The MadeLoud PlayCount ShowDown - Luke Winkie
The day iTunes started calculating playcounts should be celebrated as a revolution – finally, a way to track all of our most-fetished tracks! But there's a downside, too - those 37 plays of Rihanna’s “Umbrella” aren’t a secret anymore, you’ve gotta own up to your less-than-hip pop tendencies. Our playcounts serve as a surprisingly concise snapshot of our musical demeanor, not just the particulars we choose to show. We recently asked our staff to write a little bit about their top five most-played songs in their library. The results were predictably eclectic.
“I Want it That Way” – Backstreet Boys – 52 Plays
The year was 1999, I’m a mere eight years old, chilling with my girl Avalon in her Barbie Playhouse, and she’s got her pink boombox blasting Millennium. I’m not paying attention really, focused more on straightening the doll’s hair than anything. But then the CD turns over, she skips past the first song to track 2, "I Want it That Way." I don’t listen at first, but then, everything starts to come together. The choppy drum machine, the domesticated guitar, and the harmonies, oh the harmonies – it all makes sense now.
Yes, this - the sole redeemable holdover from the Boy Band era - is my first push down the gentle road to music elitism. Sure it’s not the hippest answer, but I’ll be damned if it still doesn’t affect me today, and I’m not even trying to be ironic in that.
“Trill” – Clipse – 40 Plays
Amazing, really. I’ve listened to this song 40 times yet I still can’t make sense of it. I mean technically it’s a song about having fun, right? Then why does everything sound so apocalyptic? I mean sure Pusha and Malice are throwing heat on their cutthroat trade and tainted wealth, but everything else… the squelching synth, the arid bass, it sounds like we’re spiraling downward to ultimate perdition. I wonder if
“Keep it Going Louder” – Major Lazer – 34 Plays
For a song released halfway through 2009, this certainly shot up there. But that makes sense, considering every mix I made throughout last year simply had to include this song - it’s just so versatile. It’s soundtracked a midnight beach party, a few LA roadtrips, and a particularly energetic Round Table Pizza midnight shift. A simple song, it works as a tribute to our endless pursuit of good times in the relentlessly depressing world we live in. “Keep it Going Louder” is an endlessly-raised toast to the few shreds of pure ecstasy we work so hard to find. Rock on.
"Fade into You" – Mazzy Star – 23 Plays
I once burned a 12 song CD of nothing but this song. It’s nothing externally special, a few guitar chords, a wayward reverb, and Hope Sandavol’s distant astral voice – but it’s managed to resonate with 40-something moms, and any confused teenager who was lucky enough to stumble into a screening of Angus. It’s just so soothing, it doesn’t reassure you that everything is going to be alright, but it makes sure you know you’re not the only one going through this exigency we call adolescence.
"Love Will Tear Us Apart" – Joy Division – 21 Plays
"Love Will Tear Us Apart" was probably the last Joy Division song I heard. Having only been familiar with their two albums, I never bothered with the recalcitrant, record-collector singles. In fact I don’t think it was until I sat down to watch the Ian Curtis biopic Control until I really heard the song, which triggered me to immediately find the track in my local iStore. And man, what a song. Seriously, divorce thyself from the merch, the Urban Outfitter stigma, the neo-transience, and the symbolic wankery, and let "Love Will Tear Us Apart" be what it was originally intended to be - a stunning, oft-haunting 3-minute ballad that compresses all the unmentionable nastiness of relationships into a single proto-wave rollicking. Wear your Unknown Pleasures shirt with pride, gents.