Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Year in Music 2012: Top 30 Most Listened To Songs

Due to my obessiveness, we all get to check out the "top 30 most listened to songs of the year" list a little sooner than we might have otherwise expected. Simply put, I ripped the hard drive out of my ailing computer, used a IDE-to-USB adapter and connected the drive to my netbook, where I grabbed the file and manually opened it.

This is my annual "shit I listened to a ton" list. Basically, for the uninitiated, I keep track of every listen to any song that's actually in my music library (about 14,000 songs). This includes plays on CD, iPod, and Radio. I generally count incidental music if I'm out and about, as well. Like I said: obsessive. Here are the top 30.

I'll make a Spotify playlist when I'm on a computer that is running Spotify again.

30. Lost Lander - Cold Feet

"Cold Feet" benefited greatly not only from being the first track on DRRT, but also from being the second best song on the album. I queued up this one and "Wonderful World" back to back multiple times, leaving the rest of the album for another day.

29. Sleigh Bells - Comeback Kid
(21st favorite song of 2012)

The advance single and most immediate song from an album I was (rightfully) anticipating.

28. Kelly Clarkson - Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)

I'm always up for a good, catchy Kelly Clarkson song. Call her a guilty pleasure, she just makes good pop songs. While I wasn't a huge fan of Stronger, the album, Stronger, the title track was tasty enough to rack up the listens (plus Lindsey plays them all the time).

27. Beach House - Walk in the Park

I'm a little surprised that this is so high on the list. This year was the first year I really got into Beach House (through Teen Dream), and this is the song I kept coming back to. The only strange thing is that, much as I loved Bloom, this was the only Beach House song to crack the top 50 in playcount.

26. Mutemath - Prytania

The "We Are Hunted" Spotify app was huge in finding music, from Sharon Van Etten to Ghost Beach to a revisit to a band I hadn't listened to in a long time. I knew of and listened to Earthsuit, the fairly bad band that a few of the members of Mutemath originally played in, and I own the first EP and album by Mutemath, so I'm quite familiar with them, but for some reason, I slept on Odd Soul. If this song is any indication, I should probably go back and fix that.

25. Jay-Z & Kanye West - Niggas in Paris

This song was number one on this list as of April, but fell off quite a bit as the year wore on. Shit is definitely cray, though. Hell of a video, too.

24. Cloud Nothings - Stay Useless

This spot could've easily gone to 'Fall In' (which finished just out of the Top 30), this one just happened to last a bit longer on the Hotlist.

23. Skrillex - Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites

This is the only Skrillex song I like, which is weird, because pretty much all of his stuff sounds the same to me. I think it has something to do with the way the calmer parts lead in to the drop? Maybe? I never said it was going to make a lot of sense.

22. Lana Del Rey - Off to the Races

It's embarassing how much I enjoy the chrous to this song. "I'm your little harlot starlet" is a line that wedged itself in my brain for days on end. I don't really want to think about what that says about me.

21. Gotye - Somebody That I Used to Know

Of course this song was inescapable long after I tired of it. It would've been top ten easily if I liked even one or two more songs on the album.

20. Clint Mansell - Leaving Earth

There's something to be said for piano ballads interrupted by massive bassoon blasts. There also something to be said for keeping your immensely listenable song right around the two minute mark.

19. Coldplay - Paradise

I like Coldplay. That sometimes seems like a bit of a guilty admission, but I don't see why. They excel at making friendly, well-meaning pop-rock songs, and this is another huge winner. It's not going to change the world, but sometimes, a catchy radio song is what I want.

18. Purity Ring - Fineshrine
(5th favorite song of 2012)

My wife would occasionally wonder why I listened to a song where the hook was "Get a little closer/let it fold/Cut open my sternum and pull/My little ribs around you". Come to think of it, I wondered the same thing myself sometimes. Then again, it was the most darkly catchy thing I heard all year, hitting on all the right centers in my brain. That sort of thing covers a multitude of creepy.

17. Neutral Milk Hotel - The King of Carrot Flowers, Part One

It's a little embarassing to me how many times I heard this song over the last decade without it ever really sinking in. I do like the rest of In the Aeroplane, Over the Sea, but it's no hyperbole to say that this is one of my twenty favorite songs ever, and that the part where the acordian comes in after he sings "what each other's bodies were for" is probably only rivaled by the end of ( ) for "favorite music moments ever".

16. The Go! Team - Buy Nothing Day
(most listened to song of 2011)

This song had staying power. I knew it would, it's just that kind of song. I wouldn't be entirely surprised if it stuck around next year, too.

