There were so many great things to come out of Super Bowl XLVI.
Tom Brady lost, making his life now only 99.98% perfect. We got the first supermodel-induced scandal in NFL history. MSF had its great single-day traffic total ever.
But for me, the single greatest outcome of Super Bowl XLVI is that “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” by The Darkness is back in regular rotation on my iTunes and all of my portable music devices. And for that we have Samsung Mobile to thank, because the company featured the song in what our own Keith Mullett called the best commercial of Super Bowl XLVI.
Here is the video for the song itself, which I have always felt is one of the most irresistibly fun songs of all-time:
I’ve always had a special relationship with this song, which I became aware of as soon as it came out back in 2003. When I first heard it, I instantly liked it; but for some reason my love for “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” scared me. It was because, I think, at that time I still somewhat cared what other people thought of my music tastes, and this song had enough of a cheesiness factor that I was afraid to fully embrace it.
It was getting heavy rotation on VH1, which has never been cool, and Justin Hawkins’ vocals are just so over the top as to be bordering on absurd. Plus, the lyrics are ridiculously sappy:
Touching you, touching me
touching you, god you’re touching me
I believe in a thing called love
Just listen to the rhythm of my heart
There’s a chance we could make it now
We’ll be rocking ’til the sun goes down
I believe in a thing called love
But you know what? I ultimately didn’t care. I found myself absolutely loving this song every time it came on, as cheesy and/or embarrassing as I may have considered it.
And that’s when my relationship with music changed in a subtle but profound way, with this realization: some pop songs are beyond ridiculous in their levels of cheesiness, and perhaps even their lack of lyrical gravitas, but they still absolutely rock and prove irresistibly fun. And I’d be damned from that point forward if a fear of judgment was ever going to prevent me from enjoying these guilty pleasures that I refused to feel guilty about anymore.
Right Justin Hawkins, lead singer of The Darkness and rocker of the awesome mustache?
So…inspired by the reemergence of “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” (which I have found out since the Super Bowl that damn near everyone loves, thus proving that I had little to fear in the first place) here are 14 other songs that at some point in my life I may have been embarrassed to admit loving, but that have always captured the rhythm of my heart.
14 Other Irresistibly Fun Songs
1. “Can You Feel It” – The Jacksons
Don’t be surprised when you see Michael Jackson pop up on this list a few times. No artist created more irresistibly fun songs than MJ. And if you get a sense of deja vu seeing “Can You Feel It” on another one of my music lists, you should. I can almost always find a way to convince myself that it belongs, because this song is greatness.
2. “The Warrior” by Scandal
I first became acquainted with this song, as probably many of you did, while watching the first NBA Superstars VHS tape. This was the song for Charles Barkley’s mixtape (though we didn’t call them mixtapes back then), and it was an inspired choice that was edited perfectly.
Contrast it with a later Barkley Superstars video featuring “Born To Be Wild” by Steppenwolf, and the difference is obvious. Thanks to Scandal, the first Barkley highlight video is a classic.
But even without Charles Barkley, this is a great song that some 20 years later always finds its way onto my driving and workout playlists. I can’t help it.
3. “Small Town” by John Mellencamp
Speaking of the NBA Superstars videos, this was the song for Larry Bird’s highlight montage. As great a fit as “Warrior” was for Barkley, “Small Town” for Bird was perfect, summed up by the quote that kicks of the video: “There’s only one place I’d rather be: French Lick.”
I’ve always loved this song. First off all, it describes me, being from Bloomington and all, and growing up so close to where Mellencamp himself great up. In addition, liking the erstwhile Johnny Cougar hasn’t always been the cool thing to do, but it’s never stopped me from doing it.
A fellow Hoosier, I’ve always loved Mellencamp, especially when he’s singing words like these that I can relate to so well, tucked within a triumphant beat and easily sing-along-able chorus.
4. Run-Around by Blues Traveler
I’ll be interested to see what people say about this song, because I feel like most people like it, or at least did like it. Do they still? The John Popper lyrics? The harmonica? The quintessential 90s vibe?
5. Motownphilly by Boyz II Men
There was a pretty long time period during elementary school when I listed Boyz II Men as my favorite musical group. And it all started with this song.
My affinity for “Motownphilly” faded over time as I was drawn more to Boyz II Men’s subsequent ballads about love and loss, relating so well to them as I did when in 5th and 6th grade, but as I look back on the careers of Nate-Mike-Shawn-Wan now, I think this song stands above all others.
Without question, it’s the most irresistibly fun song in their catalog. So check this out. See if this one still moves you.
6. “A Little Respect” by Erasure
I must admit, I have no idea when this song came out because I didn’t listen to it when it first came out. But thanks to Scrubs and SingStar ’80s, it’s become one of my favorite irresistible guilty pop pleasures.
Turk and the dude being operated on may not like this song…
But Ted does, and so do I.
7. “All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You” by Heart
It’s not always cool for a dude to admit that a band full of chicks rocked, but I do indeed believe that Heart rocked.
