House Music

I’ve written before about my tendency to resist changes in music-playing technology, holding tight to my albums and cassettes deep into the CD era, clinging to my CDs long after music moved onto our computers, and still raging against the dying of the song files era by refusing to have any streaming music accounts. I’m not a Luddite, but I like what I like, and I hate change for change’s sake. I also hate the concept of not owning music, but only renting it for as long as I maintain a particular streaming service account. That just ain’t right.

I may finally be losing that latter battle, though. Marcia got a Spotify account in 2019 for her yoga instructor class, and we’ve been listening to some of our music via that, mainly when we travel, ever since. Apple phased out “gadget”-based playback (e.g. iPods) some years ago, demanding that its customers move their music to their smart phones. I don’t like that, and I don’t want that, so I have accumulated a large collection of iPod Nanos and Shuffles to protect my current paradigm. Several of them have bitten the dust over the last couple of years, though, and I presume that when the last one dies, I’m gonna have to suck it up and stream.

Odds are, of course, that whenever I do finally make that jump, something new will come along soon thereafter to displace it, and I will have to rage against that transition too. Such is my lot, such is my life.

Since we got our first iPod as a family in 2008 (it was a requested Mother’s Day gift for Marcia), I have posted a “most-played songs” report at the end of each year, based on the accumulated plays on all of our family iPods. The character of the list is always interesting to me, since it reflects the places where the family’s musical tastes most closely overlap, rather than just what I like. While I may play a lot of Napalm Death on my commuting and office iPods, for example, that very fine group never appears in the upper echelons of our year-end lists since Marcia (and Katelin before she moved out) are not fans.

As I ponder the end of the iPod era, and as Life During Quarantine Time provides ample opportunities for mindless pursuits, I went back through all of those annual lists and aggregated the total plays from May of 2008 through the end of 2019, to get a sense of what our house has most often sounded like over the long haul. It’s a pretty eclectic list, which pleases me. I’ve loaded the Top 100 Most Played Songs of those dozen years onto the current living room iPod, which cranks tunes from the time we get up in the morning to the time that we start watching TV at night (9:00ish), so we’re enjoying a bit of nostalgia listening this week.

I share that Top 100 list below, in descending order by play count. If you’ve visited us at home any time since 2008 — in Latham, Des Moines, or Chicago — odds are high that you heard some of these songs. Whenever I do finally make the jump to Spotify, I think this will be my first playlist there. Grumble.

