My Year in Music


musicmontage.jpgOne of the things I love most about iTunes is the ability to see statistical information about personal use.

Prompted by Gray Charles’ recent question regarding which artist besides Taylor Hicks have folks discovered this past year, I decided to investigate who and what I had been listening to from January to December ’06.

I first thought of the three full albums I purchased this past year…KT Tunstall’s “Eye to the Telescope,” John Mayer’s “Continuum,” and Taylor Hicks’ “Taylor Hicks” (of which I actually purchased three copies).

I also thought about all the singles I downloaded (and there were LOTS)…Gnarles Barkley, Ray Lamontagne, The Be Good Tanyas, Nerina Pallot, Regina Spektor, etc…

Instead of trying to remember all the downloading details of the last 12 months, I decided to use my little iTunes options to see EXACTLY what soundtrack I lived by in 2006.

I set my controls to “Play Count” and looked only at songs I added to my music library this past year.

After heavy computation (clicking the mouse exactly thrice)…here is what I learned…


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Of course, these aren’t all the songs I listened to this past year…just the ones new to my iTunes library in ’06 that were played 10 times or more.

It’s not surprising that all of the songs I listened to 95 times or more were sung by Taylor Hicks…with “Trouble” being the top played (152 times). But what IS strange to me is that all of the songs in the 95 to 152 range were performed by Taylor during his stint on American Idol. I would have thought some of his live bar performances (pre-AI) or his previously recorded stuff would have been in the upper play count strata…but not so. Curious.

Anyway, KT Tunstall joins Taylor as one of my top listened to artists. Her “Stoppin’ the Love” is a top play count for me at a whopping 93 times.

Granted…I discovered both Taylor and KT at the beginning of the year…so these higher play counts make sense.

The real stand out is Nerina Pallot…whose “Sophia” was just added to my music library on Oct. 24 after my friend Peggy sent it to me. My copy of “Sophia” is already up to 67 plays. The song is absolutely beautiful. Download it here.

Another stand-out is “What Have They Done to My Song, Ma” by Melanie Safka. This little gem was sent to me by our dear Shrewspeaks. It’s reached a play count of 47 since I added it to my library on Oct. 22. Download it here.

Next to join in the high play-count ranks are Regina Spektor and John Mayer. I have to thank Ash for introducing me to Spektor and thank Double D and NOLAgirl for encouraging me to buy the new Mayer album. Both artists have been so enjoyable to listen to.

Ray Lamontagne and Gnarls Barkley’s versions of “Crazy” can be found next wafting between all my Taylor songs. Then comes Dar Williams with “The Christians and the Pagans” and Nikka Costa with “Till I Get to You.” I have Gray Charles to thank for introducing me to all these lovelies.


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The next artist to appear on my list is Fiona Apple…from some live recordings done in 2002. I don’t even remember where I got these songs…but they’re great. Here’s “Blue Skies” for you to enjoy. I’ve played it at least 27 times…and still lurve it.

Others that I’ve really enjoyed (all thanks to Gray)…Robyn Hitchock’s “The Wind Cries Mary” (written and first performed by Jimi Hendrix), “Trouble” by Ray LaMontagne, “You Are so Beautiful” by Billy Preston, “Jerusalem” and “Tiger Woods” by Dan Bern, and “Untouchable Face” by Ani Difranco. And from my brother Ben…”Multiply” by Jamie Lidell.


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Finally, two of my newest favorite artists are The Be Good Tanyas and Hem. If you haven’t listened to them…please check them out. They’re truly wonderful. Here are “Human Thing” from the Tanyas and “Jackson” by Hem.

I’ve also put together an iMix (posted below) of selected artists and songs listed on my 2006 Soundtrack. If you have iTunes…buy a song for .99…which, to me, is quite the bargain. If you don’t have iTunes…go get it…it’s free…and it’s wonderful.

All I have to say is…wow…what a great year.

I can’t wait to see what new music is in store for me in 2007.

Happy New Year to all my Monkbots! Happy listening and blogging in the year to come.


8 Responses to “My Year in Music”

  1. claire Says:

    Happy New Year, to Shelley and Monkbots one and all.

