2015 has come to an end. It was a kind of strange year for me, something that at times has been very obvious from the music I’ve been listening to rather obsessively. I’ll dedicate a post to what I thought was the best of 2015 in a few days when some stuff I’ve contributed elsewhere on the theme is also available, but for now I figured it’d be fun to have a look at the statistics that show what I’ve actually been listening to throughout the year while it’s still sort of fresh.
For the majority of my music listening nowadays I use Spotify, meaning that I’m able to use Spotify’s Year in Music service to find out stuff about my music listening habits. Additionally I’m a long-time last.fm user, where not only listens to Spotify’s catalogue, but also everything I’ve listened to through my computer or the Hype Machine app has been tracked.
If my memory serves me right, last.fm will only count listens when half the song (or 6 minutes, whichever comes first) has been played. Spotify appears to have a more generous approach when it comes to counting listens. Whereas last.fm has provided me statistics for the last 365 days I’m quite convinced that Spotify has taken a different approach not counting anything I’ve listened to in December and possibly earlier. Both services also take a somewhat different approach to artist names/album pairings, explaining some of the differences below.
|1||Depeche Mode (200)||Depeche Mode (169)|
|2||Lust For Youth (114)||Lust For Youth (100)|
|3||Bye Bye Badman (83)||Bye Bye Badman (90)|
|4||Flash Flood Darlings (81)||Jeong Cha Sik (78)|
|5||Neon Bunny (76)||Flash Flood Darlings (78)|
During spring I ended up listening quite a lot to Depeche Mode without really being able to stop. This went on for weeks during which I among other things recreated a long lost favorite playlist with songs sung by Martin L. Gore. Great music for just listening and enjoying. Not so good when it comes to finding new Korean music to blog about.
The reason for Danish band Lust For Youth to place so highly is less indicative of how much I like them. As I was making my own playlist for Modern Sky Helsinki in August I made it my task to listen through every song available on Spotify from all the artists that were playing. Lust For Youth had more music on Spotify than any of the other artists, and since I couldn’t really get into their music I had to listen several times over to find my favorite tracks…
In 2015 Bye Bye Badman released second full-length album Authentic, leading to me finally listening to their 2011 album Light Beside You. Several songs from both ended up on my New Listens rotation playlist leading to some quite extended play.
2015 was a great year for Flash Flood Darlings with the first full-length album, the remix version of the same, and a great contribution to the 3 Little Wacks compilation. For tagging reasons [“Flash Flood Darlings (플래시 플러드 달링스)” vs. “Flash Flood Darlings”] the number of plays above only represent my listens to the album.
When it comes to Neon Bunny the many plays are for the same reason as Lust For Youth, but exactly the opposite. Lots of Neon Bunny on Spotify. All of it so good I had to listen several times over to make my selection for my Modern Sky Helsinki playlist.
I found it somewhat curious that Jeong Cha Sik is on the last.fm list but not on the Spotify list when I know that I’ve only listened to Jeong Cha Sik via Spotify during 2015. I’m guessing that some of his many soundtrack contributions throughout the year may have been too short to qualify for the Spotify. Regardless, I find him to be one of the most remarkable artists in Korea and have been very happy to listen both to his 3rd full-length album, 집행자, and the soundtrack for My Sister, The Pig Lady (돼지 같은 여자).
|1||Chess: The Original Recording/Remastered/Deluxe Edition (132)||Flash Flood Darlings - Vorab and Tesoro (78)|
|2||Flash Flood Darlings - Vorab and Tesoro (81)||Sunkyeol - 급진은 상대적 개념 (74)|
|3||Depeche Mode - Singles 86>98 (65)||JoJo Blowhard - Good Night (74)|
|4||4minute - Crazy (50)||Depeche Mode - Singles 86>98 (58)|
|5||Bye Bye Badman - Light Beside You (50)||Vassline - Black Silence (57)|
Starting in the middle of July I ended up somewhat obsessed with the musical Chess. This lasted for well over a month with me listening not just to the original recordings (as visible above), but also Chess in Concert in both English and Swedish as well as a mind-numbing amount of other, sub-par interpretations of the various songs. I haven’t actually seen the musical Chess myself, but I grew up with the original recording as one of my favorite albums. Turns out Chess actually went up as a musical in Korea the summer of 2015, but that I only realized during my Chess spree after it had already closed.
Not particularly surprising considering the position on the artist lists above, Flash Flood Darlings ranked highly also on the album front. Vorab and Tesoro first full-length album was one of the strongest releases of 2015 as far as I’m concerned. For a full week I listened to nothing else.
Depeche Mode’s Singles 86>98 is one of my favorite Best of type albums. As such it was the natural starting point when I felt the urge to listen to Depeche Mode.
I don’t keep up with K-pop the way I sometimes think I should so I may well have missed out on a ton of great music in 2015, but two of the strongest tracks that I did hear came from 4minute‘s Crazy.
