Categories
Music

Oh, no! MORE music stats? WHY?

Yesterday I wrote a long boring post no one will read about music I listened to in 2020. Everyone loves spreadsheets about music! Today I realized I forgot the thing I normally add: the iTunes list of most heard songs.

You'll always be iTunes in my heart. You play music. Tunes are music. YOU ARE ITUNES.
I KNOW IT ISN’T ITUNES BUT MUSIC IS A STUPID OVERLY-GENERIC NAME FOR AN APP.

Here, another spreadsheet for you!

I’ve posted it in some form every year, and every year it grows more inaccurate at showing what I actually listened to during the year. The problem is that it doesn’t just include this year; it’s every play of every song in my library since I started counting. Prince’s “Baby I’m a Star” sits at number four even though I (probably) haven’t listened to it for a year.

Good song, though.

And right at the top is “He Will State The Obvious (Captain Obvious Theme Song)” That I originally found on the now-gone songstowearpantsto.com.

Many years later I found Andrew Huang’s youtube channel and had no idea he was the songstowearpantsto guy, which is funny because his channel is named songstowearpantsto. I’m not smart.

At number 13 is everyone’s favorite song, “Track06.” I can’t find it online, but it’s a station ID from Oldies 103.3, a Boston oldies station (Los Angeles, think KRTH) that went off the air 8 years ago. It’s very short, so if it pops up on shuffle it almost always plays through.

According to this list I haven’t listened to The Magnetic Fields’ “The Book of Love” since July of 2019, but that’s a damned lie. I’ve listened to it a bunch because it’s one of the songs Spotify has decided to always play for me.

Stephin Merritt’s voice always sounds like it’s about to slide out of tune. Maybe the crazy deepness of it makes me notice the pitch more.

Number 44 is “hulk[1]”, a quote from the Incredible Hulk TV show.

Check out Bill Bixby’s sweet mom jeans!

Number 56 is Echo & The Bunnymen’s “Lips Like Sugar,” folled at number 57 by Echo & The Bunnymen’s “Lips Like Sugar.” Maybe they’re different versions; maybe they’re the same version on different albums. Who knows? If they’re the same one, then they win for most popular Luke song of all time, apparently.

Jonathan Richman’s “Miracles Will Start to Happen” would be next if you combine the 16 plays at numbers 135 & 136.

The most recently played song on the list is number 93, Adam & The Ants’ single version of “Cartrouble,” last heard on December 8th. The least recently heard is number 22, the Dead Kennedys cover of “Viva Las Vegas,” which played September 19, 2017.

So, two days of music stat posts. What have we learned?

Not much!

Categories
Music

Too much about music stats

There’s a web page called How Bad Is Your Spotify? that looks at your Spotify playlists and listening habits and judges you like the record store guys in High Fidelity. You cannot win. If your tastes are too mainstream, you’re mocked for being a mindless drone. Too eclectic/obscure and you’re mocked for trying too hard. It’s amusing. My report started with:

Your spotify was heavy-eyeliner-post-punk-suburban-80s-nobody-puts-baby-in-a-corner bad.

Thank your obsessions with Talking Heads, new wave, and (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life – From “Dirty Dancing” Soundtrack for that.

Mostly reasonable. I’m a 54 year old guy who grew up with KROQ as my background music, so new wave and Talking Heads fit pretty well. But I don’t remember the last time I listened to anything from Dirty Dancing.

Though I did make this last year.

Also, this comes up later:

You listen to these tracks too much:

  • Dress Sexy At My Funeral by Smog
  • Chelsea Hotel #2 by Leonard Cohen
  • Stella By Starlight by Miles Davis
  • Different Drum by Stone Poneys
  • These Things by Looper

And I do listen to most of those, but Chelsea Hotel #2 only comes up because Spotify has decided to add it to my Daily Drive mix, and apparently counts playing any part of it (even after I skip it) as a play.

This isn’t a complaint about the “How Bad” page; it’s using the only data available to it. But it highlights how inaccurate Spotify is at knowing what I want to hear, or even what I usually play. Most of my music is stuff I play from iTunes (or whatever Apple wants to call iTunes these days). I have tons of music that doesn’t exist on Spotify, and I usually let it play randomly. The problem is that iTunes/Apple Music only keeps two data points about a song: when you last played it, and how many times you’ve ever played it. I wanted to have a list of my most played music of 2020, but it can’t be done without an outside assist. I used last.fm and got this list of songs:

That’s better, but it makes it look like I’m a huge fan of White Hassle when it’s really the iTunes shuffle algorithm failing to effectively randomize stuff mixed with my letting music play in the background without paying attention to it.

The top artists list is slightly more reflective of what I listened to in 2020:

But that one has some issues as well. For one thing, slight name changes count as different artists; if you add Elvis Costello to Elvis Costello & The Attractions, they move to second place.

…and this still doesn’t really reflect my “shuffle ’em all and let the algorithm sort ’em out” listening. I mean look at this list of over 4500(!) songs I listened to exactly once in the last year:

So, what have we learned? My main takeaways:

  1. Music stats are difficult.
  2. I can write long and boring posts.

Categories
Music

Alas, Poor KROQ

Image source: http://www.tvparty.com/homeroom1/10-06-81.html

I saw this article in Variety about the death of KROQ.

