Saturday, October 30, 2010

Play Counts Count

I'll admit, I'm quite the nerd.  Some people would call it OCD, but I would say SOCD, which is Selective Obsessive Compulsive Disorder... I don't obsess about much, but I'm very picky about what I obsess about... its almost like, I know whats important to me, how important it is to have things done the way I want the done... but only about certain things that sometimes no one else cares about.

Case in point... iTunes. 

iTunes has this thing called a "play count", which is both a blessed and cursed thing.  In my mind, once I play a song, I want it counted.  Once I listen to a song, I want it noted... it truly doesn't mean a hill of beans to anyone in the entire world that I've listened to "Everything You Want" by Vertical Horizon 34 times, or that I've fired up the original "Hallelujah" by Jeff Buckley 8 times. 

But its important to me.  I dunno why, and I really am not sure I care to psycho-analyze, but that's just one of those quirky, nerdy things about me.  We'll come back to this, but first I have to give a bit more exposition, then tie it all together at the end like a good little storyteller.

Yesterday, I finally purchased a portable hard drive.  We've owned a regular external hard drive for about three years, and backs up most of what is on my, and The Lovely Steph Leann's, computers.  For me its music, audiobooks and pictures, for her its mostly pictures and Creative Memories back-up files... but the problem is, its so clunky and bulky.  In the Casa de Pesos apartment, it wasn't a big deal, because our place was so small, we just kept our PC and the back up drive and such altogether, and even when we got laptops, they mostly just stayed in the guest bedroom.  I could write and blog and do whatever, and with a television in the room, I could still watch whatever, or play a movie or anything of the like. 

When we got The Cabana, though, it was harder, because we kept the back-up drive upstairs, and the laptops stayed downstairs mostly, so I didn't back up much stuff, just every now and then.  With my growing love (and ear) for audiobooks, I finally had to move them off of my laptop because I had gotten to the point where I had less than 10gb of space (off of 300gb).  It took almost 2 hours, but I moved almost 80gb of audiobooks onto the harddrive, plus a few movies and some other space-taking items. 

Now, for anyone who owns an iPod, you'll notice that if you try and sync your iPod, and you've moved some files, a little "!" will appear by those files.  And when those files are on an entirely different drive altogether, its even worse, because you get a hundred or two of those "!" when they are audiobooks.  So, I now have a set up on our dining room table, this external hard drive to my left, cords and USB cables running everywhere and anywhere, and like, four things plugged into the nearby outlet.  Thus, the need for a portable hard drive.

So I'm currently moving, from the external to the portable, over 100 audiobooks, encompassing 32,000+ files (the Harry Potter series alone contains at least 1,500 tracks), which makes up about 140gb of space.  I have another 60gb of pictures to move over.  And at some point, in the future, I'll move over all my music from my laptop to the portable hard drive.

And now, we get back to play counts.  See, when I move over the music, I have to reload all songs back into iTunes.  And when I do, all play counts go back to zero.  Everyone.  So me listening to Nilsson's "I Guess the Lord Must Be In New York City" 29 times?  Its like it didn't happen.

However, don't think I haven't considering recreating all the playcounts.  Easy, really... click on a song, click "repeat" twice (which makes the song repeat) and then click on the end over and over.  It will advance from beginning to end, then start over.  Yes, this is a really stupid, useless thing to do.  Yes, there are far better uses of my time.  Yes, I've thought about it.  We'll see.

Play counts are a funny thing... it kinda tells you and the world what you truly like.  My official Top Five list of songs are: (1) "Possession" by Sarah McLachlan... (2) "I'd Die Without You" by PM Dawn... (3) "Piano in the Dark" by Brenda Russell (ft. Joe Esposito)... (4) "Not the Only One" by Bonnie Raitt... (5) "Head Over Heels" by Tears for Fears.  Coming in a close 6th is "Say Say Say" by Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson.

Other songs that have wandered their way in and out of my Top Ten including "Let Her Cry" by Hootie and the Blowfish... "A Thousand Miles" by Vanessa Carlton... "Maybe I'm Amazed" by Paul McCartney and Wings... "Hazy Shade of Winter" by The Bangles and "Tiny Dancer" by Elton John....

But you know what?  Out of those 11 songs I just listed, none are in my Top Ten of the Play Count List, and only one is in the Top Twenty, at 19th.  So, I thought it might be fun to list my Top Fifty Songs on the Play Count List, the songs that have been played the most.  Bear in mind, too, that I listen to a ton of podcasting and audiobooks, so music isn't my top priority most of the time, but sometimes, you just wanna hear Timberlake, or Flo Rida or Billy Joel or Bill Withers...

