30 Day Music Challenge: What music I listen to vs. What I think I do

The following image was floating around the internet this month (in varying degrees of blurriness):

30 Day Music Challenge

The goal is to share a song on social media for each day of the month of April matching the respecting description. Being the wannabe music fan I am, I was interested in trying this. However, I am sitting on what many (I suppose) are not; with the wonderful last.fm, I have a record of every song I have listened to (with many gaps, granted) over the past few years. I also have the scripting know-how to look through that data.

With this in mind, following is a look at what song lastfm tells me best suits each category, compared to what song I would actually choose when trying to be a music-intellectual to impress my Twitter followers.

Day 1: A song with a colour in the title

The programming for this is easy enough - take a sorted list of my most-played songs, and find the first one that mentions a colour in the title. simple.wikipedia.org keeps a colour list that will suit our needs. I had some old code from making my homepage that dealt with grabbing data from last.fm, so I cannibalised from there and created this repo of scripts for this blog post. This script did the above colour-matching, and spouted the following as my favourite song with a colour in the title:

'Ruby' - Kaiser Chiefs  

A great song! Alas, one that I have not listened to much lately, so is not on my mind. My human-brain answer, to oppose my computer-brain one, would be Rose Rouge by St. Germain. Much higher-brow, and more matching my recent tastes in music.

The script output some other interesting songs, so here are the following ten in order of plays (and the colour they were flagged with, ftb):

'Just Be Good to Green (feat. Lily Allen)' - Professor Green (green)  
'Gold Digger (feat. Jamie Foxx)' - Kanye West (gold)  
'Out of the Blue' - Julian Casablancas (blue)  
'City Of Gold' - Professor Green (gold)  
'Black & Gold' - Sam Sparro (black)  
'Gold on the Ceiling' - The Black Keys (gold)  
'Black horse and the Cherry Tree' - [unknown] (black)  
'Rose Rouge' - St. Germain (rose)  
'Black Plant' - The Last Shadow Puppets (black)  
'Big Yellow Taxi (feat. Vanessa Carlton)' - Counting Crows (yellow)  

Before I fixed it to stop recognising partial words as colours (eg. "I Predict A Riot" was flagged as having the colour "red" in it), it also output Greenback Boogie, by Ima Robot. I... I really need to listen to that song again. I guess it counts as having a colour in its title too?

I was worried that Come Out Ye Black and Tans would show up here, but probably for the best, I don't seem to have scrobbled it much.

Day 2: A song with a number in the title

The script to magic up an answer for this is very similar to the last one, but with some numbers instead of colours. This list of number-words was hand-compiled. The top result was this:

'Four to the Floor' - Starsailor  

Nice! I hadn't thought of that one. The song in my head was Two Minds by Nero, one of my most-played artists of all-time.

It appeared very far down the list of other outputs, of which here are the next ten:

'Miami 2 Ibiza' - Tinie Tempah (2)  
'Daft Punk - One More Time' - [unknown] (one)  
'Seven Nation Army' - The White Stripes (seven)  
'One Day Like This' - Elbow (one)  
'Season 2 Episode 3' - Glass Animals (2)  
'Ten Cent Pistol' - The Black Keys (ten)  
'No One Knows' - Queens of the Stone Age (one)  
'One (Your Name) [feat. Pharrell]' - Swedish House Mafia (one)  
'Mozart Piano Concerto, K. 488 (Zoltán Kocsis)  movement 3' - [unknown] (3)  
'Song 2 (2012 Remastered Version)' - Blur (2)  

They're good tunes, Bront.
Because I have listened to different cuts of Song 2, it has multiple lower-playcount listings, but should maybe be higher? This is the case with a lot of songs undoubtedly. You can also see in the list above that wherever I was playing One More Time by Daft Punk had it mistagged :(

Day 3: A song that reminds you of summertime

This is a harder task to do programmatically. I decided to take a similar approach to the previous task, and compile a list of words I think of when I think of summer - things like "holiday", and weather-related words. It's not perfect - it misses "summery-feeling" songs (like this one, for example, that feels sort of swishy and summery to me, but mentions none of those themes).

The script gave the following results, among others:

'When the Sun Goes Down' - Arctic Monkeys (sun)  
'Sunny Afternoon' - The Kinks (sunny)  
'Staring At The Sun' - Simple Kid (sun)  
'Honey Sun' - Elbow (sun)  
'Crying In The Rain (Funkerman Remix)' - Guru Josh Project (rain)  

My own choice was Sunny Afternoon by The Kinks, which is the second output here. Is that a success then?

Day 4: A song that reminds you of someone you would rather forget about.

I have no idea how to do this in script form. Perhaps I could look at what songs I listened to intensely during some period in the past, but suddenly stopped listening to?

In any case, my organic answer is Bohemian Like You by Dandy Warhols. That one is still a favourite, tainted though it may be.

Day 5: A song that needs to be played loud

I wasn't quite sure how to figure this out. I came to the conclusion that the loudness of my music is strongly correlated to the speed of it - fast, exciting songs are what make me turn up the dial. As such, I queried the beats-per-minute of my top 250 most-played songs using the getsongbpm.com api, that they kindly provide freely. Here is the python-fu to do that. There was a lot of messy data, I only got values for 101 of the 250 songs, and I have no idea how correct the numbers are, but c'est la vie. Here were the quickest 10, supposedly, as per this script:

'Hotel Yorba' - The White Stripes (196 bpm)  
'From the Ritz to the Rubble' - Arctic Monkeys (190 bpm)  
'Arabella' - Arctic Monkeys (180 bpm)  
'End Credits' - Chase & Status (176 bpm)  
'Fool Yourself' - Chase & Status (176 bpm)  
'Clint Eastwood' - Gorillaz (168 bpm)  
'Brianstorm' - Arctic Monkeys (166 bpm)  
'Everyday I Love You Less and Less' - Kaiser Chiefs (160 bpm)  
'I Predict a Riot' - Kaiser Chiefs (158 bpm)  
'Never Miss a Beat' - Kaiser Chiefs (156 bpm)  

I'm interested in this result. These are fine songs, but not ones that jump into my head when I think "loud"... Fell in Love with a Girl by The White Stripes is what I would have chosen. It has been my ringtone for many years, and I jam to it that time my phone rings every few months. The script-suggested one was also by The White Stripes, so it mustn't be too far wrong?

I wish that song was longer.


That was interesting! I've been reminded of some good songs, and I always enjoy playing with data, so it was a win-win. The programmatic answers seem to be skewed by my tastes a year ago; there's an abundance of rock in there, while lately I've been into a wider variety of genres. That was expected.

I look forward to continuing this exercise in the future, but it takes a while, so I'll have to stop here.

Feelin' so bohemian like you,


(The picture accompanying this post is a screenshot of some lads a-jammin' in the Bohemian Like You music video)

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