Guilty pleasures is a concept that baffles me and infuriates me at the best of times, but when it’s used in a music based context it really makes me sad. It’s a saying that people use these days to essentially mean any music that has verses, choruses and a middle eight.
All pop music is a guilty pleasure apparently, or even worse it’s liked “ironically”, because it just wouldn’t be cool to admit that music which is made for the purpose of making people feel good is any good.
To be honest, when you see the state of people who obsessively disregard music that they don’t particularly look, it’s hard to really take what they say seriously. You can often play “dickhead bingo” with these people – just fill a card in with phrases like “oversized spectacles they don’t need”, “stupid smug grins” “tiny backpacks” “woeful beards” “daddy’s bank account” and “dirty shoes”, and after the ten seconds it takes to get them all ticked off, just shout “house” which will no doubt me a massive house in the Home Counties somewhere.
But that’s beside the point, the whole ethos behind this countdown has been to support positivity towards music, some of which has been unfairly lambasted in the past. It took me a long time to feel comfortable with my music taste, which just like everybody else in the world is unique and varied. Just to clarify, no you’re not special because you listen to hip-hop, Arctic Monkeys and have a Classic music greatest hits playlist on your iPhone.
Over the last couple of years I have become fond of musicals, choirs, and ensemble music pieces. Films like Singin’ In The Rain, Mary Poppins and the like have now become hours of entertainment for me, rather than the tiresome bores I perceived them to be in my childhood. I spent my teenage years desperately trying to really like obscure and in some regards pretty much unlistenable music, but tell me honestly, what makes you want to enjoy being alive more, this masterpiece…
Or this boring, wannabee folk dreary crap…
Whatever. People can of course listen to whatever they choose, and to completely disregard anything is foolish and simple, except of course if it’s a band like London Grammar who are being rinsed. To get to my long drawn out point, or rather to completely make one up here, music is a powerful tool to engage all our senses, and it doesn’t matter if it’s commercial, sentimental or anything else. If it’s good to you, then it’s good full stop.
All this preamble has to lead somewhere, and it’s coming, trust me.
I commute daily to work, which takes up around four and a half hours of my day. To get through these journeys which see me use buses, trains, and tubes, I watch a lot of films and television on my iPad. As you can imagine, with over 20 hours of entertainment needed a week, sometimes I will end up watching things I never would have.
One of those things, years ago was a show called Boys Don’t Sing, where choirmaster Gareth Malone took a bunch of kids from a crap school, put them in a choir and gave them a sense of purpose. Malone has gone on to make several choir based series, including Military Wives, which saw the boyish looking protagonist take a group of women who lived on military barracks while their soldier husbands were stationed overseas.
The series was very emotional, climaxing in the finale which saw the choir write and record their own song, the lyrics of which were based on letters the wives had sent and been sent by their husbands. The first performance of the song, called Wherever You Are was at the Royal Albert Hall. It was pretty, pretty good.
A campaign to make the song Christmas number one soon followed, and with big support from people like Chris Evans, the song smashed the charts, selling 556,000 copies in its second week of release, one of the biggest weeks sales for a single of all time.
As if that wasn’t enough, the song also managed to stop the utterly terrible Little Mix from being number one, which is a true Christmas miracle.
Wherever You Are isn’t the best song in the world, but it’s not the worst, and isn’t that what Christmas is all about?
Full playable playlist here:
And read the rest of the countdown – just CLICK HERE