The Best Van Canto Songs According to Facebook

Yesterday, Van Canto asked their followers on Facebook to name their top 5 songs (incl. at least one cover and at least one original song). I aggregated the first 337 responses (excluding those that contain less than two songs). Here is the overall hit list (along with the number of votes):

Graph with Van Canto Song Statistics

You can find some more results below.

Continue reading ‘The Best Van Canto Songs According to Facebook’ »

The Best MTX Songs According to Facebook

About a year ago, Dr. Frank asked about the best MTX songs. He never got around to post the final results, so I compiled the frequencies for your entertainment. There were 145 songs mentioned in 211 comments. Despite this diversity, there is a clear winner:

                                   Song | Frequency 
                        more than toast |         33  
                    sackcloth and ashes |         20  
           even hitler had a girlfriend |         17  
 the history of the concept of the soul |         17  
                         ba ba ba ba ba |         15  
                         here she comes |         15  
                     tapin' up my heart |         15  
                       dumb little band |         14  
                               velveeta |         14  
                         i fell for you |         13  
     i wrote a book about rock and roll |         13  
                              king dork |         13  
              she's no rocket scientist |         13  
              ...and i will be with you |         12  
                         deep deep down |         12  
                      fucked up on life |         12  
            last time i listened to you |         12  
                         my stupid life |         12  
                         new girlfriend |         12  
                     swallow everything |         12  
  thank you (for not being one of them) |         12  
                            you you you |         12  
                       at gilman street |         11  
                           love is dead |         11  
                                semi-ok |         11  
                     she's not a flower |         11  
                     book of revelation |         10  
          with my looks and your brains |         10  
            alternative is here to stay |          9  
                           hell of dumb |          9  
i love you, but you're standing on my f |          9  
                              you today |          9  
                       i believe in you |          8  
                      she's my alcatraz |          8  
  a song about a girl who went shopping |          7  
                        checkers speech |          7  
                        danny partridge |          7  
            i just wanna do it with you |          7  
         i'm like yeah but she's all no |          7  
             institutionalized misogyny |          7  
        itching powder in sleeping bags |          7  
                  now that you are gone |          7  
                  swiss army girlfriend |          7  
                       together tonight |          7  
will you still love me when i don't lov |          7  
                   i don't need you now |          6  
                                  naomi |          6  
                            psycho girl |          6  
                     that prozac moment |          6  
                        two-minute itch |          6  
                    you're the only one |          6  
                              game over |          5  
                    how'd the date end? |          5  
                            mr. ramones |          5  
            she's coming (over tonight) |          5  
                        so long, sucker |          5  
the weather is here, wish you were beau |          5  
           tomorrow is a harsh mistress |          5  
                            up and down |          5  
                     dustbin of history |          4  
                      god bless america |          4  
                      hangin' on to you |          4  
                   hello kitty menendez |          4  
                i'd do anything for you |          4  
                    love american style |          4  
          oh just have some faith in me |          4  
                           sex offender |          4  
                some foggy mountain top |          4  
                            spy vs. spy |          4  
                              two of us |          4  
            we hate all the same things |          4  
                       we're not no one |          4  
                    who needs happiness |          4  
                        dictionary girl |          3  
                          disconnection |          3  
          everybody knows you're crying |          3  
           god bless lawrence livermore |          3  
                              hey emily |          3  
                         i feel for you |          3  
                                   jill |          3  
                      lawnmower of love |          3  
                                 london |          3  
                         love manifesto |          3  
                             not guilty |          3  
                            on the team |          3  
    our love will last forever and ever |          3  
                                shining |          3  
                     somebody who cares |          3  
sorry for freaking out on the phone las |          3  
             take all the time you need |          3  
                 the end of the ramones |          3  
    the future ain't what it used to be |          3  
        there's something wrong with me |          3  
                                   zero |          3  
                        all my promises |          2  
                      another yesterday |          2  
           big strange beautiful hammer |          2  
    i don't know where dan treacy lives |          2  
         i made you and i can break you |          2  
 leave the thinking to the smart people |          2  
                       marine recruiter |          2  
                          now we are 21 |          2  
                            one big lie |          2  
                              pig latin |          2  
                              self-pity |          2  
                        somebody's song |          2  
       the girl who still lives at home |          2  
   we are the future people of tomorrow |          2  
                           we'll get by |          2  
                            wearing out |          2  
                          what is punk? |          2  
                        when i lost you |          2  
                              you alone |          2  
             a mind is a terrible thing |          1  
                   a weekend in hogboro |          1  
                        a zillion years |          1  
   are you there god? it's me, margaret |          1  
as life goes on, you get more and more  |          1  
               bitter homes and gardens |          1  
                           boredom zone |          1  
                   bridge to tarabithia |          1  
                      christine bactine |          1  
                                  crash |          1  
                                go away |          1  
          i'm in love with paula pierce |          1  
                            knock knock |          1  
                                 makeup |          1  
                                 martyr |          1  
                master of the situation |          1  
                                perhaps |          1  
                         population: us |          1  
                  reactivate your heart |          1  
                           ready set go |          1  
                     send me a postcard |          1  
                                  sheep |          1  
                                slagbag |          1  
          stephanies of the world unite |          1  
                             supersonic |          1  
                   the empty experience |          1  
                          told you once |          1  
                  two martinis from now |          1  
                 unpack your adjectives |          1  
                         viva la france |          1  
                     weekend at hogboro |          1  
                        what went wrong |          1  