LISTEN UP, YOUNGSTERS! AN OLD MAN IS ABOUT TO TALK ABOUT THE GOOD OLD DAYS.

I’m really sad that Post Malone is on KROQ. You might think I mean “that’s not KROQ music!” And I do think that- but I probably don’t think it the way you think I think it.

As I said above, I am an old man. I’ll be 54 in two weeks. I’ve started listening to KROQ at the start of the eighties, when it sounded like a college station that liked to get drunk and fight with its best friend, pirate radio. You might hear Van Halen, you might hear Devo, you might hear the theme from The Jetsons.

You would almost certainly hear the theme from The Jetsons. It wouldn’t have sounded like this though; it would have sounded like someone recorded it by holding a mic up to a TV.

DJs would have a loose playlist, but they really played whatever they wanted to play. They brought in their personal records (remember records?). You could call and make a request and it might actually get played. They played some mainstream music, most of what they played couldn’t be heard anywhere else. And new, weird sounds showed up all the time.

Not all of the new sounds were good ones.

I loved listening because I knew I’d hear things that were only on KROQ. I’d probably hear something I’d never heard before.

But then radio shifted, and KROQ shifted with them. “KROQ music” started moving onto more conventional stations. KROQ started to sound like New Wave Oldies. How many times can you play the Red Hot Chili Peppers in a day? A lot, apparently.

Somewhere along the way I stopped listening. The old music was old, and I owned any of it I wanted to hear. The new music didn’t appeal to me, and I thought that was a good thing. I’ve always told my students that every generation needs music that the previous one doesn’t like, or at least doesn’t understand. KROQ was never about appealing to older people, and I had become older people.

So you might think I’d be fine with Post Malone on KROQ, since he clearly fits the “not for old people” profile. But he’s not weird and new. He’s already a pop star. And he’s pretty mainstream. You can’t be an outsider and write the theme to a Spider-Man cartoon movie. Even worse: I like some Post Malone stuff.

It’s probably time to let KROQ die. Radio stations can only adapt so much before the world passes them. Online sources make even early KROQ look stodgy and professional. The current format will get played with, shuffled, adjusted, rejiggered, and eventually – probably soon – they’ll abandon the whole thing and start over. It happens. When it does, KROQ will join stations like KMET, KDAY, and KNAC as wistful memories of old farts like me.

SPECIAL BONUS: I used to be a big enough fan of KROQ that I would make KROQ-specific websites. Here’s one. It might look bad now, but at the time it looked terrible.

Categories
Bike Music ridesfv

Some Bike Ridin’ Stuff

Managed to get in a nice 26ish mile ride today at (for me) a good pace. If I get back to riding more than once a week, I might get okay at this again!

I should get back to my “ride every street in the San Fernando Valley” project. I’ve got the Southeast corner pretty well sewn up. The hard part about the rest of it is I have to either drive my bike somewhere else (which I hate), or I have to re-ride for a while on streets I’ve already done (which will take longer).

The map so far. I might be ten percent done. Maybe.

Also, completely by accident, I found a great old bike song. This is a “new” (circa 1978) version by R. Crumb and the Cheap Suit Serenaders.

Weird comics AND old music. What a renaissance man.
Categories
Beatles Anagrams Music Photoshop

A Reasonable Magnet – One Beatles Anagram

Only one? Yup, but this one took a while. I knew it would.

I should have taken more time. Or less time. Some amount of time other than the amount I took. Whichever it was, it’s not changing now. So let me introduce to you:

Pungent Trolls Bleed By Scrapheaps (Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Pungent Trolls Bleed By Scrapheaps
You can see exactly where I went from “Changing all these faces will be fun” to “I’m going to just paste in a Mothers of Invention cover and call it a day.”

I did sneak in a couple of jokes so weak and obscure that no one will get them.

Previously:

Beatles Anagrams
More Beatles Anagrams

Categories
Beatles Anagrams Music Photoshop

A Bee Snorter’s Amalgam – More Beatles Anagrams

Part two of my “remake Beatles album covers with anagrams” project.

Part one.

¡EL HP! (Help!)

Our Burbles (Rubber Soul)

This now looks like a Pearl Jam/Herb Alpert supergroup cover.

Lover Rev (Revolver)

Categories
50ish Recent Songs Beatles Anagrams Music Photoshop

A Manager’s Bleats – Beatles Anagrams

Someone on twitter did an awesome silly thing where they re-titled James Bond movies with their anagrams. I thought it was a great idea, so I stole it to re-do Beatles albums. Here’s the first batch. I’m skipping the early Capitol hacked-up albums.

Peep Lame Easels (Please Please Me)

Peep Lame Easels (Please Please Me) album cover
Featuring 300% more George.

