Sunday, February 24, 2008

That Which Plays Most Plays......Most

So the last few days have been crazy. I have a midterm and a paper due this Monday. I pulled an all-nighter on Friday just to make sure the paper was done in time. I'll be studying for the midterm tomorrow. And, amidst all that, I need to write thank you notes to people I've talked to at the Internship Fair 9truth be told, I'm late in sending them, but better late than never).

I'll talk about some of the companies I talked to at the internship fair...later. I'm too tired right now.

In the meantime, I don't want to just leave you hanging, so I'll give you a random interest piece. About my musical tastes. But this isn't going to just be me saying what I like. No, this is going to come through raw, hard numbers. You see, iTunes keeps count of how many times you listen to a song on either iTunes or your iPod). You can actually see your play count if you check it under "Options." Usually, I have it turned off, but occassionally I give it a look.

The vast, vast majority of my songs have a play count of 10 or less. Only 67 of my 7000+ songs have a play count of over 100. And only 17 have been played over 200 times (which, if you think about it, is actually quite a lot).

But what about the very top? What are the songs I've listened to more than any others. Well, I'll tell you. Presenting:

Andrew Schnorr's 10 Most-Played Songs

#11 - Prospero's Speech - Play Count: 286 - What's this? I've already lied to you in some way? Yes, my friends, this top ten list will actually going to feature eleven songs, for reasons which will be made clearer to you later on. And coming in at number 11, we have this piece by the beautifully-voiced and wildly haired Loreena McKennitt. In case you're a thespian or English major, you may have noticed that this is actually a speech made by the character Prospero (hence, the title) in Shakespeare's play The Tempest. Considered the most famous speech ever, I found it very interesting to listen to. In fact, I memorized the speech based on this one song. In fact, I had even considered reading the play just due to this one song. Never got around to it, though. Hmmm....*Goes onto*

#10 - Where Will You Go? - Play Count: 293 - Truth be told, this one surprised me a little. Just a little. This is by the rock band Evanescence, which currently has the reputation for just being a pseudo-goth band with a female lead singer. However, their debut album (which is so rare that if you want to get a physical CD on Amazon, it will cost you $40) is, in my opinion, their best album, and it's quite different then their current styles. This is probably my second favorite song on the album (uh-oh...foreshadowing?) and it has something in common with my, uh, first favorite.

#9 - If I Could Reach Your Heart - Play Count: 340 - From the Cirque du Soleil show KA. I've actually talked about this one before. Rather than wrack my brain thinking up something original, let me just copy and past what I wrote before: "If I had a girlfriend, this would probably be my "romantic" song for us. Not to imply that I could sing it, mind you; I doubt I could hit those high notes. Still, if my life was a movie (something which I am constantly comparing it to), this would be part of the "first kiss" scene. (Or, alternately, if we were cats, the scene where we do one of those little cat hugs...yeah, that's the stuff!)"

#8 - Lost Souls - Play Count: 371 - This is actually an intro piece for a video game called Rome: Total War (you may remember me talking about the games Medieval equivalent). It was compsed by a guy named Jeff Van Dyke, who works on the whole series, and does a damn good job of it, too. Unfortunately, the soundtracks are incredibly hard to find, and I don't have them all. :(

#7 - Amour - Play Count: 388 - Ah, Rammstein. Be prepared for a bit of German coming up. Of those 17 songs I said had over 200 plays, Rammstein songs make up a full six of them. This is mainly because they're one of the first "new" bands I got into when I came to college. This is before I really had as large a repository of music as I have now. So, they were played quite a bit. They still are, though not nearly to the same extent. This is probably one of their softer songs (at least, the first half is, I guess). As the title implies, this song is indeed about love. It basically is about how love is like a wild animal that can't be tamed, etc. etc.

