Staff Confessions: Our Favorite Guilty Pleasure Albums


We seem to have acquired a liking for publicly humiliating ourselves here at Flavorpill — last week, we threw aside our inhibitions and confessed to our favorite literary guilty pleasures, and this week we’re following up with a similar exposé of the dark corners of our record collections. Yes, it’s our favorite musical guilty pleasures, those records that we like to indulge in despite feeling rather uncomfortable when it comes to publicly admitting our liking for them. From cheesy R&B to pop punk and boy bands and — whisper it quietly — even Barenaked Ladies, it’s all here. Feel free to ridicule us as necessary, and if you’re brave enough, admit to your guilty pleasures in the comments section.

“Whatever two-three mixtapes Lil B comes out with on any given week (see Obama Basedgod and Pink Flame this week). This dude walks the line between brilliant and bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbuuuuhdangdangdang, and I’m FINE with that. He sounds like NOTHING ELSE.” — Russ Marshalek, Social Media Director

“Apparently liking Smash Mouth would make me undateable. But you know what? 1997’s Fush Yu Mang is a great record. It’s a shame that the band felt they needed to recreate their ‘Walkin’ On The Sun’ success by just doing version after version of that same novelty pop song. The rest of that debut is more punky and ska and, yes, awesome. I dare you not to sing along to ‘Padrino.'” — Leah Taylor, Group Managing Editor

“I don’t truly believe in guilty pleasures because I don’t actually feel guilty or ashamed of listening to anything, but I get that people might be like ‘Ew, you listen to that?’ With that said, I have a not-so-secret history with boy bands. New Kids on the Block are classic, but my personal favorite boy band album — and also the most overlooked boy band album — is Invincible by 5ive. Middle school pool parties were not complete without at least one full listening of this album. Also, they were collectively dreamier than any American boy band at that time. I also really love ‘Duality’ by Slipknot. There was a time when the line ‘I push my figures into my eyes/ It’s the only thing that dulls the ache,’ like, so totally spoke to me?” — Soma Roy, Editorial Intern

“Mine is Jordan Knight’s first self-titled album from 1999. While I wasn’t ever a fan of him or the New Kids in general, this is early Robin Thicke work (the best songs were written and produced by him and he sang backup vocals). Also, Gotye, still.” — Christina Doehmer, Director of Ad Operations

“Robin Thicke’s The Evolution of Robin Thicke. ‘Lost Without U’ is one of those few songs that can quickly send me between chills of embarrassment and chills of ‘Ohhh myyy.’ Some of the lyrics are elementary, but Mr. Thicke’s falsetto somehow manages to redeem those dumb strings of words. And I’m a big Paula Patton fan, so that helps these singles a ton.” — Alex Kim, Lead Designer

“Sade, Lovers Rock; TLC, CrazySexyCool; Janet Jackson, janet. Almost old enough to be classic, but still walking that fine line between right on and wow, really. And can smooth jazz (Sade) ever be anything but a guilty pleasure?” — Claire Cottrell, Design Editor

“Can ‘listening to exclusively depressing music when no one else is listening’ be an answer? Also — I enjoy listening to Coldplay’s A Rush of Blood to the Head. Tough to admit to that one. I hope this is Music Anonymous. [Nope — Public Humiliation Ed.] And have the Walkmen totally sold out yet? I like them, too (see: 80% of their music falling into my first answer).” — Dave Coll, Account Executive

“Anything by The-Dream. This dude is undoubtedly one of the master pop/R&B songwriters/producers of the last decade (see: ‘Baby,’ ‘Single Ladies,’ ‘Umbrella,’ ‘Countdown’), but when he’s writing for himself his inner creep/romantic/sleazebag comes out in a hilarious and awesome way. ‘If you ever make ya girlfriend mad/ Don’t let ya good girl go bad/ Drop five stacks on the make-up bag/ Drop drop five stacks on the make-up bag.'” — Jack Lenehan, Front-End Developer

“I still listen to Barenaked Ladies on the treadmill. Also, nothing is better for long car trips than the original Broadway cast recording of Les Miz. Don’t hate.” — Emily Temple, Literary Editor

“I have entirely made peace with the glossy pop I love: feeling guilty about listening to Lady Gaga or Ace of Base or Nicki Minaj is some serious rock-snob shit. No, what I’m ashamed of is the heaps of anarcho-punk crap I listened to when I was an 18-year-old vegan flirting with radical politics and wearing jeans held together by safety pins. There was Aus-Rotten, MDC, and the cheesiest (and perhaps most famous) band of all: Choking Victim, which eventually morphed into Leftöver Crack. You’ve never heard more simplistic ‘fuck the man’ lyrics in your life, but unfortunately, they’re the first bands I want to listen to when I am feeling those ‘fuck the man’ feelings. Inner 18-year-olds die hard.” — Judy Berman, Deputy Editor

“I’ve been known to have a cheeky listen to the OST of Paint Your Wagon — Clint Eastwood’s voice is something special…” — Oliver Spall, London Social Media Manager

“The first Counting Crows album. Just the first one, mind. It’s shamelessly melodramatic and often self-indulgent, and if I heard it for the first time now I’d probably hate it, but it recalls a certain time in my teens when I loved it and played it to death (often while playing Doom on my old 386). And Adam Duritz does have a way with the occasional lyrical flourish — ‘She has trouble acting normal when she’s nervous’ is a really rather fine way of describing someone with an anxiety disorder. It’s still on my iPod, and I do surreptitiously listen to it on the subway every so often.” — Tom Hawking, Music Editor