Nick’s Picks is reaching its end very soon. I will be graduating and passing off this column to the trustworthy hands of Gabe Fine. (One would assume the title Nick’s Picks will end after I leave). Thus, this article begins a three-week send-off of my favorites, least favorites, and this week, guilty pleasures.
What exactly defines a guilty pleasure in music? It is an artist or song we judge ourselves for enjoying. Now at Colorado College, it seems against the ideology to not appreciate everyone’s individual taste. But I think we can all agree there is music we secretly love and feel judged for liking openly. Today, I am coming clean with a few of my guilty pleasures.
Many people who knew me as a first-year may remember that I held a soft spot in my heart for the rapper formerly known as Titty Boi and now commonly known as 2 Chainz. 2 Chainz is a rap enigma. He arguably has rapped some of the dumbest lines of all time. (“She gotta big booty, so I call her big booty”). But as many people surprisingly have found out, 2 Chainz graduated college with a 4.0 GPA while playing NCAA basketball at Alabama State Univesity.
2 Chainz has been prolific since my first year at CC, appearing on the final verse of G.O.O.D Music’s “Mercy.” The Atlanta rapper has appeared on tracks with everyone from Jason Derulo, Fall Out Boy, and Justin Bieber, to Lil Wayne, A$AP Rocky, and Drake. He has also become increasingly clever since the lyric shared previously.
2 Chainz is corny and a bit ridiculous. There is no doubt about it. But he has also become a cornerstone of rap in the last four years. He has paved his own lane and even considers himself more valuable by appearing on fewer tracks. Also, no rapper is better at shouting his own name than 2 Chainz.
Top 40 Pop Music
Everyone’s guilty pleasures include some form of top 40 pop music. So much of it is poorly written and formulaically produced to create synthetic emotion. At least one of those 40 songs makes its way into our playlists.
In this column, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, ZAYN, The Weeknd, Calvin Harris, Fetty Wap, and Avicii have all been featured. Every one of those artists has songs that I must have played at least 15 times. In the case of Grande and Swift, I am talking about entire albums.
Pop music as a genre does not exactly have a clear-cut style. None of the artists listed above can exactly be labeled as pop artists. Ariana Grande, Zayn, and The Weeknd are R&B singers. Fetty Wap probably considers himself a rapper. Avicii and Calvin Harris are EDM producers. And of course, Taylor Swift began her career as a country artist. The music is meant to be addictive and it thoroughly works.
Death Cab for Cutie
Everyone has a band from middle school that has stuck with them ever since. For most people, this is probably Blink-182 or Fall Out Boy. However, for me that band is Death Cab for Cutie (DCFC), one of the cornerstones of the emo movement of the mid to late 2000s. (I never dyed my hair or any of that nonsense).
Now, DCFC has only gotten worse since their big break between Transatlanticism and Plans. (Their breakthrough was prompted by the FOX teen drama “The OC,” which many people consider a guilty pleasure). However, my favorite album of theirs is Narrow Stairs, especially the opener “Bixby Canyon Bridge.”
I have moderately enjoyed the two latest albums Codes and Keys and Kintsugi, though they came off as weak, especially as founding member Chris Walla left the band last year. But the band keeps a special place in my heart as one of the first great shows I saw back in eighth grade.
Overall, DCFC is corny, not in the one-liner way like 2 Chainz, but in a sense of dramatics. The songwriting is obviously over-emotional, but when you are in middle school, such is life.
Come back next week for my worst picks: the music I know is bad and refuse to listen to.