A couple years ago, I posted a list of the Top 10 songs I listened to most in 2008. I meant to create such a list as an annual tradition, but forgot in 2009. So now that we’re in 2011, I’m back with lists for 2009 and 2010.
The lists were created via a Smart Playlist in iTunes, based on play count, rating (only songs with 3-5 stars), and part of my “Music” playlist, which excludes podcasts, audio books, and anything related to Disney. In other words, they’re lists of “good” to “great” songs that are part of everyday listening.
This is how the original 2008 Smart Playlist was set up:
One more note: For both years, I had to also exclude the Nine Inch Nails album, Ghosts I-IV. It’s an instrumental album I often play while working on projects and its songs dominated both lists to the point of making them uninteresting. So technically, that is my most-listened to album of both years.
So here we go…
My Top 10 Most-Listened-To Songs in 2009
1. “A Day In The Life” by The Beatles from Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
2. “A Different City” by Modest Mouse from The Moon And Antarctica
3. “#1 Crush” by Garbage from Romeo + Juliet
4. “Ikons” by KMFDM from Xtort
5. “Tourette’s” by Nirvana from In Utero
6. “A Night Like This” by Smashing Pumpkins from The Aeroplane Flies High
7. “Change” by Blind Melon from Blind Melon
8. “Deserted” by Blind Melon from Blind Melon
9. “Priceless” by Boxelder from Seed
10. “everything zen” by Bush from Sixteen Stone
It looks like 2009 was an odd year for me in iTunes music selection. The top 2 songs on this list are unfamiliar to me, which means iTunes must have randomly chosen to play them more often than any other. The rest is an assortment of tracks I enjoy, but would never have suspected they’d be the most played for the year. But I suppose it’s good to have a variety of music year-to-year.
My Top 10 Most-Listened-To Songs in 2010
1. “A Boy’s Best Friend” by The White Stripes from De Stijl
2. “Any Colour You Like” by Pink Floyd from Dark Side Of The Moon
3. “Queer” by Garbage from Garbage
4. “Miss World” by Hole from Live Through This
5. “About a Girl” by Nirvana from Unplugged in New York
6. “Time” by Pink Floyd from Dark Side Of The Moon
7. “In the Flesh?” by Pink Floyd from The Wall
8. “Disarm” by Smashing Pumpkins from Siamese Dream
9. “Birdhouse In Your Soul” by They Might Be Giants from Flood
10. “DLMD” by 311 from 311
The 2010 list is a complete contrast to the 2009 list. Apparently I listened to more singles in the past year than in years prior. I like that KMFDM and They Might Be Giants each made one of the two lists, as both are bands I thoroughly enjoy but don’t listen to nearly enough (or at least… I didn’t think I did). I’m not sure how The White Stripes topped the list, as I almost never listen to them. It must have been another iTunes anomaly.
But it’s clear from both lists that my musical tastes are still firmly planted in the 1990s, with many tracks from Nirvana, Hole, Garbage, Smashing Pumpkins, 311, and more bands from that era.
What were your most-listened to songs in the past year? Launch iTunes, recreate the Smart Playlist above, and post your Top 10 for 2008 in the comments below!
I spent a couple hours last night happily playing guitar and using my new Guitar Tab Search AppleScripts. So today I decided I should share a few more of the AppleScripts and programs that I use to…
iTunes certainly has plenty of built-in features that make it the best MP3 player around, but it doesn’t quite have all of the features I need to fully make it easy to use. Here is a list of programs and AppleScripts that I use almost daily to make my music listening experience that much more enjoyable.
Note: Everything below is for Mac only.
I very rarely use iTunes directly as a result of having SizzlingKeys. This System Preferences add-on allows you to easily create keyboard shortcuts to all of iTunes basic functions like Play, Pause, Next, Previous, Volume, etc. So when I’m working in PhotoShop and a song comes on that I don’t want to hear, rather than switching over to iTunes to change it, I can just hit a few keys and move on with my work. It’s all fully-customizable:
SizzlingKeys allows you to assign keyboard shortcuts to rating songs. I’m guessing that most people reading this never rate their songs, but it’s a great habit to get into as it allows you to create Smart Playlists of only your favorites or, more importantly, eliminate those songs that you never want to hear. Every time a song changes, I simply hit option-command and a number 1-5 to determine the number of stars I want to give a song. I’ve rated most of my music library this way.
Finally, SizzlingKeys also features a small iTunes HUD:
This semi-transparent box features all the basic song information and cover art and can either stay on-screen at all times or pop up for just a few seconds whenever the song changes. It can also be dragged to any spot on your screen.
Obtaining Cover Art
What good is displaying cover art if your music doesn’t have any? Worse yet, do you know if your music files have the art embedded or is your copy of iTunes just storing it locally?
If you’ve bought music from the Amazon MP3 store or iTunes Music Store, you should have high-resolution cover art with every song. However, anyone who has ripped an entire CD collection knows that finding good art is not easy and attaching it to individual MP3 files is even harder.
I tried a number of utilities that claimed to be able to download cover art automatically. Unfortunately, none of them worked well enough to trust. Many albums were misidentified or low-resolution cover art was grabbed. I realized that the only way to properly add cover art to albums was to do it manually.
To help in the tedious process, I used the Amazon Lookup and Search Wikipedia AppleScripts. Between these two sources, I was able to find cover art for nearly every album I owned, resorting to a manual Google Images search only on the rare occasion that both of these failed to find what I was looking for.
In addition, once you have cover art, it’s important to tell iTunes to actually embed the art into each music file. If you don’t, it will simply store the artwork separately on your computer’s hard drive and if you ever transfer your music files to another computer, your artwork won’t necessarily go with it. I use the appropriately named Embed Artwork AppleScript to accomplish this.
