What are your ten most-played songs on iTunes, and why? If you take the time to think about it, its an interesting little question.
Albums you play all of the way through on compact disc won't have as many plays on your iTunes as the singles and one-hit wonders you've ordered from iTunes. Nor will songs that you most frequently play on your iPod - for instance, everybody has a couple of songs you play while you work out, or on long roadtrips, and so your iTunes would understate the total number of times you hear those songs. For those reasons, iTunes is not a perfectly representative sample of one's taste in music, but its pretty close.
Having made those disclaimers, here is my list. As always, your comments are welcome:
1) Letter From An Occupant - The New Pornographers
This song ranks #1 on my list for the simple reason that, once it gets stuck in your head, its not going to leave for a long time.
2) Babylon II - David Gray
Go ahead and make your David Gray jokes. But when we're in our early 40s and at our 20-year college reunion, and people realize that all we listened to in college was Limp Bizkit, Blink-182, Eminem, Shaggy, Kid Rock, N*SYNC and Britney Spears, and songs like 'Who Let the Dogs Out' and 'The Bad Touch' were actually popular," and that other than Radiohead David Gray is the one singer who was popular when we were in college whose music still holds up, then you'll get it. Babylon II is one of the few songs that came out while I was in college that brings back legitimately fond memories of those years.
3) Apartment Story - The National
These next two are just great tracks by a great band, whose most mellow album just happened to come out when I was studying for the bar exam and needed solid background music.
Also, I just love this video - its production values are cinema-worthy, and the shot of the entire band playing actual instruments together on stage hearkens back to the good old days when musicianship was a cherished characteristic for a band to have.
4) Mistaken For Strangers - The National
The National is well-loved for the way it delicately balances light and dark. "Apartment Story" is the light; "Mistaken For Strangers" is the dark.
5) Please Forgive Me - David Gray
See above. I'm a David Gray fan. I celebrate his entire catalogue.
6) The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
This song - for that matter, this entire album - got stuck in my head just as Arcade Fire's "Funeral" was on its way out. This is a great song. Funeral is the better album, because it has more songs that make it to this level, but The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth belongs in the big leagues - its like a long-lost Talking Heads track, but less self-important.
7) In the Sun - Michael Stipe and Chris Martin
By far the best of the Hurricane Katrina fundraising songs . . . Stipe and Martin are great singers who, I believe, are too often unfairly maligned by hipster music snobs in the Pitchfork orbit, and on on this one-off they sound better than they do on anything they've done with their 'dayjob' bands in the past few years.
8) Sing Me Spanish Techno - The New Pornographers
Another catchy New Pornographers song whose lyrical nonsensicality fails to diminish its awesomeness.
9) Portions For Foxes - Rilo Kiley
How many songs make a genuine, delicate emotional point while legitimately kicking ass? This is one of them.
10) This Modern Love - Bloc Party
Near misses: New Order's True Faith, Gnarls Barkley's Smiley Faces, Interpol's Evil, and most of U2's Achtung Baby and How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb