Friday, October 24, 2014

Festive Fifty Tips: The Longlist

This is going to be one of a series of probably two posts about the Festive Fifty which is a series of three podcasts that I put together in association with the Contrast Podcast every year idealistically publishing it over the last three weeks of the year (though usually it's in the first month or two of the new year)

Basically, you send in a list of 50 songs from the current year ranked from 1 to 50 (the "longlist") and then I tabulate all of those votes into a list of 100 songs (the "shortlist"). You will then vote on your favorite 10 songs from that list (with the option to "downvote" one song in addition to your list of 10). I compile those votes into a list of Fifty songs. Then I ask people to introduce a song or two. Then I make it into three podcasts and we all enjoy it!

I often hear about people who feel like they didn't get any songs they liked on the Festive Fifty. Usually, it's that none of the 50 songs they submitted made the 100 song shortlist. So I decided to let you in on some of the behind-the-scenes stuff and the kinds of things I see when I'm tabulating results to maybe help you "game the system" as it were. I am not sure if the system will change if everyone tries to game it, but I suppose we shall see.

1) Song Ranking

In a perfect world, you'd make your long list of 50 songs in order of preference. #1 would be your favorite song of the year and #50 would be your 50th favorite song of the year.  But what usually happens is that 5 or 6 songs get LOTS of votes and the rest get one or two people voting for them.

My first recommendation for getting your songs on the Festive Fifty is to put the songs that you feel like everyone might vote for below songs that you think you might be in the minority of liking. So, for instance, I really liked KONGOS's song "Come With Me Now" this year, but I have a feeling I'm not alone in this. So I will put that song in the teens or even 20's (depending on how popular I think the song is) and I'll put more obscure songs above it.

Now, there are problems with this. You're risking being wrong about the popularity of a song and having a song you love not make the list.

There's also the issue of having a list of 50 songs that are ALL obscure. To those people, I would just offer my best wishes and point out that people following my advice might level the playing field a little and make it more feasible for your songs to make the shortlist!

2) Artist Limit

One of the rules that I implemented a couple years ago is the Artist Limit rule. If, for example, St. Vincent has 4 songs that are in the Top 100 songs from the Longlist Votes, only the top 2 will make the Shortlist. The other 2 will be cut and the songs below them will be moved up.

This is where I'm torn. I could advise you to therefore limit your votes to only two songs per artist so that you aren't diluting your vote among many songs. But I could also advise you to put as many songs as you'd like by an artist into your longlist, so that any songs that anyone else voted for will get a boost from your vote. I'm not sure which way is better, so that'll have to be up to you.

So that's my advice for the longlist vote. It's not much, but hopefully it can help you when you're constructing your longlist! When we get closer to Shortlist Voting time, I'll post some tips for that!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Throwback Thursday: 2005

10. Faith Hill - Fireflies
9. The Black Eyed Peas - Monkey Business
8. Franz Ferdinand - You Could Have It So Much Better
7. Fiona Apple - Extraordinary Machine

     1. Extraordinary Machine
     2. Get Him Back
     3. O' Sailor
     4. Better Version of Me
     5. Tymps (The Sick in the Head Song)
     6. Parting Gift
     7. Window
     8. Oh Well
     9. Please Please Please
   10. Red Red Red
   11. Not About Love

   12. Waltz (Better Than Fine)

Oh this album. This is one that will always remind me of Kristen's Bridal shower. I played the title track in my Best Man Riley's car on our way either to or from (or both) going to see Dave Chappelle's Block Party (which was fantastic, by the way). We agreed that it sounded very Disney but it a twisted Fiona Apple way.

So "Not About Love" is my favorite track on the album and I thought there was no way I could like it more. And then I watched this video. Holy cannoli. I love watching the two of them interact. And I think you will too.

6. Kanye West - Late Registration
5. Sheryl Crow - Wildflower
4. Gretchen Wilson - All Jacked Up
3. Sara Evans - Real Fine Place
2. Twista - The Day After
1. Nickleback - All the Right Reasons

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Bobby Shmurda "Hot Boy"

Well, this is a song that's in the Top Ten this week. It's not technically actually called "Hot Boy."

