Looking at iTunes, I see my top song this year was “40 Day Dream” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes. I listened to it 137 times. A few of those must have been in 2010, since I bought it that October, but there’s no question it was one of my favorites this year. (Sadly, there’s no way with an iTunes Smart List to learn what a song’s play count was during a certain period of time.)
(Note that “40 Day Dream” is on the same (eponymous) album as “Home”, a song covered by Jorge & Alexa Narvaez in their charming YouTube viral video.)
Following “40 Day Dream” in my most-played list were “Bye Bye Bye” by Plants and Animals, “Buildings and Mountains” by the Republic Tigers, and “Can You Tell” by Ra Ra Riot, with 116, 111, and 106 plays, respectively.
As it happens, all those are digital downloads from Amazon. I have a handful of songs from the iTunes store, but only a few, since a web browser offers a much better shopping experience than iTunes does. Web browsers have offered tabs since, when, 1997 or so? But iTunes is pure-linear, and shopping on it interferes with other things you might be trying to do with iTunes.
If we subtract out all the digital downloads, leaving just songs that I’ve ripped from actual physical brick-and-mortar CDs, my top songs from 2011 were: “If You Leave” by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, “He’s a Pirate” by Klaus Badelt and Hans Zimmer, “Mr. Roboto” by Styx, and “Africa” by Toto. (Don’t wince at my taste: serious musicians love that song! See track 11 here.)
The pirate song is from my collection of Film Music of course. The others are, like those I mentioned previously, from a playlist of music that has appeared on the TV show Chuck. If we subtract out “Chuck” music and “Film Music” then my top songs in 2011 were: “YYZ” by Rush, “A Raft of Penguins” by Ian Anderson, “La Villa Strangiato” by Rush, and “There is a Green Hill” by the World Wide Message Tribe. Also in the Top 10 list are the Genevan Psalter’s Psalm 124 by Calvin College, “Peace of Mind” by Boston, and “Just Showed Up (for My Own Life)” by Sara Groves.