Last.fm May Want To Recalibrate Their “Popular Tracks” List Next Year

Dec 4th, 2008 // 13 Comments

vidalavida.jpgThe social-music site Last.fm—which allows users to track the music they listen to on their computers via a process called “scrobbling,” and also has full-song streaming capabilities for certain tracks—released its “most listened to” list earlier this week. The artists list was topped by MGMT; the most-listened-to album was Coldplay’s Viva La Vida; and perhaps owing directly to the previous two factors, the “best tracks” list had one surprise on it, and that was the fact that Katy Perry’s “I Kissed A Girl” snuck in between repeated spins of “Electric Feel,” “Viva La Vida,” and other MGMT and Coldplay songs.

THE GOOD: I forgot that Foals (No. 7 on artists) existed. I liked that album!
THE BAD: Raise your hands if you thought Does It Offend You, Yeah? would wind up on any year-end lists, even ones that probably overweigh albums that came out early in the year.
THE WHAAA? So yeah, it’s kind of hilarious that last.fm chose to do an unweighted track list, because the repeated listens to both Viva and MGMT’s Oracular Spectacular were so intense, the top 10 tracks list looks like this: Coldplay-Coldplay-MGMT-MGMT-Coldplay-Coldplay-Katy Perry-Coldplay-Coldplay-MGMT. (Actually, you could probably write some sort of song based around that structure, where “Coldplay” = a verse, “MGMT” = a chorus, and “Katy Perry” = a shrilly annoying bridge.) So how does a writer do up a kinda-boring list in a punchy enough way to make people continually click through its attached gallsticle? After the jump, we put Last.fm’s writeups through the text-matrix site Wordle to see just what words stuck in writers’ and editors’ minds. (“WTF can’t people just listen to something else” not included.)

Coldplay:


MGMT:


TRACKS
1. Coldplay, “Viva La Vida”
2. Coldplay, “Violet Hill”
3. MGMT, “Time To Pretend”
4. MGMT, “Electric Feel”
5. Coldplay, “Life In Technicolor”
6. Coldplay, “Cemeteries Of London”
7. Katy Perry, “I Kissed A Girl”
8. Coldplay, “42″
9. Coldplay, “Strawberry Swing”
10. MGMT, “Kids”

ALBUMS
1. Coldplay, Viva La Vida
2. MGMT, Oracular Spectacular
3. Portishead, Third
4. Nine Inch Nails, Ghosts I-IV
5. The Ting Tings, We Started Nothing
6. The Kooks, Konk
7. Death Cab For Cutie, Narrow Stairs
8. Hot Chip, Made In The Dark
9. Jack Johnson, Sleep Through The Static
10. Sigur Ros, Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust

ARTISTS
1. MGMT
2. The Ting Tings
3. Sara Bareilles
4. Fleet Foxes
5. Katy Perry
6. The Last Shadow Puppets
7. Foals
8. Bon Iver
9. Does It Offend You, Yeah?
10. Santogold

Best Of 2008 [last.fm]
ColdplayLastFM [Wordle]
MGMTLastFM [Wordle]

  1. Anonymous

    This MGMT psuedo-hippie craze with those annoying headbands (have you been to any show in NYC rencently? They’re everywhere) needs to stop. Can the irony bubble finally burst?

    I’m totally fine with every other album on there though (well, not really JJ but whatever, different strokes)

  2. DocStrange

    I like Does It Offend You, Yeah? but even i’m surprised they’ve gotten that much.

    Also, for the record, My top 10 artists of the year by play on last.fm (my profile is viewable here: [www.last.fm]):
    1. Los Campesinos!
    2. Radiohead
    3. The Cure
    4. Arctic Monkeys
    5. Vampire Weekend
    6. Pink Floyd
    7. Blur
    8. Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci
    9. Biffy Clyro (really? that much?)
    10. Toyko Police Club

    Most listened to 2008 albums:
    1. Los Campesinos! – Hold On Now, Youngster…
    2. Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
    3. Does It Offend You, Yeah? – You Have No Idea What You’re Getting Yourself Into (again, sorry)
    4. Radiohead – In Rainbows (since 2008 began. Excluding those from before then)
    5. MGMT – Oracular Spectacular
    6. Tokyo Police Club – Elephant Shell
    7. Laura Marling – Alas I Cannot Swim
    8. Los Campesinos! – We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed
    9. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes (sorry!)
    10. Hot Chip – Made in the Dark

    Wow. You people must think i’m some kind of monster or something.

