last.fm

As of February 17th, I’ve been a last.fm member for a year.  In that time I logged around 8,000 songs.  This is considerably lower than I would have expected, although it works out to nearly 22 songs a day, and I guess that sounds about right.

My most listened-to artist of last year was Yo La Tengo with 259 plays.  This is appropriate because a) they’re one of my favorite bands and b) I discovered them only a couple years ago and have been going through their extensive back catalog, as well as listening to their most recent release.  Interestingly, they’re perhaps the most underrepresented band on the list, since I own all their music on disc not mp3, and while last.fm does track CDs when they’re played through the computer, it does not count the inordinate number of hours I spend wandering the streets of LA at night with a Discman in my pocket (or the time I spent driving around aimlessly to music before my car stereo broke).

The Beatles clock in at number 2 with 242 plays.  Again, understandable, since I obtained a great many of their albums this year, and again, they’re a top 5 favorite band.

After that there’s a pretty big drop off to #3, Bob Dylan with 145 plays.  I wouldn’t have expected him to rank quite so high, but he did have a new album I listened to quite a bit, and I also picked up Blood on the Tracks for the first time a few months ago.

After that is Sam Phillips, who I was introduced to by the The Gilmore Girls.  She’s the throaty-voiced woman who sings “la la” a lot in the background over an acoustic guitar.  She ranks so high in great part because I found a bunch of her CDs at the Hunterdon County Library in New Jersey and ripped them all to my computer.  Her earlier psychedelic pop stuff isn’t so great, but her newer low-key albums are fantastic.

Rounding out the top 5 is Elliott Smith, a perpetual favorite who never tops my weekly charts, but usually manages a few plays a week.

Buoyed by the fact that I was still familiarizing myself with their work this year are Elvis Costello, at #9, the pillows at #12, Tom Waits at #27, and Bruce Springsteen at #30.  (Had I signed up a year earlier, Neutral Milk Hotel, The Clash, and The Feelies would have ranked quite a bit higher).

Underrepresented because I tend to walk around (or drive) to faster-paced, shorter songs are David Bowie, Weezer, Radiohead and Violent Femmes.  Mellower acts like Nick Drake and The Shins had the majority of their plays counted.

And because last.fm tracks the number of plays, rather than the amount of time listened to, a few artists ended up further down the list than they perhaps ought to have, namely Godspeed You! Black Emperor and a few classical composers (or performers … that’s another thing that’s always a little wonky).

I’m curious to see what the list looks like a year from now.

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