Guilty Pleasures, Round One: Styx (7) vs. Air Supply (10)
EW’s Music Mix is searching for the Greatest Guilty Pleasure Musical Act of All Time. With 32 seeded contestants (see all the matchups), this tournament is sure to change hearts, minds, and lives for weeks to come. Read/listen to the following, and then cast your vote in the poll after the jump; reader comments will be used in subsequent rounds, so we encourage you to also explain to the group why you chose the way you did. Note: In case of a tie, please select the artist you feel more ashamed to adore. Thank you.
First half of song: guilt.
Second half of song: pleasure.
Enjoy. — WP
It was a phenomenon of the early ‘80s band: A tall, blond, moderate hottie alongside a short, unattractive dude with an incredibly unfortunate white man’s ‘fro. Okay, not quite a widespread phenomenon, but it worked for Hall & Oates. And — from Australia on a nonstop flight to my heart — it worked on a band that, unlike H&O, cared nothing about “soul” or “songs about anything other than sappy romance.” I speak, of course, of Air Supply: of Graham Russell (the tall one) and Russell Hitchcock (the short one). From the moment in 1980 when Casey Kasem announced that the short one broke a record by holding that last note on “All Out Of Love” for 20 whole seconds, I knew this band had something special (beyond lung capacity). Was it because I was only eight years old and these amazingly unthreatening sex symbols (they met doing an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, for pete’s sake) were writing elementary school-style lyrics, rhyming “brighter” and “beside ya”? (Hey, it almost works if you have an Aussie accent!) Or did this duo introduce me to the concept of what love should be: occasional heartbreak, but mostly a lifetime of glorious, unbridled, throw-flowers-up-at-the-sky romance? So deep was my love for this band that I even wrote my own lyrics to the cumbersomely titled “Here I Am (Just When I Thought I Was Over You),” which were performed by my entire Jewish Day School class during our “moving-up exercises” from 5th grade to 6th grade. I don’t think my lyrical skills were much better (I believe “Talmud” and “you should” were among the more awkward rhymes), but the song was a hit with the suburban New Jersey parents. As an adult, I’ve renewed my “Airhead” status (and if I ever travel to Asia, apparently I will be among legions of fans), but I’m ashamed to say that by middle school, I decided my tape deck could hold no more Air. Older, wiser, I was ready for some harder rock: Lionel Richie, baby. — Jessica Shaw
Photo Credit: Both: Everett Collection