Annual semi-data-driven favorite songs list: 2012

Somewhat late this year, here is my semi-data-driven look back at my 10 favorite songs of 2012. (I have previously conducted this empirical/subjective exercise for 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011.) As I did last time around, I’m posting this on the otherwise dormant Murketing.com in order to take advantage of the useful table plug-in. I’m “hiding” (sort of) this post by giving it a fake post date — the real post date is March 23, 2013.

Here’s the top ten. Number-crunching and analysis follows.

SongArtistPlaysStars
1"Come Save Me"Jagwar Ma175
2"Ruin"Cat Power195
3"QueenS"THEESatisfaction164
4"I Heart You"DZA74
5"Lazy Afternoon of the Jaguar"Turing Machine74
6"Bendy Bass"VCMG154
7"Voting Booth"Ethan Hein74
8"The Keepers"Santigold144
9"Apple Pie"Nelson Can124
10"Itching Around"Shana Cleveland and the Sandcastles64

As always:

  1. I start out by seeing which songs I played most often, per iTunes data.
  2. Then I cross-match that information with my one-out-of-five-stars ratings, and tweak accordingly.
  3. Then I sometimes tweak a little more.

Continuing last year’s trend, I’m buying a lot less music these days than I was when I started doing these analyses, and evidently I’m not listening as much, in iTunes, to the music I do acquire. Also continuing the prior year’s trend, there was quite a bit of music last year that I meant to buy, but so far have not. I’ll repeat my 2011 assessment verbatim: “Partly I’ve been busy, partly I’ve been on a budget, and partly there’s so much interesting music around that’s released free-and-legal, I haven’t really found myself sitting around craving new sounds as much as usual.”

On to the numbers. Last year I added to my iTunes library 244 songs that were released in 2012. The comparable number in 2011 was 262; in 2010 it was 350; in 2008 it was 377; in 2007 it was 325. So the downward trend from last year continues.

So let’s look at the Top Ten. Remarkably, I only awarded five stars to two 2012 songs! Although I played “Ruin” slightly more often, the real standout of the year for me was “Come Save Me,” so I gave that the top spot.

Re-listening to my most-listened songs, I felt I had to do a little more subjective tweaking this year to recognize music that I acquired later in 2012 that I suspect will get more plays in the future. Notable among these are “I [Heart] You,” and “Voting Booth.” The latter is notable because it was part of the Disquiet Junto project run by Marc Weidenbaum. This is an amazing series in which Weidenbaum issues an “assignment” every week to the informal crew of musicians who have involved themselves in the project, and who then create new music in response. “Voting Booth” is by Ethan Hein, who I have basically become familiar with via Disquiet and who was, for me, the most pleasing musical discovery of last year.

I’ll also mention for the record the songs that got more plays than what I ended up putting in my final Top Ten: “You’re So Cool!” by MegaFun, “Moogy Foog It,” by Karriem Riggins, and “On Your Way” by Alabama Shakes all got 12 plays,  “Cigarette Afterwards” by rawb1 got 13, and “El Caudillo Del Sur” by Centavrvs got 14. All good stuff, but as noted above, I made some tweaks — that’s the subjective part of this list!

Given how late I am with this, I’m going to cut the analysis short right there, and offer a belated: Happy New Year!