And here’s some album statistics:

                                  Album |  Freqency
                           Love Is Dead |        136 
       Revenge is Sweet, and So Are You |        110 
                  Our Bodies Our Selves |        101 
    ...And the Women Who Love Them (EP) |         55 
                        Yesterday Rules |         54 
                               Alcatraz |         52 
      Night Shift at the Thrill Factory |         48 
                     Milk Milk Lemonade |         45 
               Making Things with Light |         35 
   Big Black Bugs Bleed Blue Blood (EP) |         33 
Everybody's Entitled to Their Own Opini |         17 
              The Miracle of Shame (EP) |         14 
   Show Business Is My Life (Dr. Frank) |          6 

The Dubliners According to Jutze

Last month, Barney McKenna died. He was the last surviving founding member of the Dubliners. His banjo playing on tunes like “Farewell to Ireland” helped make me discover and cherish Irish folk music in the first place. I’m certainly not the person to write a thorough history of the band. Instead, I have a remark and a song list.

The Dubliners are one of the few established bands whose studio albums have not been (re-)released on CD. There is only a vast number of compilations. A few contain full albums, but most feature what are supposed the greatest hits. I’ve begun collecting the original albums a while ago. The early works contain some of the famous songs, but I find myself liking the albums from the 70s better. Especially “Now” is a wonderful album. If you are looking for a decent compilation of Dubliners songs, I recommend you look for “20 Greatest Hits Vol. I” and “20 Greatest Hits Vol. II” as they contain most of the popular tunes as well as most of the really good songs. Some songs on there are edited, though, for unknown reasons.

Below is the list of my personal favourite songs – very subjective and somewhat intentionally leaving out the more rowdy drinking songs. Also, “The Parting Glass” (1968, from “Drinkin’ & Courtin'”) would be an equally touching closing number, but since “Louse House” is the last song on “20 Greatest Hits Vol. II” I somehow consider it the best closing track.

  1. The Rocky Road to Dublin (1964, from “The Dubliners”)
  2. Farewell to Carlingford (1975, from “Now”)
  3. The Mero (1979, from “Together Again”)
  4. The Lifeboat Mona (1975, from “Now”)
  5. The Town I Loved So Well (1973, from “Plain and Simple”)
  6. The Irish Rover (with the Pogues) (1987, from the single “The Irish Rover”)
  7. Lord of the Dance (1975, from “Now”)
  8. The Sick Note (live 1983) (1985, from “Live in Carré)
  9. The Lark in the Morning (1975, from “Now”)
  10. Donnegal Danny (1973, from “Plain and Simple”)
  11. Louse House at Kilkenny (1972, from “Double Dubliners”)

The 13 Greatest Guitar Players According to Jutze

This list is not only very subjective but also restricted to guitarists which I have seen live on stage. Eliciting a general state of awe in me (and fellow concert goers) is the main criterion for being on this list. So here are the names of some guitar players – not the fastest, not the most influential ones, but to me the most outstanding ones.

Ritchie Blackmore – a clever player, an iconic song writer, and maybe most of all a charismatic character both loved and feared. He earned his chops playing on a whole lot of singles that were produced by Joe Meek. Early on in the history of Deep Purple he co-wrote the breathtakingly beautiful chamber classic-pop hybrid “April” and contributed terrific yet tastefull licks to the final part of the trilogy. Next on, he was instrumental in inventing hard rock (as in “Speed King”, “Highway Star”, “Fireball” etc.), followed by a period of excellent albums with Rainbow. The Deep Purple reunion album “Perfect Strangers” is a personal favourite of mine that has Ritchie’s unique guitar playing all over it. And just when his career seemed to get lost in further reunions und breakups, he re-invented himself as a modern folk bard with Blackmore’s Night. I saw him live three times now, and each time has been a fest of melodies and feelings. Sure, he appears to be a moody person, but he’s also supposed to be a cunning prankster who loves to vacuum.

