too much typing—since 2003


scrobble me this, Batman!

I've been sort of obsessed with Audioscrobbler lately (see the link at the upper-right part of this page, about my iTunes? It's actually to Audioscrobbler, since I'm too technically illiterate to figure out any other way to list my iTunes listening...but this provides more info anyway...). I've got it set up on three different computers, so I get a reasonably good picture of my overall listening habits - at least, except for whatever I listen to on the Actual Stereo System at home, in the car, etc. I've always thought it'd be cool if there were a way for a CD player to keep track of what it plays - I'd be curious which CDs I've actually listened to the most over the years. Audioscrobbler isn't quite that all-encompassing - but it could be, if I listened to music only on computers and kept it up for a long time.

One thing about it I'm not so sure will actually work: it purports to want to become a network of sorts among people with common musical tastes. And this is reasonably true with obscure acts - the kind where you play it, go "hmm...I wonder who else has listened to these folks?" and discover that, hey, there are only three of them. It's tempting to contact them - are they the band, for example? - although I haven't yet.

But with acts that people have actually heard of, the links tend merely to confirm a general genre/timeframe/listener profile, even when the acts seem to have little in common. There could, for example, be a long rant here about how Coldplay and the bands that followed them have nothing really in common with Radiohead except a vague similarity in the singers' voices - and how annoying it is that all these bands with tremulous tenor vocalists get called "Radiohead-like" when the music lacks Radiohead's textural and compositional depth, and the lyrics are boneheaded obvious in a poor-woeful-me mode. I mean, Yorke can whine to be sure, but at least he tends to whine abstractly about something other than ex-girlfriends.

The other interesting thing is the way you can chain recommendations together to move to acts wildly disparate from your starting point. For example, if you take "what artists are similar?" for any band, and continue doing that serially, moving down to next-most-recommended if you've already used that act, things get...curious. Here's one such chain:

The Wrens > The Decemberists > The Arcade Fire > The Shins > Modest Mouse > Radiohead > Coldplay (grrr....) > U2 > R.E.M. > Red Hot Chili Peppers (WTF?) > Nirvana > Foo Fighters > Green Day > Blink-182 > Sum 41 > Good Charlotte > Simple Plan > New Found Glory > Jimmy Eat World > Weezer > The Beatles > The Beach Boys > The Velvet Underground (I shit you not) > Bob Dylan > Neil Young > The Rolling Stones > Led Zeppelin > Jimi Hendrix > The Doors > Pink Floyd > The Smashing Pumpkins > Pixies > The White Stripes > The Strokes > The Hives...

Anyway: the lists are compiled not by actual recommendation per se, but merely by which other bands are played by people who play particular bands. This suggests, merely, that a lot of people who listen to the Beach Boys also listen to the Velvet Underground...not that there's any similarity between the two acts (except insofar as a lot of the same people like both).

Me, I just wanna hear what "Sister Ray" would have sounded like on Pet Sounds.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Many times I thought of keeping track by hand; but never did because I assumed that the existence of the log would affect my listening habits, and thus preclude an accurate "reading".