My favorite song

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I've talked here before about the home music server I created, which lets me and Laura listen to any of our 43,193 (and counting) MP3s from any location with a web browser and a broadband connection. My server has been operating for nearly three years, though it was only in February 2004 that I enabled it to keep track of what I listen to.

I hadn't checked my stats for quite some time, but this morning I thought I'd take a look and see what my most-played tracks are. I was pleased though not exactly surprised to see that Steely Dan's "West of Hollywood" (from Two Against Nature) occupied the top spot, with 23 virtual spins in these past 29 months. Less than once a month may not seem like very heavy rotation, but it's pretty significant when you consider that in that same span I've only listened to 23,898 of the tracks in my collection. (That's unique tracks I'm counting there, not the number of times those tracks have been played.)

I figure this is as good a measuring stick as any for saying that, in practical terms, "West of Hollywood" is my favorite song. And it is a great song. The lyrics hook me and always suck me in, and when Donald Fagen gets to the bridge part and croaks out, "She reached out for my hand while I watched myself lurch across the room, and I almost got there, I almost got there," I never fail to get a shiver. But the best part of this track is the, like, four minute Chris Potter sax solo, where Donald and Walter put the poor cat through a truly punishing series of changes and he just doesn't quit. It's an amazing outro to an amazing record.

So yeah, that's totally fair. I'll cop to "West of Hollywood" as my favorite song.

Here's my tally of the top ten*:

1."West of Hollywood"Steely Dan (w/Chris Potter, saxophone)Two Against Nature200023
2."Float On"Modest MouseGood News for People Who Love Bad News200418
3."Look Around"Thinking Dog200117
tie"Godwhacker"Steely DanEverything Must Go200317
""Our Love Would Be Much Better (If I Gave a Damn About You)"DAGApartment #635199817
6."Green Book"Steely DanEverything Must Go200315
tie"Things I Miss the Most"Steely DanEverything Must Go200315
""Janie Runaway"Steely DanTwo Against Nature200015
""O.P.I.D."Soon E MCFrench Mix 1994: World Music from France199415
""Watermelon Man"Herbie HancockHead Hunters197315

* These numbers are perhaps a bit misleading. I could go on at length about certain random factors that figure into the way I listen to music, but on that topic suffice it to say that these tracks are signal standing far out from the random noise. More to the point, I should make clear that many of the tracks on this list have duplicates in my collection. In other words, if "West of Hollywood" appeared not only on Two Against Nature but also on a Steely Dan compilation album, those two instances would be tallied separately (though I am working on a system that will let me count them together). Also, if I've put the track on one of my mix discs, that is counted separately as well. If I include its tally of spins from my mix disc Any Other Day, the count jumps to 27. FYI.
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William Shunn

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This page contains a single entry by William Shunn published on July 29, 2006 12:51 PM.

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