And here's the song at #54 this week. It's much much less popular than the song above. So, I mean, think on that for a while.

Another Mockingjay Soundtrack Update

So iTunes revealed almost all of the tracklist for the Mockingjay Part One soundtrack. The two songs we knew about this afternoon are still on there (why would they go anywhere? why did I write that sentence??) and 11 more tracks have been revealed. There's still a track that's called "Track 5" by "Various Artists" that's listed with a duration of six seconds, so that'll probably be revealed later.

iTunes says the soundtrack will be available on November 17th. Here's a link to the iTunes page. It's not going to take you to iTunes, but it's basically like the browser version of iTunes.

Here's the tracklist:

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Pt. 1 OST:
01 Stromae: Meltdown [ft. Lorde, Pusha T, Q-Tip, Haim]
02 Chvrches: Dead Air
03 Tove Lo: Scream My Name
04 Charli XCX: Kingdom [ft. Simon Bon]
05 Various Artists: Track 5
06 Raury: Lost Souls
07 Lorde: Yellow Flicker Beat
08 Tinashé: The Leap
09 Bat for Lashes: Plan the Escape
10 Grace Jones: Original Beast
11 Lorde: Flicker (Kanye West Rework)
12 XOV: Animal
13 The Chemical Brothers: This Is Not a Game [ft. Miguel]
14 Lorde: Ladder Song

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mockingjay Soundtrack Update

So another song has been announced on the soundtrack that Lorde is curating for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1.

So, so far we have these songs:

Lorde - Yellow Flicker Beat
The Chemical Brothers, Miguel, and Lorde - This Is Not a Game

Here's a Radio Rip from Zane Lowe's BBC1 Show:

Sunday, October 19, 2014

New Countdown: From Off the Wall to Right Smack Dab in the Middle of the Wall

The Black Keys
Ok, so based off the title, you might be thinking this podcast has some early solo era Michael Jackson and maybe Pink Floyd singing "Hey You." And you'd be well within your rights to think that. But it is sadly not the case. Although it occurs to me now that those two albums were out right around the same time, which is weird to me.

No, the title just is referring to the range of song on the countdown this week. Sometimes the really kooky songs are immediately followed by songs that are 100% safe. There's nothing wrong with either category and I think the show is helped by a healthy serving of both!


Countdown #219

Arctic Monkeys
Big Data featuring Joywave
The Black Keys
The Dirty Heads
Jonnie Common
Milky Chance
Vance Joy

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Throwback Thursday: 2006

10. Weird Al Yankovic - Straight Outta Lynwood
9. Fergie - The Dutchess
8. Clay Aiken - A Thousand Different Ways
7. Hinder - Extreme Behavior
6. John Mayer - Continuum
5. Justin Timberlake - FutureSex/LoveSounds

     1. FutureSex/LoveSound
     2. SexyBack featuring Timbaland
     3. Sexy Ladies/Let Me Talk to You (Prelude)
     4. My Love featuring T.I.

     5. LoveStoned/I Think She Knows (Interlude)
     6. What Goes Around.../...Comes Around (Interlude)
     7. Chop Me Up featuring Timbaland and Three 6 Mafia
     8. Damn Girl featuring
     9. Summer Love/Set the Mood (Prelude)
   10. Until the End of Time
   11. Losing My Way
   12. (Another Song) All Over Again

I was relieved to learn that I hadn't posted about a song from this album when 2006 came around the last time. Relieved and surprised. This is a great album. Actually, I can only attest to the singles. I have it on my iPod, but I can't say that I've listened to the whole thing all the way through. I'll rectify that soon.

Of all the catchy singles, "My Love" has always been my favorite. It's such a steady, smooth, chill song. I like the video too. Good dancing. Having just finished watching it before I started writing, I have to say my favorite moment is when the girl is pulling the rubber band on T.I.'s wrist with her teeth and it breaks and he smiles and she smiles and mouths "Sorry". It was an honest moment and I liked it.

4. Alan Jackson - Like Red on a Rose
3. Tony Bennett - Duets: An American Classic
2. Janet Jackson - 20 Y.O.
1. Ludacris - Release Therapy