Window shopping for music (part two)

Continuing my musings on what CDs to buy next, this post will look to Last.fm for direction.

I’ve already noted how self-indulgent it is to so thoroughly tap into my inner Nick Hornby, though I suppose it’s no more self-indulgent than much of this blog.

So, after an unnecessary – though thankfully short – preamble, to Last.fm. This won’t present a complete picture of my listening habits to date, despite having ‘scobbling’ enabled on my account with the internet radio-like service, I’m never sure it captures all the songs I listen to on my iPod. Plus I set up a new Last.fm account at the same time as this blog, so it’s only got just over a year’s worth of data.

Nevertheless it does reveal a certain amount about my listening habits. Such as my top five artists on Last.fm, who are:

• Bob Mould

• The Knife

• The National

• Andrew WK

• The Clash

It’s not that surprising Bob Mould should top the listening chart. My blog is named after a line from one of his songs and one of the few album reviews I wrote last year, before realising that they’re not as easy as they look to write, was for his Life And Times album. I am surprised to see his bands way down the chart though. Husker Du don’t appear until #30 and poor Sugar, whose A Good Idea single was the first I ever heard of Mr Mould, languish at #193.

But as far as this post goes, in its meandering quest to both decide what music to buy next and to investigate how I arrive at my music purchasing decisions, Bob Mould’s appearance doesn’t help because I already own pretty much everything he’s ever released, whether solo or in a band.

However, I am mightily looking forward to his forthcoming autobiography – and wish the Husker Du biography I’ve had on preorder from Amazon since December would hurry up and get published.

In second place are Swedish electronica duo The Knife. They could be a better bet for this post. Afterall, they do have a recent-ish album out that I don’t have, but it’s a Charles Darwin-influenced opera, which isn’t necessarily the most auspicious start. It’s not on Spotify or We7, but the two tracks I got from music blogs don’t leap out at me, seeming to be too much like background music. Interestingly wierd background music, but still backgroung music.

Next it’s The National, whose High Violet has been on heavy rotation since it was released in May. And here I’ve belatedly spotted a flaw in my plan. The most-listened to chart is necessarily biased towards artists I already listen to, and that I may well have everything by them that I want. This is almost the case with The National, a band I’ll be seeing in London in December, though maybe I’ll think again about buying The Virginia EP/A Skin, A Night CD/DVD set.

So, skipping quickly through the last two artists, I have a real soft spot for Andrew WK’s first album. His latest one, solo piano music, I’ve yet to summon up the courage to try out. I’ll add it to the to-try list, but am not expecting much.

And finally to The Clash. I hadn’t realised I listened to them that much, though they are my favourite punk band (close runners up are Buzzcocks and Gang Of Four). But as with The National there’s little to consider buying here. There were some recent-ish live albums, but the bootlegs I’ve got are enough for that.

Still reading? Really? In that case I hope you enjoyed my ramblings. They really should end with a conclusion, but there’s little to draw here apart from, to co-opt that finacial services disclaimer about past performance being no indication of future trends.

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