower in my garage. I still listen to the Pietasters now and again. Oolooloo stands the test of time.
Ashley Burns, Senior Contributor
I’m not really embarrassed by much in terms of my musical taste. Sometimes, I feel like I should be embarrassed that I have a few Fall Out Boy songs on my playlist, but those d-bags make some catchy songs. Also, I listen to Nelson’s “Love and Affection” and Survivor’s “I Can’t Hold Back” probably once a day, but those are awesome songs that stand the test of time. The only thing that really embarrasses me, and sticks with me as a reminder to not go all-in on my Bro Country shaming, is that I went through a really bad country phase in college. I still like some country music artists, but me and the bros used to sing along to Kenny Chesney and Toby Keith, and that just makes me sick to admit.
Whitney Houston’s “I’m Every Woman” was one of my favorite power-me-up songs for a long time, one of those jams that’s so hard it’s not to get swept up by it. No, I have no ambitions or desires to be a lady. I just love how the the tune slowly swells from the affirmation lowly sung in the intro to a pulsating, uptempo beat that continues rising throughout. And while Whitney had a lot of hits, this is one of my favorites to sing along to no matter when, where or the company I’m in.
Back when ringtones were a thing, I spent my expendable income on what is sure to be the worst ringtone of all-time for my Sidekick 3. For some reason, I got the cool idea to purchase this awful ringtone of this awful song and make sure it was as loud as could be whenever I got a call, text or AIM alert. I also decided I should make sure all the lights on the phone went off, so people could not only hear that awful song, but get a visual alert that it was playing as well. The song? “Krispy,” by Kia Shine. Yes, Krispy with a K.
Thankfully, I have friends who actually care about me because, one day, my friend Tim finally hit me with a, “Yo, why the f*ck do you have that as your ringtone? Did you buy that?” It comes up in conversation to this day.
I know all of the lyrics to an Insane Clown Posse album. Anyone who has a problem with that is clearly just jealous they can’t eat Monopoly and sh*t out Connect Four.
Stacey Ritzen, Senior Contributor
I am unapologetically a Monkees fan and have been so for almost my entire life, so f*ck you. I have seen two of their concerts in the past five years (once before Davy passed away and once after) and one of those times I sat in the front row and it was one of the best nights of my life. My husband stood outside on the morning the tickets went on sale “with the old people” to get us those seats. He is a good husband.
Trevor Risk, Contributor
In Canada we had this boy band called The Moffatts. They were your standard Lou Pearlman-y hearthrobs, but they were four brothers: Clint, Dave, Bob and Scott. They also played actual instruments, which I know a lot of young girls were keen on pointing out regularly in playground arguments. I was so wildly unpopular in high school, mostly because I felt I was too good for the town of 6,000 people I was living in just because I knew who Belle & Sebastian and Mogwai were. So, going into my last year of high school, I decided I was going to ironically adopt the Moffatts and Hanson as my bands (and t-shirts) of choice. I ended up liking the Moffatts in earnest. Bob Rock produced their final album, and Scott used to swear on stage and openly love Supergrass and Sparklehorse. I felt a kinship. What I did NOT feel was the touch of a woman until I moved away post-graduation.
Michael Depland, Contributor
I have an undying dedication to slow jams, which I think a lot of people can relate to. They’re great! But what I can’t defend is my never-ending love of Pretty Ricky. Who, you may ask? Pretty Ricky is a 2000s R&B/hip hop group of teen boys who only sing and rap about sex, but you may best know them as the soundtrack to the internet humping ottomans and floors. Their lyrics about sex are like what kids would say: “Oh yeah, so HARD and WET, right?” I don’t care. I love them. There’s no going back.
Michelle Geslani, Contributor
Though I moved out of my parents’ place years ago, my old bedroom still remains a shrine to early-mid 2000s pop-punk and emo. Dusty, wrinkled posters of Drive-Thru Records bands past (New Found Glory, Starting Line and Midtown were personal faves, and no, I do not support Midtown frontman Gabe Saporta’s Cobra Starship garbage), as well as countless pictures of my bleeding heart heroes Brand New cover the walls. Do I ever sleep in this Museum of 16-year-old Hot Topic Angst? Uh huh, whenever I visit. And you better believe I bust out my old Warped Tour compilation CDs when I do!
Andy Isaac, Editor
I love George Michael, and I love Wham!, and I don’t care who knows it*. As an 8-year-old, I sang “I Want Your Sex” to my third-grade girlfriend. I was a pimp, or at least I thought I was.
This is the worst admission on the internet.
*(Actually, please don’t tell anybody.)
Pete Blackburn, Editor
I don’t get ashamed about my musical preferences too often, but, man, I used to listen to some really bad music as a grade-schooler in the mid-2000s. On my iPod, you can still find some Simple Plan, All-American Rejects, Fall Out Boy and other crappy bands who made a few jams. I also recently got really drunk one night and decided to tweet my appreciation for One Direction, only to wake up the next morning to a couple hundred RTs and a bunch of new pre-teen female followers… so that was weird.
Danger Guerrero, Editor
As a youngster, I used to make mix CDs for my less techy-savvy friends. Basically, they would give me a list of songs, and I would line them up and burn them to a CD. Sometimes, they would make the mistake of not filling up the entire CD, and then I would spring into action by inserting “Mambo No. 5” by Lou Bega into their otherwise serious list. It became a thing. Sometimes, I’d put it first, just to infuriate them. Other times, I’d slip it in later, like between the 13th and 14th songs, so they wouldn’t even find out until they were driving around later that day. It drove them insane, and I cackled like a loon every time. I love that song.
Josh Kurp, Editor
The first concert I ever went to without my parents was Britney Spears, during her Oops!… I Did It Again tour in August 2000. It was also my first date. I was so amped that I bought a necklace — the heart of the ocean — for my quote-unquote girlfriend, and planned on giving it to her during the part of “Oops” where Britney and the hunky astronaut reference Titanic. I didn’t. I chickened out at the last second and kept the gift in my pocket. Between us, my quote-unquote girlfriend and I said about five words to each other, two of which were “hello” and “bye,” and the thing I remember the most about the show was the pack of middle-aged men, without sons or daughters, sitting on the back edge of the concert venue’s lawn. At least they had a good time.
Jamie Frevele, Contributor
All I’m going to say is that I have never listened to my iPod on “shuffle” while around other people. I’m not ashamed, but I do have manners.