Bob Dylan loves Stereophonics: music critics reveal their uncool favourites – what’s your ‘uncool favourite?’

From the Guardian

As Dylan confesses that the Welsh rockers are one of his favourites acts of modern times, and the Guardian panel come clean with their guilty pleasures, what we want to know is……what’s yours?

Caroline Sullivan: Barry Manilow has cheered me up for years

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love Barry Manilow – something most music journalists probably can’t say. If anything, he’s deeply reviled by most of my colleagues, which I can almost understand: he’s emollient and runs heavily to balladry, and there’s no grabby back-story beyond his changing his name from Pincus at the age of 13.

et he’s cheered me up for years. Much of that has to do with his music, obviously, but that’s not the whole of it. I do adore his remarkable run of 70s and 80s singles, nearly every one a masterclass in elegant restraint. With songs of that quality (for starters, see Weekend in New England, Mandy and Daybreak) he had no need for melismatic overstatement – his warm delivery was enough.

But the extra fillip, for me, is the streak of Jewish New York that runs through his work. As a lonely Manhattan-to-London transplant in the 1980s, I was comforted by his music because it reminded me of home – his passion for it, best heard on the brilliant Latinate New York City Rhythm, still gives me a boost even now. Having said that, I ration my Mani-listening these days – his songs are too precious to devour in big helpings.

Alexis Petridis: I have an undying, obsessive love of tacky 70s pop

I have a theory that the pop music you hear when you’re six or seven years old stays with you for the rest of your life, whether you want it to or not. Perhaps you can’t escape it because there’s something pure and primal about your music tastes at that age. You don’t like something because your peers like it, or because it’s perceived as cool, or because you think that liking it says something about you: all the societal pressures that are brought to bear on your tastes in your teens, subconsciously or otherwise. You just like it.

Certainly, that theory would explain my undying, obsessive love of tacky 70s pop, the stuff that was on the radio all the time when I was a little kid. I don’t mean glam or disco or Abba, which long ago escaped whatever taint of naffness they once had. I mean stuff no one in their right minds is going to re-evaluate. I mean Johnny Wakelin’s Muhammad Ali-themed 1976 novelty hit In Zaire, a record I like so much I sought out the album it came from: you could, frankly, sense the disbelief of the second-hand record dealer who sold it to me.

I mean the tatty Euro-disco of Penny McLean’s Lady Bump, with its baffling screamed chorus. I mean the records actor Paul Nicholas made during his mercifully brief pop career – among them Dancing With the Captain and the jaw-dropping Reggae Like It Used To Be – and I mean the oeuvre of grandma-friendly easy listening combo The New Seekers.

I make no artistic claims for this music whatsoever: I certainly don’t go around trying to convince people of the worth of, say, Meri Wilson’s Telephone Man, another novelty hit, this time with a plot line like a scene from a badly written porn film. I should be at a loss to explain why it shares space in my record collection with Can and Coil and Underground Resistance and Charles Mingus. But I’ve got my theory and I’m sticking to it.

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Come on then, don’t be shy…..your guilty pleasure?

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