12 March 2009

itunes is rubbish

Today I was teaching offsite, and due to mrsslippy being on an early, and me needing the car, the most sensible thing to do meant dropping her off, and going to Magog Court at 7am to catch up on some work in peace rather than come home again and fight the traffic later.

Teaching wasn't due to start until 9.30, so that meant some quality headphones in, sing-a-long time in an empty, isolated building.

But this morning, nothing seemed to please me musically. My ipod is set with multiple playlists. I have things hand picked to suit certain moods. I have rated everything in my library to make smart playlists such as 80's Gold (all 5 stars, 167 songs), 90's gold (all 5 stars, 396 songs), best of certain years, anything above 4 stars for certain years, decades etc..., or just anything 5 stars (966 songs).

You'd think if something was 5 stars that would mean it never got skipped, but skippy I was. And I don't think it's because my scoring is off, for these are all
great songs. The good songs are just 4 stars. There are 3 star songs that I will listen to in the right frame of mind, or in the context of an Album. Bad songs are 2 stars, and I reserve 1 stars for audiobooks, soundclips etc.. so they never end up being played on random.

But there are some songs that never get skipped, no matter what mood I'm in. Unfortunately the ipod couldn't tell me what they were on it's own - I've had to wait to get home and have it talk to itunes to see what I play the most.

There is some debate on t'internet as how a song gets 'counted'. Some say you have to listen to it in it's entirity, others say its the last 5 seconds that matter, so in theory you can fast forward through a song, listen to the end, it it registers, but if you loved a song so much you skipback to the beginning before the last notes are played, it won't.

Being as I never do the former, and only occasionally do the latter, my play count should tell me what my favourite songs are. True, there is a large element of randomness due to the way the ipod shuffles what it wants to play you, and my predisposition for smart playlists means something will be at an unfair advantage.

But if I take this top 40, will it create me the ultimate playlist, or just a big pile of random shite that will be self perpetuating as the most played tunes.

Deep breath - here goes pop pickers, its my top 40....


40) All of my heart - ABC. Cracking start! I love this song. Just read those 80's lyrics, and remember Martin Frys gold lame suit.
39)The sun always shines on TV - a-ha. Another top tune. I was only thinking last year that it needed revisiting for a film soundtrack. Danny Boyle, you are spot on.
38)Empire - Kasabian. I honestly though this would be higher. At least it made the cut, if only just. Everybody now...la la la lahh, la la la lahhh,la la la lahhh.....
37) Standing in the way of control - The Gossip. Go girl. Beth Ditto - not too easy on the eye, but what a voice. Welcome to my top 40 Beth, now just budge over a bit and make room for.....
36)Times like these - Foo Fighters. Every chart should have some Foos. Dave Grohl is officially the nicest man in Rock, but still knows how to Roll.
35) Red Hill mining town -U2. I used to really like U2, and get a bit nostalgic about this one. Not their most pompous, and not even a single. I find it quite uplifting. It can stay.
34)Running to stand still - U2. Oh shit. More U2. Despite my protestations am I going to be revealed (or reviled) as a middle age MOR fanboy? I've also just noticed that the second last line
isn't 'suffer unto me little children' - it's 'suffer the needle chill'. How odd. I prefer my version.
33)Wonderboy - Tenacious D. Pure, unadulterated, juvenile delight. "How 'bout the power to kill a yak, from 200 yards away... with mind bullets! That's telekinesis, Kyle" . Lyrically fantastic, and tuneful too, Jack Black is so much more than a gurning fool. I dare you to listen to it without singing along.
32)Crash -Primitives. Proper old school. I wonder what Tracy Tracy looks like now? She was mighty fine when I was an adolescent...
31)Lost Weekend - Lloyd Cole. More old school! I really am a child of the 80's aren't I? And yet still quite sophisticated. What will the rest of the countdown hold?


