As we near the end of the year, all the music services are sharing their top plays, all the way from individual personal accounts to worldwide. Apple Music has highlighted their "Top Songs of 2023: Canada" and I've been listening to it over the last day or so.
There is a lot of country music, which I guess shouldn't be too big a surprise for Canada. I don't tend to go out of my way for country, but I like how country songs often have well-turned lyrics, usually telling a story and/or with some clever turns of phrase. Morgan Wallen (who I'd never heard of before) is clearly a hit machine, with nearly 1/5 of the tracks on this top 100 list. I like how he brings a bit of a hip-hop vibe to his country songs. It really struck me this time how much country music constructs a lifestyle: I'm used to nearly every song referring to trucks, sometimes by brand name, but this playthrough really underlined how many of them are specifically about drinking, especially whisky. I guess that's nothing new for country music, but as you can see from the screenshot whisk(e)y even makes it into multiple song titles.
The weirdest track though was number 32: "Pure Brown Noise - Loopable with no fade" from "White Noise for Babies". It is indeed just noise, like a radio tuned to a dead channel. I try not to look at the titles while I'm listening until at least a minute into the song, so I kept waiting for this to turn into some kind of EDM banger - but no, it was just noise. Clearly thousands of parents across the country have this track on repeat all night long to help their babies (or themselves too maybe?) get to sleep.
This is a nationwide version of the "Spotify Wrapped" lists I've seen from hipster parents who were hoping it would be only the best tracks from the coolest bands but instead it's all Raffi and counting songs. My own year-end list is cheesy EDM and equally cheesy metal, since I mostly listen to music while running.
It's interesting to see how real stats can come up with surprising results. Now I can't stop imagining a dadaist Casey Kasem enthusiastically introducing "Pure Brown Noise" on his Top 40 Countdown, followed by 2 minutes of buzzing.