04 April 2010

First quarter listening: songs

Right, so FACT have done their state of first quarter 2010 thing, and informative it is too. Check it out!

I'm not going to suggest 20 best albums of the quarter. I'm not sure I've even listened to 20 new albums in the last quarter. (This will largely be explained below.) What I will do is look at my personal listening habits in the last three months (so yeah, technically 4 Jan-4 Apr, as I took the screengrabs today. What can you do). This won't be completey accurate, as my iPhone scrobbling is not working particularly well, and I do a fair bit of listening to records. However, most of my listening gets scrobbled, as I do it through my MacBook, which goes into the Death Deck, for full high fidelity. But without further ado, my Q1!

Lots of Ke$ha!

As you can see, Ke$ha took the quarter by storm. What, you wanna make something of it? Yeah, thought not. While I don't consider hers the album of the year thus far (it's second behind the still stunning Shining record), Animal is a heck of a lot more accessible than Blackjazz. That's pretty much the size of it, really. 'Tik Tok' is one of the most-listened songs, as it was her single, and I illegally downloaded it before the album was released. Sorry about that, Sony Music. The other two songs with 22 plays are the high points of the album: 'Stephen' and 'Boots & Boys'. They're awesome.

It'd be remiss of my not to mention the actual winner of Q1: 'Full Circle', by Miley Cyrus. To be honest, I'm not really sure how that happened. I'll not lie to you: it is really bloody good, and I feel no guilt whatsoever. I just can't really recall how I began listening. Clearly, I'm getting more and more into sugary pop music, and Miley represents that. And I was watching a fair bit of Disney Channel with my sister over xmas. So I banged the album on the phone and set to shuffling. This stood out as a highlight of her album, which is pretty average overall. What makes this one is the chorus. Cyrus staggers it, so it becomes pretty epic; one of those great choruses that just keeps going, and just gets better the longer it goes on. Plus its last line is harmonised, so you can't go wrong.

Funny story about the other Miley song on there. Apparently on her first album as herself, 'See You Again' gets remixed on the one I have. It sholdn't be good, but it is. Maybe it isn't actually good, but I like it, so there you go. It's a Euro-dance remix of the song. I used to loathe Euro-dance (you know, Vengaboys, Whigfield, Cascada et al). It was, and still is, the cheapest form of popular music out there. But while it used to make me feel dirty, I have since softened on it, presumably due at least in part to hearing it a lot while in Iran and southern Europe over the years.

On a conscious level, this softening has come from the pastiche of the fantastic Captain Ahab. (That they have promised 'the end of irony' for their imminent album is exciting indeed.) Their 2006 album, After the Rain My Heart Still Dreams, was full of brilliant parody, with no small amount of Euro-house. And I think it grew from there. Please don't hate me, but I actually legitimately like that Cascada song now. As I have always maintained, there is no ironic liking: if you like something in any way, you will like it genuinely, even on a subconscious level. Seriously. So this remix is another Cyrus song with a great chorus (I love the conversational style of lines like 'my best friend Lesley said/"Oh, she's just being Miley"', in this ballad of awkward teen crushes), underpinned by a cheap house beat. And I can't get enough of it.

Hopefully the presence of Lady Gaga speaks for itself. She's brilliant. And if you doubt the quality of a 'Paparazzi' or 'Bad Romance', then you can sod off and listen to anonymous indie and dubstep for the rest of your life.

The Shining songs are there because there are two pairs of songs that have the same name. And, because last.fm cannot differentiate between them (they are 'Exit Sun' and 'Exit Sun', as opposed to parts 1 and 2), they get double the plays. Crafty! Blackjazz, by the way, is an album that would really have benefited from iPhone scrobbling not being borked: I played that every day for weeks, on my snowy trudges home.

And that's it for the songs. Next up: which artists have I listened to the most? I mean, other than Ke$ha...

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