So, here we go...  Song, artist, and (play count)

There is a huge six way tie at 50, featuring...
50-tie.  Running From an Angel by Hootie & the Blowfish (34)
50-tie. Clarity by John Mayer (34)
50-tie. 3AM by Matchbox 20 (34)
50-tie. Everything You Want by Vertical Horizon (34)
50-tie. Welcome to Delaware by Watermark (34)
50-tie. White & Nerdy by Weird Al Yankovic (Video) (34)

All the way down to #40 is another tie or two, featuring the only song that appears twice in our countdown, in both audio and video versions.  Also, The Dixie Chicks make their first of three appearances.
48-tie. Cowboy Take Me Away by The Dixie Chicks (35)
48-tie. Sunday Afternoon by Joel Blount (35)
40-tie. ...And Our Feelings by Babyface (Video) (36)



40-tie. Only the Good Die Young by Billy Joel (36)
40-tie. Close of Autumn by Caedmon's Call (36)
40-tie. The Trolley Song by Judy Garland (36)
40-tie. Taylor, the Latte Boy by Kristin Chenoweth (36)
40-tie. B.O.B. by OutKast (36)
40-tie. Light My Candle by Mimi and Roger from The Cast of Rent (36)
40-tie. You Mean the World To Me by Toni Braxton (36)

The next set of ten, down to a four way tie at #31...
39. I'll Be Okay by Amanda Marshall (37)
36-tie. Ain't No Sunshine by Bill Withers (38)
36-tie. In the Light by dcTalk (38)
36-tie. Possession by Sarah McLachlan (38)
35. Snow (Hey Oh) by The Red Hot Chili Peppers (39)
31-tie. Full Moon by Brandy (40)
31-tie. Callin' Baton Rouge by Garth Brooks (40)
31-tie. The Way I Am by Ingrid Michaelson (40)
31-tie. The Remedy (I won't worry) by Jason Mraz (40)

The next ten are all older songs, anywhere from five to fifteen to thirty...
26-tie. Let's Stay Together by Al Green (41)
26-tie. Still Not a Player by Big Punisher with Fat Joe (41)
26-tie. The Story by Brandi Carlile (41)
26-tie. My My My by Johnny Gill (41)
26-tie. Chains by Tina Arena (41)
24-tie. You Belong With Me by Taylor Swift (41)
24-tie. Say It Right by Nelly Furtado (Video) (41)
23. Season of Love by The Cast of Rent (43)
21-tie. Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World by Israel Kamakawio'ole (45)
21-tie. The Light In Your Eyes by Blessid Union of Souls (45)

And our teens part of the countdown gives us another helping of The Chicks, an obscure but incredible song by Jill Paquette and of course, Cool J.
19-tie. My Favorite Mistake by Sheryl Crow (46)
19-tie. I'd Die Without You by PM Dawn (46)
17-tie. Tortured Tangled Hearts by The Dixie Chicks (47)
17-tie. Drops of Jupiter by Train (47)
15-tie. Sin Wagon by The Dixie Chicks (48)
15-tie. Lift My Eyes by Jill Paquette (48)
13-tie. Crazy by Gnarls Barkley (49)
13-tie. I May Hate Myself in the Morning by Lee Ann Womack (49)
11-tie. Loungin' (who do you love) by LL Cool J (50)
11-tie. If I Ever Lose My Faith in You by Sting (50)

Before we get to the Top Ten, I wanted to give you a list of ten songs that, were I to do this same column in a year two, you'd probably see some of them appear in this very list, maybe because they are new and I listen to them frequently now or because they were just outside the top fifty and have gotten some recent love from my playlist... they include "Hey Soul Sister" by Train... "Travelin Soldier" by The Dixie Chicks... "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" by Elton John... "Relator" by Pete Yorn & Scarlett Johansson... "You Give Good Love" by Whitney Houston... "Better in Time" by Leona Lewis... "Right Round" by Flo Rida... "I Need You Now" by Lady Antebellum... "Everything Zen" by Bush... and, of course... "Party in the USA" by Miley Cyrus

Now, here's the Top Ten... a little eclectic, but a little predictable all the same...
10. Collide by Howie Day (53)... I cannot even name another Howie Day song.  But I love this one.  I told The Lovely Steph Leann if I played guitar and could sing, this would be part of my set.

9. ...And Our Feelings by Babyface (54)... This is a perfect song to sing while driving.  My vocals get nowhere near the level of Babyface, but that doesn't mean I don't try.

7-tie. How to Save a Life by The Fray (55)... This and their other big song, perhaps one of the biggest, most awesome one-two song punches ever. 

7-tie. You and I Both by Jason Mraz (55)... Its a great video, its a great song, and its also fun to sing.  And the lyrics are easier to learn than "The Remedy".

6. My Boo by Usher (ft Alicia Keys) (56)... I was a little surprised when I did this list how far up this list that "My Boo" ended up.  But I'm perfectly okay with it.

5. Wildwood Flower by Reese Witherspoon (57)... I bought the "Walk the Line" soundtrack, and I'll be honest, I listened to this song non-stop.  When I first got my iPod, I remember this song being the first one to 20 plays ever. 

4. Fergalicious by Fergie (Video) (58)... Fine.  I'll admit it.  I like this song, and this video is fun.  I would venture to guess that 40 of the plays were done within a year of it being released.

3. Love Song by Sara Bareilles (59)... If I could use the Billboard Charts term "with a bullet" on my own little list, than I would use it here with this song.  I wouldn't be shocked to see this become number one in the near future, because I am completely addicted to this song.



2. Rock Your Body by Justin Timberlake (61)... What can I say?  Timberlake is cool.  The song is cool. 

1. Over My Head (Cable Car) by The Fray (63)... Again, I'm not entirely sure how this song got so high, number one in fact, but I make no apologies.  It is a song that I could listen to non-stop (and have) and not get tired of (I haven't).

So what about you?  Does your list of favorite songs and your actual play counts tell two different stories?

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