Several years ago, Katelin and I got Marcia an iPod for Mother’s Day. Katelin already had one, and then I got one for myself, and then we got another one for the family room stereo, and then Marcia got a second one, so she has one for the gym and one for her car. I manage and synch all of the family iPods into a single iTunes account on my computer, so that the play data from each iPod accumulates to that one account.
This creates an interesting sort of “Family Top 40” in terms of the songs that get played the most over time, as the most played songs don’t necessarily come from anybody’s all-time favorite bands. For example, I listen to Napalm Death all the time, but no one else in the house does, so they rarely rate highly in the overall play count. Top songs instead tend to come from the places where our individual tastes overlap most congruently, and sometimes those aren’t obvious, so we get some surprising results.
Each year on Mother’s Day, I wipe the play counts clear for the entire account, after recording the 40 most played songs of the preceding 365 days. This year’s Top 40 had less Katelin influence in it than in prior years, since she was home less often than she’s been in the past, and I’m buying and playing less of her music on our local account accordingly.
27 different artists were represented in the Top 40, including multiple appearances by Scotland’s Frightened Rabbit (four), Albany’s Gay Tastee and New Zealand’s Bats (three each), plus a pair of songs each from Real Estate (New Jersey), The Joy Formidable (Wales), Sin Fang Bous (Iceland), Snog (Australia), The Pogues (Ireland) and White Denim (Austin). We are clearly international in our tastes.
The top of the heap was tighter than it’s ever been, with the three most played songs separated by only two plays. The winner turned out to be “Casablanca,” an incredibly infectious slice of spazzy lo-fi guitar-and-drum pop from Ireland’s So Cow. Canada’s Bruce Peninsula nabbed the second spot with the percussive call-and-response shout-along “Crabapples,” while former Kamikaze Heart and Annabel Lee singer-drummer-songwriter Gaven Richard’s fuzzy riff-driven “High Dive” kept the bronze medal here in Albany, with a production assist from everybody’s favorite Wolfman.
Here’s the complete list of the 40 Most Played Songs in our household over the past year, out of the 9,742 songs on my computer. I’ve put some links in to some of the more eclectic and perhaps hard to find things, but consider all of these worth investigating, if you’re looking to start your own family jukebox.
1. “Casablanca” by So Cow
2. “Crabapples” by Bruce Peninsula
3. “High Dive” by Gaven Richard
4. “I.O.I.O” by The Bee Gees
5. “In My Car” by The Magnetic Fields
6. “Fun Stuff” by Frightened Rabbit
7. “Orion Town 2” by Frontier Ruckus
8. “Weak and Nervous” by Gay Tastee
9. “Green River” by Real Estate
10. “Beautiful Brand New” by Gay Tastee
11. “Jolene” by Dolly Parton
12. “Cradle” by The Joy Formidable
13. “The Most Beautiful Girl” by Charlie Rich
14. “kW-h” by British Sea Power
15. “Swim Until You Can’t See Land” by Frightened Rabbit
16. “A Fire to Sleep In” by Sin Fang Bous
17. “Nothing Like You” by Frightened Rabbit
18. “Winston” by Gay Tastee
19. “A Man” by Snog
20. “Melt Down the Knives” by Sin Fang Bous
21. “Born Together” by Plush
22. “Gay A” by Menomena
23. “Down All the Days” by The Pogues
24. “We Are the Battery Human” by Stornoway
25. “Before Your Birthday Ends” by Suckers
26. “Esophagus” by Alice Donut
27. “Things” by Frightened Rabbit
28. “Old World United” by Here We Go Magic
29. “Lorelei” by The Pogues
30. “Fake Blues” by Real Estate
31. “WDA” by White Denim
32. “That’s How You’ll Find Me” by The Bats
33. “Don’t You Rise” by The Bats
34. “Cover Me (Slowly)” by Deerhunter
35. “While the Flies” by The Joy Formidable
36. “IEIEI” by White Denim
37. “Like Water in Your Hands” by The Bats
38. “Tin Man” by Future Islands
39. “Feedback in the Field” by Plants and Animals
40 “This World (Done Me Wrong)” by Snog