January 5, 2007

2006 Top 20 Most-Listened-To Albums

Posted in music at 7:26 pm by berzerkeleyan

I thought I’d do something a bit different for my 2006 Top 20 list. iTunes allows you to track the number of times you listen to each song in your library. Using this, I created a smart playlist that sorted my library based on the number of times I listened to the first track of every album since January 1, 2006. I did not sort by the year an album was released. Here’s a snapshot of the criteria I used:Top 20 2006

The results weren’t too surprising, save for the top slot. Very few on the list were released in 2006. A lot of them were purchases made this year, while a bunch were albums from 2005 that I couldn’t stop listening to.

20. Reindeer Section “Son of Evil Reindeer” (2002) — this is a Scottish supergroup, whose members come from all over: Teenage Fanclub, Belle & Sebastian, Mull Historical Society and, of course, Snow Patrol. If you like your music mellow and sadly sweet, you will like this.
19. “Staying Alive” Soundtrack (1983) — after you’re done laughing, continue down the list.
18. The Brian Jonestown Massacre “Methodrone” (1995) — 2006 was the year I finally took a friend’s advice and began listening to TBJM. This was the first album of theirs I tried, and it’s a beauty. It’s not the first shoegazer album (heck, it’s probably the last), but it is one of the best ever made.
17. The Veils “The Runaway Found” (2004) — the only music magazine I read is Uncut. But because I read so many other things, I’m always several months behind. Last April, I had finally gotten to their Dec 2005 issue, where they had this listed as one of the top albums of the year. I was intrigued enough to get it, and was not disappointed. A very lush and intense album, it’s fronted by the tortured Finn Andrews. For those whose interest I’ve piqued, good luck finding a copy. However, you should be able to find a copy of their latest, “Nux Vomica,” albeit as an import.
16. Phoenix “ThirtyDaysAgo Live” (2004) — best concert I attended this year. And I great compilation of some of their best songs. The album does a decent job of capturing their magic.
15. Magnet “On Your Side” (2003) — the best twenty minutes I experienced this year was watching Magnet perform at a hole in the wall in San Francisco. He was fantastic. It was an extra special treat shaking his hand afterwards. This is one of those albums that make me wish I had the talent to create music.
14. Arctic Monkeys “Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not” (2006) — Your energy level will instantly double after listening to it. Right now, I can’t remember ever hearing a brasher debut album. Oasis’ “Definitely Maybe” sounds tentative compared to this. I hope to hear more from this band in the future.
13. Mindy Smith “One Moment More” (2004) — this will likely not appeal to anyone but me. It’s pure country, and full of waaayyy too many references to Jesus and religion. But her voice is so pure and so beautiful, that it was hard for me to ignore.
12. Powderfinger “Odyssey Number Five” (2001) — Foo Fighters-esque in nature. Very catchy power pop songs.
11. Brendan Benson “The Alternative To Love” (2005) — this was another purchase spurred by Uncut’s Best of 2005 list. If you like catchy pop melodies with a rock edge, you’ll like this. And it’s better than the Raconteurs.
10. Phoenix “It’s Never Been Like That” (2006) — this is probably my favorite album of 2006. Very breezy, very 70’s AOR, very French. Their best so far, it’ll be hard for them to top it.
9. Athlete “Tourist” (2005) — it took a while, but this one turned out to exceed my opinion of their first. Alternating between cheeky and poignant, it’s a fun listen.
8. Cantinero “Championship Boxing” (2004) — a good friend from Edinburgh recommended this. It’s such an undiscovered gem here in the States (it might be in the UK too, I don’t know). It’s difficult to nail the type of music he plays, because the instruments and arrangements are all so varied. But you can’t go wrong getting it. C’mon, would I do that to you?
7. Matthew Sweet “Girlfriend” (1991) — I’d been hearing about how great this album was for years, so I finally purchased it. Didn’t put it down all year.
6. Feeder “Comfort In Sound” (2003) — Foo Fighters clones. The lyrics are particularly poignant, given that their drummer committed suicide a year before its release. This was the album I played during every roadtrip I took this year. Great to rock out to, fun to sing.
5. Elbow “Leaders Of The Free World” (2005) — “Asleep in the Back” is still my favorite album by Elbow. But “LoTFW” beat the pants out of just about everything put out in 2005. Guy Harvey’s a genius.
4. Keane “Under The Iron Sea” (2006) — I could not stop listening to this all year. It’s incredibly sappy, and very catchy. I think it’s better than their debut, which is an excellent album in its own right.
3. Magnet “The Tourniquet” (2005) — I categorize Magnet’s brand of music “Space Folk.” It’s trippy, romantic, introspective, and beautiful. He’s one of the best new artists out there.
2. The Beach Boys “Pet Sounds” (1966) — after years of reading what a classic this album is, I finally bought it. It is the grandfather to just about everything I own. And I think the reason I like it so much has to do with the choirboy purity of the voices, and symphonic arrangements of the songs. Although it’s hard to place myself within that era, I’m beginning to understand why this album was considered such a watershed in popular music.
1. Coldplay “X&Y” (2005) — this was surprising, not just because of its top spot, but because I listened to it twice as much as #2. I had no idea I listened to it so much. The hype on this album was so big, I waited almost a year after it was released to get into it. It’s not as good as “Parachutes,” but it’s still great.

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  1. Stu Lloyd said,

    Happy New Year Mate !!

    Some interesting albums in the top 20 there. Might have to do the same in iTunes and see what is displayed for my library. I would imagine the Arctic Monkeys would be No.1 as I haven’t been able to stop listening to it all year. Definitely my soundtrack for 2006.

    Can’t wait for their new album this year. Should be a cracker although apparently its going to be “very different” (http://www.nme.com/news/arctic-monkeys/25655), hopefully not too different though.

    Anyway – all the best for 2007.


  2. Thanks, Stu. Happy New Year to you as well. I’d be very interested to see your 2006 list. I’m sure there are some good ones there. Any you’d be too embarrassed to admit?

  3. Derek said,

    Hi, I’ll need to dig out my Brian Jonestown Massacre Cd , Not listened to it in years. Not a patch on Spacemen 3 though.

    PS.I have links to loads of live concerts & sessions you can watch/listen to for free on my website


    Enjoy !

  4. […] in music at 8:18 pm by berzerkeleyan Two years ago, I posted my 2006 Top 20 Most-Listened-To Albums. In it, I described how I used iTunes’ nifty filters to list the albums I heard most often […]

  5. […] in music at 6:00 pm by berzerkeleyan Just like 2006 and 2008, I compiled a list of albums that got the heaviest rotation this past year.  Just like […]

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