Mark Reale – perhaps the most underrated guitarist in heavy metal history. From inventing speed metal back in the mid 70s to the last Riot album “Immortal Soul”, his playing was always spot-on, yet in a way soulful. Sure, the man could shred. But most often he was after creating catchy hooks and awesome twin lead harmonies. His partner in crime, Mike Flyntz, is a very talented player himself, make no mistake. Still, Mark wrote so many fantastic metal songs that I’ll never get tired listening to. I saw him live twice, two spotless and kind of laid back performances.

Dave Murray – my favourite Iron Maiden guitarist. I love his tone, I love his solos, and I love almost all the songs he co-wrote. Given the dominant role of Steve Harris in the band’s song writing, a Murray writing credit always indicates an original twist on the classic maiden sound. As for Iron Maiden – they were my first metal concert and boy did they rock the Schleyerhalle back in 1993!

Yves Passarell – at least when he was with Viper. (Capital Inicial leaves me cold, sorry.) His role in the band mirrors that of Dave Murray in Maiden. His song writing contributions provided a nice change to his brother’s ideas. Most importantly, however, he is one of those few metal guitar players who really make their instrument sing. His solos were never really showing off but integral parts of the songs. The first Viper album “Soldiers of Sunrise” already contains some terrific guitar playing. Still, the real highlight came in 1992 with the song “Wasted”, which contains one of the five most impressive guitar solos I’ve ever heard in terms of passion, melody, and – yes – shredding.

Felipe Machado – might have played the solo in “Wasted”. I don’t know which of Viper’s guitarists played the solo. When I saw the band live in 1993 (Rockfabrik Ludwigsburg) both were soooo active on stage, enjoying the heck out of the gig. Their show left a lasting impression on me with its raw energy and positive drive.

Frank ArestiFates Warning sound so much better with him. Jim Matheos writes most of the songs and is an excellent guitarist. Still, I adore Frank’s playing with its inventive take on leads and note mapping on the fretboard. His playing never looks/feels crude or athletic, just astheticly pleasing. His work on the “Parallels” and “Inside Out” songs is simply stellar, if you ask me.

Alan Morse – who sometimes wears very colourful clothes. Spock’s Beard is the perfect band for him to exploit his talent. I’ve seen the band live six times by now, and yes, there were one or two gigs where he had a “mediocre” day. Then again, he completely blew out my brain (or at least my auditory and visual cortex) during the 2000 concert in Ludwigsburg (Scala). Playing without a pick, he wasn’t so much playing his instrument, but toying around with it, extracting weird sounds, strong melodies and tasty solos. I’m sure he could play the songs 100% like they are on the albums. But I suspect he just enjoys messing around with them. His passion for his instrument appears to be limitless. Too bad his solo album contained too much shredding and not enough hooks.

Mike Oldfield – a master on his own right. Few guitarists can claim to have a unique sound. Mike Oldfield not only has his personal sound, but also a number of original styles he pioneered and/or refined over the past 40 years. He’s a genius with his elaborate instrumental epics and he also wrote some of the most beautiful pop songs (“Moonlight Shadow”, “Crime of Passion”, “To France” etc.), always with some tasteful guitar leads thrown in for good measure. I also love his acoustic work, in particular the folky “Voyager” album and his most recent (all orchestral) work “Music of the Spheres”.

Brendt AllmanShadow Gallery‘s main guitarist who can shred like hell. Here, seeing him live during the band’s first tour in 2010 (18 years after their debut album!) made all the difference. Such a blast of energy! Brendt was quite sick at the gig in Essen. Still, he gave 100% and delivered a phenomenal performance.

Gary Wehrkamp – Shadow Gallery’s other guitarist (and keyboard player and part-time drummer and producer and all-around good guy). I wasn’t sure what to expect from Gary, but – as with Brendt Allman – seeing him live on stage made clear that this man has pure music flowing through his veins. His passion was obvious and his playing immaculate. I couldn’t help but feel joy at the wonderful sight of Gary juggling guitar, keyboard and singing duties with deceptive ease. I’m usually impressed when I see someone like John Petrucci on stage (first time in 1995), but Gary (and Shadow Gallery) left a deeper, more emotional mark on me.

