iTunes Top 200: #170 Part The Third

itunes_image4 years ago, we last counted down the Top 200 songs in my iTunes library. Since my iTunes stats are still intact, across multiple PCs, iPods, iPads, and iPhones, I figured it was time to take another look at my most listened to songs, based on number of plays as of January 1, 2020.

We continue today with the next group of ten songs tied for 170th place with 30 plays apiece since my stats began in late 2007.

#170: Garfunkel and Oates – Pregnant Women Are Smug
iTunes stats: 30 plays, most recently on 10/14/2019
Previous ranking: #167

Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci add 13 new listens to pretty much keep pace with their previous showing.

#170: Garbage – Cherry Lips (Live)
iTunes stats: 30 plays, most recently on 11/9/2019
Previous ranking: Unranked

An impressive debut for this live version of the song, performed at Chicago’s Virgin Megastore and broadcast live on WXRT.

#170: Florence + The Machine – Shake It Out
iTunes stats: 30 plays, most recently on 12/30/2019
Previous ranking: Unranked

Nominated for the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, the song has put in 30 listens since being added to my collection in early 2016 prior to a certain road trip.

#170: DJ Danger Mouse – 99 Problems
iTunes stats: 30 plays, most recently on 9/26/2019
Previous ranking: #118

A big drop off for this mash-up of Jay Z’s 99 Problems and The Beatles Helter Skelter.

#170: The Cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Overture/Going Through The Motions
iTunes stats: 30 plays, most recently on 11/9/2019
Previous ranking: #118

A bit of a drop off for the opening tune, performed by series star Sarah Michelle Gellar, from the musical episode in season 6.

#170: Blues Brothers – Sweet Home Chicago
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Another Mix Tape Monday – Volume 20

20 years ago, during my sophomore year of high school, I put together the first of what would become a nearly 20 volume collection of mix tapes, containing my favorite songs that I had gathered either from the radio, a cassette tape, or (eventually) CD. We last looked back at all 20 volumes three years ago to see which of my “favorite” songs still resonated in today’s digital world. Today, we revisit those mix tapes and see how, or if, things have changed in the past 3 years.

We wrap up our look back with Volume 20, which stretches over late 1995 and the fall semester of the first of my two senior years of college.  At some point, I noticed that the tape players on my boom box were slowing down and, despite multiple attempts, apparently could not be repaired, which spelled the end for these collections.

Side A

Smashing Pumpkins – Bullet With Butterfly Wings

Winner of the 1997 Grammy award for Best Hard Rock Performance, the first single from the Pumpkins double album opus picked up a measly 3 new listens over the past 3 years.

iTunes Stats
2012 2015 2019
6 plays 13 plays 17 plays, most recently on 1/3/2019

Melissa Etheridge – Your Little Secret

The first single from Melissa Etheridge’s under-performing followup to her smash hit album is still missing from my collection.

Lisa Loeb – Do You Sleep

The third single from Lisa Loeb’s major label debut, which peaked at #18 on the Billboard charts, nearly doubled its plays in the last 3 years.

iTunes Stats
2012 2015 2019
5 plays 10 plays 19 plays, most recently on 11/27/2018 

Goo Goo Dolls – Name

A mere 4 play increase over the past 3 years for this breakthrough hit, which reached #5 on the Billboard charts.

iTunes Stats
2012 2015 2019
2 plays 5 plays 9 plays, most recently on 8/5/2018 

Collective Soul – The World I Know

The band’s highest charting single in Canada, it has picked up only 5 listens since my 40th birthday in 2014.

iTunes Stats
2012 2015 2019
3 plays 4 plays 9 plays, most recently on 8/20/2018 

Edwyn Collins – A Girl Like You

Featured on the Empire Records soundtrack, the song went years without being heard, but managed to pick up 5 plays in the last 3+ years.

iTunes Stats
2012 2015 2019
0 plays 0 plays 5 plays, most recently on 2/12/2018 

Garbage – Queer

Originally recorded off of Q101, the breakthrough hit that led to 7 concerts over the past 16 years nearly doubled its listens over the last 3 years.

iTunes Stats
2012 2015 2019
8 plays 12 plays 23 plays, most recently on 10/25/2018 

Side B

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The Still Growing 10,000 Step Club

Last year, as I was finishing up my third year with the Fitbit, I took my last look at the top 25 step days I’ve had since I first started tracking my steps way back in July of 2011.  At the time, I had surpassed the 10,000 step plateau 165 times.  In the past year, I have managed to add an additional 52 occurrences, my best year to date, for a total of 218.  With my fourth year using the Fitbit coming to an end last week, I thought it would be appropriate to take a new look at my top 25 step days over the past 7 1/2 years, featuring 10 new entries.