#6 - Orbis de Ingis - Play Count: 391 - This is actually the newest song on the list, having been purchased a mere three months ago (near exactly). That's quite a rise to the top. This is by the band Dead Can Dance. Dead Can Dance is a band whose style is hard to describe. I would say the most descriptive way is hauntingly beautiful. I was going to write an entire post on them called "The Joy of Melancholy" but was too lazy. Regardless, they're very good, at least the female half of them is. There's a guy who sings, but I don't care for him much. The woman, as it turns out, is Lisa Gerrard, who collaborated with Hans Zimmer on the Gladiator soundtrack. I knew I liked her. Also of note, this song is the best looper of the bunch. If you're not paying attention, it's near impossible to really know when it begins and ends.

#5 - Nebel - Play Count: 423 - Another Rammstein song. Again, a very soft one, not much like their harder rock. This song, for those not fluent in German and/or translation sites, is about the memory two lovers embracing on a beach in the mist (nebel is German for "mist") because one of them has to leave for some reason. So there you go.

#4 - Anywhere - Play Count: 442 - The second Evanescence song. This one actually hold the distinction of having had been played for the longest amount of time of any other song I own (by calculating play count by the length of the song). This is probably one of the softest songs Evanescence has ever done, and as I said earlier, I think it's one of their best. The lyrics kind of have a Romeo & Juliet feel to them. Whenever I hear them, I tend to sing along (or at least lip-sync). This could definitely compete will If I could Reach Your Heart for the whole love song thing. And yes, I do realize that the content of many of these songs makes me seem like a hopeless romantic. But that changes...

#3 - Hilf Mir - Play Count: 500 - HERE! "What the hell happened," you ask? Unlike the other two Rammstein songs, which I described as different from their normal hard rock style, this one seems quite hard. "Well," you continue, "maybe this one is about love, too." No, no it's not. "Hilf Mir" is actually "Help Me" in German, and the lyrics "Das feuer liebt mich nicht" mean "the fire loves me not." This song is actually a retelling of a medieval children's tale. That means someone's gonna die. And that someone is apparently the little girl "singing" the song, who disobeys her parents by lighting a match and as a result, burns herself to death. "What?" you cry in anger, "That's horrible, Andrew! Why is this your favorite song of this band?" Well, truth be told, it's not. I like a lot of their other songs better. "But then why did you play it the most?" you ask. Funny you should ask. During my freshman year, this was my finals music. When I had final papers to write, or final tests to study for, I listened to this song on repeat. It somehow, somehow helped me concentrate. Don't ask me; I just know it worked. So, there you are.

#2 - Gamelan - Play Count: 660 - And here we are at what I consider to be my true number one (why? You'll see in a moment). This is actually a background song from the illustrious Age of Empires video game series. And I don't know why, but it always seems to work as background music for anything and everything. It's soft enough for mellow things, perky enough for lively things, familiar enough for comforting things, and exotic enough for...uh, exotic things. A gamelan, by the way, is an Indonesian musical ensemble, which I'm pretty sure is used to make this piece (or at least, a digitized gamelan made it). I truly believe that it is nigh impossible to grow tired of this song. I'm not going to say it's my most favorite song up there. In some senses, it's not very extraordinary. But somehow, I love it. It!

#1 - Intro - Play Count: 2051 - And here we are at number one, with an absolutely astounding 2000+ play count. It's unbelievable. Seriously, I don't believe it. As in, I'm pretty damn sure I didn't listen to this over 2000 times. Yes, it is a charming little intro piece (by a relatively unknown but very good - and very recommended - band called Stereo Fuse) featuring a public domain sound clip of the first advertising record used by the Edison phonograph, but still, I'm not going to listen to it that much. In fact, I'm pretty sure that the reason this play count is so high is that I was listening to it (with headphones, most likely) on repeat at night, and then went to bed before pausing the music. This would allow it to play all night without stopping, and being a mere half-minute long, it could play quite a bit. So it kinda cheated it's way to the top. But, I cannot deny that this is my most-played song, even if it's not my most-listened-to song.

And so, there you have it. My top 10 listened-to songs, and one piece that I left going all night. I hope you've enjoyed this little romp around my music collection to see exactly what I listen to on repeat. Anything surprise you? Delight you? Sadden or anger you? Let me know. I know my musical posts tend not to get as much discussion as my others, but hopefully this will be different.

Also, I'd be interested to see what your most played songs are. If you have iTunes, click Ctrl+J. Then check "play count." Then put your songs in order of play count. Let me know what turns up.


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, my media player, Foobar2000, does not have an easy to access list of how many times a song has been played, but I can come up with a close idea of what is played a lot:

10. Shalamar - A Night to Remember 9. U2 - Desire
8. Boston - More than a Feeling
7. George Gershwin - Rhapsody in Blue
6. Electric Light Orchestra - Don't Bring me Down
5. Star Trek: First Contact Theme
4. The Beatles - In My Life
3. Def Leppard - Hysteria
2. U2 - Where the Streets Have No Name
1. Neil Young - Old Man

I'm actually a bit suprised by your music tastes, though little about you should suprise me by now.

-Comrade Chavez

Anonymous said...

I was given an ipod for three kings (forgot what the actual name is) so I can give you my list. I haven't played anything over 30 times, which seems odd to me, but I've only had it for around a month and a half.

Here's my list, though since there are many ties at the moment, it's not very definitive.

First we'll start off with the ties for #10 with 17 plays a piece:
Mad Season by Matchbox Twenty and 11am by Incubus. I guess these songs aren't too related, mad season is for times when I'm feeling particularly strange, or sad, and 11am tends to relax me and I like that.

At #9 we have another set of tied songs with 18 plays each:
Circles, Just a Phase, and Mexico by Incubus. These are probably just a result of me putting Incubus on my iPod earlier than most of my other music. Each of these songs is angry in a way, which I suppose means that I must be in that sort of mood a decent amount of time.

#8 has 6 tied songs, 19 plays each:
Nice to Know You and Under My Umbrella by Incubus then Wouldn't it be nice to be proud, I could fall, and Crazy for this girl by Evan and Jaron. I can't really find anything unifying to say about these songs, but I guess Evan and Jaron are among my favorite artists, and most of their songs are in my top played list.

#7 has 5 songs tied at 20 plays each:
Crazy for this girl and The Distance by Evan and Jaron, Are you in? by Incubus, Black and White People by Matchbox Twenty, and lastly, Planet Corneria from the Smash Bros. Soundtrack. Why is crazy for this girl here and in #8 as well? because I happened upon a CD that had two versions of the song, and that's the CD I happened to upload into iTunes. The other songs are a perfect example of me using the shuffle feature on my iPod a bit too much, but with only around 125 songs on there, it's odd how often shuffle picks up on how I feel at any given time.

#6 has a trio of songs with 21 plays a piece:
Ready or Not and Pick up the phone by, yes you guessed it, Evan and Jaron (their last name is Lowenstein, but they just use their first names) and The Heart of Life by my favorite solo artist, John Mayer. These songs are very connected, because I like to listen to them when I'm down, they're all inspirational in a way, and cheer me up.

on to the halfway point, #5 has 22 plays, and shockingly enough, it's not tied with any other song!
From My head to my heart by Evan and Jaron, which is about the disconnect betwixt emotions and rationality, which fits me pretty well sometimes.

#4 has 23 plays, and is also alone in its position:
Done Hangin on maybe, by Evan and Jaron which is just a fun song.

#3 has 24 plays: Aqueous Transmission by Incubus. This is the ultimate relaxation song, it really really unwinds me, especially with the frogs at the end, and the eastern rhythms and instruments.

#2 has 26 plays (which probably makes it a really popular song as it's broken away from the pack a bit):
Outerspace by, yeah, those guys again, Evan and Jaron. Shuffle actually loves this song, it is probably it's second favorite song to play, and so I've heard it a lot. What's shuffle's favorite song? well...

#1 a Tie! one is my favorite song, and the other is shuffle's favorite:
Symphony #9 (Scherzo) by Beethoven, and How Far We've come by Matchbox Twenty. Now the symphony was on windows, and itunes imported it, so I have just left it on my iPod, and it has snuck up the ranks and become tied for #1 because of shuffle, sneaky sneaky. How Far We've come is just my favorite song, period. I can always picture the video, with all these accomplishments of man, and famous people who broke through and achieved something from mandela to gore, they all meant something, and it really inspires me to make something of my life.

Well, hope that wasn't too long, but there it is, you asked for it.