Where is music at really?

I think the heading for this post suggests some grand theories are abound, when in reality, this is another one of those self indulgent posts all about me and my music (with a little stab at the band that shall no longer be named, for good measure).

Been getting more than a little irritated this week to see all the attention surrounding afore[un]mentioned band and a bloody computer game that will net them $40 million (USD) over the next few months and it’s got me thinking more about what makes great music and this, in turn, has lead me to ponder my top forty songs of all time, which actually is named in a mere one year and two months today. I am pleased that I have wittled my contenders for the big forty to 118 but as you can see that figure is a little higher than the final number and so much work is still to be done.

I have mentioned my love for Last.fm over the last couple of years and that has enabled me to see some trends that I otherwise would not have had a clue on. These trends are my most played song, most played artists, number of albums by artists, etc. and the results give you, the reader (I’m going all Charlotte Bronte here), a better idea of just what it is that makes me tick (well sort of, as the stats even surprised me)!

Most played song of the last two years is actually Andrew Bird’s Anonanimal, which I only got in January, and that song is really racking up listens, being played nearly twice as many times as number two!

Most played artist is My Brightest Diamond, which shocked the hell out of the wife, closely followed by The God Machine (no surprise to anyone) and Michael Giacchino (mainly the Lost soundtracks).

An interesting stat for my friend Pete, which might just surprise a few is that the artist I have the most albums of is a band by the name of Front 242. They come very high on this machine, beating: Radiohead, Depeche Mode and The Smashing Pumpkins. Not that I lsten to all of Front 242’s stuff, as a lot of their albums are remixes of one song, but nevertheless an interesting stat.

And so on to the forty, and while the biggest and most overrated band in existence have been filling the blogosphere ad naseaum, it has made me think how popularity has never equated with quality. Otherwise Dan Brown and J. K. Rowling would be the best two authors in the world and James Cameron easily one of the best directors. The difference between these and that band is that you just cannot criticise the band because they are just the best, there is no question – fuck that I say! I also hate the fact that by disliking the band I am accused of only doing it to be devil’s advocate. No, it’s not true, I dislike them because they are an OK band who have got far more attention than they deserve and because people actually believe contemporary music needs to be judged against them for some reason. Well most of the stuff that wasn’t inspired by them is light years ahead of them and those that were…well I don’t know about you but I never did like Take That, The Lighthouse Family or Oasis much.

So what do I listen to then and what has being going on in this top forty selection apart from whining about a band? Well, I have noticed that there are a hell of a lot of artists with one song in the running, meaning a lot will be missing out. It makes sense that the select few will have more than one in there, whereas others wil have a passing tune.

Notable artists with one just now are: Nirvana, Kate Bush, My Brightest Diamond, Simple Minds, U2, Chad Van Gaalen, Rage Against The Machine, Genesis, The Doors, Andrew Bird, Patrick Wolf, Lambchop, Björk, etc.

The artsits that are most likely to be in the chart, and with more than one track are: Tom Waits, Eels, Smashing Pumpkins, Stina Nordenstam, Kristin Hersh, Pink Floyd, Joy Division, New Order, Radiohead, God Machine and Sufjan Stevens.

This week has been about going through classic albums and ticking off tracks as a maybe, no or a yes. My memory has served me well here but in truth it’s not enough, I need the help of some worthy listens too!


About Mark S. Deniz

English teacher, writer, editor, publisher, reviewer and blogger. Founder of publishing company, Morrigan Books and imprint, Gilgamesh Press and editor-in-chief for review site, Beyond Fiction. Also cycles, plays floorball, listens to lots and lots of music, reads a ton of books and tries to fit in some TV, film and writing too. View all posts by Mark S. Deniz

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