Favorite music

I've been using the iTunes rating system (0 to 5 stars) for all my music ever since I started using iTunes.

I have a variety of complicated playlists. My main one combines songs I haven't heard lately with songs I've heard more often but like more (see below for details).

There's a much simpler playlist called "Highest Rated" that consists of all my 4- and 5-star songs. There are nearly 500 songs on that list, but only about 30 of them have 5 stars. There are a lot of songs I love in the 4-star list, but the 5-star list are my very favorites.

So I decided a while back to put together an entry listing them. (Though it's a little odd to see that several of my favorite performers aren't on the list at all, 'cause many 4s don't add up to a 5.) Took me a while of now-and-then spare time to put together a satisfactory set of links, and I still haven't added annotations, which are probably essential to this sort of thing if it's to be of any use to anyone. But I don't want to make a Project out of it, so I'm just gonna go ahead and post what I've got.

Links attached to song titles go to the songs in the iTunes Music Store. Unfortunately, only about a third of the songs are in the iTunes Music Store, so for those that aren't, links attached to performer names go to performer web pages. Links attached to album titles go to places where you can get info about or purchase the albums; in some cases, there are audio clips available on those pages.

Here's the list, in alphabetical order by performer:

Details of my "Non-Recent + Favorites" list, in case anyone cares: It's a live-update list, with the criteria being: songs that haven't been played in the last 30 weeks or that have a rating of greater than three stars; limited to 1000 songs, selected by least recently played. At any given time, that generally results in a list of 20-50 recently acquired songs that I haven't listened to yet, 800-900 two- to five-star songs I haven't heard in a while (I uncheck one-star songs, so they don't go on the playlist), and 50-150 four- and five-star songs that I've heard slightly more recently. I put that list on random shuffle; keeps me from getting bored with anything due to overexposure, and tends to result in my hearing most of my 5000-song music collection over the course of a year.

5 Responses to “Favorite music”

  1. Vardibidian

    I keep meaning to post about my music; perhaps you’ve inspired me. I’ve been rating my music as I’m listening to it, rather than as I ripped it, so only I’ve got about 3,000 songs to go…

    The Buggles?

    Redintegro Iraq,

  2. Jay Lake

    “Yes I am as young as you
    “Did not fight in World War 2
    “Chester Nimitz is to me
    “Just a page of history”

    Yeah Austin Lounge Lizards!!! Have you ever seen them perform that live? It’s hilarious.

  3. Joe

    I haven’t rated a lot of my music, because I listen to it on my iPod a lot more than on my computer, so I can’t just rate things as I listen. I’ve gone through a few things I have and rated them, but a lot remains to be done.

    I, too, was surprised to see “Video Killed the Radio Star” on your absolute favorites list. It’s a fun song, but I wouldn’t have thought of it as a candidate for Best of the Best. Why do you like it so? Is it for the music? The lyrics? Sentimental value? All three?

  4. Jed

    I rate my music as I listen to it, but I listened to most of it via iTunes before I got my iPod.

    Austin Lounge Lizards: I’ve seen them perform live, but I don’t remember if they did “Chester Nimitz” or not. (For those who haven’t encountered the song: one reason I like it is that it’s probably the only a cappella waltz I’ve heard performed by a bluegrass band, and certainly the silliest.) I haven’t been as thrilled with their recent albums that I’ve heard; the whole “people who disagree with me politically are stupid” approach has never been my favorite mode of discourse. But I did enjoy the live show or two I saw, and I probably oughtta give them another try—I think I haven’t heard their latest album at all. Anyway, I’m very fond of several songs on Highway Café; I think my other favorite from that album is “Cornhusker Refugee,” which starts, “It’s hard to be gay / in Lodgepole, Nebraska….”

    Re “Video Killed the Radio Star”: I don’t know what it is that I like so much about that song. Partly just liking certain kinds of catchy synthpop; partly that I find the words and tone evocative, nostalgic without being maudlin. It certainly has a lot to do with the original performance (the breathy half-kitschy “oh, oh” bits, the filtered lead vocals, the repeated “you aaaaare a radio star” bit at the end of the lyrics section, the instrumental parts after the lyrics end); I don’t like the popular version from The Wedding Singer nearly as much. I think in the end it’s just an idiosyncratic thing; the song just happens to work really well for me.

    I think it would be safe to generalize from my list that the music I like best tends to be some combination of catchy, optimistic, sentimental, melancholy, introspective, charming, sweet, pretty, and joyous. The hard part is mixing those elements in the right proportions.

    I’m not gonna tell you how many sappy light-rock love songs there are on my 4-star list.

  5. Ariana

    It’s interesting to see no Gillian Welch on the favorites list… especially as she goes so well with Ms. Krauss.

    I’m not presuming to preach at all, mind you. However, if you haven’t listened to G. Welch, you’re missing out. She’s another stunning vocalist on the “O Brother” soundtrack.

    I’ll bet, just to prove me foolish, you have everything she ever did, but:

    “…many 4s don’t add up to a 5”


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