Staff Recommends: My guilty pleasure artist

Nathan, Laoise and Sinéad talk about their musical guilty pleasures.

Glass Animals - Sinéad Keating

Described as psychedelic pop, my favourite band are not to everyone’s taste - as highlighted to me by the recent release of their album Dreamland. It was both critically acclaimed and slaughtered by reviewers, while being their highest charting album to date.

I first heard their biggest single ‘Gooey’ in my first year of architecture at UCD, where their unique sound resonated with me and my somewhat alternative friends. I subsequently saw Glass Animals live twice at festivals, playing to adoring audiences. Their music existed to me in this happy bubble, that was until I recommended them to a friend. 

With an eclectic taste in music across multiple genres, she was the perfect candidate for a love affair with Glass Animals. Yet I was met with confusion and ridicule when I asked how her listening went. Was it the high pitch of the lead singer, Dave Bayley, that threw her off? The sound effects built into the background of each song? The whimsical and sometimes nonsensical lyrics? 

I find they add a fun and imaginative quality, alongside the hard-hitting emotional ones like ‘It’s All So Incredibly Loud’ from Dreamland. Yet I hide my love of them from many in my life, nursing my scars from their reactions to this not so ordinary band.

Justin Timberlake - Laoise Tarrant 

Perhaps it’s born of my childhood aspiration to be Britney Spears in The All-New Mickey Mouse Club, but I’m mildly obsessed with Justin Timberlake. 

My first introduction to Justin was his album FutureSex/LoveSounds when I was in sixth class. I remember being driven home from school, singing the lyrics of ‘Cry Me a River’ so passionately that you’d almost believe that my twelve year-old heart had been broken in a seriously manipulative relationship. The song ‘Sexy Back’ was a socially lucrative song to have on your phone. I remember the rush of downloading it onto my Samsung Ping. 

Of course, my love of JT is based on something far more substantial than my pre-pubescent fascination. He is a genuinely talented musician, who writes, produces, and performs his music to a consistently exceptional standard. The aforementioned album, FutureSex, was produced by Timberland, another guilty pleasure of mine. The unmistakable neo-soul singing, combined with his creative beatboxing base line make it hard for me not to fall in love with him every time he’s played. Of course, only a true fan should attempt a sing-along, while simultaneously beatboxing. 

Actually, I don’t even feel guilty, JT - it’s only a pleasure. 

Nightwish - Nathan Young

I never really had an emo phase as a teenager. I was too weird for that. Instead, I was a nerd obsessed with Finnish power metal band Nightwish. Their original lead singer, Tarja Turunen, was a trained opera singer. Many of their tracks include sweeping orchestral scores, and the angry bits get some proper metal screaming. It’s all pretty epic and it fit with my aesthetic, along with trashy fantasy novels and a World of Warcraft account. My older brother had a friend who collected Japanese swords and wore a leather trench coat to school. A complete dork to be sure, but I thought he and his music taste was cool.

Looking back on it, the music is cool. My Workout playlist is full of Nightwish’s music. It’s epic, sweeping, and makes me feel like I’m going to do battle with old ones for the future of mankind. 

In Transition Year our music teacher had us all present our favourite bands. My classmates didn’t seem to like Nightwish, and my reputation as “the weird kid” became more pronounced. Since then I have not recommended Nightwish to anyone, or played them at any social events. However, I have met a small number of fellow fans, and when we meet up, IT’S POWER METAL TIME.