As promised, I have put together a new list of my Top 777 Songs. This is a music blogging project I originally carried out in 2005 and posted over on LiveJournal (remember LiveJournal?). As it’s been over 10 years since I created that chart, I thought it might be fun to do it again (my definition of ‘fun’ is potentially a little odd). I started putting the shortlist of songs together towards the end of last year, so it’s been quite a lot of work to just get it to this point where I’m able to actually start the blogging. Before starting the countdown, however, I thought a little intro post would be useful, just to give a bit of detail about what exactly this mammoth project is and how it’s all going to work. And to hopefully answer any questions anyone might have about it (though if you do have any other questions, please feel free to ask!).
Why 777 songs?
I’ve already been asked this by a few people and it’s a fair question. It does seem a fairly arbitrary number. As I explained it back in 2005:
“I know the number’s slightly random but basically what I did was go through all the songs on my winamp playlist (on the assumption that I can’t like a song much if it’s not even on there!) and for each artist I chose any tracks I felt worthy of being on such a list. I didn’t choose *all* songs by any artist and for some artists I didn’t choose any songs. Anyway, I got to the end, counted them all up and there were 777!”
This time around I went through the same kind of process in order to get my shortlist together, but as this resulted in 919 songs, I then cut that list down to my favourite 777, as specifically wanted to use the same number as last time. As I did this shortlisting towards the end of last year (and just into the start of this year, I think), it means that there aren’t any songs from 2016 on the list. Although it’s probably a little soon to consider any of those as absolute favourites anyway (as much as I’ve been enjoying the new Suede album).
Are you saying these are the best 777 songs in the world?
No. Not at all. How arrogant would that be? I’m just saying they’re my 777 personal favourites, as of this moment in time. My taste is very much subjective and hopefully fairly unique. When putting together my previous chart I did try to include some degree of objectivity, but this time around I decided that was a ridiculous thing to try and do with music, so have been as subjective and personal as possible. Emotional connections and sentimentality play a large part in the ranking. This is likely to lead to a lot of people thinking I’m ridiculous for ranking certain songs so low (or not at all) and other ones so high, but surely this is the joy of music. If you all agreed with me, what would be the point?
Is this a definitive list of your 777 favourite songs?
Well, as much as it’s possible to be! Ranking that number of songs is rather on the difficult side anyway, but when you’re also prone to change your mind a little, depending on the mood you’re in, it’s never going to be ‘definitive’ in any way. A lot of the bottom 300 or so could easily be shuffled around without it making a huge amount of difference. Ditto the middle 300 or so. The ones nearest the top are probably the most definite in terms of ranking. Though again, these things can change quite easily. As is probably evident from this next question…
How different is the chart to when you did it originally in 2005?
One of my main motivations for doing this again was to see how much my tastes had changed and how many new songs had become favourites in the past 10 years. I’ll often describe myself as living in the ’90s musically, as that’s when a large proportion of my favourite bands were around, and I do tend to be loyal to those bands and listen to their music rather regularly. However, only 369 of the 777 songs on the chart are ones that were on there previously. Over half are new entries! That was more than I was expecting. Not that all of the new entries are songs released since 2005! I’ve not run stats on the release dates of the songs, but I’m fairly sure there’s still a decent proportion of ’90s songs. Just some slightly different ones to those I liked best previously!
What can I expect from the blog entries?
More than you got last time, that’s for sure. I previously just counted the songs down in batches of 10 – generally writing very brief statements about the songs and occasionally including a favourite lyric or something. This time I’ll still be counting down in batches of 10 (excluding the first batch of 7!) and will of course still be writing something about each of the songs. In some cases this might still be very brief, but I’ll at least try to include a bit more detail. I’ll be including which album/single the songs are taken from, plus I’ll show if it’s a new entry to the chart or one that was there in 2005 (plus if it’s climbed or fallen from its original chart placing). I’ll also include a lyric from each song; not necessarily my favourite lyric, but one that I feel encapsulates the song in some way. The biggest change though is that I’m going to help encourage people to actually listen to the songs! Novel eh? Where possible I’ll embed a YouTube clip or such like, so if you just want to check out a one-off track, you can do. However I’ll also be putting together a Mixcloud mix of all 10 of the songs posted (or 7 in the case of the first post) so you can just stick that on and check out all of the tracks in one go. I’ve got no notion as to how many people are actually likely to do this, but I’d hope at least a few people will check out a decent number of the songs. As much as I enjoy creating charts and counting down songs for the fun of it – it’s a lot more satisfying if I can also introduce people to some music they’ve never heard before (and will hopefully enjoy!). If even just 1 person finds 1 new favourite song as a result of this, it’ll have totally been worth it.