San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

DA Staff Recs: Guilty pleasure songs

Ryan Hardison
Everyone has a unique guilty pleasure song that they can’t help but belch out loud whenever they hear it or it’s a must-listen when singing in shower – here’s our picks for the best guilty pleasure songs.

TVXQ – “Rising Sun”

Second generation K-pop fans, “RISE UUUUP!!” A bombastic masterpiece from one of the OG K-pop boy bands, TVXQ’s “Rising Sun” is the epitome of grandiose, final boss battle ready, early 2000s pop. This track has everything: an epic melody with edgy guitars and dramatic strings, tight choreography, a moody music video (sweaty drumming!), poetic lyrics about perseverance  (“my innocence has bloomed in the garden of suffering”), a Bollywood-style dance break and (because it’s TVXQ) a few moments where member Changmin (a.k.a. Max) gets to BELT. IT. OUT. Kids, don’t try these notes at home! Speaking of “praising the sun,” “Rising Sun” has since obtained “Dark Souls” status in the world of K-pop. In 2020, it was ranked the hardest K-pop song to perform live, but that certainly hasn’t stopped many from trying and I think “YOU KNOW WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!”

(Slightly Honorable Mentions: Gwen Stefani’s “Rich Girl” feat. Eve, Céline Dion’s “Then You Look at Me”, Caramell’s “Caramelldansen”)

Written by Morgan Ray, Staff Writer

Howard Jones – “What is Love”

Howard Jones is undoubtedly the most underrated Britpop artist of the 1980s. Ten of his singles reached the British top ten charts during the ‘80s, but his songs never found quite the same level of success across the pond in America. The song “What is Love” asks the essential question of life, while also emphasizing the fun and upbeat instrumentals characteristic of the 1980s. It is easy to analyze the concept of romantic love while also jamming along to Jones’s addictive synthesized beats. This Valentine’s Day, I am sure “What is love anyways?” is a question we will all be trying to answer as we either run around trying to find the perfect gift for our sweetheart, lie at home alone, or think back on a past love.

Written by Eugènie Budnik, Staff Writer 

Taylor Swift – “Love Story”

Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” fueled my inner hopeless romantic at the age of seven years old. Without knowing who Shakespeare was, the song taught me the magic of Romeo and Juliet minus the morbid ending. Whether you listen to the 2008 recording or the recent “Taylor’s Version,” the country pop melody with guitars and banjo brings the lyrics to life. What’s ironic about the song is how Swift’s inspiration to write the song wasn’t about anyone special as many people assume about most of her songs. The lead single off of Swift’s second album “Fearless,” “Love Story” is about a secret love interest that never led to anything. No one accepts the love between the two characters, but Swift envisions what their potential love could have led to. You don’t have to be a dedicated Swiftie to know all the lyrics to this song. You might not purposefully play this song on your way to class, but if “Love Story” unexpectedly begins to play in a random location, there’s no stopping me from belting out “We were both young when I first saw you…”

Written by Maritza Camacho, Staff Writer

Josh Groban – “My Confession”

Okay, hear me out. I know, you hear the name Josh Groban and you think, “You raise me upppppppp so I can stand on mooountaaaaaains,” and then you think, ‘who heard that song and thought, ah man, I’ve gotta get my hands on that album?’ Me, that’s who. Get on this train now or skip this paragraph entirely because we’re going to share a moment about this 2000s anthem. Josh Groban’s effortless, flawless baritone has to be the closest thing we have to what angels sound like. The beautiful Spanish-influenced guitar intro, combined with the gorgeous, orchestral chorus and swelling melody makes this melodramatic love song into something truly worth swooning over. Listening to it is almost like the audible equivalent of the oversaturated, overexposed, hyperdramatic sheen of a romantic music video from the 1990s, except right at the exact moment in a perfume commercial when the enigmatic, nameless woman in a flowy red dress walks in and seduces a random white man purely by making eye contact with him. “My Confession” is a song for the anonymous main characters of their own eau de parfum commercials looking for a good swoon this Valentine’s Day.

