Thursday, November 10, 2011

Statistically Speaking, These Are My Favorites

Over at Decoy Music there was a lot of discussion around what people's favorite albums of all time were. I mulled it over a bit in my head and couldn't really think of a list of 10 albums that I would have to choose as my all time favorites. My tastes are always changing, I love discovering new music, and honestly I don't think I would choose the same 10 albums tomorrow that I would choose today. So instead of thinking hard about it, I went to visit my profile to see what artists I've listened to the most since I started tracking my habits many years ago. Consider me quite surprised by some of the entries...

1. Nine Inch Nails

I was pretty obsessed with NIN from college onward. Everything that Trent Reznor has put out I've found myself drawn to it, so this isn't too surprising to see NIN in my top 10 of all time, however, it being my #1 entry is a bit surprising since I haven't actively listened to NIN in a couple of years. Apparently I racked up quite a few listens during college and directly after college.

2. In Flames

This really surprised me. I enjoy In Flames, but I've never been overly obsessed with them in any way. I think they may have made it this high because of the number of albums they have. Considering I own their discography and rarely turn them off when they come up on random, it may have been a slow but sure accumulation of listens. What's interesting, at least to me, is that I enjoy their least critically well-received albums the most, so if you look at my individual track listen counts, you may question my ability to judge what a band's good material is.

3. Dream Theater

For a while I was extremely into Dream Theater because I was impressed with their technical abilities. Over time, however, I've found more and more that I don't "like" their music, but appreciate the talent they possess. Listening to a lot of their albums now, I don't find myself engaged by their music, which may explain why I've grown out of this band a bit, but there's no denying how devoted I was to everything this band did for a period of more than a few years. I've simply come to realize there is maybe a bit too much cheese in their music for my current tastes.

4. Katatonia

I honestly expected Katatonia to be #1 on my all time listens list, but they're only at #4 crazily enough. This is a band that I formed an immediate connection to when I first heard them and still am completely engrossed by the majority of their discography. I find myself still queueing up their music whenever I find myself in a melancholic mood and never seem to tire of their music. And, unlike the previous entries, I anxiously anticipate anything that the band may put out in the future.

5. As I Lay Dying

I'm pretty sure AILD have made it this high because I spin each of their albums a million times right after they drop until I get sick of them. I then move on and revisit them mostly when I'm working out since they produce some wonderful weightlifting soundtracks. And, for me, they've yet to put out a bad album so that definitely helps inflate their play count.

6. Porcupine Tree

Of my top 10, this is the band I have the least interest in currently. They're in my top 10 solely based upon an obsession I had with them for about a year where I sought out everything they'd ever written (and there's a LOT of albums in their discography) and listened to it, hoping to eat up every piece of the band's genius... but then I got burnt out on it and realized that a lot of what they wrote was quite boring and uninteresting. Yes, they have some stellar songs and albums I still appreciate, but I find myself lacking any type of engagement when a lot of their stuff comes up on random.

7. Buckethead

He's up here as high as he is based solely upon sheer volume of work. I've been fascinated by all of the various compositions Buckethead has put together over the years (I think I have about 20 albums of his when I check my Buckethead folder), mostly as I listen in awe to his mastery of the guitar. Sure, a lot of his stuff is just technical wizardry, but he also has a number of solid albums with some great songs.

8. Atmosphere

Atmosphere was my first introduction to Minneapolis area hip-hop and has remained my most listened to hip-hop artist. The varied styles on each of Atmosphere's albums has led to my continued fascination with the duo, but I should also note that most of the hip-hop artists in my library owe their placement there to Atmosphere. Before discovering their unique breed of hip-hop I was completely turned off by the genre. Now, I find myself eating up anything I can from Midwest hip-hop artists and conscientious hip-hop groups in general. It's likely that over time, Atmosphere will climb further up this list.

9. Soilwork

At about the same time I discovered In Flames, I discovered Soilwork. Truthfully, I feel like I've listened to Soilwork much more than In Flames, and maybe I have with it not getting tracked, so I find myself more connected to Soilwork.  Similar to In Flames, I find myself liking Soilwork's more accessible works as opposed to their critically acclaimed albums.  I also don't mind queuing up their albums from time to time, so I anticipate many more listens in the future.

10. Demon Hunter

I've listened to every one of their albums too many times to count, most of the time in my car, so those listens didn't get tracked by Even though the bands last couple of albums have been very weak, their first three albums are staples of my metal listening habits. Much like Katatonia, I had an initial connection to what the band wrote and continue to enjoy their music to this day.

No comments: