My Year in Music

My philosophy when it comes to music is ‘if it sounds good, I’ll probably like it’. I’m not one for lyrics or working out the deep meaning the songwriter is trying to convey to the listener.

The only time I get concerned about lyrics is when they are in the latest pop song that the young people at the Youth Club are wanting me to play. Then I get my serious head on and listen intently to whatever double entendre or knowing wink is being put across as suitable fodder for impressionable young minds. Wow that was deep!

When I listen to music on my PC, iPad or phone it is logged through Last.FM, something I have been doing since 2003, when Last.FM was just a university project called Audioscrobbler. So I know 95% of what I’ve listened to this year.

My top artists chart for 2012:

Top Artists Plays
1 Coldplay 93
2 The Rolling Stones 83
3 Beastie Boys 74
3 The Beatles 74
5 Two Door Cinema Club 72
6 Elvis Presley 61
6 Frank Sinatra 61
6 The Vaccines 61
9 Ella Fitzgerald 58
10 No Doubt 56
10 Green Day 56

Ella Fitzgerald is the only anomaly here. I listened to her ‘Sings the George and Ira Gershwin Songbook’ which is 57 tracks long as part of my 1001 Albums challenge. The Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley & Frank Sinatra also feature in the challenge but I like them so have listened to them again and again.

My top tracks chart for 2012:

Top Tracks Plays
1 Fun. – We Are Young 15
2 Goyte – Somebody That I Used To Know 12
2 PSY – Gangnam Style 12
4 Go Betty Go – C’Mon 10
4 Survival Guide – The Walls 10
4 Grimes – Oblivion 10
7 Chuck Berry – Route 66 9
7 Joe Dassin – Les Champs-Elysees 9
7 Of Monsters and Men – Little Talks 9
7 The Lumineers – Ho Hey 9
7 David Guetta – Titanium 9
7 Rihanna – Where Have You Been 9
7 Taylor Swift – We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together 9

This is a bit more representative of my year then I expected. As I play music at Youth Club occasionally and at our parties, I expected their to be more pop like One Direction.

I thought about doing a top five songs of the year but I’ll do that in another post along with my favourite albums, so instead I’m going to do a ‘Gary’s Musical Memories of 2012’ instead.

Up first is ‘Les Champs-Elysees’ by Joe Dassin. I don’t know where I first heard it, Last.FM tells me I first scrobbled it in 2011 but I’m sure I heard it before then. It’s included here because I went to Paris for the day in April, and after I’d had lunch in a Parisian cafe I sat down on a bench on the Champs-Elysee and listened to the song.

I made a playlist for my trip of seven tracks including Champs-Elysee, three coming from great films set in Paris – La Haine from La Haine, Si Tu Vois Ma Mere from Midnight in Paris & Comptine d’un autre ete, l’apre midi from Amelie. The remaining three were picked because they have a Paris connection and sound really good. If you have Spotify click here >Paris

France also features in my next song; Stereo Hearts by Gym Class Heroes. Not a favourite song but one that will always make me think back to the 9 days I spent in the South of France as part of a PGL trip. Someone had made some CD’s for the trip and whenever this song came on, or indeed was requested, nearly the whole coach sang along. It became our unofficial anthem, whenever we were feeling a bit tired, one of the coach drivers would put it on to lift our spirits.

While I’m mentioning that trip, I can’t not include Shake a Tail Feather by Ray Charles, Each morning we would be gathered together to dance to the song.

Here’s one of the many videos on YouTube at the very place we danced.

I’ve gone on about my trip to the USA a lot on this blog but it was certainly the highlight of my 2012, and it also includes a few musical highlights, also something else that I’ve constantly been banging on about. Of course I mean the gig at the Hotel Utah in San Francisco featuring Survival Guide and Go Betty Go.

Survival Guide – The Walls

My favourite of their currently limited output. It was certainly a thrill for me to see and get to meet the band.

Go Betty Go – C’Mon

Go Betty Go are a band who I had no knowledge of prior to seeing them, and they were very loud, I didn’t catch barely a word that was sung but they sounded great.

Both bands, one up and coming the other back for another crack with the original lead singer, have hinted at new material in 2013, I know I’ll be looking out for it.

Another memory from the US was traveling along Route 66 albeit for a short time. We had been to the Grand Canyon and arrived back in the town of Williams which is on Route 66, the town is decorated to celebrate the road and I was able to get some photos, including me with a Route 66 sign, in my hand I had my phone which was playing the Chuck Berry version of the song.DSC_0063

My last musical memory of 2012 is Ill Manors by Plan B. In the past I have been very critical of Plan B, a man who started as a rapper, turned out a critically acclaimed soul album that just made me laugh every time I heard him sing, before going back to being a rapper and releasing a very gritty soundtrack album to his film also called Ill Manors.

I’m putting it in this list because he impressed me with the song. He has a go at all sides in the class war, the politicians for promises not kept, an expensive Olympics that hasn’t done anything to regenerate poor communities in London but he also has a go at the youth who swear and drink thinking it makes them the big man. I hope he follows this album up with another album like this and not chart friendly soul.

I do wonder how many fans of the ‘soul’ version of Plan B bought this album only to sit in silence and disbelief and this different sound poured out of the speakers and he says ‘Are you sitting comfortably, well put your seat belts on ‘cos you’re in for a harrowing ride.’