Ron Jarzombek – a sick shredding guitarist on most of his recent releases. BUT: When he was playing with WatchTower, his technical abilities were just a skill that was used in a bigger picture. “Control and Resistance” is a masterpiece – and live on stage the band was just going crazy. I saw them back in 2000 and then again in 2010. Both times they blew my mind with their weird stage acting frency and their complex yet somehow supercool prog metal songs.

Mark Knopfler – a unique player. It’s hard not to recognize his playing whenever a Dire Straits song come on the radio. It’s something we don’t hear that often these days: a guitar that sounds like it’s being caressed, like it’s been glittering in the starlight, like it has the main role and the vocals are just some minor addition. Don’t get me wrong, I love Mark‘s singing. And he wrong a whole lot of great songs. Still, this list is about guitars, and there’s no one like Mark Knopfler. It usually takes me less than three notes to identify him.

Richard Shindell – a bit controversial. I love his songs and his voice is so intense that it’s difficult to shift my focus on his guitar skills. Said skills are impressive. Richard‘s playing often is sort of an understatement. It’s there to drive the respective song. Still, watching his fingers swirl and hearing the groove of “Stray Cow Blues”, the beauty of “Wisteria”, or his electric guitar solo take on “Reunion Hill” (on “Live at Randolph”!) just takes my breath away. Stunning!

Your Favourite Chris de Burgh Song According to Facebook

What’s your favourite Chris de Burgh song of all time?

I fed the responses into Stata, removed duplicate entries and cleaned up typos etc. – and here is the final list:

                             SONG TITLE |  VOTES
                        the lady in red |    138
                             borderline |     62
                          spanish train |     44
                in a country churchyard |     32
   carry me (like a fire in your heart) |     26
                 don't pay the ferryman |     26
             a spaceman came travelling |     25
                            missing you |     25
                  the snows of new york |     23
                  patricia the stripper |     20
             where peaceful waters flow |     19
                                 sailor |     17
                           the same sun |     17
                               crusader |     15
           go where your heart believes |     14
                             lonely sky |     13
                        separate tables |     13
                   the words i love you |     13
                   satin green shutters |     12
                        a woman's heart |     11
                            for rosanna |     11
                 the head and the heart |     11
                        high on emotion |     10
                             revolution |     10
                              the tower |     10
                      transmission ends |     10
                    diamond in the dark |      9
                       fatal hesitation |      9
        the girl with april in her eyes |      9
                      up here in heaven |      9
                  say goodbye to it all |      8
                  the last time i cried |      8
                           sailing away |      7
                    the road to freedom |      7
                          the traveller |      7
                  here is your paradise |      6
                       just a word away |      6
                         lebanese night |      6
                          natasha dance |      6
                    people of the world |      6
                          ship to shore |      6
                             the leader |      6
                               carry on |      5
                            forevermore |      5
                 i'm not scared anymore |      5
                    leather on my shoes |      5
               love of the heart divine |      5
                               songbird |      5
                            the journey |      5
                 a rainy night in paris |      4
                              discovery |      4
                           eastern wind |      4
                        everywhere i go |      4
                      fire on the water |      4
                           here for you |      4
                                hold on |      4
                           so beautiful |      4
                            the getaway |      4
                       the simple truth |      4
                   why mona lisa smiled |      4
                      always on my mind |      3
                           broken wings |      3
                                 flying |      3
                    i'm counting on you |      3
                             last night |      3
                   living on the island |      3
                    moonlight and vodka |      3
                            perfect day |      3
                           raging storm |      3
                           read my name |      3
                   something else again |      3
                 the mirror of the soul |      3
                           the storyman |      3
                           brother john |      2
                     every drop of rain |      2
                              footsteps |      2
                            have a care |      2
                      heart of darkness |      2
                       i love the night |      2
                         i'm going home |      2
            it's me and i'm ready to go |      2
                  just another poor boy |      2
                              leningrad |      2
                    love is my decision |      2
                        man on the line |      2
                          moonfleet bay |      2
                   my heart's surrender |      2
                             old friend |      2
                    one more mile to go |      2
                              one world |      2
                               pure joy |      2
                     saint peter's gate |      2
                          seven bridges |      2
                          suddenly love |      2
                           tender hands |      2
                the ballroom of romance |      2
                        the devil's eye |      2
                 the son and the father |      2
                    when i think of you |      2
                 where we will be going |      2
                you'll never walk alone |      2
                                 africa |      1
             all the love i have inside |      1
                        another rainbow |      1
                                 brazil |      1
                             by my side |      1
                    crying and laughing |      1
                              danny boy |      1
                        don't look back |      1
                  every step of the way |      1
                              goodnight |      1
                       hotel california |      1
                i'm not crying over you |      1
                        in love forever |      1
                              let it be |      1
                    much more than this |      1
                       my father's eyes |      1
                     oh my brave hearts |      1
                   old-fashioned people |      1
                      once upon in time |      1
       one word (straight to the heart) |      1
                    riding on a rainbow |      1
                        rose of england |      1
                      shadows and light |      1
             she means everything to me |      1
                               shine on |      1
                               sin city |      1
                        snow is falling |      1
                                    sos |      1
                                 spirit |      1
                   taking it to the top |      1
                  the grace of a dancer |      1
                            the painter |      1
                     the storyman theme |      1
there's a new star up in heaven tonight |      1
     there's room in this heart tonight |      1
                      this song for you |      1
                   timing is everything |      1
               two sides to every story |      1
              waiting for the hurricane |      1
what's a nice guy like you doing in a...|      1
                                  Total |    956