    Music, eh? Well, like most people I suppose the biggest discovery of 2006 for me was Ray LaMontagne (who is playing in Dublin this month, incidentally – wanna come??).
    ……..Aw heck, it’s New Years Day and I’m lazy, so I’m just gonna paste my comment from that thread in GC over here. Hope that’s ok, Shelley…


    Claire # 16 Dec 30th, 2006 at 9:05 am
    So Gray, how did the big family shindig go yesterday?? Did ya win at hillbilly golf? *has mental images of Gray in dungarees hittin’ a ball to Cousin Cletus* Maybe you shoulda stuck to the rugby…..

    So, music. As above, the great and tortured Ray LaMontagne. I had never heard of him until “Trouble” week. I’m glad Taylor sang that. It was perfect for him. Gnarles Barkley – “Crazy” was an instant favourite for me. Amy Winehouse – keep it together, girl!! Jools Holland – professional extrordinaire. Joss Stone. Widespread Panic. The Blind Boys of Alabama – now that, right there, is sangin’. ………And many more. Not forgetting LMBO, of course!!!

    I also rediscovered Ray Charles, Billy Joel, and The Clancy Brothers (thanks KraftR!!) among others. And found a renewed interest in music that is firmly outside of the “Hit Parade”.

    And most of this is thanks to and all who sail in her, Gawd bless ‘er.

    Thanks Gray.


    So, any interesting New Years Resolutions??? I’ve given up making them, I never stick to them anyway. Although I think a post-Christmas chocolate embargo may be called for…. 🙂

  2. leejolem Says:

    So much music, so little time. I’m embarrassed to say I don’t even own an IPod. I definitely want to take more time and read over your choices more closely, Shelley. I love the name The Be Good Tanyas–they get 4 stars just for the originality. Wonder what the background story for that is? I have a list of around 10 cds that i want to buy in the next couple months, but it seems like there’s never enough extra money to justify the expenditure. I need to expand my horizons beyond the TH cds , Earth Wind & Fire and Wynonna Judd’s christmas cd (which is great).

  3. leejolem Says:

    Sophia–one word: beautiful!

  4. shelley Says:

    so glad you like it, leejolem! 🙂

  5. ivoryhut Says:

    Yes, so much new music this year! The “Gray Effect” (as I like to call it) has made me more open to new music, being more willing to listen past the first 15 or so seconds before deciding whether or not I like what I’m hearing.

    There’s Ray LaMontagne, of course, who is my absolute favorite of the year. Also Amos Lee, Damien Rice, Ryan Adams (when he keeps it clean) … and a new song in my list that’s getting a lot of play is Bob Dylan’s “You’re A Big Girl Now,” for which I thank Gray. I had never before connected with anything by Dylan before. There’s so many other names. I think for the first time since I’ve been in this country, I’ve felt as musically enriched as I felt back home, when music was just about all I did all day.

    I also have to say that some of my new favorites this year, discovered late but better that than never, are owed to Shelley. One is Hem, unknown to me until Shelley’s comment on Gray’s “Mixtape for Taylor” thread. Their song “All That I’m Good For” sounds so much like early Joni Mitchell that I can close my eyes and imagine it’s her singing. That, and “Not California” play constantly on my computer. Another one is Nerina Pallot. I can’t seem to stop listening to “My Last Tango.” Such a simple melody, but soaring music that just takes over whatever you’re doing at the moment.

  6. leejolem Says:

    Shelley, I’m sorry to say that I think Kat M. ruined Black Horse and a Cherry Tree for me, so I will have to check out some of KT Tunstall’s other songs. I liked Black Horse, but I just got burnt out on it. What music genre would you classify the Be Good Tanyas under?

  7. nolagirl Says:

    leejolem – YES! Definitely check out KT Tunstall. You will be pleasantly surprised – trust me. (and won’t be thinking of KatPee during it – promise!)

    Shelley- cool post! I’m tellin ya though – you have gots to get on the Amos Lee bandwagon. He is so good. I have come to realize that for me, he is that “comfort” music, which is the best way that I can describe my JT love. (James Taylor, of course)

    Oh, and thanks for mentioning Nerina Pallot again! I was trying to remember some of the artists that I had checked out but not bought, and she was one that was in mind but that I couldn’t place.

  8. leejolem Says:

    Nola, I lurve James Taylor. He was one of my 1st concerts–although I have to say it wasn’t a great concert. I like listening to him better recorded than live. My favorite song of his is The Secret O’ Life. I actually don’t own any of his CD’s but would love to! I used to drool over the cover of JT. (what can I say, I’ve always been fangirly).

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