1: 4/14/2018 – 27,470 steps

My best single day total is our first new entry, coming this past April during a trip to New York to see Angelina.  The day’s excursions included trips to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, the Museum of the City of New York, Central Park, the Guggenheim museum, and the Empire State Building.

2: 7/21/2018 – 27,278 steps

Another new entry, from July’s trip to Virginia, fell just short of the top spot, thanks to a hike up Catawba Mountain to McAfee Knob with Jeff and Val.

3: 6/6/2013 – 24,988 steps

After 5 years as my single day best, 2013’s trip to Disney World falls down two spots.  The day’s excursion to both Epcot Center and the Magic Kingdom ended up with a total of approximately 12.5 miles.

4: 3/18/2018 – 23,780 steps

The third new entry comes from last spring’s trip to Las Vegas for the IBM Think conference.  The day’s totals include gallivanting around town, including a trip up to Caesar’s Palace from the MGM Grand to see Absinthe.

5: 10/24/2018 – 23,362 steps

We round out the top 5 with the fourth new entry, from last fall’s trip to Boston to see Angelina for our birthday.  While she was in class, I took tours of Fenway Park and Harvard, before meeting up with her for a late lunch and then heading to the airport for the trip home.

6: 3/22/2016 – 22,493 steps

My former second highest day took place during the ill-fated trip to Disney World in March of 2016.  The day’s excursion started at Hollywood Studios before heading over to Epcot Center with Jeff and Val.

7: 7/27/2013 – 20,592 steps

My now seventh highest total, and my highest at home in the state of Illinois, came thanks to the BTN 5K and a, for lack of a better word, misunderstanding about where I should be picked up after the race.

8: 12/29/2018 – 20,374 steps

The eighth highest entry, and fifth new entry, took place just over a month ago and the trip to Disneyland to see Danny perform with the Lincoln-Way Marching Band.

9: 8/5/2017 – 20,218 steps

The ninth highest entry came in August of 2017 on the first day of my trip to Boston with Danny and Michael.  After landing in town, we traipsed to the Science Museum, a breakfast joint, our hotel, and, finally, Fenway Park.

10: 7/14/2017 – 20,208 steps

We wrap up the top 10 with another trip to Disney World, this time a one day journey with Angelina to celebrate her high school graduation. Continue reading →

2018: The Year In Travel

As I arrive home from California, I thought it would be nice to look back at the many trips I took last year.  Things got started in March, when I headed out to Las Vegas for the IBM Think conference.  Along the way, I took in a show, Absinthe, at Caesar’s Palace, a Barenaked Ladies concert at Mandalay Bay, and a show by The Chainsmokers at MGM Grand, where I was staying.

Following the conference, I took a detour to Phoenix for a long weekend, where I took in some Cactus League action at Camelback Ranch and Peoria Sports Complex, seeing the White Sox, Cubs, and Mariners (twice!).  I also enjoyed a trip to the slot canyons and Horseshoe Bend in Page, followed by a quick trip to the Grand Canyon.

About a month later, I took a short weekend trip to New York.  Danny, Michael, and I flew to New York on a Friday night, where we met up with Angelina and had dinner with the family she was nannying for.  Saturday was a glorious spring day, spent sight seeing at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, the Museum of the City of New York, Central Park, the Guggenheim museum, and the Empire State Building.  Sunday was spent at the Lyric Theatre, watching both parts of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, before heading home early Monday morning.

My next trip came at the end of July, as Val and I headed down to Roanoke, Virginia, to celebrate Jeff’s 50th birthday.  After a day of “work”, the highlight of the trip was Saturday’s hike up Catawba Mountain to McAfee Knob.  Sunday was spent recovering, before heading home.

