Notes on Top 25 Most Played lists—by Moby Tenenbaum
I’ve never paid any attention whatsoever to my “Top 25 Most Played” list in iTunes, but for some reason I decided to check it out this morning and…what a surprise!
The Number One song on my list, the tune I’ve played more frequently than any other of the 12,000-odd tunes on my hard drive was…
…. “Salvation,” by Scanners.
Ever heard of it? Ever heard of Scanners?
For the record, I’d say “Salvation,” by Scanners is a solid rock tune about romantic obsession. They’re a British four-piece, headed by lead singer Sarah Daly, and this dark-hued tune builds nicely to a big climax.
But Number One?
Then I looked further down the list and noticed that one band has claimed more slots in the top 25 than any other. No, I’m not talking the likes of Radiohead or Interpol or Arcade Fire. The most popular band in my top 25 is Faunts.
Yes, Faunts—a moderately well known, not exactly critically acclaimed electronic five-piece from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Then I looked further down the list and identified a bunch of other relative unknowns: Ocelot, We Were the States, Kap Bambino, Lone Wolf, Black Helicopter.
Oh, there was a Sonic Youth tune, and one by Radiohead and one by Arcade Fire. But it looks to me like my Top 25 List is basically a compilation of skilled utility players, if you’ll excuse a sports metaphor. And my guess is that a lot of Second Life DJs probably have similar lists. There’s a certain category of song that we call upon, again and again, to fill a need—mostly a transitional one—when we craft our playlists. We know that they have just the right mood, the right sound, and we turn to them because we know they’ll come through for us again—just as they have many times before.
I think that for a lot of Second Life DJs, our Top 25 Most Played list is not a ranking of our favorite songs. It’s a ranking of our most useful songs.