Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Zeitgeist #1

First off, I'd like to thank Matthew for allowing me to bring my numbered feature mentality from the scattershot Staying West to here -- a much more structured room with nice padded walls to bounce off of.

Since I rarely go out and wanderlust through new music the way Matthew does, I have to rely on more prosaic methods of figuring out what the kids are listening to. Hence, The Zeitgeist. I'll find some list or other recurring piece of data on popular music, purchase the top-mentioned song in that dataset from iTunes and review it here. Sounds like a hoot, n'est pas?

The first dataset (and the inspiration for The Zeitgeist) is this interesting new Google project - Google Music Trends.

The chart shows the popularity of songs being listened to by users of Google's instant messenging software, Google Talk. If Google Talk is open, and the user has opted into the Music Trends expiriment, the program funnels every song listened to to Google which creates the list. I have no idea what the sample size is, but it seems to be worldwide. This seems like a slightly more accurate portrait of music popularity than Shadoe Steven's American Top 40, but maybe that's just because I believe technology solves all problems.

Anyways, nerdery aside, at 9:30 this morning, the most popular song was Snow Patrol's Chasing Cars. I purchased it, put it on my iPod and listened to it throughout the day. (You can watch the video.) Here is my assessment:

It's not a particularly great song.

It's basically four and a half minutes of plinky buildup, which generally I like. But to pull it off, the payoff has be sublime (Arcade Fire's "Rebellion (Lies)" comes to mind as a track which does this.) We're treated to swell of guitars at the end, but so what? Lyrical novelty would make up for this, but "If I lay here, / If I just lay here, / Would you lie with me/ And just forget the world?" doesn't quite cut it. Granted, I'm sure at 14, I would have found it fucking profound.

But, I don't actively dislike the song -- it seems like a decent filler song on a good album, a good second-to-last track. I'm just perplexed with it's the big single. (Especially since I rather liked Snow Patrol's last single, Run). It's like they're trying to pull off what Coldplay did with Clocks, but without the driving tempo that made Clocks great. Overall, exactly the song I would imagine hormonal, white, teenaged IM addicts to be listening to. Released: May 9, 2006 NON-OFFENSIVE

1 comment:

Matthew said...

Doesn't do it at all for me, but I can see your hormonal teenager argument. But back in high school, I would have bought this, fawned over it for a couple days, then forgot it.