I spent most of September in Europe, starting with a week in Belfast, Northern Ireland.  Aside from work, there was a trip to Castle Ward in to look at Game of Thrones filming locations, a hockey game featuring the Belfast Giants, a trip to the Ulster American Folk Park and a nip across the border to the wonderful town of Muff in Ireland, and a Black Cab tour of locations in Belfast related to the Troubles. Continue reading →

2018: The Year In Music

I managed to see 4 different concerts last year, across 3 states. This is the story of those shows.

The first show was in Las Vegas back in March.  In conjunction with the IBM Think conference, the Barenaked Ladies were performing on the beach at Mandalay Bay.  IBM had hooked one of my co-workers up with a cabana for the show, due to her being a legitimate superfan of the band, which the rest of us got to crash.  The group cycled through their hits, including the theme song to The Big Bang Theory, which was a nice surprise. I don’t think you could ask for much more out of a free show attached to a tech conference.

The next night, there were two shows going on.  We had our choice of Train or The Chainsmokers, and I went with option 2.  The show was at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, and it was not quite what I was expecting.  In my defense, I am an old and thus was not up to speed on the nature of the Chainsmokers, so I should have been more familiar with the type of music the band would be performing.  While the two guys I were with decided to bail after a half hour or so, I decided to stick it out and was genuinely entertained, if not in the manner I was expecting.  I can’t say it is something I would want to see again, but I’m glad I did so at least once.  And, hey, you can’t beat the price.

In August, Pearl Jam came to Wrigley Field for 2 shows and I attended the first one.  It’s been a long time since I considered myself a Pearl Jam fan, and the show, while entertaining, certainly dragged for long periods between songs that I knew.

Finally, in October, I traveled to Boston to, on top of Angelina related things, see Garbage at the House of Blues.  The 20 Years Paranoid tour, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the release of Version 2.0, had played in Chicago the week before, but I’ve already done that a time or 5.  With Game 1 of the World Series taking place across the street at Fenway Park, Garbage put on another fine show, ripping through the entirety of their second album, along with some covers and special treats.

And that does it.  Time will tell what 2019 has in store and I look forward to finding out.

FB4: Week 39

A hugely successful week, thanks to a couple of trips out of town.  Things got off to a slow start on Sunday, finishing just a step shy of 2650 steps.  Monday picked back up, coming in at nearly 8000 steps.  Tuesday I headed off to Boston, where dinner with Angelina and a Garbage concert put me just over 19,300 steps.  Wednesday was even better, thanks to a tour of Fenway Park prior to game 2 of the World Series and a trip to Harvard which put me over 23,300 steps.  Thursday was back to work, where I managed to just eke past 7000 steps.  Friday was more of the same, with only 17 steps less than the day before.  Saturday we traveled down to St. Louis for a band competition, where walking around town on my birthday left me at over 9700 steps.

Total steps: 77,172

Daily average: 11,024.6

Top 200 Albums – #11 – 20

itunes_imageNearly 4 years ago, we first counted down the Top 200 albums in my iTunes library. Since that time, I’ve successfully managed to migrate my music collection to a new PC with the stats intact. So, I figured it was time to take another look, based on number of plays from late 2007 through January 1, 2018.

The penultimate grouping has the nearly final batch of 10 albums, ranked between #11 and 20, including 3 compilations, 2 comedy albums, 2 studio albums, 2 greatest hits package, and, finally, 1 bootleg live performance.

#20: Patton Oswalt – Feelin’ Kinda Patton
iTunes stats: 169 plays
Previous Ranking: N/A

This total for Patton Oswalt’s standup set would be significantly higher if I were to ever sync my old iPhone 4s again.

#19: Garfunkel and Oates – All Over Your Face
iTunes stats: 170 plays
Previous Ranking: 27

10 tunes from the musical comedy duo contribute to this total.

#18: The Monkees – The Monkees Greatest Hits
iTunes stats: 177 plays
Previous Ranking: 14

19 different tracks from the made-for-TV band make up this total.

#17: Garbage – One Mile High… Live
iTunes stats: 184 plays
Previous Ranking: 63

The audio rip of the band’s live video release makes the list thanks to 21 different tracks.

#16: Various Artists – TV’s Hits Vol. 7: Cable Ready
iTunes stats: 191 plays
Previous Ranking: 12

This collection of TV theme songs, mostly from the early to mid 90s, uses 13 different tunes, from shows like Mad About You, Saved By The Bell, and Blossom.