White Slab Teeth (With The Beatles)

White Slab Teeth (With The Beatles) album cover
Now with 50% less Ringo

Aghast, Randy Hid (A Hard Day’s Night)

Aghast, Randy Hid (A Hard Day's Night) album cover
Now with 2400% more back-of-George’s-head.

A Stereo Elf Slab (Beatles For Sale)

A Stereo Elf Slab (Beatles For Sale) album cover
Now with 100% more Ringo (nose only)

The problem with Beatles anagrams is that their album titles are usually pretty short. Some of these would be under ten letters if I didn’t include “Beatles” in the name.

The White Album is probably going to be super lame.

Categories
50ish Recent Songs Music

50ish Recent Tracks

I used to do this thing on Facebook where I’d post the last 50 or so songs I’d played, along with some notes about a few of them. This is pretty much that, except I’m going to throw some Youtube links in along the way.

Charlotte Street – Lloyd Cole And The Commotions

Hold My Hand – The Rutles

I have students who say The Beatles are their favorite band, which seems weird since the band broke up 40 years before the students were born. That would middle school me saying my favorite musician was Cole Porter. I have to remember to play The Rutles for them.

Reptiles and Samurai – Oingo Boingo

Mah-Ná, Mah-Ná – Leroy Holmes – probably the best song to ever come from Swedish softcore that was used by the Muppets and Benny Hill.

Ain’t No Good – Cake
Train in Vain – Annie Lennox
High Fidelity – Elvis Costello and the Attractions
A-Tisket A-Tasket – Ella Fitzgerald with Chick Webb And His Orchestra
Don’t Let’s Start – This Radiant Boy
Car Horns and Kentucky – Tom Waits
There She Goes Again – The Velvet Underground
Jump, Jive, An’ Wail – Louis Prima
Baby’s on Fire – Brian Eno

Straight To Hell – Chum

I Feel Fine – The Beatles
Sun Gazer – Hideout
Do You Remember the Riots? – Jens Lekman
Freedom for My People – U2
Hawaii 64 – ccc – ill chemist

Cool it Now (New Edition) – Len

Everyone needs a new edition of a song by New Edition.

Golden – My Morning Jacket
Zero Hour – The Plimsouls
The Long Grift – They Might Be Giants
Suzanne – Leonard Cohen
Bedsitter – Soft Cell
Cat’s Blues – Palace Music
Fight – The Kleptones
Staircase to the Soul – Weston Smith
Two Lives – Young Fresh Fellows
Persona – Instupendo
Shark Food – Starsailor
Lonely – Bebel Gilberto

My Funny Valentine – Ella Fitzgerald

Every time I hear this I think “Somebody wrote more lyrics to that Elvis Costello song.” I am dumb.

clairaudients (kill or be killed) – Bright Eyes
No One Else Around – Orchid Mantis
True Romance – Vacation Forever
Blue Fire – Air Waves
Monkey Man – The Maytals

Nice To See You (feat. Floor Cry) – Vansire

A Warning – Thievery Corporation
I’m Not The One – Bye Beneco
Diferente – Gotan Project
Blackbird Chain – Beck
Riding On The Subway – Jesse Malin

Jefferson Starship – – Aug, 5, 1975 – Rock Show Commercial – I don’t care for commercials on the radio, but I love the occasional 40+ year old concert commercial.

the promise – The Cure
Beaten To The Punch – Elvis Costello and the Attractions
I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry – Cowboy Junkies

You Wouldn’t Like Me – The Beths

Blind Love – Tom Waits
Upfield – Billy Bragg

Nothing Matters When We’re Dancing – The Magnetic Fields

Categories
Music

Double Dee & Steinski: The Lessons

The last post about The Hood Internet reminded me of another set of remix/collage records: Double Dee & Steinski’s “The Lessons.” There’s a detailed Wikipedia page about them, but the short version of their bio is that they made “Lesson One” for a Tommy Boy Records contest back in 1983. They won first prize, then recorded a couple more Lessons before moving to other careers. I thought that was it, but today I learned that they released the long-evolving “Lesson 4” last year. The bandcamp link for the EP with the track is below.

They aren’t afraid to use weird samples. “Lesson Three” includes snippets from “Hernando’s Hideaway” and Mars Needs Women. De La Soul must have been at least partially inspired by them.

Lesson 4 EP: https://ddsteinski.bandcamp.com/album/lesson-4-the-beat-ep

Categories
Music

Amazing Nostalgia Mashups by year, 1979-1983

The Hood Internet has created nostalgia mashups of 50 or so songs from each of the years from 1979 to 1983. If you are in your early to mid fifties you will either love the waves of nostalgia as you recognize each of the musical snippets of your youth, or you will hate the crazy pitch shifting that’s required to spot weld all of these songs into a reasonably cohesive song. If you are me, you will feel both of those things.

For me, 1983 resonates the most. Not coincidentally, 1983 was when I started my senior year of high school. Plus, it features a section that mixes The Pointer Sisters and Van Halen songs named “Jump.” That’s a bit of a cheat since Van Halen’s song actually came out in January of 1984, but it works well enough for me to accept the wibbly wobbly timey wimeyness.

Also worth checking out: 40 Years of Hip Hop.