I hate “guilty pleasures” – or rather, the notion that something we enjoy is ever labeled as “guilty.” There should be no remorse or shame in experiencing any form of art, especially music. You want to listen to “Don’t You Want Me?” 50 times on repeat? Please do, blast that shit – and I hope others follow suit.

There has come to be such a negative stigma against those who openly enjoy what is considered “silly pop music,” or anything that is not obviously boasting ingenuity. But in reality, who seriously listens to “good” music all the time? Only experiencing emotionally and intellectually stimulating music would be downright exhausting. It’s not necessary to constantly be stimulated by philosophical and brooding music; no one needs that.

The music shaming really has got to be stopped – I am talking to you, you damn hipsters. Are you really telling me you have never shouted every word to “Blank Space” with your friends – or that you never wanted to? Do you pregame to Alt-J or something?

I think the main problem is that we all just need to get over ourselves. Don’t be that guy who’s too cool to dance. Just because you occasionally partake in the pop music machine doesn’t mean you have bad taste in music, or that music considered to be a “guilty pleasure” is bad in the first place. What’s thought to be a fun escape is almost just as important as the music of more serious musicians – one couldn’t really exist in the same way without the other. Regularly singing along to “Total Eclipse of the Heart” in the shower will not condemn you to music hell – it’s okay to have fun. We need to climb down from our high horses (high record players, perhaps?) and embrace the unbridled musicality of life.

This is not to say that everyone needs to like everything all of the time. Believe me, I don’t. There are plenty of valid reasons to dislike musicians: you don’t connect with their overall vibe, disagree with their message, they use the word “swag” un-ironically, etc. But “they are on the top 40 list” is not one of them. When did popular become synonymous with bad? Thinking back, some of the most important and influential bands of all time – for example, The Beatles – have been chart toppers. This is not to discredit the many gifted musicians that do not get the attention they deserve, but rather to acknowledge that they can coexist with the talent of the mainstream.

All of us, at one time or another, have been at fault for music shaming. Don’t try to deny it, I know you mocked your friends for checking out that One Direction album. But the time has come to let that go. No longer must you hide your dirty musical secrets behind private listening sessions or covered-up iPod screens. No shame. Embrace it. I hope my Spotify followers see that I listened to old-school Kanye, Jefferson Airplane and the Pitch Perfect soundtrack all within the last hour – that they are inspired to unabashedly expand their musical horizons.

Just because we recognize a bit of superficiality does not mean that all quality, original music will disappear. You are allowed to admit you listen to Carly Rae Jepsen alongside a classic band like The Smiths; your street cred will remain intact. But please make sure you do so without calling her your “guilty pleasure.”

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