Few pop-music related things seem as wrongheaded to me as the concept of the "guilty pleasure". Nobody should feel guilty about the pop music they take pleasure from, at least not if the cause of guilt is simply the perception that the music which pleasures them is not Cool. For the pleasure someone derives from listening to a pop record to be found Guilty, we must accept that somewhere there is a judge and jury passing sentance on what is the Right Sort Of Music and what is The Wrong Sort Of Music. This sort of joy-killing fascism is the antithesis of everything pop music should be about, and is largely a construct of an entertainment industry which, in order to market it's product effectively, divides it's consumer demographic into managable sub-sections and pitches them in opposition against one another in an eternal battle of My Scene Is Better Than Your Scene.
The consequence of this tactic is that pop music becomes a tool of exclusivity, of elitism, a way of establishing who's Out and who's In. When you're a kid, this has it's uses. Maybe it's even a healthy part of growing up. But there comes a point when you're meant to out-grow that shit, and it strikes me that Babyboomer culture, with a premium placed on Cool, and Youth, and Being Hip To The Latest Groove, has prolonged the period of somebody's life where this sort of mentality is acceptable, or smart, or healthy, pretty much indefinately. I think that's a shame, because it means that people are more uptight, for longer, and feel less empowered to stand up and say "You know what. I think Gang Of Four are OK. But it's really more of an intellectual thing. What really gets my blood pumping is Heaven Is A Place on Earth by Belinda Carlisle, and Uncut Magazine can Go To Hell."
(Note: I DJ'd at the wedding of my very good friends Lee & Jud, and 'dropping' this record during my 'set' still stands as the most fun I've ever had behind a pair of decks.)
(Another Note: Belinda would have been one of two ex-Go-Go Girls to make an appearence on this A-Z, had 'R' not already been over-subscribed. Jane Wiedlin's unbelievably great 'Rush Hour', unfortunately, won't quite make the cut.)