The king of the lad anthem: Gallagher? Ashcroft? Albarn? How about a stately home dwelling Sir married to another man?
For me a guilty pleasure is a song that requires no thought, no straining of the cranium, no self reflection, no analysis.
A song that can be easily repeated after ten pints of beer – or two bottles of sherry if that way inclined. A so called ‘anthem’ that joyously declares the weekend is here and says: “I am not at work for two days and I am going to bleeding enjoy it.”
The 90s harvested a good few of these numbers; The Verve, Oasis, Blur, took to the fields to plough while the sun shone on Britpop. Their crop was a sturdy root – about three and a half minutes in length, accompanied best with a pint of low strength lager.
And like a hoppy belch it spread with a stench of masculinity. They were anthems for the lads, mantras to be chanted on football terraces. Men who thought music was just something ‘the wife’ liked even knew the words to Don’t Look Back in Anger.
But Britpop didn’t quite offer me the debauched thrill I had subconsciously already drunk in watching countless episodes of Top of the Pops Two as I prepared for my teen years.
When I turned 18, readying myself for the Midlands’ worst night-spots, there was only one song for me to prune to. It certainly wasn’t Wonderwall; that was about a girl. Parklife was too close to a poem for my liking. Bitter Sweet Symphony had violins in it and stuff.
It wasn’t a song released in my teens either. Sentimentality crept into mainstream indie by the late 90s. Men started talking about their ‘feelings’, inviting friends round for dinner parties, reading stuff. The Fratellis and Kasabian helped bring about a mid decade resurgence of blokeness in the 2000s but with all that self-parodying swagger it was hard to take them seriously.
I needed a real man. After all I was heading into drinking establishments full of women. I wanted to strut my masculinity. I wanted to claim one. I needed a man that set my anthemic bar unattainably high back in 1973, when men wore moustaches and corduroy flairs.
A man that donned spandex and star shaped glasses because he didn’t give a damn. A man that sold out a baseball stadium. A man whose sheer physicality would make mincemeat of both Gallaghers together in a bare-chested fist-fight. A man who cusses more reading his adopted son a bedtime story than Jonny Rotten does in a calendar month. Sir Elton John.
Saturday, Saturday, Saturday, Saturday, Saturday, Saturday, he sang, dressed in feathers, smacking the piano with wide-eyed abandon. He didn’t need a parker jacket to disguise his weak frame – Elton had it all on show.
Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting is the only song to embark on a weekend with; lyrics about meeting the lads, picking up chicks and decking strangers. Add Davey Johnstone’s chunky, glamfuzz descending riff and you have it: the musical equivalent of shooting whiskey while driving into town in a pick-up truck.
Testosterone fuelled spunk-rock at its spunkiest and even a Neanderthal can recite the lyrics to the coda. Thank you Sir Elton, I’m going out to pull.
Written by Paul Lynch