Wiretapped End Of Year Best Records Lists
When I was reading about the News of The World reporters in London hacking into the message services of celebrities and sports figures and royalty in order to find stories, I started imagining what would happen if arts writers could hack into iTunes to siphon off the “most played” tracks instead of soliciting end of year “best of” record recommendations. We’d learn what people really listened to, rather than what they want us to think they listen to.
“Best of Lists” always seem excessively calculated, freighted with calculations about how the choices will reflect upon the chooser. In 33 Tracks, a kind of autobiography as discography, Nick Hornby begins by saying that the song he’s played more than any other is “Thunder Road” by Bruce Springsteen, but he wishes that he could say that it was “Let’s Get It On” by Marvin Gaye, feeling that it would make him seem cooler, edgier.
Whenever I send a request to iTunes for the artwork for a CD that I’ve downloaded into the library, and it warns that the information is sent to Apple, I’ve wondered about the possibility of someone tapping into the data stream and figuring out who is playing what.
When I started as a music journalist, I didn’t have much of a frame of reference for popular music. I established more common ground with the musicians through the books that the musicians were reading. I always wanted to write stories that were conceptual art pieces, that simply noted what a musician was reading at that time and writing capsule reviews of the books. I wish I’d had the nerve to do it. I’d probably be having a career retrospective at MOCA in Los Angeles by now!
In the interests of full disclosure, as they say in the financial pages, here are my top ten most played songs, and (tied for equal first) most played album:
“We Have All The Time In The World” Louis Armstrong
“More News From Nowhere” Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
“Blues In Orbit” Duke Ellington
“Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend” T Bone Burnett
“Go Tell the Women” Grinderman
“My Ex-Wife” Don Walker
“Holy Rollers for Love” Jakob Dylan
“Splitting the Atom” Massive Attack
“Rich Girl” Hall & Oates
“Cow Cow Boogie” Ella Fitzgerald
Equal Most Played Albums
Blues In Orbit Duke Ellington
Laughing Clowns Live 2009