We figured out how many hit songs that sound good, but had mediocre singers, could be made better to our preference: find a cover on YouTube from someone unsigned. My favorite discovery on YouTube was an R&B group named Ahmir from Boston, Massachusetts. Though half their songs are classified as pop on digital retailers, they summed up the state of R&B this year. With Autotune being the only way to make a hit for many contemporary R&B artists that love being on top 40 radios, the rest had an ultimatum: ride the wave or stay behind where the odds aren't as big, but you will be more respected. Among those that stayed were R. Kelly, Cee-Lo Green, Jazmine Sullivan, John Legend, El DeBarge, and Ne-Yo. Together with Ahmir, they showed the true colors of R&B and its roots. Ahmir was only a YouTube favorite, but they proved that theory as the #1 R&B group on the website. They added the missing ingredients to many hit songs from recently, like Bruno Mars' "Just The Way You Are
" (5 scrobbles). They even mashed up hit songs together during those times like a double Usher cover called "DJ Got Us Falling In Love Again / Love In This Club
" (6 scrobbles). They even channel "Weird Al" Yankovic at times with parodies to songs like Rihanna's "Take A Bow". The result was "Take A Bow (Parody) "I'm Out"
", which I scrobbled 10 times. Then they surprised everyone by doing what All-4-One did and cover country songs. Their best moments were with the Taylor Swift covers, which put them on par with fellow YouTube acts Tyler Ward & Julia Sheer. With R&B harmonies and a little guitar effect, "Mine
" was scrobbled 9 times, while "Today Was a Fairytale
" was scrobbled 14 times. The interesting part of this is that when they answered a question on YouTube to why they don't have a record deal, just a few days after, they announced that they have signed to Robbins Entertainment. We can only hope that they don't ride "the wave", but Robbins is an indie label with distribution rights from RCA. So not a lot can go wrong. Though no songs were scrobbled since my desktop's demise, expect more scrobbles from them in 2011.
24. Maroon 5
I only own one CD of Maroon 5, well, two, but "Songs About Jane
" went missing. So I only had "It Won't Be Soon Before Long
" was the only album I had to scrobble in 2009. However, I only got 3 scrobbles that year since my desktop makes annoying clicking noises with scratched CDs. So in 2010, I started slow with Maroon 5 scrobbles. After downloading "She Will Be Loved
", I put in 3 scrobbles with that song. Then in August, I logged in 1 scrobble with "Won't Go Home Without You
". So it seemed unlikely that Maroon 5 would crack this list. However, a boost came with the release of a new album, "Hands All Over
" in September. The first single, "Misery
", logged in 5 scrobbles this year since September. Then it all soared after downloading the album twice in November. "How
" and "Just a Feeling
" were the album's top two scrobbles, with "Just A Feeling" gaining 9 plays, and "How" logging in one play on New Year's Eve to bring its total up to 12. After 2010, their overall scrobbles in my library total up to 48.
23. 30 Seconds to Mars
22. Teenage Fanclub
In the spring of 2010, I enjoyed reading the 25th anniversary issue of SPIN Magazine and using Lala for a few weeks, only to have that come to an end thanks to jealous iTunes executives. Reading about how Teenage Fanclub's "Bandwagonesque
" was named Album of the Year in 1991 over Nirvana's "Nevermind" was the most fascinating part in that issue. I knew I had to take a listen to it, and it really is better than "Nevermind", which distracted me in more ways than one. At the same time, they were prepping a new album release titled "Shadows
". During the summer, I purchased both albums on CD. "Shadows" was scrobbled 25 times, with "Baby Lee
" having 13 scrobbles as well as "Shock and Awe
" receiving 10 scrobbles. "Bandwagonesque" was scrobbled 21 times, with "The Concept
" logging in 4 scrobbles. Though the band went quiet since, there will likely be more scrobbles coming from them. Currently, I'm working on purchasing "Grand Prix
21. Echo & the Bunnymen
Spring 2010 was a perfect time to discover music I never heard before. I was discovering music genres outside top 40 pop, classic rock, and adult alternative. What I was introduced to was post-punk, lo-fi, and power pop. My interest in post-punk was mostly defined by Echo & the Bunnymen. After discovering their most recent album, I scrobbled the band 53 times. 35 of those scrobbles were from their most recent album, "The Fountain
". 13 scrobbles were for "Bring On The Dancing Horses
" from the Pretty in Pink soundtrack. The other 5 scrobbles were for "The Killing Moon
" from Ocean Rain
20. War Tapes
19. Steve Perry
18. Big Time Rush
17. Atomic Tom
16. Jaron And The Long Road To Love
15. Phil Collins
13. Goo Goo Dolls
12. Neon Trees
10. Sugar Ray
9. Tamar Kaprelian
If you asked me one year ago about Train's chances of ending up on this list, I would have said "maybe". "Maybe", because they had only 5 scrobbles going into this year. One scrobble was for "She's on Fire
", and 4 for "Hey, Soul Siste
r". "Maybe", because I started to observe that the latter was becoming popular on iTunes in the last weeks of 2009 though their album was having rough times on the charts. "Maybe", because I put in their first scrobble of 2010 on New Year's Day with "Hey, Soul Sister" with interest in how they reference Mr. Mister.
