Various Artists

Ministry of Sound: Guilty Pleasures

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Taking over from where Sony left off, Ministry of Sound's Guilty Pleasures is the first compilation in five years to be officially affiliated with the concept created by BBC DJ Sean Rowley back in 2004 which has since spawned its own Camden Town club night, prime-time ITV show, and regular Sunday afternoon radio slot. But while indie kids have embraced the idea of "reclaiming the songs it's shameful to love," the whole Guilty Pleasures brand has come under fire from unapologetic fans of its previous material, who claim the whole idea reeks of musical snobbery. Indeed, it's hard to see how such iconic hits from such celebrated and respected artists like Dolly Parton ("Nine to Five"), and Dionne Warwick ("Hearbreaker") can be seen as shameful, while the Bangles ("Eternal Flame") and Electric Light Orchestra ("Sweet Talkin' Woman"), both fine purveyors of well-crafted melodic pop, are unlikely to leave you embarrassed should an unexpected guest call round to inspect your record collection. Indeed, the 40 soft rock/AOR-based tracks on this two-CD compilation might not be the most credible or world-changing examples of '70s and '80s music, but the likes of Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes' Dirty Dancing theme "I've Had the Time of My Life," Boy Meets Girl's "Waiting for a Star to Fall," and Mr. Mister's "Broken Wings" have all been sampled by the likes of Black Eyed Peas, Mylo, and Tupac, while several remain as relevant as ever thanks to recent appearances in TV adverts (the Bellamy Brothers' "Let Your Love Flow"), Glee (Rick Springfield's "Jessie's Girl," Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'"), and famous "literal video" YouTube clips (Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart"). Sure, there are a few cheesy power ballads (Patrick Swayze's "She's Like the Wind," John Farnham's "You're the Voice"), and corny Dad-rock anthems (Boston's "More Than a Feeling," Foreigner's "Waiting for a Girl Like You"), but they're hardly akin to confessing a liking for Black Lace or "The Birdie Song." While Guilty Pleasures' track list is unashamedly enjoyable, the concept behind it is a rather bittersweet one, which ultimately smacks of pretentious and patronizing musical snootiness.

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