Written by Emily Forschen, Senior Staff Writer

Wham – “Careless Whisper”

The ‘80s were a unique time for music. The decade spawned some of the most culturally relevant music of the modern era. Songs like “Billie Jean,” “Take On Me”  and “Straight Outta Compton” raised the ever-growing standard of what makes a successful song…and then there’s “Careless Whisper.” George Michael’s seductive voice, coupled with a slow drum beat and an iconic saxophone melody creates a song that is viewed by many as a walking ‘80s cliche. The song’s sax-dominated opening generates immediate eye-rolls from music fans and outright hostility from every saxophone player in the world. But god-damn it, I still love it. Yes, I’ve heard that same saxophone melody blasted in various car speakers my whole life. Is that going to change? Not at all. I love listening to music that’s rhythmically and lyrically dense, but sometimes it’s nice to turn your brain off after a long day and have George Michael whisper in your ear.

Written by Owen Pratt, Contributor

Nickelback – “Far Away”

At 15 years old, my hopeless romantic teenage self thought I had felt the pain of a woman who had gone through seven divorces. When the boy I thought I loved, liked somebody else-oh woe was me! I remember coming home from school and blasting this song on repeat, sad and crying into my eyeliner-pressed pillow because I thought my life was over. Looking back now, at the age of 28, I laugh. When you’re young, your world is so small and you cannot see past your immediate feelings. As you get older and gain more life experience, you see that the world is so grand, so beautiful, and that the best is yet to come. Every time I hear this song randomly play at a dive bar or at Walmart while I am shopping for inexpensive house slippers, I burst out singing: “Cause you know, you know, you knowwwww (*hold note*) that I love you, I have loved you all along, and I miss you, been far away, for far too long!” It gets me in the feels every time. I am not missing anybody at the moment. I just enjoy the nostalgic feelings of growing up. Who doesn’t like a pint of Ben & Jerry’s chunky monkey ice cream to themselves while ugly crying listening to Nickelback every once in a while? 

Written by Sumaia Wegner, Staff Writer

Morgan Wallen – “7 Summers”

I never thought I’d enjoy country music until I heard Morgan Wallen’s “7 Summers” playing on the radio. The song begins with a rhythmic beat that blends beautifully with the sound of the acoustic guitar, creating a nostalgic, summertime feel. The instrumental alone makes you want to roll down the windows and feel the breeze against your skin. As Wallen begins to sing in his sultry, southern charm, his words will immediately captivate you. The song describes the loss of a summer love and takes listeners on a reminiscent journey questioning what could have been. It’s hard to stop yourself from belting out the chorus, especially when Wallen says, “Does it ever make you sad to know that was seven summers ago.” The number of times I’ve played this song on repeat is probably unhealthy, specifically since country music isn’t my first choice of music to listen to. But it’s hard not to be swayed by a love song that feels like summer itself.