30) A new England - Kirsty MacColl. Better than Billy Braggs version (which is also 5 stars!), Kirsty is sadly missed. If you watched the video for Fairytale of New York with her and Shane McGowan in front of The Twin Towers back in the 80's and had to put a bet on which would be the only one still standing today, who'd have put money on Shane?
29)Town called Malice - The Jam. Joyous, and guaranteed to put a swagger in your step. I'm a bit dubious of Pauls hair at his age, but the modfather really knows how to lay down some lyrics.
28)Brilliant mind - Furniture. How odd for this to slip in? How avant guard. I certainly like it, but do I never skip it, or does the ipod just squirt it into my ears at every opportunity? Who knows? I wonder what didn't make the cut because of this?
27)This song - The Enemy. Yeah , they may look about 12, but this is great. Great song from a great album. It might be a more than a little derivative of Mr Wellers early stuff. I just hope they keep the under produced sound for their new album and don't go all polished and poncy.
26)Hungry like the wolf - Duran Duran. I'd have rather bathed in pus than admit to liking these nancy boys when I was at school, but ..shhhh...the singles were actually rather catchy and good. Ridiculous lyrics! I suspect (hope!) this isn't the only entry for them, just don't tell the cool kids.
25)Rock the Casbah - The Clash. Of course it's here! If it's not in your top 40, what ever are you doing? You shouldn't even own an mp3 player, as you are clearly deaf.
24)Never Never - The Assembly. Hmmm. It's ok. Ok enough for 5 stars, but as I've already established there are nearly 1000 5 star songs on my ipod, and I can think of several more that I'd rather listen to than Feargals nasally whinging.
23)Flourescent adolescent - Arctic Monkeys. Finest wordsmith of our generation. Except he's not my generation. Alex is only 23. Jammy git. Fantastic tune though, and well worthy of the top 40.
22)Step on - Happy Mondays. Shaun Ryder -Scoundrel, poet, God. Get baggy and twist your melons man. For every time I catch myself walking like Bez when I'm out in public, Madchesters finest, I salute you.
21)Stronger - 30 seconds to Mars. The Kanye West song covered as you've never heard it before, unless you already have, then go and listen to it again. The link is a YouTube jobby. Beautiful and haunting - didn't Jared Leto just use to be a shit actor?


20) With every heartbeat - Robyn. Bear with me! OK, the single is a bit dancy for my usual tastes, but this is acoustic for Radio 1's Live Lounge and it is another beautiful, haunting track. I'm a sensitive soul, OK?
19)Tribute- Tenacious D. See, sensitive....More bombastic sing-a-long from the D. Go on. Sing along, or at least do Dave Grohls devil bits while sticking your nose up like
Tubbs and Edward Tattsyrup.
18)Fans - Kings of Leon. The latest album is winning awards left right and centre, but this earlier effort is a real doozy. Particularly the Live Lounge version, which is the one that made my top 20.
17) Pretty in pink - The Psychedelic Furs. One hit wonders from a shit film, but a timeless classic. Personally, I thought she was prettier, and a damn sight more interesting, in black.
16) Knights of Cydonia - Muse. Huzzah! Yet it still should be higher. Maybe it's because it's so long I can be nearly at work before the lyrics even kick in. But it's
that riff that makes it just so god damn kick ass. I swear one day my head will fall off on the bus when I just have to headbang along.
15)Life on your own - Human League. What the fuck? Did I even give this 5 stars? Apparently I did (amends itunes). And yet somehow it
still managed to get itself played more times than Knights of Cydonia??? I am befuddled. itunes is fucking with me.
14)Take a bow - Muse. More good stuff from Mat and the boys. I fairness, this is one album that I return to time and again and listen to in it's entirety.
13)Supermassive blackhole - Muse. Lordy there's even more of it! I should either remove them from some playlists, or stop listening to the album. They're making me look like a stalker.
12)Learn to fly - Foo Fighters. Yay for more Foos. I think I love this song because when I hear it it makes me think of Dave G dressed as a school girl. That's not how I get my kicks, it's just the video is a hoot, and it's a look that kinda suits him.
11)Heavyweight champion of the World - Reverend and the Makers. Great stuff, and highly deserving of a top 20 spot, even if John has gone a bit weird, as has his hair. The 3rd Sheffield band to hit my chart (name the other two for a bonus point!). Is it a mecca for great music, or are my northern roots just showing. There are still 10 spots to go, and so there may be room for more, with Pulp and the Thompson Twins noticeably absent. But then so are Def Leppard......


