We ain’t got no shame. Holler at us with your guilty pleasures at : howdy [at] hexbeat.com.

Brandi Rinks

I have conflicted feelings about labeling something as a “guilty pleasure,” not because I’m embarassed of mine, but because I think it’s lame to be embarassed that you enjoy something.  Pomposity and elitism are some of my least favorite qualities in people, and unfortunately those same traits are common in some of the crowds I hang with. Hell, I know I’ve been guilty of sneering at someone enjoying Dave Matthews Band or Olive Garden a little too much. Sometimes I have to check myself and tame those uppity feelings, which I’m sure anyone who really loves music or film or food or art of any kind has to deal with from time to time. I think the world has plenty of critics and not nearly enough pure enthusiasm and honesty about what we enjoy. On the other hand, when I’m listening to a Ke$ha song for the seventh time in a row and know it’s scrobbling to my Last.fm or Spotify feed for the whole world to see, I definitely cringe a little and wait for a snarky tweet from a friend about it.  That being said, here are a few things that I’m more likely to delete from my scrobbles or enjoy when no one is looking.

Pop Country Hits from 1992-1995

I grew up in small-town Arkansas so it’s unsurprising that while I was running around barefoot with my roosters and black labs that I jammed out to bad pop country. I woke up early on Sunday mornings to listen to the Top 20 country countdown and distinctly remember anxiously waiting to see what song would be named the #1 country song in the year-end countdown of 1993, then doing a little celebration dance when it was Alan Jackson’s “Chattahoochee.”  (I was 10.  Give me a break.) The first music video I remember is Faith Hill’s “Piece of My Heart,” which I saw on “Gene Williams’ Country Junction Show,” a locally hosted music video program that I can’t even find a Youtube clip for.  I don’t like modern pop country and think it totally lacks a certain hokey, bleached denim quality that might win me over, but I do still have a soft spot for the songs I loved so much as a kid— the froggy warble of John Anderson singing about chicken trucks and the common female reminiscence on lost innocence during a muggy summer night.  Here’s a Spotify playlist that gets played a lot by me and my fellow Arkansas-raised boyfriend during roadtrips.

Grey’s Anatomy

I am a huge fan of quality television.  I love “The Wire,”  “Breaking Bad,” “Girls,” and “Mad Men,” but I’m also a fan of slop with frustrating, unbelievable plotlines, bad acting, and an apparently unending run.  I’m not sure how I started watching “Grey’s Anatomy,” but now I’ve seen every episode and could give you a detailed account of the show’s nine years of infidelities, partner swapping, disappearing characters and unbelievable disasters.  I know it’s a glorified soap opera, but so was “Friday Night Lights” and everyone gives that a pass, right? RIGHT? If only Ellen Pompeo had the seductive accent and glorious hair of Connie Britton.

Cool Ranch Doritos Tacos

When these came out my heart let out a little disappointed yelp at the further trashification of the modern American diet, but after I tried one as a joke (beans subbed for the “beef” of course), I dropped all pretenses of disgust.  This shit is delicious.  Get a party pack and chow, my friends, because there’s no reason to be a snob.

Hexbeat staffers Brandi Rinks and Kandi Cook enjoying some Cool Ranch Doritos Tacos.

Hexbeat staffers Brandi Rinks and Kandi Cook enjoying some Cool Ranch Doritos Tacos.

Ruby Dear

TV Theme Songs

I’m a sucker for a great TV theme song, and going through late night multi-browser-tab YouTube cycles hunting down nostalgic show jingles. They just don’t make ’em like they used to, I tell ya.

Gas Stations

I can’t help it but I love me some goofy t-shirts, tacky keychains, cashiers with some raw small town personality, not to mention awful trashy nachos and hot dogs from truck stops and convenience stores. After years of road trips and a job as a civil process server driving around my county serving papers, I’ve become ultra familiar with various stops and who has the best gas station faire. (Kum & Go has clean bathrooms, charming customer service, the best hot dogs, and they have those espresso shot things AND hazelnut coffee.)

Prairie Home Companion

Now, I won’t go as far as to know what time or day to tune in to this program, but I’ve been known to stop channel surfing when I hear Garrison Keillor’s quaint wisecracks in the car.


Craigslist Missed Connections

Every few weeks or so, I find myself bored and going through Craigslist on my phone. The Missed Connections is always a great source of curiousity, hilarity, and raised eyebrows. I would totally flip out and go all fetal position in the dark if there was ever one about me though.

Hilarious really old websites that haven’t updated their designs

I’m not supposed to like these things because designing things and making websites is what I do. But have you ever looked at the old Space Jam website? It’s STILL THERE. It’s like an antique of the internet now. If you really want to go down memory lane, just search for some old Angelfire sites and get blasted away into Comic Sans land with sparkly gifs floating from your mouse pointer.


So. Like. I am totally not going to name all the terrible reality shows that I follow religiously. I have a natural need for self-preservation. But here’s some stuff I will own up to!


I love going to places where it’s real dark and everybody is dancing and the rap is so loud that you can’t understand it anymore. I walk into places like that and I feel like I am home. I practically skip into the middle of it. I know I should feel guilty about loving clubs because every time I ask anybody to accompany me to one, they look like I asked them to go to the DMV or something. Who are these friends and why did I make them? I maintain that I can’t help it. Past lives or genetics or something.  

Speaking of rap

Mac Miller. Man, the mere act of typing that was embarrassing. It’s just, he does this one song, “Missed Calls”, and he sounds just like Dashboard Confessional about two minutes in and it woke up something I forgot was inside me. Some little tweeny bird that still has sleepovers with her girlfriends. Something that’s been dead a long time, yo. So I started into the discography and stalked him on the internet and he grew on me and now I love him but I can’t put my finger on why. It is perplexing.

Forever 21

Seriously, I buy so many things from their website and I feel so deliciously guilty about it every time. It is all so inexpensive and replaceable and inappropriate. I am not 21 years old and I have not been 21 years old for a minute. I won’t go into their stores because I would probably get burned at the stake. Enough said.

What are your guilty pleasures?

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