TE’s “Top” 12 Bands of 2012

I mentioned in the Top 12 Albums article that I think making up year-end Top X lists is silly, and I stand by that statement. It’s a super-easy way to farm up some content that takes very little creativity and considerably less effort than writing something with a more original topic. I should know, because I’ve written more than a few of these for those reasons exactly. I’ll admit it, I’m a hack. This is just a hobby, and not one I take particularly seriously.

All that said, I’m getting more joy out of subverting the usual list mechanism by creating it using nothing but a handful of mostly inaccurate data. There’ll be no pondering for me, no mulling over which bands I like the most versus which bands I think deserve most to be on the list. Nope, I just checked the “last 12 months” option on the Artists chart, and voila: the worst of the work is done for me!

Keep in mind that given the method I used to make the list, this only partially represents which bands I would have considered my favourites during the last year. One I actually put any thought into would look considerably different. Hell, I don’t think I could even make a legit favourite bands list for a given year. It seems like a silly proposition, so “most listened to” will in fact be the criteria.

Note that these numbers were accurate as of January 14, 2013.

  1. Tonight Alive – 605
  2. My Chemical Romance – 380
  3. Story of the Year – 337
  4. Lostprophets – 286
  5. Breathe Carolina – 273
  6. The Ataris – 253
  7. I Fight Dragons – 225
  8. Matthew Good Band – 178
  9. Manami Kiyota – 171
  10. Van Halen – 169
  11. Queen – 168
  12. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – 166

I can’t say that I’m surprised at the differences between this list and that of my most listened to albums of 2012. You might be a bit confused at first glance, but it makes a lot of sense if you think about it. Look at MCR, for example. I listened to plenty of them over the year, but didn’t tend to favour one album. See, I told you it was simple. Now I bet you feel pretty silly about wondering why I wanted to do both lists.

Okay, I get that Tonight Alive gets the top spot because I listened to What Are You So Scared Of? way too many times, but if you add the album plays (413+179), that’ only 592. That means I listened to their “Little Lion Man” cover on Punk Goes Pop 4 13 times. I don’t remember ever listening to the song on its own, so it begs the question: how did Punk Goes Pop 4 not make the top albums list? Oh numbers, why you ackin’ so cray-cray?

I think My Chemical Romance and Story of the Year may need to be flipped around, but I cannot back up that claim without some serious research. I know I’ve listened to the released Conventional Weapons tracks many times during the first couple weeks of January, but I don’t know if they equaled up to 43. They probably did, but again, it’s not so probable that I’d just make the switch.

Story of the Year is the band I commonly refer to as my favourite modern band. Between Danger Days and Conventional Weapons, I think MCR may be pulling slightly ahead of them these days. But I’m still a big fan of SOTY! They’re overdue for a new album though. They used to pop out a new one every two years, but 2012 yielded nothing. Oh well, good things come to those who wait, I suppose.

I said in the Top 12 Albums article that I put aside Lostprophets’ last album in favour of Weapons, but I guess I played The Betrayed a lot before I actually picked up Weapons, because the difference between the numbers is pretty big. Just over 100, in fact. I don’t really have anything else to add here.

Breathe Carolina is another one that probably could shift down one position because of January plays, but I think I’ll let them have their day in the number five limelight because they are so different than anything else I listen to. I’d like to add more similar artists to my stable, but to date I haven’t found any other bands that quite hit that perfect blend of electronica and post-hardcore.

The Ataris are definitely one of my favourite bands, and So Long, Astoria is probably my favourite album. Easily one of the three bands that would make this list any year. And while I’ll forever be content to listen to their old albums, I really wish The Graveyard of The Atlantic would actually come out someday. It was supposed to be released back in 2009. As much as I love The Ataris, Kris Roe is no Tom Scholz, and has no excuse for taking that long to produce an album.

I Fight Dragons is rightfully on here, since I was pretty freaking obsessed with KABOOM! over the summer. To be honest, I’m a little surprised that they didn’t rate higher.

At some point in the year, I put Beautiful Midnight onto my phone, and I guess I listened to it a lot? Though upon actual inspection, I see that The Audio of Being is also on there, and that definitely justifies the number. What’s odd about this one is that for the past I don’t know how many years, I’ve focused much more on Good’s solo work. I guess this year was one of nostalgia. The Audio of Being also has the distinction of being my most listened to album of 2002, where I would spent many of my nights listening to it while playing Mario’s Picross 2 over and over again.

Here’s the one totally inexplicable entry. The Xenoblade OST has tracks composed by several artists, the most common being Manami Kyota. As it stands, the album has a total of 155 plays, but Kyota has 171 somehow. I don’t even know what other music Manami Kyota has been involved in, and I likely don’t even own any. So somebody please tell me how these numbers could possibly work. Math, you guys. It boggles the mind.

Van Halen’s The Best of Both Worlds compilation should probably have registered on the Top Albums chart, but I made sure to label discs one and two separately when tagging them. Interestingly, it makes a good parallel to how Van Halen could have been greater if DLR and EVH had been more into that “teamwork” thing rather than letting their egos balloon out of control and lead the band into the less amazing Van Hagar years and that utterly forgettable stint with Gary Cherone.

It came down to the wire, but I think this list would have been completely null and void if Queen hadn’t been on it at all. For a band I often proclaim as my favourite, I sure don’t listen to them as much as I used to. Even as recently as 2011 I’d listen to A Night at the Opera at least once a month. I was really into News of the World for a couple months back then. Curiously, the only Queen still on my phone is The Game, which is a perfectly competent album, but nowhere near my favourite.

Number Twelve makes me very happy, because the numbers for Tom Petty and The Live Anthology match up exactly. Which they should, because I don’t own any other music by Tom Petty, and I don’t think my heart could take another inexplicable discrepancy. I’ve always been a fan of balance (I didn’t put the “equilibrium” in the site’s name just because it sounded cool), and working in finance has only served to increase that need.

And now that this silly little analysis is complete, here’s the big reveal: this is only part two in a trilogy. The last Top 12 of 2012 article is coming up next Monday, and it is a huge motherbuzzer. Enormous. Massive. Titanic. It may very well be the wordiest single piece I’ve ever written. I’d have to go back and do word counts to be sure, but I won’t because I’m lazy.

Oh, and don’t worry, the next one isn’t about music.


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