Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Renewed Guilty Pleasures

We all grew up on music that we'd later be ashamed to admit we loved. As a young teen and below, one's music taste is often a ramshackle collection of things your parents like, things heard on the radio, and things Aunties bought you for Christmas that you felt obliged to listen to. The minority of people who still like the music they liked at 11 are either very lucky with their relatives' influences, or have really really awful music taste.

I have my guilty first albums and singles (mostly easy listening, and thankfully no boybands). There has only been one album I've tried and failed to forget since I was 11. This summer, all musical snobbery and shame pushed aside, I found out my For the Love of Him album by Shania Twain, only to discover that is the epitome of good 80s folk-rock.

Unlike the girly country of most Shania Twain albums, For the Love of Him employs heavy guitars and rough edges to achieve a hard-rock sound. Shania Twain's angriest and most powerful vocals ever accompany decent lyrics in perfectly-crafted pop songs. No matter how ashamed I felt when I woke up to them in my mind after years and years, I could never forget 'Bite My Lip' and 'Once Over' - they have possibly the catchiest choruses in my music collection. I tried listening to the album objectively, all prejudices about Shania Twain aside, and the guitars are well-played, the songs well-constructed, the vocals well-sung. There are catchy riffs and quirky sound effects.

So what if For the Love of Him sounds like a parody of the 80s? Shania Twain pretends this album never happened, for the most part: it is her short-lived affair with rock and roll. But it's good stuff.

Just don't blame me if I turn off my plugin while I'm listening to it. It's a self-respect thing.