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Top 200 Albums – #20 – 30

itunes_imageNearly 4 years ago, we first counted down the Top 200 albums in my iTunes library. Since that time, I’ve successfully managed to migrate my music collection to a new PC with the stats intact. So, I figured it was time to take another look, based on number of plays from late 2007 through January 1, 2018.

We are getting close to the finish line with this next batch of 10 albums ranked between #20 and 30, including 5 studio recordings, 3 compilations, 1 soundtrack, and 1 comedy album.

#30: Various Artists – Millennium Rock N’ Roll Party
iTunes stats: 154 plays
Previous Ranking: 50

13 tunes, from the likes of Santo & Johnny, Chuck Berry, and Jerry Lee Lewis, make up the total for this compilation of 50s hits.

#29: Veruca Salt – American Thighs
iTunes stats: 155 plays
Previous Ranking: 19

10 songs from the Chicago band’s debut album make up this total.

#28: Mexican Cheerleader – Kings and Kings’ Hoots
iTunes stats: 156 plays
Previous Ranking: 17

12 tunes off this sophomore effort from the local punk band make up this total.

#27: Garbage – Beautiful Garbage
iTunes stats: 157 plays
Previous Ranking: 21

The third studio album from the group uses 13 tracks to make up this total.

#25: The Beatles – Past Masters, Vol. 2
iTunes stats: 158 plays
Previous Ranking: 32

This remastered version of the album has 10 songs that make up its total.

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Top 200 Albums – #31 – 40

itunes_imageNearly 4 years ago, we first counted down the Top 200 albums in my iTunes library. Since that time, I’ve successfully managed to migrate my music collection to a new PC with the stats intact. So, I figured it was time to take another look, based on number of plays from late 2007 through January 1, 2018.

We continue with the next batch of 10 albums ranked between #31 and 40, including 3 studio recordings, 3 greatest hits packages, and 1 live performance.

#40: Patton Oswalt – Finest Hour
iTunes stats: 128 plays
Previous Ranking: N/A

The fourth album from the mind of Patton Oswalt makes an impressive debut on the list.

#39: Garfunkel and Oates – Music Songs
iTunes stats: 129 plays
Previous Ranking: 36

8 tracks from the musical comedy duo of Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci make up this total.

#38: David Cross – Shut Up, You Fucking Baby!
iTunes stats: 130 plays
Previous Ranking: 54

Every track from the first comedy album from David Cross makes up this total.

#37: Garbage – Garbage
iTunes stats: 132 plays
Previous Ranking: 54

The debut album from the Garbagers, whose total would be higher if not for their greatest hits album, makes the list on the backs of 12 tunes.

#36: Motley Crue – Motley Crue Greatest Hits
iTunes stats: 133 plays
Previous Ranking: 29

9 of the glam metal bands biggest hits make up the total for this greatest hits package.

Continue reading →

Top 200 Albums – #41 – 49

itunes_imageNearly 4 years ago, we first counted down the Top 200 albums in my iTunes library. Since that time, I’ve successfully managed to migrate my music collection to a new PC with the stats intact. So, I figured it was time to take another look, based on number of plays from late 2007 through January 1, 2018.

With 3/4 of the list completed, we start the home stretch with the next batch of 10 albums ranked between #41 and 49, including 3 greatest hit collections, 2 studio recordings, 2 comedy albums, 1 compilation, 1 soundtrack, and 1 live performance.

#49: Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP
iTunes stats: 113 plays
Previous Ranking: 42

7 tracks make up the total for this breakthrough album.

#49: George Carlin – Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics
iTunes stats: 113 plays
Previous Ranking: 57

If I remember correctly, this special was my first introduction to George Carlin as a young man back in the late 80s. The whole album makes up its total.

#48: The Beatles – The Beatles (White Album)
iTunes stats: 120 plays
Previous Ranking: 33

This remastered version of the classic double album has 8 songs that make up its total.

#47: Various Artists – Monster Madness
iTunes stats: 121 plays
Previous Ranking: 46

9 tracks, from exciting artists like Faith No More, Lita Ford, and Nelson, make up the total for this hair metal compilation.

#46: Various Artists – Buffy The Vampire Slayer: The Album
iTunes stats: 122 plays
Previous Ranking: 34

The soundtrack album to the hit television series, featuring bands like Nerf Herder, Guided By Voices, and The Sundays, had 8 songs make up its total.

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