15. The Shins - Simple Song
(10th favorite song of 2012)

I love the way that James Mercer sings the lyric "feels like an ocean being warmed by the sun".

14. Sharon Van Etten - Serpents

Sharon's "rock" song. Actually, strike those quotes... this song really does rock. When she angrily/incredulously/disgustedly sings "I had a thought you would take me...seriously", it gives me shivers.

13. Lana Del Rey - Born to Die

The detractors can say what they will - the album might not have lived quite up to expectations (though the first half was killer), but when this girl hit a good song, it made you stop and listen. ..or in this particular case, listen, and listen, and listen.

12. Japandroids - The House That Heaven Built
(2nd favorite song of 2012)

It feels like I listened to this song a million times, so I'm a little surprised that it's this low on the list. It was the kind of song that felt like a classic the instant I heard it.

11. The xx - Angels
(4th favorite song of 2012)

The clattering drums that punctuate the second verse of 'Angels' just barely missed the top 20 moments list. This song completely captivated me, and racked up a huge number of plays in a very short period of time.

10. Ghost Beach - Miracle
(15th favorite song of 2012)

Another 'We Are Hunted' find. I love the chorus, but I love the end of the second verse, where he sings "I was born in this house/now I'm burnin' it down" like that was the most joyful thing he could possibly think of at that moment.

9. Ramona Falls - Spore

It seems that I somehow left this song off of my "favorite songs" list. That's a fairly embarassing mistake, as it probably sits somewhere in the 6 or 7 spot. Oops.

8. Burial - Loner
(3rd favorite song of 2012)

Clocking in at seven and a half minutes, it's the longest song on this list by quite a bit. The song's ebb and flow made it feel half that long.

7. Lost Lander - Wonderful World
(7th favorite song of 2012)

I've mentioned this song's weirdly math-themed music video (one of my favorites of the year), I've mentioned the little five note segment that caught my ear so. There's not a whole lot else to say, this song's sad sort of beauty had me coming back time and again.

6. Carly Rae Jepsen - Call Me Maybe
(18th favorite song of the year)

Okay, I do unironically like this song (I think it's quite easily the best pure pop song of the year, maybe of the last two or three, though trying to delve into that would probably be better done on a later date). However, the playcounts this song received had a lot more to do with the fact that 'Call Me Maybe' was pretty much inescapable. A friend of mine and I were at a bar one night, and someone played it on the jukebox. We sheepishly admitted to each other that we actually enjoyed it, then listened in horror as the girl who had played it queued it up another three times that evening. I heard it five times on a trip to Fargo and back. IN-ES-CAP-A-BLE.

5. fun. - Some Nights
(25th favorite song of the year)

Another song that I like that was buoyed by the fact that it was played every twenty seconds on the radio (I'm pretty sure that if that's an exageration, it's on the low end). Also, Lindsey loved this song/CD.

4. Mind Spiders - You Are Dead
(12th favorite song of the year)

It's not even two minutes long, and it begs you to play it back to back. The only thing that kept it from being ven further up the list was the fact that the rest of the CD was pretty awesome, too.

3. fun. - We Are Young

Before 'Call Me Maybe' and 'Gangnam Style' came along, this song looked like it was going to be the ubiquitous song of the year. I liked it for a while, but not many listens past April were of the voluntary variety.

2. Cinnamon Chasers - Luv Deluxe
(18th most listened to song of 2011)

I didn't expect this. I guess it never left the Hotlist, which meant that anytime I was listening to that playlist (fairly often), I listened to this. I was definitely never not in the mood for it. Then there's the video, which I watched anther ten to fifteen times this year. Yeah, I guess I should've seen it coming.

1. Sharon Van Etten - Give Out
(favorite song of 2012)

It's a great song that I wanted to be listening to no matter what I was doing at the time (though night listening was the best). It's not particularly rare for my favorite song in a given year to also be my most played song for that year. This one was really close, though. This song just sort of stuck with me all year, as other songs came and fell by the wayside.

...and that concludes my self-indulgent "music of 2012" lists. Thanks for reading however much of them that you may have. On with the movie list!


  1. Curious: What's your count for your number 1, and what's the ratio from number 1 to number 30?

    Also, despite not liking the Lana Del Rey album as much as the singles (and the gutting of "Diet Mtn Dew"), some of those songs did have hooks for the brain. "Starlet harlot" being one.

  2. Usually, the number one is upwards of 70 plays (it used to be over a hundred, but I'm finding I repeat stuff less as I get older). This year, number one only had forty. Number 30 had 28.

  3. Solid stuff. You know I'm hot on some Kelly Clarkson too... Carly Rae, not so much.