Opinions & Features Workshop (Oct 26th)

Illustration by Megan Koch

Gauntlet Mixtape Vol. 2: Cringe-worthy guilty pleasures

By Cristina Paolozzi, Aymen Sherwani, Megan Koch, Sophia Lopez, Ava Zardynezhad, Ramiro Bustamante Torres, Rachneet Randhawa, Kristy Koehler, Aressana Challand, Nimra Amir, Tausif Tajwar, Vanessa Carter, Julieanne Acosta, Sebastian Vasquez Gutierrez and Rodrigo Verney, August 18 2021 —

Let’s face it, everyone has that one — or two or three — songs they secretly enjoy, even though blasting it in public is morally reprehensible and socially deplorable. Our staff and volunteers at the Gauntlet took one for the team and decided to bear it all, revealing the most embarrassing songs we secretly have on repeat for the second installment of our mixtape series. Deep down, we know these songs actually slap. 

Cristina’s Picks: Editor-in-Chief 

“Industry Baby” by Lil Nas X  

To me, Lil Nas X will forever be the “Old Town Road” guy, but I seriously can’t get those horns from “Industry Baby” out of my head. I also keep hearing this song on TikTok, so let’s blame my overplaying this tune on the algorithm. 

“Ring My Bell” by Anita Ward 

As corny as this song might be, it never fails to get me dancing like I’m at a disco club in the ‘70s. If someone challenged me to stand completely still while this song was playing, I would lose every time. 

Aymen’s Picks: Voices Editor 

“Bezos I” by Bo Burnham 

This is embarrassing to listen to because people probably genuinely think I like Jeff Bezos instead of being mind controlled to sing along to this hell-chant because TikTok told me to do so. 

“Stacy’s Mom” by Fountains of Wayne 

This song goes against all my morals and principles and yet here it is — a bop that stands the test of time that I dance to in my room, followed by a two second moment of silence.

Megan’s Picks: Visuals Editor

“Coconut” by Harry Nilsson 

This song feels childish to listen to. But, that scene in Practical Magic where they get drunk and dance around the kitchen is terrific — and all I think about when I hear this song.

“Beyond the Sea” by Bobby Darin

I have no idea how to justify this one other than to say it’s a feel-good bop that I listen to at least once a week.

“From Now On” by Hugh Jackman

I make no apologies for listening to Hugh “hunk-of-a-man” Jackman. However, it’s unlikely I will tell people that this is a major component of my driving alone jam sessions.

Sophia’s Pick: News Editor

“One Less Lonely Girl” by Justin Bieber 

I swear I didn’t go through a Belieber phase, but I remember listening to this on the way to high school for a year straight — or longer.

Ava’s Picks: General Editor

“Santa Monica” by Theory of a Deadman 

I think we can all agree that Theory of a Deadman is discount Nickelback. Now, if Nickelback is looked down upon, then my position here needs no further explanation. I will say though, this song — cringeworthy as it is — is great to listen to in the car.

“Экспонат” by Leningrad 

This is definitely not the most embarrassing Leningrad song I listen to — I would like to maintain some shred of dignity. Like most songs by the band, the lyrics are a mess. Fortunately for me, they’re in Russian, so that saves me from many awkward situations.

“Toss a Coin to Your Witcher” by Dan Vasc

This song is a meme, but I love it.

Ramiro’s Pick: Layout Editor

“Texas Song” by Sandy Cheeks and Junior Brown  

Exposing myself with this one, but I grew up in Texas and this song gets me in my feels for no reason. Whoever wrote this song put their whole cattle and ranch into it.

Rachneet’s Picks: General Editor


I Found My Smile Again (Radio Edit) by D’Angelo 

I don’t know why but I’m a sucker for a good flick’s original score or soundtrack — or songs that go viral after the movie’s been a big box office hit. But I really like this random tune that comes from the original Space Jam — a classic throwback to the late ’90s.

“American Idiot” by Green Day 

Another throwback, it’s a popular song from the early 2000’s and was in pretty much every Tony Hawk pro-skater video game for some random reason.

“Drop It Like It’s Hot” by Snoop Dogg ft. Pharrell

This is a one-hit-radio-wonder with club remixes galore. Let’s just say the virtual memes and hot dance GIFS that came out of this years later were worth the wait.

Kristy’s Picks: Volunteer Coordinator

“This Is How You Remind Me” by Nickelback

I’m not apologizing for this. Nickelback is a Canadian treasure. Get over it.

“Joyride” by Roxette

At the risk of dating myself, I had this album on cassette tape and I would crank every single song for hours on end. The look of the album cover still makes me smile. I also once got tickets to a Roxette concert for $19.00 and it did not disappoint. 

“Bat Out of Hell” by Meat Loaf

When I pump this bad boy in my car, people look at me like I have 12 heads. Rightfully so. Most people think it’s awful. I’m convinced it’s cool.

Aressana’s Picks: Volunteer

“I Am A Gummy Bear  — The Gummy Bear Song” by Gummy Bear

Sometimes you need to be reminded of the potential “Baby Shark” could have had, or if you want to tune it out, this song will do the trick. Plus, if rap, hip-hop and remixes aren’t doing it for you during a workout, play this and there’s no way you won’t have the urge to run — whether it’s running from or with the song.  

“Gloria Regali” by Tommee Profitt and Fleurie

I started listening to cinematic and instrumental music last year at certain times when I would draw or paint to channel different emotions. However, I wouldn’t want anyone to overhear it and think I’m plotting to take over the world. 

