I have as a matter of long habit done a variety of “year-end” lists and articles in various areas of interest (to me), including a list of the Most Played Songs around the Smith household, as calculated by the iTunes account where I synch all of our iPods. I’ve been doing this since 2007, when we got our first family iPod, a Mother’s Day gift for Marcia, at her request. Today, we still have eight iPods in use in various locations (car, living room, bedroom, gym, etc.), and I’ve been scavenging online to build a little trove of models I like (old Shuffles and Nanos, mainly) to keep my current listening paradigm going as long as it can. Not a fan of change for change’s sake, no sir, don’t like it.
As noted in yesterday’s report, I will be packing up my desktop working computer in the next couple of days, and it will be in storage until late December, if not longer. It occurred to me that once my computer gets packed, that’s it for any updates to those devices and play count numbers for 2020, so it seemed prudent to go ahead and prepare a post with the Most Played Songs list to date for the year. It still represents about 11 months worth of data, as is turns out, since I reset 2019’s play counts and lists around Thanksgiving-time, as we wanted/needed a new mix of music for our holiday travels. So not too much of a short-year, really, and the top of the pile is not likely to change that much anyway this late in the cycle, even if I did keep the computer up and running through our move to Arizona.
As has been a recurring theme for me over a lifetime of listening, I do again recognize that I’m once again fighting a rear guard battle with my iPods, with playback technology making another of its seismic shifts from a purchased media file model to streaming services, delivered over various smart devices, and designed so that we never actually own anything musical anymore, but just rent it. (That link in the prior sentence goes into more detail about why I don’t like that, if interested). That said, Marcia needed to get a Spotify account for her yoga instructor class last fall, and we have been using that account and a BlueTooth speaker exclusively while we’re in hotels and rental properties on our travels this year, and that has worked out fine, as much as I hate to admit it. And as much as it bothers me that the play counts for those songs so played aren’t readily aggregated into my master list. Oh, the humanity! The horror! The Horror!!
I noted in conversation recently that Marcia was moving me into a new listening paradigm going into this multi-phase family relocation, as she has done before, buying me my first CD player after I resisted them for years, and bringing the first iPod into our household. She disagreed with that assessment, seeing me as still too resistant and reliant on my old approaches, knowing that if left to my own devices, I’d just snuggle up and stubbornly not budge from my comfort zone, no sir, not gonna. We agreed that I may be charitably characterized as “new paradigm adjacent” instead. I guess that’s progress, of a sort. In any event, it’s conceivable that next year’s Most Played Songs list will be created based entirely on Spotify numbers. We shall see.
One other note I usually make with this annual article: since we synch all of our many fiddly widgets to one computer and one master iTunes account, the Most Played Songs list represents the aggregated play counts from all of our iPods. This means that the Most Played Songs of the year are often unexpected, since they represent the heart of a musical Venn Diagram where our family’s tastes most closely overlap, even though each of us individually may like and listen to very different things. I spin a lot of Napalm Death every year, for example, but they very, very rarely show up on these lists, since they’re never played when Marcia and Katelin are around. The grindcore is for me-time only. And I usually don’t listen to music alone.
My computer tells me that I currently have 15,804 songs on my hard drive. In 2020, we played 4,120 of them at least once. Of those active songs this year, here are the 40 that received the most spins around our household, with the #1 most played spot going to a trenchant cut by Snog main-man David Thrussell’s Crisis Actor side project. (Watch out for Snog to feature highly when I do my “Albums of the Year” list for 2020 in a month or so, as his latest LP is a masterpiece). You can create a Spotify playlist of the songs below (because I know that you all just love creating Spotify playlists, just to spite me)(Spitify, it should be called!), and that will give you a sense of what it might sound like to spend time around our spaces. It covers a lot of stylistic ground, which I like. Maybe the list will inspire you to further check into some of these excellent artists’ catalogs. They’re all great, guaranteed!
- “Bringer of War” by Crisis Actor
- “Bebey” by Theophilus London
- “Stop This World” by Mose Allison
- “Hann Gat Ekki Setið Kyrr” by Karl Olgeirsson (feat. Rakel Sigurðardóttir)
- “Agony Box” by Shriekback
- “Electronic Eye” by Crisis Actor
- “Where Are We Now?” by David Bowie
- “Leon” by Theophilus London (feat. Kristian Hamilton)
- “Ball and Chain” by The Who
- “Marchin'” by Theophilus London
- “One of These Days” by Mose Allison
- “Street Song” by The Who
- “Jesus Just Left Chicago” by ZZ Top
- “WAVIP” by The Coup (feat. Das Racist and Killer Mike)
- “We Lost Sight” by dälek
- “Anitra’s Basement Tapes” by The Coup (feat. Tune-Yards and Jolie Holland)
- “Bad Worn Thing” by Wire
- “Orange Man Bad” by Crisis Actor
- “Boys Keep Swinging” by David Bowie
- “Your Capricious Soul” by Michael Stipe
- “Quiet Dog” by Mos Def
- “Bollo Rex” by Shriekback
- “Pretty” by Theophilus London (feat. Ian Isiah)
- “Waters Flowin'” by Uriah Heep
- “Melt the Guns” by XTC
- “Rosalie” by Yusef Lateef
- “Tush” by ZZ Top
- “Towncar” by BEEF
- “Cheap Sunglasses” by ZZ Top
- “Another Song About the Moon” by Buggy Jive
- “The Mighty Burner” by Charles Earland
- “Goin’ to the Meetin'” by Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis
- “Afterglow” by Genesis
- “Lord Do It” by Rev. James Cleveland
- “Adamine” by Mowgan (feat. Solo Sanou)
- “Cuba” by Theophilus London
- “Mary Don’t You Weep” by The Caravans
- “Corrupt (Knuckle Up)” by dälek
- “Follow You Follow Me” by Genesis
- “Gånglek från Älvdalen” by Jan Johansson