The Food and Wine Hedonist

leave your inhibitions at the door

Do they have Guilty Pleasures in Europe?

You know the drill, right? Every Friday I take a break from writing about food and drink to do a post about music. I’ve written about all kinds of themes – exercise music, man-crushes, the 90s, holidays, etc – but in the beginning the music posts were about Guilty Pleasures. A Guilty Pleasure is a song that you adore even though you really, really shouldn’t. Who knows why you like the song, but you just do. When it comes on, you crank up the radio and start singing and maybe even dancing. And you just don’t care who sees or hears you.

I’ve had the occasional comments where people take umbrage with the concept. They say stuff like:

“If you like the song who cares what others say?”


“If it’s a good song, it never goes out of style!”


“Geez, are you reading all the sections of the Sunday Times? Other people have to use the bathroom!”


No, there are some good reasons why you shouldn’t like a song. The song could be so deliriously out of touch, the artist could be the anti-Christ, or the song is just flat-out bad. Like this one. Whatever the reasons, you can pretty much find a lot of people that would agree with you.

But did you know the Guilty Pleasure is this strictly an American concept? I firmly believe they don’t have them in Europe. In Europe, people don’t have an internal filter that says a song is just not cool. I’ve been there a few times and have witnessed some horrifying music behaviour. (That’s the European spelling of the word…)

European musical taste

Exhibit A

I was meandering through Amsterdam when I came upon some kind of festival. One of the bands was performing on a stage that was a barge in one of the canals.

amsterdam band

rock and roll

They looked like rockers, right? Jeans, black t-shirts, long hair, a little grungy. Actually, the lead singer looked a lot like Kurt Cobain. So what was the first song they sang?

Cat Stevens’ “Wild World”


Followed by Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence”

Amsterdam travel

And they weren’t even hard rock versions of the songs. Just based on their looks and the crowd they attracted, I thought for sure I’d be hearing some Pearl Jam or Stone Temple Pilots. Heck, I would’ve even settled for Creed! I didn’t stick around for the third song.


Exhibit 2

I was in Printemps, a gigantic department store in the middle of Paris. I got on the escalator behind three punk rock looking guys. They had the jeans, tattoos, piercings, Mohawks, leather jackets – everything. I was actually a little scared because they were badasses. I didn’t dare take a picture of them but, trust me, they looked like these guys.

Paris travel music

As we were riding up, they heard the song that was being played on the store’s sound system. And they started nodding their heads. And singing. And fist-pumping.

The song?

Tina Turner’s Simply The Best.

bad music

That’s just wrong.


Final Proof

David Hassselhoff was HUGE in Germany.

David Hasselhoff

Need I say more?



About thefoodandwinehedonist

I don't know everything about the world of food and wine, but I'm not going to let a small detail like that stop me from blogging about it.

11 comments on “Do they have Guilty Pleasures in Europe?

  1. Hippie Cahier
    May 24, 2013

    In the interest of full disclosure, I happen to l.o.v.e. Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam.

    I also cannot resist the urge to sing every single word of Captain and Tenille’s “Muskrat Love”. I would l.o.v.e. to see LL Cool J do a cover version. 😉

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      May 24, 2013

      In with u on Cat Stevens, just not by a band like that! Maybe if they did a grungy Moonshadow or Another Saturday night…. Nahhhhh

      LL Cool J doing Muskrat? Luv it!!!

  2. the winegetter
    May 24, 2013

    Don’t forget that not understanding the lyrics makes a lot of songs a lot more palatable! It took me until my early thirties until I realized that one can actually listen to the lyrics in a song, too. Yes, I had the tools to understand them, but a) it is effing hard in songs, and b) why would I when I grew up just listening to music without understanding a word?

    That said, there is no way to remedy the David Hasselhof mania in Germany back in the day…

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      May 24, 2013

      All very valid points. I must commen you on owning up to David Hasselhoff mania in Germany. I have 2nd cousin who lives there that vehemently denies he was a fan. He said NOBoDY liked him there.

      • the winegetter
        May 24, 2013

        Well, truth be told, I never actively set out to listening to his music, but you really could not escape it. I believe the mania started because of his song “I’ve been looking for freedom” which actually rang a bell in a country where one fifth of the population had just shaken off the shackles of a socialist regime…

  3. Almassy, Derrick @ Oak Brook
    May 24, 2013

    Probably your best post title ever.

    Derrick Almassy Vice President Capital Markets CBRE 630.573.7045 (O) 773.370.6479 (C)

  4. the drunken cyclist
    May 25, 2013

    Those Europeans….

  5. domingosaurus
    May 26, 2013

    I find it particularly amusing that the primary stage decor of the “rock band” in the first photo is balloons.

  6. ksbeth
    May 27, 2013

    great piece and illustrates what an unexpected mistress music can be.

  7. thediaryofsugarandspice
    July 24, 2013

    Hilarious! I wrote something similar back in April on the same topic! German radio is horrendous!! just sooo…soooooo BAD!

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This entry was posted on May 24, 2013 by in Music, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , .
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