30 Most Frequently Played Songs of 2014

It’s the time of year when everyone is making end-of-year lists of various things. I decided to make a list of the top songs I’ve listened to in 2014. Now a few things went into this and there should be some things stated up front.

First — I almost always listen to music on random. Usually it’s a playlist I’ve created and there are a couple playlists I have in iTunes that have been my go-to work music this year. But what that means is that for any single song to appear multiple times it means I was probably listening to that artist a lot.

Second — Since I listen to so much stuff on random, and since that “random” list often comes out of a playlist with a bunch of stuff by a bunch of specific artists, a lot of songs cropped up from the same artist or album. So, in compiling this list, I made an effort to select songs by unique artists so it wasn’t all clogged up by Chromeo and M83 and nothing else.

Third — The way I ranked items was based on a combination of Last.fm stats for the year and iTunes # of plays. Now, iTunes doesn’t reset the number of plays each year, so its’ numbers are cumulative . And Last.fm wasn’t working 100% through the whole year, and regardless, the numbers were very different from Last.fm to iTunes so I really don’t know how these things compare.

The stuff from this list, therefore, has a fair bit of fudging around specific tracks and artists to be a more accurate representation of what has been playing through my speakers this year. Since each artist on the list could be taken as an entry into “most listened-to album“, I also pared this list down based on artists I played more frequently.

Pharrel Williams

Happy
Single – 2013

Washed Out

Eyes Be Closed
Within and Without – 2011

NONONO

Pumpin Blood
Single – 2013

M83

Steve McQueen
Hurry Up We’re Dreaming – 2011

Chromeo

Old 45’s
White Women – 2014

Gotye

Eyes Wide Open
Making Mirrors – 2011

Radiohead

Separator
The King of Limbs – 2011

TV on the Radio

Golden Age
Dear Science – 2008

Beirut

Santa Fe
The Rip Tide – 2011

Of Monsters and Men

Little Talks
My Head is an Animal – 2012

LCD Soundsystem

Yr City’s a Sucker
LCD Soundsystem – 2005

AlunaGeorge

Put Up Your Hands
You Know You Like It – 2013

Grimes

Genesis
Visions – 2012

SOHN

The Wheel
Tremors – 2014

The Asteroids Galaxy Tour

Out of Frequency
Out of Frequency – 2012

Bat for Lashes

All Your Gold
The Haunted Man – 2012

PJ Harvey

This Mess We’re In (with Thom Yorke)
Stories from the City, Stories From the Sea – 2000

The Black Keys

Fever
Turn Blue – 2014

Daft Punk

Get Lucky (featuring Pharrel Williams)
Random Access Memories – 2013

Florence and the Machine

Cosmic Love
Lungs – 2009

Marina and the Diamonds

Mowgli’s Road
The Family Jewels – 2010

HAIM

Falling
Days are Gone – 2013

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Dull Life
It’s Blitz! – 2009

Mike Doughty

Change
Stellar Motel – 2014

Pretty Lights

Fly Away Another Day
Passing By Behind Your Eyes – 2009

The Arctic Monkeys

Crying Lightning
Crying Lightning – 2009

Ellie Goulding

Only You
Halcyon – 2012

Little Dragon

Only One
Nabuma Rubberband – 2014

David Guetta

Baby When the Light
Best of David Guetta – 2007

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

Jubilee Street
Push the Sky Away – 2013

Move over RPM

A few days ago, my friend Colin (aka Slighter) sent me this link:

http://createdigitalmusic.com/2014/01/52-tracks-52-weeks-starting-2014-producers/

It’s a challenge. Like the RPM challenge referenced in the title, Weekly Beats challenges musicians to make music. But unlike RPM, it’s challenging you to do it all year round.

I love RPM. I’m still incredibly proud of my 2011 entry, Wasp, and the remix album I released the following fall WASPREMIX — which was the first time I released something on Amazon, iTunes and Spotify. I’m proud of all the albums I’ve made in various Februarys over the last several years, but that’s just the thing. I release them in March, then I go into hiding for the rest of the year and don’t make any music (or hardly any, at any rate). RPM is good for kicking you in the ass for 28 days, but then you’re suffering burnout through March and end up carrying that momentum of not creating anything through the rest of the year until December hits and you say “oh shit! RPM is in two months!”

I need a kick in the ass all year round. Hence Weekly Beats.

So here is a resolution for 2014. By the end of this year, I will have made at least 50 new songs (52 if I stick to the challenge). That’s 40 more songs than what I would have made if I did RPM. So, no, I probably won’t be doing RPM this year (unless the songs I make in February happen to add up to 30 minutes in length), but, hopefully, I will have a lot more to show for it.

Since my Kickstarter bust for The Signal in 2012, I fell into a rut. It took a lot out of me emotionally, and I wasn’t entirely happy with the result (the experiment was interesting but, ultimately, I think I fell prey to my own ambition). I stopped making music; I started playing FIFA; RPM 2013 came and I just wasn’t up to doing my own album (I did work on a collaboration called Noise Floor as well as the 2013 Blind Chaos entry). Once you lose the momentum, it’s hard to get it back and you stop finishing things. Part of my blamed the fact that my PC finally died and I needed to get Mac versions of all my music stuff I had accumulated on that, but that was just an excuse and I never fully believed it. My hope is that an arbitrary requirement of one song a week will kick me into action and get me in a year-round habit of making music rather instead of a once-a-year habit.

You can check out my tracks here on Weekly Beats. When it’s all over, I’ll probably collect them (the good ones, anyway) into an album that I release on BandCamp.