"Maybe" progressively turned into "definitely". The surprise hit of the year logged in 11 scrobbles this year, as it found its spot on top 40 radio, peaked at #3 on the Hot 100, and made this late 90's adult alternative band known for something other than 2001's "Drops of Jupiter
", which logged in 14 scrobbles this year. Another track from the album of that same name, "She's on Fire", went from being the only other track scrobbled from Train last year to being scrobbled 8 times this year. Also racking up a lot of plays were the bonus tracks that were sold separately on digital retailers. "The Finish Line
", which was on the Team USA soundtrack for the 2010 Winter Olympics, was scrobbled 10 times. Also, a cover of the song "Only You
" received the most scrobbles this year for Train with 18, largely in part to hearing the original version by The Platters being played in "Hot Shots".
The album "Save Me, San Francisco
" was scrobbled 31 times over a course of 364 days, and "Drops of Jupiter
" was scrobbled for a total of 22 times this year. For the past 364 days, Train logged in 90 scrobbles, and then they ended the same year that they began with 9 scrobbles on New Year's Eve, bringing them just one track shy of being my eighth artist with 100 scrobbles in 2010. Their overall total, however, is at 104 scrobbles, which is the same as Def Leppard.
7. Jason Derülo
6. Glee Cast
The love I had for the music from this hit FOX show in 2009 was only the beginning. Going into 2010, the cast had 55 scrobbles in my library. When the first season returned after leaving us for four months, music was bound to come out of it. The first song from 2010 scrobbled was "Like A Prayer (Glee Cast Version)
" from the Power of Madonna episode. Since May, the song was scrobbled 11 times. Of course, the Cyndi Lauper cover "True Colors (Glee Cast Version)
" from last year was one of the first scrobbled in 2010, going on to log in 10 scrobbles. The "Laryngitis" episode gave two songs to my library: Rick Springfield's famous "Jessie's Girl (Glee Cast Version)
" by Finn logged in 11 plays, while the cast's cover of U2's "One (Glee Cast Version)
" was played 13 times. "It's A Man's Man's Man's World (Glee Cast Version)
" was from the "Funk" episode, but it wasn't scrobbled until November, which had 2 scrobbles. Then for the season finale, they released an EP of all the songs from this episode. "Glee: The Music, Journey to Regionals - EP
" logged in 25 scrobbles, and featured 3 covers of Journey, whose catalog helped kick off the series. Their cover of "Faithfully (Glee Cast Version
)" was my most played Glee track this year with 16 scrobbles that lasted the entire summer.
The second season premiered in September, and the new music was scrobbled after the second episode with a theme dedicated to Britney Spears. Three of these covers were scrobbles: Rachel's "Baby, One More Time (Glee Cast Version)" at 7 scrobbles, the New Directions group's pep rally performance of "Toxic (Glee Cast Version)
" with 9 scrobbles, and Artie's male perspective of "Stronger (Glee Cast Version)
" racked in 13 scrobbles, 9 of which made it the most scrobbled track of September according to my Heat Haze widget.
My Glee library, which now stands at 173 scrobbles, took the biggest hit when all my downloads were lost to the desktop failure in November. The day I got the Macbook was the same day "Never Been Kissed" was aired, and two of the songs were immediately downloaded: "Start Me Up / Livin' On A Prayer (Glee Cast Version)
" and "Stop! In The Name Of Love / Free Your Mind (Glee Cast Version)
", though they scrobbled 4 plays combined. The cast will likely scrobble more in 2011 with new episodes and once I recover all the tracks.
