Part Twenty-Three: The Aftermath
I began on January 25th with my introductory primer and finished on April 19th with the Top 10, which means it took 85 maddening days to plow through 200 songs. So since it’s all done I figured I’d take a look back at the damage wrought and crunch a few numbers.
By my own rough estimation, I listened to over 330 different albums that were released in 2014 (30 of which were EP’s, the remaining 300+ full lengths). The vast, VAST majority of those were one-and-done listens. Some of them didn’t even garner a full listen. When I eventually cobble together my Top Albums list (don’t worry, no countdown for that), I venture that somewhere in the vicinity of 150 will merit an actual ranking that I am comfortable with. Point being, I listened to a lot of stuff this year.
Obviously there were a handful of albums in that mix which I just didn’t get enough exposure to in order to have them represented on the countdown. Here’s a quick list of a some more prominent artists that might have found themselves with an entry or two had time and inclination permitted:
AC/DC – Rock Or Bust
American Hi-Fi – Blood & Lemonade
Black Label Society – Catacombs Of The Black Vatican
Bruce Springsteen – High Hopes
Bush – Man On The Run
Corrosion Of Conformity – IX
The Fray – Helios
The Gaslight Anthem – Get Hurt
The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band – Goin’ Home
Melissa Etheridge – This Is M.E.
Michael Schenker’s Temple Of Rock – Bridge The Gap
Nickelback – No Fixed Address
Over Kill – White Devil Armory
Tesla – Simplicity
Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers – Hypnotic Eye
Train – Bulletproof Picasso
Weezer – Everything Will Be Alright In The End
Yes – Heaven & Earth
That out of the way, 144 different artists *were* represented on the Woof 200. Five artists had four different entries (Anberlin, Big Wreck, Lonely The Brave, The Pretty Reckless, Twin Atlantic); seven had three entries (21Octayne, Coldplay, Emerson Hart, In This Moment, Rival Sons, The Trews, The Wind & The Wave); 27 had two entries (Anubis Gate, Band Of Horses, Big Head Todd & The Monsters, Brimstone Coven, Captain Black Beard, Cold War Kids, Dum Dum Girls, Elbow, The Glorious Sons, Guano Apes, Judah & The Lion, Lenny Kravitz, Maverick, Nasty Habit, Neon Trees, Panic Room, Pixies, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Royal Blood, Starset, Strand Of Oaks, Unisonic, The War On Drugs, “Weird Al” Yankovic”, Within Temptation, You Me At Six, Young The Giant); and the other 105 had only one entry (yeah, not listing all of ’em).
Of the songs that made the Billboard Hot 100 for 2014, 7 made my personal top 200:
“Happy” (Billboard #1 for 2014), “All Of Me” (#3), “All About That Bass” (#8), “Am I Wrong” (#14), “Say Something” (#17), “A Sky Full Of Stars” (#51), and “Come With Me Now” (#88). To be fair though, Billboard isn’t limited by release date, which means 5 songs on their list were on my 2012/2013 lists: “Counting Stars” (#5), “Wake Me Up!” (#22), “Burn” (#39), “Roar” (#46), “Radioactive” (#57), and a handful more might be when I expand my 2012/2013 lists to a full 200.
Of the songs that made the Billboard 50 Top Mainstream Rock Songs for 2014 (the chart which most resembles my personal listening habits), 11 made my list: “Heaven Knows” (#1), “Ballast” (#3), “Words As Weapons” (#4), “Take Out The Gunman” (#5), “Out Of The Black” (#14), “Room To Breathe” (#21), “Drown” (#22), “I Don’t Wanna Be Here Anymore” (#25), “Dog On A Leash” (#29), “Figure It Out” (#37), “Come With Me Now” (#43), plus another four that were on my 2013 countdown: “Battle Born” (#17), “Sirens” (#32), “Lightning Bolt” (#41), “Do I Wanna Know?” (#46). I’m actually kind of surprised by how low that number is, but looking over the Billboard list, it features quite a few bands that I like well enough but that just didn’t do anything special for me this year.
Finally, as I look back over the list of the final 200+ songs (Honorable Mentions included), I am somewhat amazed by the amount of artists who either didn’t exist or weren’t on my personal musical radar as recently as five years ago. Some of this has to do with the fact that for much of the mid-to-late 2000’s I wasn’t really paying attention to new music, choosing instead to just listen to old CD’s and lament what once was. YouTube and Rdio (my streaming site of choice) have dramatically changed the way I consume new music in recent years, exposing me to many artists that I otherwise would not have. I hear people complain that “good music” doesn’t exist anymore, but in truth, it’s everywhere. You just have to dig a little to find it. Discovering new artists has always been one of my favorite things about music. Not because I wanna be one of those hipster types who likes to brag “I knew them before they were big”, but because I tend to get bored with an artist the longer they are around and new acts always seem fresh to me even if the sound they are creating is derivative of something else.
This countdown represented the music that found a way to reach me in 2014. I tried to be honest with myself in regards to things that I genuinely liked and didn’t like without forcing things onto the countdown that might make me look hipper or more in touch. The couple of pop songs that found their way in were there because I genuinely liked them and listened to them. I tried giving Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith a try and neither one of them stuck with me, despite people’s insistence that I’d like them. I wanted to like the new Foo Fighters album more than I did, but for whatever reason it didn’t really imprint on me. Meanwhile I discovered a lot of bands that had been around for ages and were just now entering my consciousness as well a handful that released debut albums. I’m already stoked to see what happens in 2016 when a lot of these same acts will be releasing their next albums. In the meantime we’re already four months into 2015 and I’m compiling a healthy list of songs which will no doubt be dominating my listening as summer rolls along. Music never stops.
Thanks to those of you who stuck with me through this whole process and offered up your thoughts along the way. I was genuinely surprised on more than a few occasions to find out not only *who* was following along, but what their personal tastes were leaning towards. I don’t genuinely judge people by what they like musically, but I do find it interesting. Hopefully going forward more people will feel free to share what they’re currently into with me over on Facebook. I never get tired of talking about this stuff.
See you all in 2016! Or back in 1993, if I can get my act together by summer.
BTW, a quick link to the various parts of the countdown in case anybody missed some and don’t feel like wading through months of posts to find ’em.
Part 1: A Primer
Part 2: Honorable Mentions
Part 3: 200-191
Part 4: 190-181
Part 5: 180-171
Part 6: 170-161
Part 7: 160-151
Part 8: 150-141
Part 9: 140-131
Part 10: 130-121
Part 11: 120-111
Part 12: 110-101
Part 13: 100-91
Part 14: 90-81
Part 15: 80-71
Part 16: 70-61
Part 17: 60-51
Part 18: 50-41
Part 19: 40-31
Part 20: 30-21
Part 21: 20-11
Part 22: 10-1