Anyone that knows me understands how much music I listen to and more importantly how often music has been a part of my life. When I was 14 I started my first “non-farm” job as a mobile wedding DJ. Then when I turned 16 I worked at a local Columbus radio station called KLIR. Up to that point I was primarily a hard rock listener despite the radio in the milk barn being tuned to country 100 percent of the time.
In fact, I’m pretty sure the only times the radio ever switched signals in that milk barn were when there was a sporting event on another station or when I was on the air. And even when I was on the air I can remember my Grandpa Dannelly and dad both saying the station would be better if they played different music.
Over the course of the next 18 years I continued to randomly work at radio stations working either part-time or full-time depending on the gig. Some sports, some music and some sales. Regardless of that each station opened me to a new genre of music and new downloads/CD burns.
When I was in college I ran the campus radio station and was in charge of selecting all the music. It was the first time I had ever seen people sending random music for free. I would sit in an office with a stack of music I had never heard of listening to “suggested tracks” deciding whether or not it was good enough for airplay on 91.1 “The Jam” KDCV-FM.
Most of it. . .was garbage. Garage demos, new age music and stuff that made you wonder if the sender actually listened to it before they sent it out.
None of this experience makes me an expert on music nor should this be taken as “listen to this or else.” I believe that music is a form of art much like a painting, a sculpture or a movie. No one else should tell you what you like to listen to, look at or watch. That’s for your own senses to determine. If you think Adam Sandler’s latest movies are funny, good for you. If you like Nickelback. . .well. . .good for you. My artistic palate wouldn’t include those but that doesn’t make your taste wrong.
When I look at some of these lists from national music writers I wonder if what they are writing about is actually what they are listening to the most. I’d be interested to look at their playlists because something tells me what they push and what they like are two very different things.
Here are my “Top 10 Most Played Songs of 2014.” I’m doing the most played songs on my devices because I think its a better indicator of what I actually liked this year rather than trying to sit down and hash out what the best songs of the year were.
Plus it’s empirical evidence rather than opinion. I played ’em, so I’m stuck with them.
No. 10 – “Home” Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros: In the fall of 2013 I went to what I consider to be the best concert of my life in Guthrie, Okla. It was a two day event featuring the likes of Edward Sharpe, Alabama Shakes and Mumford and Sons. The first part of 2014 was pretty heavy with bands and music that reminded me of this weekend.
No. 9 – “Not with Haste” Mumford and Sons and No. 8 – “Lover of the Light” Mumford and Sons: Same explanation as before. Great concert, thought about it a lot. Mumford put on a pretty memorable set so on many of my drives I cued this up and likely embarrassed myself at stoplights.
No. 7 – “Wagon Wheel” Old Crow Medicine Show: This is one of my karaoke jams. When I go out and sing a little, I go out and sing this a lot.
No. 6 – “Miles and Mud Tires” Granger Smith: The only band I saw twice in person this year was Granger Smith. Once in York, Neb. and once in Lincoln. Great performance both times. My life this year was a lot more “down home” and “country” this year, so Granger’s music identified with me more this year than in previous years.
No. 5 – “Agape” Bear’s Den: Got turned onto these guys at “the concert” and really enjoyed this tune. Evidently I listened to it a lot more than I thought.
No. 4 – “If Money Didn’t Matter” Granger Smith: Same as above. I put this song into a wedding video I made. The people had never heard of it prior to me turning them onto it.
No. 3 – “Talladega” Eric Church: Something about this song and all songs that reference “the summer before the real world started.” That’s probably a different year for everyone but for me it was that summer post first year of college. Back home, working, hanging out with friends. Plus Church is also a pretty good song writer. “Give Me Back My Hometown” and “Cold One” also were pretty high on the list.
No. 2 – “Leave the Night On” Sam Hunt: Occasionally you meet people that say “you should check this out” and that’s the case with Hunt. A friend of mine from Florida has been raving about Sam for some time and turned me onto him late last year. She was spot on, he’s a great song writer and an even better performer from what I am told. “Raised On It” “Cop Car” and “Take Your Time” also appeared pretty high on my playlist this year.
No. 1 – “Banditos” The Refreshments: This would be my karaoke jam. If you see me singing karaoke somewhere, it’s highly likely you’ve either just heard me sing this or are about to hear me sing it. It’s really more about the energy of the song than the actual song itself.
Now, get on your iTunes and check out your own most played from this year. Then hit the reset button and see what happens in 2015. Some of these songs aren’t exactly my “favorites” from 2014 but I know each had a place last year.
I was surprised by the amount of country music on this list, given I used to host a hard rock morning show and I identify myself as “liking hard rock.” If anything I think it just shows how even though a certain type of music is your favorite, your mood is what will win out more often than not.
(Just missed: Dakota Bradley “Wild Child” Rains “Pressure” Killswitch Engage “Starting Over”)