10)Martha's Harbour - All About Eve. I make no apologies for this winsome, pseudo-goth pop lullaby. I like her voice, and I stand by it's appearance.
9)Umbrella - Biffy Clyro. Another fantastic cover version from Radio One's Live Lounge. Stripped down to it's basics, it's a welcome alternative to the Rhianna version that was so inescapable for so long.
8)F.E.A.R - Ian Brown. Fantastic enigmatic artist reigns. Fabulously entertaining alliterative record. Do you see what I did there? But I'm not worthy to wipe Ian Browns arse for this clever word play over a strings and beats trip out. If the Planet of the Apes really is the future of mankind, then this ex Stone Rose is king of the monkey men.
7)Steady as she goes - The Raconteurs. Starts out reminiscent of Joe Jacksons 'Is she really going out with him', then turns into a thrashy killer track, from a stand out album of 2006, but where is the rest of it?
6)Starlight - Muse. Even more from Black Holes & Revelations. I am a sad fanboy....
5)Rio - Duran Duran. I knew there'd be more. And so high! Great song, great video, more ridiculous lyrics. The top 10 is looking pretty good so far.
4)Oblivious - Aztec Camera. Now we've gone weird. It's a catchy little tune, but surely not number 4. Something is going pear shaped.
3)Don't tell me - Blancmange. Even more from the world of wrong. Yes it's a good song, but no, it's not number 3. It's not even their best song, which for me will always be their electro synth cover of Abba's 'Day before you came'
2)L.S.F. - Kasabian. Thank god for that, we're back on track with more swagger than you can wave a shitty stick at. The dance/rock cross over with psychedelic lyrics and a shout along chorus rules supreme.

So we're nearly there. What is the track that itunes chooses to throw at me more times than anything else, and in return I say, why thank you itunes, I thank I'll have a little listen to that.

There's so much good music, so many good bands that haven't even had a mention yet.

Where are you White Stripes, Nirvana, Green Day, Jamie T? Jarvis? Where have you hidden Pulp?

You guilty pleasures of my youth - yes Wonderstuff, NEDs, Carter USM, I'm talking to you, I know you're about somewhere.

Come on you clever sensitive boys, I know I sometimes knock you, and you're terribly shy, but you can shuffle forwards Radiohead, Coldplay, Keane, Snow Patrol.

The Cure, Pixies, Gorillaz, Embrace, Blur, Blink-182, Supergrass, Ash, Oasis...Girls Aloud... I could go on...one of you must be my top played song.

So I can reveal that the proud number one spot goes to...

Slippys Number 1

Mirror Man - The Human League.

itunes has fucked me over big time. Not even their best song, which for the record would be 'Together in Electric Dreams', not 'Don't you want me.

I believe my favourite song to be Life on Mars by David Bowie. I've loved it long before the TV show of he same name raised it's public awareness again, but I wouldn't use it's popularity to wilfully snub it, but it would appear itunes would. Not only not in the Top 40, it actually comes in at a woeful 127th!!

itunes claims to have Genius software that predicts what I should be listening due to my playcounts and whats in my library. And being as it has already stitched me up with what it thinks I should listen to, what does it now think I should buy to complement this?

Albums by Bucks Fizz, The Offspring, and Northside.

Well thanks, but no thanks itunes. You can fuck off. Tomorrow, I'm just going to listen to Chris Moyles.


  1. Phil Oakey and Giorgio Moroder did "Together in Electric Dreams". I typed that after I had finished guffawing. BTW, "Oblivious" is one of your mum's favourite songs. I thank you. Now go away, I'm ashamed of you. Wonder what my top 40 looks like.....

  2. Thanks mrsslippy. Technically correct, but the version of "Together" that we own is off the Best of Human League album, so you can take your pedantry and stick it up your fragrant arse. And I though Mum prefered "Somewhere in my Heart", I will need to check for future records...

  3. Hey, long time reader, first time commentererer here. Interesting list; many classics, interspersed with some right turkeys. And I simply cannot let pass the lumping together of the majestic Radiohead with such dross as Keane, Coldplay and ruddy Snow Patrol. Anyway, nevermind the other pretenders (and what about THE Pretenders?), the one glaring omission is the one and only ..... Twelfth Century Drawing Machine!! Hang your head in shame! Anyway, I'm off to see the Rifles tear up the Camden Roundhouse ....

  4. It's not me that should be ashamed, its Bill fucking Gates. It's his software that is so clearly negligent.

    But yes, it was a gross generalisation of me to stick Radiohead with Keane, Coldplay and Snow Patrol. Radiohead should be in the top 10, I just thought the others might have crept into the top 40. I was no way suggesting that Snore Patrol should be number 1! I only like Spitting Games!