Bye Bye Badman’s Light Beside You may have been released in 2011, but it was a great album to listen to also in 2015. Though as will become clear below, 1 song is responsible for half of those plays.
Long at last, Sunkyeol‘s first full-length album came out in the beginning of 2015. A very strong album well worth the wait. Not reflected above are the many listens to the CD itself.
I was a couple of years late in finding JoJo Blowhard‘s debut EP, but it’s such a lovely collection of songs. Fortunately he is still active, so hopefully there will be a chance to hear more from him later on.
Since the release in 2013, Vassline‘s 4th full-length album has been my go-to album whenever I need some hard music to get through the day. The best album of 2013. Most definitely still relevant also in 2015.
According to the default music player on my phone, I’ve been clearly listening the most to Lucid Drums‘ self-titled album with MOT‘s 2004 debut album non-linear coming in second, but none of this is registered by either service. Both are excellent releases, however.
|1||Kite Operations - "Effervescence" (33)||Kite Operations - "Effervescence" (33)|
|2||Bye Bye Badman - "Decalcomanie" (25)||JoJo Blowhard - "Good Night" (29)|
|3||4minute - "Crazy" (24)||Bye Bye Badman - "Decalcomanie" (28)|
|4||4minute - "Cut It Out" (22)||JoJo Blowhard - "Stay In Love" (21)|
|5||Jung Yong Hwa with JJ Lin - "Checkmate" (19)||Ggotjam Project - "Sweet Love" (20)|
Spotify dubbed Kite Operations‘ gorgeous “Effervescence” my biggest earworm of 2015 after counting 30 listens in 1 day. Somehow it was also deemed to be my outlier track of the year. It may be 10 years old, but its one of those songs I can never quite get enough off and return to year after year.
Bye Bye Badman’s first album track “데칼코마니 (Decalcomanie)” is the song I’ve been returning to listen to the most in 2015. It’s such a perfectly catchy indie pop song that I should only listen to while alone as I otherwise have to struggle too much not to sing along.
4minute! “미쳐 (Crazy)” came out with one of my favorite music videos of 2015. Incredibly strong song and video that I’ve used as example of why I feel it is worthwhile for me to listen to mainstream music even when there’s so much else I could focus on. “1절만 하시죠 (Cut It Out)” was often paired with “Crazy” for the music show performances so I quickly adapted a taste for it as well, even though it’s not a style I would usually find myself listening to.
Some decade ago I was into Singapore pop star JJ Lin. I haven’t been paying much attention since (Korean music eating up most of my time) but anyway ended up checking out his Genesis album when the special edition came out in January. Now, since the whole CN Blue/Ynot? plagiarism issue I’ve been hesitant to support anything that comes out of FNC Music so out of principle I wouldn’t usually listen to anything from Jung Yong Hwa, but his participation caught me by surprise and the song is just too good to ignore. Given the chess theme, I returned to this song to help me get out of my Chess mania, alas that attempt proved unsuccessful.
Much like Bye Bye Badman’s “Decalcomanie”, JoJo Blowhard’s “Good Night” is a song that is well suited for repeated plays and just begs to have me sing along to it. To find “Stay In Love” that high was a bit of a surprise, however, as I thought it to be the weakest track on the EP. But then it seems the tracks with titles in Korean have not really been registered at all, so it may just be that I’ve listened an awful lot to the EP as a whole.
Ggotjam Project’s “Sweet Love” is another of those songs I’ve kept returning to because it’s just so lovely. Definite feel-good song.
According to my phone my top tracks of 2015 are instead all from Lucid Drums. “Sorcerer” is placed on top followed by “Alice” and “Gib Alles“. All great songs that each have seen a fair share of individual repeated play.
I couldn’t find any similar statistics from last.fm, but it appears Spotify has also been keeping track of which kind of music I listen more to.
I must admit I’m surprised that Spotify would recognize either K-Indie or K-Rock, but that aside it seems most reasonable that those would be the genres in top. K-Pop at #5 doesn’t seem all that unreasonable either. Finnish Indie could well be explained by my preparations ahead of Modern Sky Helsinki.
To be perfectly honest I don’t quite know what Grave Wave is so I can only speculate as to why it’s in my top 5, but it sounds cool nonetheless. Guess I should make sure to check out Мишка’s guide to grave wave to find more potentially awesome music.
In addition to producing various top lists, both Spotify and last.fm provide some overall statistics. Spotify registered me as listening to 19,000 minutes/313 hours of music in 2015, 3% up from 2014. last.fm instead counts number of listens and had me at 4,876 scrobbles for 2015, up 32% from 2014. From these listens, Spotify registered 482 different artists and 2203 different tracks whereas last.fm noted 631 different artists and 2600 different tracks. For the better of this blog, let’s see if I can improve those numbers during 2016.