  3. Wicked Zoot

    I heard Coldplay referred to as “Alternative” today on the radio (Grammy announcement). How big does a band have to get before they are no longer the alternative?

  4. Anonymous

    What’s wrong with Does It Offend You, Yeah?

  5. DocStrange

    @Wicked Zoot: Like “indie rock” it’s ceased being a designation and has started to mean a genre. Although it does get silly when Pink is labeled alternative.

    @madcowdzz: They’re a highly unlikely band for that many people to like. Considering this is a band that compares their sound to an “arcade machine being thrown into a lake” (it does. And that’s a complement actually. I read the Pitchfork review, and everything the reviewer hated about the record were the same things I liked about it).

  6. bcapirigi

    I liked it a lot too and was really surprised by the 2.3 on Pitchfork. It’s not on my albums of the year list, but only barely. But Dawn of the Dead will probably be near the top of my favorite songs list.

    Also, I stopped using last fm when I quit my last job, but here’s my top 10 for the year, according to them. It’s very girly:

    1. Yelle – Je veux te voir
    2. Rihanna – Disturbia
    3. Yoko Ono – Sisters, O Sisters
    4. Yelle – À Cause des Garçons
    5. Danity Kane – Damaged
    6. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Black Tongue
    7. Annie – I Know UR Girlfriend Hates Me
    8. Martina Topley-Bird – Valentine
    9. Portishead – The Rip
    10. Karina Pasian – 16 @ War

  7. Anonymous

    @DocStrange: Ooh that’s fun. My top listened to albums:

    1. Torche – Meanderthal
    2. Bon Iver – For Emma, With a Beard
    3. Crystal Castles – s/t
    4. Times New Viking – Rip it Off
    5. The Music Tapes – Music Tapes for Clouds…
    6. No Age – Nouns
    7. TV on the Radio – Dear Science
    8. The Magnetic Fields – Distortion
    9. F’ed Up – The Chemistry of Common Life
    10. Black Mountain – In the Future

    I’m legitimately surprised at this list, especially cause other albums have higher play counts on my iTunes…

  8. Anonymous

    @DocStrange: Props on listening to Biffy Clyro.

  9. Tauwan

    @bcapirigi:

    Glad to see I’m not the only person who played Danity Kane’s Damaged more times than he could remember in 2008.

  10. mackro

    I’m not that surprised, especially this year, that Does It Offend You, Yeah? charted.

    I loved that album for two months. Now I kinda like it. Does It Offend You, Yeah? are good at making donuts. Excellent in the short term, not something easy to make a diet of, tho.

  11. walkmasterflex

    man, a lot of the users on last.fm are kinda…lame. here’s my top listened to tracks from the last year on last.fm:

    1. T-Pain feat. Lil Wayne- Can’t Believe It (B-Flat Trance-More Edit)
    2. B.O.S.S. feat. G-Side- Real Good
    3. Mr. Marcellus, A.C. Burna, Nicky 2 States, Prime Time, Pluck & Money Addict- Wood Grain
    4. Bon Iver- Skinny Love
    4. Burial- Archangel
    6. Trey Songz- Paper Planes Freestyle
    7. The-Dream- Fast Car
    8. The-Dream- Shawty is the Shit! (feat. Fabolous)
    9. Lil’ Wayne- A Milli
    9. Mata feat Mali Boi, M.P. & Big P.O.P.E. – Streetz

  12. science vs romance

    I like this game, even though the new version of iPhone meant that scrobbling got messed up about halfway through the year. Some of these are kind of surprising and reveal a tendency to overlisten to certain kinds of music at work.

    1. Foals – Antidotes
    2. Sigur Rós – með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
    3. Tokyo Police Club – Elephant Shell
    4. Shout Out Louds – Our Ill Wills
    5. Beirut – The Flying Club Cup
    5. Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago
    7. Hot Chip – Made In The Dark
    8. The National – Boxer
    9. Miracle Fortress – Five Roses
    10. Iron & Wine – The Shepherd’s Dog

  13. red bottoms

    Highly descriptive article, I liked that bit. Will there be a part 2? red bottoms

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