Song-Ming Ang’s tantalisingly-titled work Guilty Pleasures gearing up to take over the MCA Seminar Room this Thursday and Friday evening, as part of Sonic Social curated by Performance Space. Guilty Pleasures is a listening party, in which Song-Ming invites you to bring along a song – any song – that you consider to be a guilty pleasure.
Over the course of the evening, each song is played, while Song-Ming interviews the guilty party about why they nominated that particular tune. Amidst much hilarity, conversation and revelry, we are invited to reflect on why some music seems so taboo, while some is so effortlessly legitimate.
To celebrate Guilty Pleasures imminent arrival at the MCA, I asked the staff at Performance Space and MCA to disclose and discuss their own guilty pleasures. Here, for your reading pleasure and our collective catharsis, are some selected highlights.
Alison Murphy-Oates, Associate Producer, Performance Space
Plastic Loveless Letter by Magic Dirt
“Their entire Tough Love album is my perfect angsty-teenager-jump-around-in-my-PJs-singing-into-a-hairbrush-and-playing-air-guitar album.”
Anna Davis, Curator, MCA
Ready To Take A Chance Again by Barry Manilow
“Everyone seems to think Bazza is a bit daggy, so even though I’ve loved this song ever since I saw the movie Foul Play as a kid I feel a bit embarrassed about it.”
Karla Tatterson, Development & Membership Manager, Performance Space
Love Is All Around by Wet Wet Wet
“I still know all the words off by heart because I practised so much laying on my bed in the dark with the tape player next to me turned up real loud. My class sang this at my Year 6 school concert as the farewell to the school – and to which I dreamily stared at Conrad Dalziel whilst we were on stage, who was the total badass babe who stole my heart (he had an undercut too which I always wanted to touch) – and then crushed it 6 months later by kissing my year 6 bestie.”
Tanja Farman, Producer, Performance Space
Waterloo by ABBA
“I was eleven when they won the Eurovision Song Contest and I sneakily listened to them singing the winning song hanging over the bannister in my childhhood home as my parents wouldn’t let me watch- it was on too late!”
Georgie Meagher, Public Engagement Manager, MCA
Still D.R.E by Dr Dre (feat. Snoop Dogg)
“According to my iTunes play count, I have spent over a week of my life listening to this song. Do you think I would be a different person if that week didn’t exist? Would I still be representing for the gangsters all across the world?”
Aaron Clarke, Technical Manager, Performance Space
The Meek by Bad Brains
“Bad Brains are one of the greatest hardcore punk bands EVER. Four African-Americans who could play circles around everybody with an ultra-charismatic and unstable frontman who could sing and scream and do backflips all at the same time, with his massive dreadlocks trailing out behind him. Because they were also Rastafarian, they also played a bunch of reggae. This is one of the reggae tracks. Guilt factor 1: This song is total bible-bashing Jah worship, and as a complex Atheist tending human in 2014 I find this offensive and lame. And yet I always sing along…Guilt factor 2: Bad Brains ended up trashing their own reputation as a band that espoused freedom, unity, non-violence and positivity, when they came out of the closet as complete homophobic Rasta shitbags during an incident with the flamboyantly gay Texas band Big Boys and Millions of Dead Cops. Guilty pleasure.”
Kelly McDonald, Assistant Curator, MCA
I’m Not In Love by 10cc
“I love this song because I’m not very romantic, and this song always gets to me.”
Bec Dean, Curator-at-Large, Performance Space
If I Could by 1927?
“This song makes me a bit weepy because it reminds me of my first year in Australia 1989.”
Rachel Kent, Chief Curator, MCA
Play That Funky Music by Wild Cherry
You Sexy Thing by Hot Chocolate
“Both were hidden-forbidden (deeply uncool) favourites when I was in university and would sing (scream) along top volume to them on cassettes with my best friend on long drives to/from Canberra in her ancient Volkswagen Beetle.”
And as for me? Well, dear reader, I was hoping to avoid that question. But since my colleagues have been so candid, I’ll confess that my guilty pleasure is Sabrina’s 1988 summer smash, Boys). Looking back, this was an early sign of sexual confusion from 9-year-old Jeff. I was excited by sexy Sabrina in the banned-on-daytime-Australian-TV video, but perhaps I also had a subliminal connection to the song’s theme, that wasn’t to be revealed for years to come. What I failed to see above and beyond those things at the time was the extreme Eurotrash factor of the song itself.
by Jeff Khan, Artistic Director of Performance Space and co-Curator (with Tulleah Pearce) of Sonic Social.
Do you have a guilty pleasure to get off your chest? Join us for Song-Ming Ang’s forthcoming Guilty Pleasures listening parties at the MCA. #SonicSocial2013
Image: Song-Ming Ang, Guilty Pleasures, 2007-14, performance documentation, Spring Workshop, Hong Kong, 2012, Photograph: Ken Fung, Image courtesy and © the artist.