TE’s “Top” 12 Albums of 2012

It’s January of 2013 now, and January means nothing if not “time to make lists about stuff from the previous year” and I intend to carry on that tired, thoughtless tradition. And, I’m going to make it even more thoughtless by having raw data determine the contents of this list, rather than make decisions on what belongs here based on my opinions.

To that end, I’ve gone onto my Last.fm account and checked the chart of most played albums in the last 12 months. Of course, the numbers are just so slightly skewed because we’re already almost halfway through January, but whatever. I know what I’ve listened to in the last two weeks, and I’ve made adjustments where necessary.

This data has been compiled through two sources: my computer, where every track I’ve played is logged through the Last.fm plugin, and also my phone, where sometimes the iScrob app sometimes decides to log tacks when it feels like it maybe. iScrob is a really crappy app that likes to drop tracks and I didn’t even use it for the first few months of the year or most of the summer. Not included are any songs played through any other source like, say, CDs or the iPod app on my phone. Also not counted are any tracks whose “album” tag is not filled out, though I’m pretty anal about keeping my basic tags correct and complete. So the numbers are going to be incredibly skewed, but whatever! Looking at data gives me total wood. And here it is! (The data, not my wood.)

  1. What Are You So Scared Of? (Tonight Alive) – 413
  2. KABOOM! (I Fight Dragons) – 212
  3. Weapons (Lostprophets) – 180
  4. All Shapes and Disguises (Tonight Alive) – 179
  5. The Live Anthology (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers) – 166
  6. Hello Fascination (Breathe Carolina) – 156
  7. Xenoblade OST (ACE+, Manami Kiyota, Yoko Shimomura, etc) – 155
  8. The Greatest Video Game Music (London Philharmonic Orchestra) – 139
  9. End is Forever (The Ataris) – 125
  10. Blood (In This Moment) – 119
  11. Favoritism (MC Frontalot) – 119
  12. Do Overs and Second Chances (Go Radio) – 112

Keep in mind here that the numbers are of tracks played from each album, not the number of times each album was played in its entirety.

At first, I feel like I don’t have a ton of thoughts about this list, but every time I type that, I invariably end up babbling on for far longer than anyone would care to read. The immediate reaction is that despite the fact that the numbers are all very skewed (I know The Dethalbum II should be here), it shows a pretty good cross-section of my musical tastes, and especially how said tastes have expanded over the last year.

I’ve typed a thing about Tonight Alive already, and at that point I knew I’d listened to them a lot, but I didn’t imagine it was quite so much more than anything else. I guess it’s time to get them out of the rotation for a little while. I feel bad when I listen to one album so much more than others.

KABOOM! was the album I listened to way too much before Tonight Alive found their way onto my phone. Based on the numbers alone, I suppose it really wasn’t too much at all, was it?

I don’t have a lot to say about Weapons specifically. Lostprophets and I have an odd relationship; in general I’ll go back and forth between albums for other bands, but whenever a new Lostprophets album comes out, it tends to “replace” the last one. I have listened to The Betrayed since I got Weapons, but only once or twice. And that says a lot, since I’m confident that The Betrayed would have won the top spot of this list for 2011.

I think I may have listened to The Live Anthology exclusively throughout January, but I was also not using iScrob at that time, so none of it counted. That definitely would have changed the numbers around a bit too, because it’s four discs long and I generally listen to them all together.

I don’t know how Hello Fascination ended up here. I guess at some point in the year I got into electronica a little bit? It’s very deceiving too, because the first track is is pretty metal/post-hardcore with only a little electronica influence, but the whole rest of the album is the other way around. Its follow-up, Hell is What You Make It, was technically on the list at the #12 spot, but it got kicked off because most of those plays were last week.

Xenoblade soundtrack should be #1 with a bullet, but alas, it suffers the same problem as Tom Petty: most of its plays were through the iPod app as opposed to iScrob. The reason for this is because as I said before, iScrob has a tendency to drop tracks, and I didn’t want to miss a single piece from this fantastic soundtrack. That’s exactly what kept the Final Fantasy XIII OST off the list too, because I listened to that several times over the summer, and it’s got like a thousand tracks on it.

I’ve already spent enough words on The Greatest Video Game Music.

Of course the Ataris are on this list. I’d shoot myself if I went a whole year without listening to copious amounts of the Ataris. The upset is that End is Forever took the spot instead of So Long, Astoria, which just might be my favourite album ever.

I have no idea what Blood is doing on this list. I didn’t think I’d listened to it so many times. I’m a big fan of In This Moment’s 2008 album, The Dream, which can get pretty heavy, but Blood is almost too hard for me. They took it past eleven for this one. Not only has the band spiralled off into a mixture of grindcore and electronica as far as the music goes, the lyrics have gone from metal to disturbing, The song “Into the Light” from The Dream almost makes me cry because it’s just so damn sad, but Blood as a whole frightens me more than anything. It seems to me like Maria Brink may have some unresolved issues.

Favoritism is yet another example of an album that should have placed higher, but did not because I wasn’t using iScrob. It’s my most listened to of the music I got from the Humble Music Bundle, but several of those plays were during a trip to the States where I wasn’t using iScrob to avoid any roaming data charges

The last entry on the list, Do Overs and Second Chances, placed so low because of two unique circumstances: I got it very late in the year, and it’s only 9 songs long. Factor in some iScrob track-dropping, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for low numbers even though I’ve listened to it a whole bunch of times. Of all the albums that could be placed higher, I think this one actually deserves a better spot the most, because it is fantastic in all the ways.

Aside from The Dethalbum II and the FFXIII OST, I can’t even think of any other albums that should be on here. It was a year of listening to a lot of the same music, which is kind of weird for me. Usually I like to mix things up a little more. Then again, I’m sure that if I’d looked past the top 12, there would have been dozens of albums that didn’t make it on by only a track or two. Also there were plenty of bands I listened to a lot, though over several albums. Oh well. Maybe next week I’ll check out my top 12 bands as selected by Last.fm? Wait and see!

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