Listening Habits 2011 Q3

For this Quarter I continued listening to my music in order as I attempted to go through my entire catalog so that Amarok could auto-rate the songs I liked and I could switch to a dynamic, random playlist.  I actually finished going through all my music A-Z (and Japanese characters) – except for songs that didn’t have the Album Artist set.

Through a quirk of the way Amarok is programmed and the sorting I’ve selected, a bunch of artists who had the Album Artist blank did not appear along with the artist.  In other words, if a Kanye West track had an album artist of either Kanye or Various, it would appear under Kanye.  But if that field was blank, it appeared under “various artist” at the top.  It’s a strange quirk and as I go through this final category in Q4, I’m trying to remember to fix as many of those as possible.

While I did listen to some songs that were out of order (mostly when I was listening to them in the living room via MediaTomb and my PS3), this quarter’s list is heavily weighted towards the end of the alphabet.  Because each quarter focused on a different part of the alphabet it’ll be interesting to see which artists emerge as the winners for 2011.

1. Relient K (113) – Relient K is an interesting group for me because I prefer their “middle” albums.  In other words, their first album is OK.  Their second album is a little too preachy for me.  The next two or three albums are great.  Their most recent ones are OK, but they seem to have lost some of their playfulness.  I’m sure part of that has to do with growing up and maturing, but I loved the playfulness of the earlier lyrics.
2.  Yasunori Mitsuda (59) – thanks to one of my brothers (sorry that I can’t remember which one) I FINALLY have the Chrono Trigger soundtrack – a decade after I wanted it.  It’s a great soundtrack but it’s been one-upped (in my book) by a fan soundtrack that orchestrates all the songs.
3.  Nintendo (46) – this is from listening to a CD I got a long time ago with music from Super Mario Bros 1 & 2 and Dr. Mario.
4.   Michael Giacchino (46) – he’s a great composer that has worked on a few Pixar soundtracks.  I have both the Ratatioulle and Up soundtracks and I think he does a great job with both.
5.  Thousand Foot Krutch (44) – I first heard about this band from from Andrew Laine’s blog.  Grabbed their latest album (at the time) and loved the alternative rock sound.  So I made the mistake of getting their first few albums.  Let’s just say they’ve improved drastically.  Their last two albums are great.
6.  Optimus Rhyme (42) – You may think you know nerdcore rap – cheesy, nerdy lyrics over crappy beats.  That’s just because nerdcore is an (almost?) entirely internet phenomenon without record labels to vet the groups.  (Say what you will about record labels’ evil deeds – they *do* keep the American Idol rejects from flooding Amazon’s MP3 store) Optimus Rhyme was polished enough in their raps and their beats to have been a successful underground group.  They’ve disbanded, but their albums are still for sale on their site.  Check out their free singles (also on their site) and see if they don’t convert you.
7. Original Broadway Cast of RENT (41) – Rent was the first show I ever saw on Broadway and I immediately fell in love with the music.  Some of that glitter has faded with time – partially with age and realizing the characters are a little more self-rightious than they seemed while in college.  Still, I do like many of the songs for their humor.
8. lostprophets (39) – I discovered this British rock group from some illicitly d/l tracks on my family’s computer duing the same winter break I discovered Lucky Boys Confusion.  I really enjoyed the music and ended up buying their penultimate album.  It was one of those rare albums where I liked just about every song on the album.  I feel the same way about their latest album although there are a few more songs on there that I’m not a fan of compared with the last album.  They claimed they’d go more hardcore, but ended up with mostly the same musical style – which is just what I wanted.
8. Anamanaguchi (39) – I wrote about this group last quarter where they ended up tying for last place.  What’re they doing here (since they start with the letter A)?  Well, I’ve gone back to school part-time to get my master’s degree.  And when studying for and taking the online quizzes I need some music without lyrics to distract me.  Anamanaguchi fits the bill perfectly.
10. The Beatles (38) – The Beatles, who have appeared on this list every quarter so far, are here because I usually put them on if I want some music on the first floor while we make breakfast on the weekends.
11. Switchfoot (37) – Switchfoot is easy-listening rock – the type you’re likely to hear in a department store or on a “music at work” station.  I’ve been listening to them since before they were famous.  I’m not sure if they’re still together or not, but I doubt I’d get any more of their music.  It’s OK, but I’m just not at that place right now – I prefer harder or more clever music.
12. Thomas Newman (35) – Another Pixar composer on the list.  This is for the WALL-E soundtrack.  A good, fun sountrack to listen to.
13. Tom Lehrer (31) – Tom Lehrer is a hilarious satirical song writer from the 1960s and 70s.  I was first exposed to his music by a fellow student in a summer program right before high school.  This is the kind of music that most dads (if they’re like mine) play for their kids under the mother’s disapproving scowl that he would show such irreverent stuff to their kids.  I fully intend to have them listen to songs like “Poisoning Pigeons in the Park”, “Oedipus Rex”, and “The Vatican Rag”
13. Nobuo Uematsu (31) – Nobuo Uematsu is the amazing composer behind most of the Final Fantasy games.  (He got the boot recently – around FF 11 or so) I love what he did with the limited SNES hardware and I really love the redone orchestrations of those songs.  They take me back to a certain time in my life and I think they’ll always hold a special place in my heart.
15. The Hangovers (29) – The Hangovers are one of Cornell’s many acapella groups.  I got their latest album “3 Sheets to the Wind” after taking a look at the track list.  I was NOT disappointed.  The sounds they can make with their mouths are amazing and you’ll swear on the rap tracks that they have a backing track.  If you have a chance see them live!  (Sometimes they leave Ithaca for tours)