5. Ashley Tisdale
4. Taylor Swift
3. Demi Lovato
1. The Pains of Being Pure At Heart
You've probably heard the beginning of this story already in the two previous entries. I don't plan on jumping into it again just yet, so I'll explain myself. Music obviously has no say of how good my life is, but when I need to make a fitting playlist that lets me reminisce on the times, this soundtrack to this year will likely be made up by The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. In terms of music listening, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart are the literal definition of 2010. This band made me want to listen to indie rock when top 40 radio was just boring and unoriginal. I probably would have never attempted to listen to Arcade Fire, Mumford & Sons, Florence & The Machine, Spoon, The Pixies, and Wilco without hearing this band. I probably wouldn't have had Teenage Fanclub, Echo & The Bunnymen, and War Tapes on this list without hearing this band.
Sometimes, the truly brilliant music out there is the hardest to find. In fact, my exposure to this band last year was just reading about them on eMusic being described as a soundtrack to a John Hughes movie in the 1980s. With most indie music I read about, I save it for later on a wishlist, but I never get to hearing it. This band was the most interesting from the buzz I read about it, so they were the ones I wanted to hear the most. All the hype I build up in me with films and TV shows either become instantly awesome or end up very disappointing. For music, however, all I need to do is listen. As fate would have it, a free music playlist downloaded on iTunes contained their song "Come Saturday
". This playlist had so many other great tracks, but my hyped interest in this band paid off, and it was spreading faster than the common cold.
With "Come Saturday", The Pains of Being Pure at Heart entered my library on February 14th. For the remainder of the month, the song scrobbled 6 plays. By the end of March, three more plays were scrobbled. By April 8th, the song had a total of 11 scrobbles, and it was on a fast track to become a year-long favorite.
But while one song can be enough for some bands, I knew I had to hear more. Going back to February, I put 5 scrobbles in by playing a few songs on their Last.fm page. "Contender
", from their self-titled debut album "The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
", was played once on February 21st. "Everything with You
" was also played once on that same day. "Young Adult Friction
" was played twice on Last.fm. Plus, the title track of their 2009 "Higher Than The Stars EP
" was played one time on February 23rd. With those taken into account, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart had 16 scrobbles in my library by mid-April.
At that time, I also listened to every song on their album on Lala, so I started working on having the whole album. I purchased and downloaded three songs from the album: "Come Saturday", "Young Adult Friction", and "Everything With You". Combined, they were scrobbled 14 times. "Come Saturday" and "Everything With You" each scrobbled 5 plays, and "Young Adult Friction" scrobbled 4 plays. By the end of April, I scrobbled the Pains of Being Pure at Heart 30 times. But I could not complete the album on Lala. Only one or two weeks after I started using Lala, it put out an announcement that they were closing in a month due to being purchased by iTunes. So I was new to Lala, and I felt like every other customer about the news. We hated losing a digital music website that was a rare cloud music subscription where we can access our purchases on our account page at 10 cents per song. What also sucked is that iTunes had to force them out of business just when they were this close to become bigger than iTunes. 2010 helped me learn that iTunes is just as big of a villain than it is a hero. They just run physical music retailers into a hole and take out any website that is called a better alternate. We're probably sure that iTunes only keeps all the revenue to itself and just promote singers who can't tell the difference between high E above C and high quality vocal enhancements. This probably explains why they started selling the Beatles in November.
Next month, the three songs were deleted off my hard drive, and I tried buying the songs on iTunes and working toward the full album, because as I just mentioned, it plays both the hero role and the villain role. Plus, they had a Complete My Album option for nearly all their albums. Little did I realize that this was not one of them. But before then, I bought "Everything With You", and I bought "Come Saturday" for the second time, because free songs don't count for Complete My Album, though this was no help either. "Come Saturday" had only one unfortunate play with this purchase, while "Everything With You" scrobbled more times with 10 plays from May 8 to May 26. By then, the band had been played 42 times in my library, including another play for "Higher Than The Stars
When I soon learned that iTunes didn't have the Complete My Album option for this album, the time had come. Buying the album was a must for me. On May 30th, I purchased the album and wasted no time listening. For the two days left in May, all the songs, except for the lone track that's not in my library "Gentle Sons
", was played once on both days, which total up to 18 plays when you do the math. When May was finished, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart had 60 scrobbles in my library.