  1. Paul McCartney and Wings, “Let Me Roll It”
  2. Gnonnas Pedro et ses Dadjes, “Dadje Von O Von Non”
  3. Christian Death, “Cervix Couch”
  4. Spot 1019, “Milkbomb”
  5. Christian Death, “The Blue Hour”
  6. Melvins, “A History of Drunks”
  7. The Gods, “Lovely Anita”
  8. Notwintwi, “Inkulu Into Ezakwenzeka
  9. Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment, “Sunday Candy”
  10. Burning Spear, “Old Marcus Garvey”
  11. Funkadelic, “Biological Speculation”
  12. The Clash, “Death Is A Star”
  13. Genesis, “Dusk”
  14. Beef, “Spavid Story”
  15. The Monkees, “You Just May Be the One”
  16. The Damned, “Life Goes On”
  17. Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, “This Summer’s Been Good From the Start”
  18. Clutch, “The Mob Goes Wild”
  19. The Fall, “Mountain Energei”
  20. The Pogues, “Lorelei”
  21. Andy Prieboy, “All Hail the Corporation”
  22. Wire, “Re-Invent Your Second Wheel”
  23. Can, “Midnight Sky”
  24. Soronprfbs, “I Love You All”
  25. Huggy Bear, “Single Bullets”
  26. Vulkano, “Lost”
  27. Rain Phoenix and Michael Stipe, “Time Is The Killer”
  28. Juluka, “Simple Things”
  29. Bee Gees, “Every Christian Lion Hearted Man Will Show You”
  30. The Free Design, “Love You”
  31. Bee Gees, “Fanny (Be Tender With My Love)”
  32. David Bowie, “Where Are We Now?”
  33. Dälek, “Opiate the Masses”
  34. Illinois Jacquet, “Port of Rico”
  35. Roxy Music, “Flesh and Blood”
  36. Jowe Head, “Camouflagellant”
  37. Peter, Paul and Mary, “500 Miles”
  38. Caroline Rose, “Jeannie Becomes A Mom”
  39. Echo and the Bunnymen, “The Cutter”
  40. Montag, “No One Else”
  41. The Eagles, “A Certain Kind of Fool”
  42. Tragic Mulatto, “Rise Up/Get Down”
  43. Swell Maps, “Ammunition Train”
  44. Ian Anderson, “Meliora Sequamur”
  45. Melvins, “Brass Cupcake”
  46. David Bowie, “I Can’t Give Everything Away”
  47. Guadalcanal Diary, “Little Birds”
  48. Anthony Phillips, “God If I Saw Her Now”
  49. The Weasels, “Winona Minnesota”
  50. XTC, “No Thugs In Our House”
  51. The Residents, “On the Way (To Oklahoma)”
  52. Wall of Voodoo, “Back in the Laundromat”
  53. Bee Gees, “Nights on Broadway”
  54. David Bowie, “Sons of the Silent Age”
  55. Golden Suits, “You’re Crossing A River”
  56. Fleetwood Mac, “Dust”
  57. Jefferson Airplane, “Embryonic Journey”
  58. Liz Phair, “6’1″“
  59. Paul McCartney and Wings, “Call Me Back Again”
  60. Hüsker Dü, “Makes No Sense at All”
  61. King Crimson, “The Great Deceiver”
  62. AC/DC, “Thunderstruck”
  63. AC/DC, “Rock or Bust”
  64. Karl Bartos, “The Tuning of the World”
  65. Devendra Banhart, “The Body Breaks”
  66. Kamikaze Hearts, “Weekend in Western New York”
  67. Kate Bush, “Morning Fog”
  68. King Crimson, “The Night Watch”
  69. Mos Def, “Workers Comp”
  70. Paul McCartney, “Happy With You”
  71. Hüsker Dü, “Celebrated Summer”
  72. The Clean, “Tensile”
  73. Jefferson Airplane, “Good Shepherd”
  74. Ian Anderson, “Heavy Metals”
  75. The Fall, “Noel’s Chemical Effluence”
  76. Paul McCartney, “Dance Tonight”
  77. Paul McCartney and Wings, “You Gave Me The Answer”
  78. Steely Dan, “Dallas”
  79. X, “See How We Are”
  80. Neil Young, “Wonderin’”
  81. Family, “Larf and Sing”
  82. Bee Gees, “Jive Talkin’“
  83. Fairport Convention, “Time Will Show The Wiser”
  84. Jethro Tull, “Seventeen”
  85. Jethro Tull, “Jack-A-Lynn”
  86. Che Guevara T-Shirt, “Cop Show”
  87. The Rolling Stones, “I Just Want to See His Face”
  88. Vulkano, “Choir of Wolves”
  89. Daryl Hall, “Something in 4/4 Time”
  90. Dälek, “Bricks Crumble”
  91. Edan, “Fumbling Over Words That Rhyme”
  92. Einstürzende Neubauten, “The Garden”
  93. Genesis, “The Silent Sun”
  94. James Cleveland, “Wondering”
  95. Jason Martin, “The Binding of Fenris”
  96. Jethro Tull, “One Brown Mouse”
  97. Xiu Xiu, “Clowne Towne”
  98. The Residents, “The Sleeper”
  99. Andy Prieboy, “Send in the Drugs”
  100. Jan Akkerman, “House of the King”

I requested, and received, this album for Christmas in 1973. 47 years later, the last song from side one sits atop the Smith Family Hot 100.

5 thoughts on “House Music

  1. Pingback: What’s Up in the Neighborhood, April 25 2020 – Chuck The Writer

    • 1. It features the first use of the word “abdomiser” in a Fall lyric.
      2. Songs about bathroom smells make me laugh. Always!
      3. We still don’t quite exactly know who plays on it.
      4. It’s like a slow jam at the rave: no real beginning, middle or end.
      5. It honors the sacrifices of all the world’s great tour bus drivers.
      6. The fact that it was buried on “The 27 Points” upon initial release.
      7. It fits well next to Spiritualized in my favorite iTunes playlist.
      8. It makes so many European football announcers very excited.
      9. Mocking Dave Bush and his stupid whistle is always good by me.
      10. I can play it at dinnertime without upsetting my Gran.
      11. Zurich with the lads is better than Venice with the girls.
      12. Because Craig keeps going at the end when everybody else stops. Again.

      (I actually made a FOF poll about why it was so great a long time ago, and those were the choices!)


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