“Rosyln” by St. Vincent and Bon Iver 

Having a Twilight album playing on your phone is an instant stamp of embarrassment if you ask me, but I love the peace this song brings. Bon Iver is definitely worth the risk. 

Nimra’s Picks: Volunteer

“Boyfriend” by Justin Bieber  

No one other than Canadian icon JB could serenade girls everywhere by whispering swag repeatedly. I don’t know how he does it, but it’s definitely a bop.

“Love Robbery” by Kalin and Myles  

White boys rapping is rarely good, but it can be catchy. That’s about all I can say to defend myself for this one.

“Hoedown Throwdown” by Miley Cyrus  

Country music — if this classifies — meets hot girl summer to create this masterpiece. A song that truly never gets old.

Tausif’s Pick: Volunteer

“Pretty Girl” by Clairo

Pretty Girl is a lo-fi pop track by the lo-fi bedroom pop queen herself, Clairo. It encompasses a girl introspecting her need to dress and act a certain way to please her lover. Vibing to the lyrics, “I could be a pretty girl, I’ll wear a skirt for you,” as a heterosexual male was a little weird at first and embarrassing to tell my friends. But seeing the huge love this song got, irrespective of people’s sexuality — just look at the comments on the YouTube video. Now I deeply resonate with the idea of wearing something — yes, even a skirt — for my partner to please or shock her.

Vanessa’s Picks: Volunteer

“Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley

I’m aware this is a meme and associated with people getting Rickrolled, but honestly every time I listen to this song it puts me in such a good mood and lifts my spirits. I will happily jam out to this for the rest of my life, no cares given.

“Take on Me” by A-ha

Same with “Never Gonna Give You Up,” this song has me singing every word at the top of my lungs, pretending to be singing it at a concert — and I don’t care if people think it’s annoying. If the memes that go with this song don’t put a smile on your face, then I don’t know what will.

“Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson

I feel like a lot of Gen Zs don’t really appreciate what Michael Jackson has done for the music industry. Not only did this man have people screaming for three minutes just by turning his head during his Super Bowl performance, he paved the way for many artists including the Weeknd, Prince, Snoop Ddogg and Usher. Even though this is a song many groan to — since it’s so old — you will never, ever see me skipping it or protesting to change it.

“Material Girl” by Madonna

Same with Michael Jackson, I feel like a lot of people don’t appreciate what Madonna has done for the music industry. She has always been fearless in self-expression and being a role model for many young girls to pursue what they want in life, outside of tradition. While many frown in confusion at this song, I will happily dance every time.

“Train Wreck” by James Arthur

I honestly thought this was a lyrical masterpiece the first time I listened to it. Then came the James Charles memes. Because of the endless TikToks and parodies of it, I feel like this song has been ruined for many, but I’m still willing to listen to it and live in my main character moments.

Julieanne’s Picks: Volunteer

“Barefoot Cinderella” by Miley Cyrus 

This is not Hannah Montana’s most popular song, but definitely should have been — at least in my opinion. It’s one of those songs that I don’t ever remember listening to often but somehow know every word of.

“Filipina Girl” by Billy Crawford

As a Filipina, this song has hyped me up since the moment I heard it. 

“Bleeding Love” by Leona Lewis 

This is my top belt-it-out-in-the-car song. 

“Blue Tacoma” by Russell Dickerson 

I had to put a country song in here. As much as I do enjoy the genre, this song is the one that will make me scream out and I take the embarrassment for it. 

“Rolex” by Ayo & Teo 

There is no part of this song — to me, at least — that has any sort of good lyrical composition. However, it is so catchy that I refuse to skip it if it comes up on shuffle. 

Sebastian’s Picks: Volunteer

“Circle of Life” by Carmen Twillie and Lebo M. 

For many, having Disney soundtracks on your playlist can be seen as a bit odd. However, as a Disney fan I listen to all songs from old Disney movies. Listening to them alone is perfect. But, when you are trying to connect to any Bluetooth device and the Lion King soundtrack starts playing at full volume — yeah, you might get some weird looks.

“Run Away” by Sunstroke Project and Olia Tira

This is one song that North Americans probably don’t know from the Eurovision Song Contest in 2010. This song has a bit of modern pop along with modern jazz influences. Though the lyrics can be seen as a little odd since they don’t make much sense.

“Spirit In The Sky” by KEiiNO

This is another Eurovision song. This contest is famous for featuring some weird songs, since they can mean something to the contestants and the countries they represent. This is one of those songs. With different vocals and odd lyrics, this can be seen as a weird choice to put on a favourite playlist.

Rodrigo’s Picks: Volunteer

“Beyond the Sea” by Bobby Darin 

I mean come on, I’m a big boy now. I can’t be caught listening to Disney soundtracks, right?

“I’m Outstanding” by Shaquille O’Neal

Shaq’s music career was meh at the very best. When it came to rapping, he was a great — basketball player. 

“Nasty Freestyle” by T-Wayne

This was really big here in Brazil for a while. We just loved this song. However, it has been five years since it came out. The hype died, but my ears love it so much. 

“Never Say Never” by Justin Bieber and Jaden 

Oh boy, this one is a banger — a certified classic. It also came with the Karate Kid reboot that starred Jayden Smith. It was so good. This song isn’t one I will be screaming for at the club, but it can pump some much needed energy once in a while. 


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