Sunday, December 08, 2013

Music, by the numbers

So, I've been compiling a list of the albums I've listened to the most in my life. I'm obsessive and a creature of habit, so it's no joke when I say that I've listened to some of these more than 1000 times. In the beginning of my serious music-listening career, I had no disposable income to speak of and just a few tapes, which my sister and I would listen to every day as we did the dishes or played Super Mario Bros. And when we weren't listening to those few tapes, we were listening to the radio, which is harder to quantify. Anyway, then there was college, and the Walkman that accompanied me everywhere. Then driving around in my '94 Corolla, with the same tapes over and over. Now, though, it's a Civic with an iPod, so I'm rarely listening to whole albums anymore. I don't really actively seek out a ton of new music (which drives Jeffrey nuts) -- even from artists whose other albums I really like; once I find something that's relatively in my range and that I like, I stick with it for a while. Also, I'm not really an album-cut kind of a gal; I was raised on MTV and radio, so I know singles. And some albums only have, like, 2 good songs. So they didn't make the cut, but you'll see that a ton of Greatest Hits collections did.

I decided that there were 3 groupings that made sense for these albums: > 100 listenings, > 500 listenings and > 1000. In the first category are albums I mostly like. But either they didn't really take or they came too late, after the revelation of cherry-picking MP3s. In the second category are most albums I know by heart. In the third category are albums that stayed important to me for a long time, for whatever reason. They probably say the most about me. Within each category, they're in the order in which my addled brain recalled them. 

Notes: 1. For the purposes of this list, I'm including albums of which I listened to at least 80 percent. Most have 1-2 fast-forward songs. 2. There are also a lot of mixtapes/CDs I'm not including, which sort of makes me sad. It's just a little harder to accurately remember all of those. 3. I'm surely forgetting many; this list is subject to change without notice when I remember more of them. 4. Some of these albums I will never be able to listen to again (I'm looking squarely at you, Billy Joel).

100 < x < 499
Grease, Original Broadway Cast (I think I would have listened to this one more if there hadn't been a rapey line in one of the first songs. Not cool.)
Mozart, Requiem (I mean to listen to this one more than I do, but I did listen to it a ton in high school.)
Henry V, Motion Picture Soundtrack (I had such a crush on Kenneth Branagh. Plus there's a song in Latin, which I love. Non nobis domine domine ...)
Adele, 19
Adele, 21
Janet Jackson, Control
Barenaked Ladies, Born on a Pirate Ship
Barenaked Ladies, Maybe You Should Drive (I tried with these two. I really did.)
Phil Collins, ... But Seriously (This is, for many reasons, painful for me to type out.)
Madonna, True Blue

500 < x < 999
Sting, Dream of the Blue Turtles
They Might Be Giants, Severe Tire Damage
Boston, Third Stage
Chicago, Greatest Hits 1982-1989
Bon Jovi, New Jersey
Beth Orton, Central Reservation
Magnetic Fields, 69 Love Songs (only the first disc)
Richard Marx, Richard Marx (Yes, I said it!)
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Greatest Hits
George Winston, December (though to be fair, at first I thought this was my ex-boyfriend Mike playing. It wasn't until Betsy Carmody told me freshman year of college that I learned he had lied.)
REO Speedwagon, You Can Tune a Piano, But You Can't Tuna Fish
Natalie Merchant, Tigerlily (I still fast forward through "My Beloved Wife.")
10,000 Maniacs, MTV Unplugged (Natalie Merchant, you may have some complicated feelings about parenthood to explore with a counselor)
Queen, Classic Queen
Dennis Miller, The White Album (I mean, didn't everyone in the early '90s?)
The Monkees, whatever greatest-hits album was available in 1985 or thereabouts
Pearl Jam, Ten
The Sounds of Murphy Brown (Motown)
The Big Chill, Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (also mostly Motown)
The Police, Every Breath You Take: The Singles
Night Ranger, Greatest Hits 
Ben Folds Five, Whatever and Ever Amen 
The Eagles, Greatest Hits 
Don Henley, End of the Innocence
Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars  
Kansas, Best of 

1000 < x 
Barenaked Ladies, Gordon
Barenaked Ladies, Stunt
Barenaked Ladies, Rock Spectacle
They Might Be Giants, Flood 
They Might Be Giants, Lincoln
A Chorus Line, Original Broadway Cast
Rent, Original Broadway Cast (including Taye Diggs and that guy from Law and Order!)
Alanis Morissette, Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie (I have never heard the song "Baba" all the way through. No idea why. Also, "Heart of the House" can make me cry, so I usually fast forward through that one, too.)
Alanis Morissette, Jagged Little Pill
David Mathews Band, Crash
Billy Joel, Greatest Hits, Volumes 1-2
Elton John, Greatest Hits, Volumes 1 and 2
Indigo Girls, Rites of Passage
Indigo Girls, 12,000 Curfews (only the first disc, though, strangely)
Def Leppard, Hysteria 
Gin Blossoms, New Miserable Experience
Matthew Sweet, Girlfriend (This one's hard to listen to again but sometimes creeps up on shuffle.)
Simon & Garfunkel, Greatest Hits
Journey, Greatest Hits
Jim Croce, Greatest Hits
Damn Yankees, Damn Yankees (To this day, I'd have Jack Blades' baby. I'd at least consider it, at any rate.) 
Melissa Etheridge, Yes I Am

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