On guilty pleasures

Two things today. One, another review of interest at PopMatters, in which Will Layman takes a sledgehammer to prog rock indulgence and bashes ELP’s Brain Salad Surgery. While normally I’m in support of anyone ridiculing this ridiculous band, Layman’s review, which comes on the occasion of the latest reissue of this “classic” album, isn’t exactly praiseworthy. He basically admits to liking this in his youth, still kind of liking it now, but he’s completely caught up in the “guilty pleasure” concept and his tone is all, “I can’t believe I actually enjoy this crap — it might be fun, but it’s still crap.” And then he gives it a rating of 3 out of 10.

Who the fuck cares how silly or stupid something is if you enjoy it? I mean, I understand the whole “guilty pleasure” thing. But I’ve been trying to actively rid myself of the notion (this is still very much a work in progress). That’s why I give positive reviews to cheesy symphonic power metal bands like Within Temptation, and it’s why I write about seeing Christina Aguilera and Nelly Furtado on this blog. If you enjoy something, it deserves a positive review, regardless of whether or not you’re ashamed of your feelings.

That said, I think Brain Salad Surgery is about as appealing as a steaming dog turd. So I could have written a much better 3-stars-out-of-ten review than Layman.

Item #2: OffOnOff, a new trio of Paal Nilssen-Love, Terrie Ex, and Massimo Pupillo (of Zu). With that lineup you know there are going to be fireworks. There’s an eight-minute song on their Myspace page that reminds me of Scorch Trio with a much heavier bass presence, which makes sense — Pupillo’s fuzzed-out bass playing is way more aggressive than Ingebrigt Håker-Flaten’s style, while there are similarities between Terrie Ex and Raoul Bjorkenheim’s post-Sharrock guitar pyrotechnics. I cannot wait to get my hands on this stuff.

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