June came along, and the album was on full rotation from the beginning. The total scrobbles logged in from June were 69, which was a monthly record on my Last.fm page. "Everything With You" logged in the most with 11 scrobbles. However, "Come Saturday", "Contender", "Hey Paul
" and "Stay Alive
" tied for second, as they each logged in 10 plays. At the halfway mark of 2010, their total boosted up to 129 scrobbles in 5 months. The only other scrobbled track not on the album was a new song called "Say No to Love
", which was played on their Last.fm page.
When I went on vacation to Florida, I couldn't say no to listening to them. I could have sworn however that I had more than 20 plays for them that month, but knowing that 69 was too big to top, this amount of scrobbles were impressive in its own right. The song I played from them the most in July was "Stay Alive", which logged in 4 scrobbles. By the end of July, their total in my library was 149 scrobbles, and it was already in my top 8 artists on my profile page. Out of that number, only 119 scrobbles were recorded from May to July.
When my summer was over, my scrobbles for this band declined, but they remained active. From August to October, there were a total of 14 scrobbles. The most scrobbles during this interval was a tie between "Come Saturday" and "Contender", which had 5 each. The only scrobble in November was on the day before my desktop failed with "Contender". By the time my desktop failed, the band had 164 scrobbles in my library. Since the album was backed onto a blank CD back in July, it was still intact, and its final scrobbles of the year were recorded on December 15th with 15 scrobbles. Meanwhile, "Higher Than The Stars" was the lone song from the Pains on my new Macbook and continued the rest of the scrobbles, logging 6 plays in for December, with a play on December 21st as the band's final scrobble in my library for 2010.
With 21 scrobbles in all for December, we get to this magic number here: 185, which is the most for someone's first year in my library. That number ties with Tamar Kaprelian's overall total and is ranked as my third most played artist. Now let's dissect this number:
176 Plays: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (95.14%)
8 Plays: Higher Than The Stars EP (4.32%)
1 Play: The Say No To Love single (0.54%)
39 Plays: "Come Saturday" (21.08%)
36 Plays: "Everything With You" (19.46%)
21 Plays: "Contender" (11.35%)
20 Plays: "Hey Paul" (10.81%)
15 Plays: "Stay Alive" (8.11%)
13 Plays: "Young Adult Friction" (7.03%)
12 Plays: "A Teenager in Love
12 Plays: "The Tenure Itch
8 Plays: "This Love is Fucking Right!
8 Plays: "Higher Than The Stars" (4.32%)
1 Play: "Say No To Love" (0.54%)
By Song (May-July)
25 Plays: "Everything With You" (21.01%)
16 Plays: "Come Saturday" (13.45%)
16 Plays: "Hey Paul" (13.45%)
14 Plays: "Stay Alive" (11.76%)
12 Plays: "Contender" (10.08%)
10 Plays: "A Teenager in Love" (8.40%)
10 Plays: "The Tenure Itch" (8.40%)
7 Plays: "This Love Is Fucking Right!" (5.88%)
7 Plays: "Young Adult Friction" (5.88%)
1 Play: "Higher Than The Stars" (0.84%)
1 Play: "Say No To Love" (0.84%)
By Song (June)
11 Plays: "Everything With You" (15.94%)
10 Plays: "Come Saturday" (14.49%)
10 Plays: "Contender" (14.49%)
10 Plays: "Hey Paul" (14.49%)
10 Plays: "Stay Alive" (14.49%)
6 Plays: "A Teenager in Love" (8.70%)
5 Plays: "The Tenure Itch" (7.25%)
3 Plays: "Young Adult Friction" (4.35%)
3 Plays: "This Love Is Fucking Right!" (4.35%)
1 Play: "Say No To Love" (1.45%)
Now, we face two questions ahead of us:
Will anyone come and top that number? Depends on what the artist is, and if they are just as awesome.
Will there be more scrobbles for The Pains of Being Pure at Heart in 2011? You betcha! Their sophomore album "Belong" is due this year, so this will likely be equally listenable.