He says that my 10 includes a couple of songs that he quite likes. And the reverse is true. In fact, his 10 contain two songs that I think are great:
- All or Nothing is one of the very best songs by one of the very best British groups of the 1960s.
- Downtown is wonderful - and I told Petula Clark as much when she phoned me a few years ago (hem, hem). It was obviously the wrong thing to say, but I am glad I said it.
Having good taste doesn't mean liking all music in a fluffy kind of way. It means being able to discriminate between the good and the bad in all the kinds of music that you listen to. (This is something I can't do in jazz, for instance, because it has never interested me enough.)
Being able to nominate a list of guilty pleasure requires a sophisticated level of appreciation. It is a sign of broad tastes, not narrow ones.
Finally, I have been thinking about my original argument that a degree of pretentiousness is necessary for a record to qualify as a guilty pleasure. Maybe the attraction of some artists is that they constantly threaten to topple over into pretention but never quite do.
Scott Walker is a good example of this and - though Neil Hannon's touch is a little less sure - the Divine Comedy are another.