Written by Jazlyn Dieguez, Contributor

About the Contributors
Eugènie Budnik
Eugènie Budnik, '24-25 News Editor, '23-24 News Editor
Eugenie Budnik is currently obtaining her MA in Mass Communication and Media Studies from San Diego State University. Eugenie graduated from San Diego State University with a BA of Journalism with an emphasis in Advertising in Spring 2024. As an ex-military child, Eugenie spent time growing up in Japan, England, Colorado and San Diego. Eugenie joined The Daily Aztec in 2021, when she was originally an elementary education major. Eugenie's time spent reporting on news for The Daily Aztec developed her love and passion for journalism, ultimately leading her to change her major. Since then, Eugenie has written over 50 pieces for The Daily Aztec and is now serving as the news editor for the second year in a row. Outside of her work, you can find Eugenie jamming out to Taylor Swift, reading, or scrolling through Tik Tok.
Maritza Camacho
Maritza Camacho, Staff Writer
Maritza is a fourth-year journalism major at San Diego State University after transferring from Santa Rosa Junior College in Spring 2021. Her desire to cover social issues started in the 4th grade when she wrote about social issues for her elementary school’s paper. Maritza also enjoys working out and listening to music, which will inform her arts and entertainment coverage. Maritza was an editor for The Oak Leaf, Santa Rosa Junior College's news media. She has won national awards for her COVID-19 coverage and podcasts, and has been featured as a panelist for the California Humanities Youth and the Ballot. In addition to podcasting and writing, she is the current social media assistant for KPBS and the social media editor for the National Association for Hispanic Journalists. In all of her current and future work, she continues to give a voice to the voiceless.
Emily Forschen
Emily Forschen, '21-22 Graphics Editor
Emily Kim Forschen (she/her) is a senior journalism major from Tracy, Calif. who has a hard time sitting still. She has a passion for covering all things California, but specifically is focused now on learning how to report on prisons and incarceration. She spends too much time on Twitter (@emilyschen) and actively wants to talk to you all the time about anything pop culture! Previously, Emily was the editor-in-chief of The Express at Las Positas College, worked as a reporting fellow for CalMatters’ College Journalism Network and was a founding officer of SDSU’s chapter of AAJA. Emily is excited to be the graphic design editor again this semester, polishing and developing The Daily Aztec’s look throughout 2022.
Owen Pratt
Owen Pratt, Staff Writer
Owen Pratt is a multimedia journalist based in Los Angeles and San Diego. He graduated from South Pasadena High School in 2018. Afterwards Owen attended Pasadena City College, where he earned his Associate Degree in Journalism in 2021. He loves writing about local and federal politics, movies, music and television. He strongly believes in the importance of digital media, saying it can highlight underreported and niche issues. He is a senior working towards his Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. He currently writes for the Daily Aztec and helps produce the Daily Aztec Live. In his free time he enjoys listening to hip-hop, going on walks, and binging documentaries.
Sumaia Wegner, '23-24 Managing Editor
Originally from Santa Clarita, California, Sumaia Wegner is a is a double major, studying Journalism and Communication.  She started as a staff writer for The Daily Aztec, then became Arts and Culture Editor, and is now the current Managing Editor. Aside from her leadership role, Sumaia is also a reporter for the men's basketball team. Last year she covered the Mountain West Championship as well as the NCAA Championship. Sumaia is the president of the Asian American Journalists Association (SDSU Chapter) as well as the vice president of Culture and Diversity for SDSU's College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts. She started her career as a journalist while she was traveling abroad in Bangladesh, where she was a writer for The Independent newspaper. She wrote for the “Youth and Independent” section focusing on narratives that evaluated eastern and western cultures. Sumaia has received the following awards for The Daily Aztec: "The Inspirer," "Quest for Excellence," and "Best Section." 
Jazlyn Dieguez
Jazlyn Dieguez, '23-24 Social Media Editor
Jazlyn Dieguez (she/her/hers) is a fourth-year journalism major minoring in creative editing and publishing from Salinas, California. She possesses a strong drive to pursue a career in the entertainment industry, showcasing her talents across various mediums including social media, broadcasting and writing. Prior to assuming the role of social media editor for The Daily Aztec, Dieguez served as a staff writer for The Daily Aztec's Arts and Culture section and held the position of vice president of writing & copy for The Look Magazine, SDSU's first student-run arts, fashion and culture publication. Currently, Dieguez has taken on the responsibilities of vice president for SDSU's Society of Professional Journalists chapter and social media editor for SDSU's National Association of Hispanic Journalists chapter. Apart from her academic pursuits, Dieguez enjoys binge-watching TV shows, discovering new music, traveling to new locations and staying up-to-date with the latest trends in fashion.
Ryan Hardison
Ryan Hardison, Arts & Culture Editor
Ryan Hardison is a senior studying journalism, sociology and history.
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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
DA Staff Recs: Guilty pleasure songs