Granted, I didn’t necessarily think this back when I was a kid and my mom played this song over and over again on shopping trips and such (which now seems really strange since I actually understand the lyrics. WTF Mom?), but I’ve now come to appreciate this song on my own, in part because it does such a good job of telling a compelling story while still including ridiculously cheesy lyrics like these:
I told him I am the flower, you are the seed,
We walked in the garden and planted a tree
Regardless, great song.
8. “Together Forever” by Rick Astley
And speaking of songs that to this day I blame my mom for me liking…
It seems impossible for a single song to encompass both the best and worst of an entire decade of music in three minutes and thirty seconds, but the ironically iconic Rick Astley does it here. He may be more well known for this song, but I actually, dare I say, like this one (I can’t help it!):
9. “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)” by Michael Jackson
Okay, since I know the last two choices will probably be controversial – with some of you agreeing loudly, some of you agreeing but keeping it to yourself, and others of you contemplating not reading anymore for me unironically including Rick Astley – let me now go with a song that I bet no one will say they don’t like.
How could you? This is irresistible pop music perfection.
10. “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston
And speaking of pop music perfection, it doesn’t get much more perfect or irresistible than pre-crack Whitney Houston, with this song a quintessential example.
Also, here is a fun fact you’d probably never assume about me: I do a killer rendition of this song on SingStar. (Okay fine, so it probably sounds like cows dying to all ears except my own, but after one or eleven whiskey and cokes I promise you I do about as well as any white dude could do on this song.)
11. “Wonder” by Natalie Merchant
For our next song, let’s slow the tempo down just a bit.
This is my favorite of Natalie Merchant’s songs. It’s upbeat. It’s positive. It’s optimistic. It’s triumphant. This is just a great song, and Merchant’s voice is the definition of irresistible.
12. “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen
And speaking of irresistible voices…
Rest in peace Freddie. No one’s stopping you from anything now. I don’t really need to say anything else about this song.
13. “The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis and the News
Yes, this song is one of my ringtones. And yes, it’s always gotten extra credit for its prominent role in Back To The Future. But the fact is, strip all of the peripheral stuff away, and this is just an awesome song by a fun band. Irresistibly awesome.
14. “Somebody’s Watching Me” by Rockwell (with Michael Jackson)
In the history of music, no song has ever gotten a bigger lift from guest vocals than this one, which is why it both makes and ends this list.
This song is irresistible on a number of levels. First, Rockwell’s ridiculous spoken-word singing is both comical and inviting – I can laugh at it while speak-singing right along and feel like I’m participating in the song as well as Rockwell himself did.
And second, of course, is that it features one of the most iconic and memorable choruses in the history of music, and no song can be irresistibly fun without a great chorus.
All Michale Jackson does is sing “I always feel…like somebody’s watching me!” (with some “Oh-oh-ohs” and “He-he-hes” mixed in) over and over again – literally, he doesn’t say anything else in the entire song. Yet the chorus is so infectious that this song is one of Jackson’s most recognizable, despite not even being his own song! Incredible.
So there they are, 14 songs that I consider to be just as irresistibly fun as “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” by The Darkness.
But I know that there are many, many, many more such songs out there. Use the comment section liberally to provide your own recommendations, because one can never have too many irresistibly fun songs in his or her iTunes.
Also, while writing this, I got a sense of deja vu feeling like I’d written a post similar to this before, possibly even with some overlap. And sure enough, a quick search of my music posts revealed this one: My 18 Favorite Guilty Musical Pleasures. Surprisingly, only two songs overlap: “Scandal” and “Don’t Stop Me Now”. So apparently I really like those songs.
But now I’m starting to wonder why I suddenly feel this need to reveal all of my deepest, darkest musical secrets. Despite my daily quest to find the best indie songs on the web, I apparently also have an irrepressible old school pop music junkie inside of me bursting to be unleashed.
Let’s all hope I’ve now gotten it out of my system.
Bonus: Grand Finale
But wait! There’s more!
In closing, I want to add two more songs to this post, perhaps the two most irresistibly fun songs I currently own, but for whatever reason they just didn’t seem to fit with the these of this post, as inspired by The Darkness. My hypothesis is that the first one is too new, the second is too old, and they both are so supremely good that they felt out of place being lumped in with the others in this post.
Either way, songs don’t get much more pleasant and fun to listen to than “What You Know” by Two Door Cinema Club and “Good Times” by Sam Cooke. So if for some reason you didn’t agree with my choices above, at least I’ll leave you with two songs that, frankly, are impossible to dislike.
“What You Know” by Two Door Cinema Club
This song always seems to pop up on any mix or “Best of” playlist I make. The beat has infiltrated my soul, latched itself on, and won’t let go. And I’m okay with that.
“Good Times” by Sam Cooke
And here is perhaps the most irresistibly fun song of all-time. It’s got it all:
- Sam Cooke’s iconic voice.
- A happy, uptempo beat.
- Cheesy nonsense lyrics (“Whoa-oa-oa la-na-ta-da, Noo-oa la-ta-na, La-na-na all night long…”)
- A simple, sappy, fun message: have fun, let the good times roll
If you can resist this song, then you and I will never get along. It’s musical perfection, and easily the best note to close this post on.