Back in 2006, after hearing about it on a podcast, I installed a music-tracking service known as Last.FM, using an iTunes (later MediaMonkey) plugin to “scrobble” my music into analytics that I’ve tracked over the years. In the nearly 16 years that have passed, the service never seemed to catch on, but I’ve remained a stalwart user, feeding my Spotify listening habits into the service. A few weeks ago, I finally scrobbled my 100,000th song and wanted to use that as an opportunity to reflect on my listening habits.
This is a follow up to my previous posts over the years
In my previous posts, I listed out these categories and gave a summary of my listening history with each artist. Rather than do that this time, I just wanted to give a reflection on anything that surprised me.
It’s taken 9 years, but I’ve eclipsed 60,000 listens, or Scrobbles using Last.fm. For those who don’t know, this is a site that tracks your listens and provides data and recommendations based on your interests. However in the years that have passed, streaming services have eaten the lunch of Last.fm’s latter goal and unfortunately it seems the site is relegated to tracking. Given how much data I’ve been pumping into them, I’m glad that CBS is still keeping them around – for the time being.
It’s taken over three years for me to amass the next 20,000 songs, which is probably slower than most given that I listen to podcasts during essentially every commute. As you’ll see below most of my rankings haven’t changed that much, although there has been a shift in the songs that have become more popular.
10. Ozomatli (517 Plays, New to Top 10). Ozomatli is still a mainstream in my listening, and is my default go-to band when I want to hear some music in Spanish. Top Album: Don’t Mess With The Dragon. Top Tracks: Can’t Stop, La Gallina, Cut Chemist Suite
9. Outkast (557 Plays, Previously #9). If there was one group that I wish would get back together and play music, it would be Outkast. Unfortunately with all things in life: it’s just not that easy. Until then I’ll just need to be comforted by my Andre 3000 playlist. Top Album: Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. Top Tracks: Ms. Jackson, Rosa Parks, Hey Ya!
8. Jimmy Eat World (562 Plays, Previously #8). I still haven’t seen them play live yet, and I’m wondering if that window is starting to close. Top Album: Chase This Light. Top Tracks: Here It Goes, Open Bar Reception, A Praise Chorus
7. Red Hot Chili Peppers (733 Plays, Previously #5). RHCP may have suffered from not being on streaming platforms for part of the last three years. They finally got their stuff together and sre still putting out great music. Top Album: Stadium Arcadium. Top Tracks: Under the Bridge, Soul to Squeeze, Dani California
6. O.AR. (737 Plays, Previously #6). I’ve really liked a lot of their new stuff that they’ve put out. I’m a little surprised that Peace didn’t make it into my top three tracks, given how much I’m listening to it. Top Album: All Sides. Top Tracks: Love and Memories, This Town, Fire
5. John Butler Trio (816 Plays, Previously #7). Their plethora of great new music helped them swap places with RHCP. I’ve actually done drum covers of Used To Get High and Close To You. Top Album: Grand National. Top Tracks: Used to Get High, Daniella, One Way Road
4. Five for Fighting (872 Plays, Previously #5). I’m sad that my favorite singer-songwriter isn’t really releasing new material at this point. Top Album: Slice. Top Tracks: The Riddle, 100 Years, Slice
3. Michael Franti & Spearhead (924 Plays, Previously #4). I’m really enjoying the latest stuff that Franti and Spreahead are putting together, with the messages being more in-line with their earlier stuff. Top Album: Stay Human. Top Tracks: One Step Closer To You, Hey Hey Hey, We Don’t Stop
2. Muse (1,216 Plays, Muse #2). One of my other favorite bands who don’t seem afraid to try different things with different albums. I’ve had a harder time getting into their new stuff, but that has more to do with the fact that they’re releasing so much, so fast. Top Album: Black Holes and Revelations. Top Tracks: Time Is Running Out (another fun drum cover), New Born, Hyper Music
1. Dave Matthews Band (2,812 Plays). No big change except for the fact that I can’t get enough of my favorite band and am hopeful they can release some new material this next year. Top Album: Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King. Top Tracks: Two Step, #41, So Much To Say
Thank you for checking in on this journey with me. Just for kicks, I also grabbed my top 5 favorite songs (statistically speaking) from the last year:
Mark Ronson – Feel Right
The Weeknd – Can’t Feel My Face
Daft Punk – Get Lucky
Enrique Iglesias – Bailando (Spanish Version) – my daughter loves this one
1 Mark Ronson – Uptown Funk
January has been a month with not much free time, but for a glimpse of how I’ve been spending what little I’ve had, check out this video below:
Yes, I’ve finally recorded my first drum cover, using #41 by Dave Matthews Band. I’ve been excited to get into doing drum covers and open up a new chapter in my drumming. Not only do I get a chance to apply my drumming towards some fun songs, but also this gives me a chance to learn about recording and video production.
For Christmas my family gifted me with a set of drum mics, along with the stands, mounts and cables necessary for recording. I then got an audio interface (specifically a Tascam US-1800) to connect everything to my laptop via USB. After getting a passable sound, I was eager to set out and record my first song. #41 is one I’ve always enjoyed playing and made a fun one out of the gate. I set up a couple of mixes of the song: one with a click track identified, along with a mix with diminished drums – of which I found out was more difficult to make than thought. It turns out that it’s tough EQ’ing drums out of a mix without making the song sound empty. Ultimately I tried to get the bass drum out of the mix, then diminish the rest. I think the results here were mixed.
I then set out to do some takes. My goal here was to get something out quickly, so I did sacrifice a little bit of quality in terms of my playing and the ultimate mix. If I were recording original music, contributing to a final drum mix, I would have spent a lot more time to do more compression and EQ’ing to get that perfect sound. For the purpose of these the video, I was pretty satisfied with the sound of my drums.
Next up was the video. Using the Nikon D7000 that we bought for Clara last year, I mounted the camera on the tripod and used it as the primary camera. The video quality on the Nikon is pretty impressive, especially when stationary. I then mounted a little web cam on a lamp to capture an overhead angle, outputting the video to another laptop. For my next video, I’m anxious to try some additional angles, as well as a different overhead angle. In this one, I didn’t like how my face was cut off half of the time. I also learned the embarrassing lesson that I need to clean my room before recording again.
This process taught me a lot, and after doing some mental trail-blazing, I’m anxious to give another song a try. I’d definitely welcome any suggestions or feedback.
This was previously # 3 on my 2005 list, but was a really strong contender. This was a last-minute opportunity to go see Red Rocks for the first time, to see a band that I had heard little about at the time (“Didn’t they sing that ‘Yellow’ song on the ABC commercials?” This show took my Red Rocks virginity away, and thus has a special place in my heart. It rained the entire time we were there, and not a drizzle, but it poured throughout the concert, but Coldplay’s intensity and passion made it worth it. An image from that night burned itself into my memory, that I still remember vividly: during “Clocks” they flashed a wide green laser across the sky over the crowd, which is cool enough on it’s own, but the pouring rain broke up all of the particles of light. I also loved that the band was courteous of their rain-drenched fans and basically had no pause before the encore.
#4: Better Than Ezra, UNC Ballroom, Greeley, CO 
We had conflicting plans for this night: either go see 311 for the 3rd time at Moby Arena in Fort Collins, or go check out Better Than Ezra – the guys who sang that “Good” song, and a bunch that I heard on the radio over the years. Bethany and I took a chance and went with Matt to see Better Than Ezra, and it almost topped my “Best Concert” list. There must not have been more than 300 people there, but Better Than Ezra played as if they were in front of a crowd of 10,000. I’ve been to a lot of “shows” put on by bands, but these guys put on a concert. The combination of great music, a band that had a fantastic stage presence, and the company of good friends – how could we not fall in love with every song?
#3: Five For Fighting – Acoustic Show, Bluebird Theater, Denver 
I fell in love with Five for Fighting when he opened up for the Goo Goo Dolls concert in 2002. The sincerity conveyed by John Ondrasik – in both the music and performance – really spoke to my heart as a fellow musician. I wasn’t originally big on acoustic shows, but this Five For Fighting show taught me to love acoustic shows. The Bluebird Theater is an incredibly intimate venue, and my buddy Fred and I got to sit in the 2nd row, basically 8 feet away from John. Every song was a story, and John told it in both words and song. The best part was that we left the show with my friends thinking that I must have known someone to get these ticks – to such an intimate show.
#2: Dave Matthews Band – Night 4, Red Rocks, CO 
I had a raw nerve when it came to my favorite band. They jipped Denver in 2004 when the skipped the city. I guess you couldn’t blame them, considering that a knife hit the stage when they played the Pepsi Center in 2003, but I was quick to forgive when they offered the olive branch of 4 nights at Red Rocks, and the $35 I spent on a Warehouse membership that enabled me to go not one but all 4 nights was the best money I had ever spent. From Friday through Monday, I made the nightly commute from Fort Collins down to Red Rocks, and experienced my favorite band in my favorite venue. The first night and the last night were with my sister, while the second and third nights were with my relatively new girlfriend (who is now my wife). The 4th night was a late-addition show, due in part to the demand, but also became a tribute to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, which occurred the week before.
My sister and I managed to get 3rd row seats, right of the center of Red Rocks. The setlist was killer, especially playing an awesome cover of Bob Marley’s Exodus, as well as an awesome edition of Louisiana Bayou, which had become an anthem in tribute to the Hurricane Katrina victims. This show was amazing, one of the two most amazing shows that I have been to.
(Still) #1: Dave Matthews Band, Mile High Stadium, Denver 
My wife wondered if Red Rocks would usurp this show’s ranking, and I thought long and hard about it, but decided ultimately that this was the best concert I had ever been to – in large part because the stars aligned for this concert. This was the first concert that I had ever been to, the third time I tried to get tickets to Dave Matthews Band (after being my favorite band for 5 years), and the fact that I was gifted with seats in Section A-1, Row 1, Seats 3 & 4.
48 hours earlier, I was coming home from doing mission work on the Pine Ridge Reservation, and had some life-changing experiences while I was there. I was still processing it all, but one thing that suck with me was being in a place of wilderness and peacefulness earlier in the weekend, only to be in a sea of people 2 days later.
Looking back at the set list, they played a lot of songs that they hadn’t yet recorded at the time, but ones that I have grown to love over the next 14 times I’ve seen them. To top the night of, DMB played All Along The Watchtower (which in itself was not unusual), but with opener Be Harper playing the solo on slide guitar (which was unusual an awesome). When Dave Matthews was playing his guitar riff before the solo, he came over to our side of the stage – and I swear – looked me right in the eyes. Awkward bro-mance/man-crush moment? Yes, but awesome nonetheless.
Oh, and I discovered the music of Ozomatli at this show, so all the more reason to make this my #1 concert of all-time.
So with that you now have my top 10 concerts – I would love to hear yours, and what made them awesome!