Share your iTunes
In the past, the common way to let friends know what you were currently listening to was to update your iChat (or other instant messenger client) status. Today, IMs are hardly used, replaced by Facebook and Twitter. So if you want to tell the world what music you’re listening to, try this:
“TwitterTrack” is my version of this AppleScript. The original automatically updates Twitter with whatever you’re playing in iTunes. I find this to be particularly annoying. No one wants to read the title of every single song you listen to. But occasionally, you might want to blast out a quick tweet letting people know what tune you’re jamming to, so TwitterTrack lets you do just that.
You’ll need to set up a special entry in your keychain to securely give the script your Twitter username and password. To do this, run Applications/Utilities/Keychain Access. Select File, New Password Item… and enter “twittertrack” as the name along with your Twitter login information. Don’t worry, none of this information is sent anywhere except Twitter. Upon launching the script the first time, you’ll need to allow access to the keychain.
If you have a favorite iTunes add-on, AppleScript, or program, tell me about it in the comments!Tweet
Occasionally, I like to sit down in front of my Mac and play guitar along with music playing through iTunes. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to play every song that iTunes’ shuffle decides to pick and I need to find a guitar tab to help me learn. After a couple of hours of failed online searching, I customized my own…
iTunes Guitar Tab Search AppleScript
In looking for a simple AppleScript that would search the web for a guitar tab for whatever song I was currently listening to in iTunes, I first found the OLGA Tabulature Search over at dougscripts.com. Unfortunately, that script hasn’t been updated since 2003 and the On-Line Guitar Archive (OLGA) has been offline for quite some time due to numerous legal issues.
So I decided to revise this script and turn it into:
DOWNLOAD: Guitar Tab Search & Guitar Tab Search Next (ZIP file of two AppleScripts)
“Guitar Tab Search” will take whatever song you’re currently listening to in iTunes (or whatever song is highlighted if no song is playing) and search ultimate-guitar.com for it. It uses that site’s advanced search to limit the results to guitar tabs and chord files only. It also includes both the artist name and song title in the search to eliminate other versions of the song from showing up.
“Guitar Tab Search Next” extends the functionality of “Guitar Tab Search” one step further, automatically telling iTunes to skip to the next song before pulling up the new tab. This script allows you to quickly activate it when you grow tired of playing a song or want to skip one that iTunes selects and just move on to the next one easily.
Making It Even Easier
I quickly realized that I didn’t want to mess around with clicking between iTunes and a web browser just to play a new song and pull up a new tab using the above scripts. To make the whole process even easier, I installed the “lite” (free) version of FastScripts. This menubar extra allows you to assign keyboard shortcuts to scripts, letting you launch them from within any program.
And here’s how I set it up:
Now, when I’m sitting in Safari reading a tab and decide that I’m ready for the next song to play, I just hit control-option-command-right arrow to launch “Guitar Tab Search Next”, which tells iTunes to skip to the next track and pulls up the online tab listing for that song. It’s a very simple and quick way to play along with a lot of songs with very little effort. You can customize that keyboard shortcut to anything you want. For one-handed use, I recommend option-command-z or option-command-/
The Fine Print
Since this solution utilizes AppleScript, you must be on a Mac to use it. Sorry Windows users.
This particular script set also is specific to using Safari to pull up the tabs. I would have used Firefox, but its AppleScript support is poor and it would open a new window every time the script ran rather than just opening it in the existing window/tab like Safari does. If anyone knows a workaround to this, let me know and I’ll release a Firefox version of the script as well.
Finally, ultimate-guitar.com features quite a few Flash advertisements on every page, so loading times can be a little slow. Fortunately, there is a way around that (though I don’t encourage using it regularly as blocking ads removes many sites’ only revenue source, including this blog).
Guitarists out there: Let me know if you find this script useful by posting in the comments.Tweet
I thought it would be fun to take a look at my Top 10 most-listened to songs in 2008.
My Top 10 for 2008 was compiled based on a Smart Playlist that I created in iTunes:
I decided to limit the Top 10 only to songs that I’ve rated between 3 and 5 stars. My rating system is that if I can stand a song but don’t ever really want to listen to it, I give it 2 stars. If it’s a song that I never want to listen to but don’t want to delete (for various reasons), I give it 1 star. So 3-5 stars means only songs that I actually want to listen to. I also limited it to my “Music” playlist, which excludes podcasts, audio books, and anything related to Disney. Not that there isn’t plenty of great Disney music… I just don’t want to hear it mixed in with Nirvana and Tom Petty.
When available, each song below is accompanied by a link to buy it on iTunes and/or Amazon, an embedded 30-second sample (using Quicktime), and a link to the music video. I also wrote few sentences about each. While the songs are numbered, they’re all within 2 play counts of each other, so the numbers don’t really mean anything.
With all that out of the way, here we go:
My Top 10 Most-Listened-To Songs in 2008
Garbage is one of my favorite bands (or at least they were until their pop-induced third album came out), but I’m surprised that out of all of their songs, this song from a movie soundtrack made it onto my most-played list.Tweet
I have always held off on purchasing any music from Apple’s iTunes Music Store due to the uber-restrictive digital rights management (DRM) they have placed on their songs.
As of today, 8 million songs will be DRM-free on the iTunes Store. By the end of this quarter, all 10 million songs will be DRM-free. Looks like I won’t be buying from the Amazon MP3 store anymore.
In addition, a new pricing model will feature songs ranging from as low as $0.69 to $1.29 each, depending on how long they have been released. Songs older than 6 years are eligible to receive the lower pricing.
iPhone users may now also purchase music from the iTunes Store wirelessly via 3G networks, not just over Wi-Fi.Tweet