i’m feeling pretty basic today. Top 5 Side Ones, Track Ones.

well a month came and went. luckily for me it was the shortest month i could’ve chosen, making this whole play count experiment a bit easier. so last night i plugged my ipod in to make sure my itunes would be as up to date as possible, and then i remade my Top 100 Most Played playlist. and how about this. i was actually disappointed with what i saw. my current Top 10 Most Played:

1. Baby Be Mine – Michael Jackson
2. P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) – Michael Jackson
3. Flashing Lights – Kanye West Feat. Dwele
4. Slow Dancing In A Burning Room – John Mayer
5. Good Life – Kanye West Feat. T-Pain
6. Lesson Learned – Alicia Keys Feat. John Mayer
7. I Don’t Trust Myself (With Loving You) – John Mayer
8. I Wonder – Kanye West
9. Champion – Kanye West
10. Digital Love – Daft Punk

my Top 10 has shuffled a tiny bit, but just barely. and there weren’t even that many new additions to the total Top 100. without a doubt, the reason for this is that once i deleted my most played playlist at the beginning of the month, i was forced to go back to listening to full albums rather than just a bunch of random songs with the highest play counts. needless to say, as disappointed as i was to see no dramatic change in my Top 100, the last month has led to listening to loads of great music.

album #1: i started off with “as i am” by alicia keys. i got this album from a buddy months ago, and really had only listened to the whole album once, and “lesson learned”, her collab with john mayer, like seventy times. so listening to the whole thing afresh was fantastic. to be honest, i didn’t fall in love with every single song, but oh man tracks 4-10 are off the wall good. “i need you” has one of coolest drum beats in a r&b song, and “wreckless love” is basically just alicia killin’ it. man that woman has some pipes. and listening to “lesson learned” within the context of the rest of the album was great too; that song is absolutely phenom. oddly enough though, even though i felt like i listened to the album a billion times, the only song that cracked the Top 100 was wreckless love. oh well. my fav track, “lesson learned.”

album #2: d’angelo’s “brown sugar.” while admittedly not as flawless/classic/unforgettable/impeccable/indelible as “voodoo”, this is a killer first albumfrom the king of neo-soul. i really like this album because i can hear vintage sounds left and right, but still the whole feel is completely mid 90s. it’s weird, normally i would like the opposite of that, an album recently released with traces of modern pop/r&b/whatever but overall sounding more like vintage soul or just vintage music in general. but in this case it’s so great. i don’t want to disparage this album in any way, but it’s so much easier to listen to than “voodoo”. “voodoo” takes months to sink in, no joke. it took like two years to find it’s way into my Top 5 lists. but “brown sugar” is just a lot more accessible, almost… easy. which is to say nothing bad, it’s just different than “voodoo”. but it’s a great one. here’s my fav. track, “lady.”

album #3: this was more a playlist than one album. i threw all three of jack johnson’s albums into my “spain sizzler” playlist and shuffled it for like a week and a half straight. i’d say “brushfire fairytales” got the least playment, “on and on” (even though it is my favorite of the three, thumbs up to adam.) came in second, and “in between dreams” was most played. i think just because when it came out, i was living in the dorms at iowa with the frattiest of frat guys for a roommate, and “banana pancakes” became the ultimate douchebag anthem and i really didn’t have any desire to really dig into the rest of the album. i’m glad i did now though; picking through the dece songs on this album leads to some fantastic tunes. i’ve already posted my new fav. off this album, but the other noteworthy track was “belle.” i listened to this on top of the eiffel tower. holler.

these were the three albums that got the most playment during the last month, but here are the others that got played through at least once.

waltz for debby – bill evans trio: one of best jazz albums ever made. recorded live, this thing is chock full of gorgeous jazz piano trio music. don’t even know what to say about it. makes me want to never quit playing the piano.

heavier things – john mayer: i’m never gonna stop listening to this album. one of the best sophomore releases ever. that would make a great Top 5 list.

thriller – michael jackson: no explanation required.

100 days, 100 nights – sharon jones & the dap-kings: another outstanding album by the most overlooked soul singer around today. sharon jones should’ve been as famous as aretha or tina or diana, but she wasn’t and i’m glad because she probably wouldn’t have found the dap-kings. partly responsible for the absolutely rich sounds of amy winehouse’s killer album “back to black”, the dap-kings know what real soul music is and how far our current generation has gotten from true artistic soul. with that in mind, they’ve gotten together with sharon jones and have released three albums of pure, unadulterated soul. so great. here’s just a taste of their goodness, “tell me.”

subtitulo – josh rouse: another album i need to keep coming back to. i listened to it this month about three times, and it’s only because i’m being distracted by other great music that i’m not deep into this one. josh rouse has got a knack for great acoustic band pop that isn’t easily brushed aside. this album needs more listens from me before i really write about it.

corinne bailey rae – corinne bailey rae: this englishwoman has nailed acoustic soul. she’s either an english alicia keys with a guitar or an english female john legend with a guitar. or a fusion of the two. or something completely different. whatever it is, she’s great.

it won’t be soon before long – maroon 5: only the fast songs. i don’t know what it is, but when these guys write a ballad, it’s just terrible. maybe it’s adam levine’s awful whiney voice. it only really works in the fast songs. but oh man i love those fast songs. great hooks, great guitar parts, just fun fun songs. otherwise no thanks.

homework – daft punk: daft punk is getting their own entire post from me sometime so i’m not gonna write to much here. i’ll just say i’m discovering new things about this one.

electric ladyland – jimi hendrix experience: obviously a classic, just one i’m not well acquainted with. i only went through it once; it is an incredibly dense album (total running time 1:15:21). not one to listen to as i’m hurrying to class. this is one to sit down and digest. this is a record that deserves a dark room, a huge leather chair, and a listen-to on vinyl. i hope it happens one day.

so that’s about it. going back and looking at all the music i listened to, i actually feel a lot better about this whole experiment. i think what i’m gonna do is delete my Top 100 playlist again and come back to it next month. i feel like i’ve connected to all this music so much better like this. i almost want to apologize or something for spending so much time with just a collection of my most played songs in the place of real albums. there is something so untouchable about an album, something so inherently special. i love that i’m listening to a collection of thoughts and opinions and feelings that an artist compiled in an exact and specific way for me. i feel like way too many people take that away from the artist by downloading singles from itunes or just having a crappy incomplete selection of tunes from artists. i enjoy finding my own specific favorite tracks within an album, but it’s the best when i’ve found them within the context of the whole album. i don’t feel like i’m taking away from the artist or the album in any way. albums require time and energy and work, and that’s why i love them so much. so from here on out, i will spend far less time listening to mixes of my favorite songs and focus more on albums. my library is rife with albums i haven’t digested yet. i’ve got a lot of work ahead of me. i wonder if doctors can listen to music while they’re working.


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