That’s 142 different songs! I’m surprised – in a very pleasant way – about the variety of choices: old, new, hits, epics, ballads, love, stories, history, loss, war, peace, family. I’m also surprised that “The Lady in Red” is such a clear winner. On the other end of the list you find my favourite song – or at least my favourite song title as I have never heard “What’s a Nice Guy Like You Doing in a Face Like That?” – of course, I’m glad that other fans mentioned almost all my semi-favourite songs (“Transmission Ends”! “Crusader”! “The Last Time I Cried”! “A Spaceman Came Travelling”! “The Same Sun”!).

Notes: When multiple songs were mentioned I took the first one (unless another one was clearly labelled as favourite). I deleted a couple of songs that didn’t sound like anything Chris de Burgh every performed. Another 23 people indicated that they couldn’t or wouldn’t make a decision. This list is based in the responses I could see with my account; no idea if that’s all. Oh, and here’s the album statistics:

                        album |   votes    no. of songs
               into the light |      208          10
                  the getaway |      135          10
                spanish train |      120          10
               flying colours |       61           9
          the road to freedom |       40           9
                 the storyman |       17           9
              man on the line |       40           8
                    moonfleet |       36           8
             the power of ten |       24           8
  at the end of a perfect day |       47           6
             quiet revolution |       43           6
                     crusader |       35           6
far beyond these castle walls |       21           5
                  this way up |       39           4
                 eastern wind |       29           4
         timing is everything |        9           4
             beautiful dreams |        7           4
                  footsteps 2 |        5           4
                    footsteps |        3           2
              (single tracks) |       10           5
               the love songs |       11           3
           (unreleased songs) |        3           3
                   best moves |        3           2
             spark to a flame |        9           1
        notes to planet earth |        1           1

Lektüre 2010

Nicht vergessen: Morgen bin ich von 19.15-19.30 Uhr live im Internet!

Im vergangenen Jahr las ich folgende Bücher:

  • Jonathan Sarfran Froer: Eating Animals
  • Heather Cochran: The Return of Jonah Gray
  • Henryk M. Broder: Kritik der reinen Toleranz
  • Lucy Hawking: Jaded
  • Douglas Adams: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
  • Jeanette Winterson: The Stone Gods
  • Robert Louis Stevenson: Treasure Island
  • David J. Hand: Statistics – A Very Short Introduction
  • Steve Martin: Born Standing Up
  • Robert Jordan: The Eye of the World
  • Michael Pollan: The Omnivore’s Dilemma
  • Suzanne Collins: Mockingjay
  • Maike Luhmann: Einführung in R
  • Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman: Dragons of Autumn Twilight
  • J. Scott Long: The Workflow of Data Analysis Using Stata
  • Stephanie Perkins: Anna and the French Kiss

Lektüre 2009

  • Kurt Vonnegut: Cat’s Cradle
  • John Green: An Abundance of Katherines
  • John Green: Looking for Alaska
  • Suzanne Collins: The Hunger Games
  • Dodie Smith: I Capture the Castle
  • Roger Williams: The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect
  • Trevor G. Bond & Christine M. Fox: Applying the Rasch Model: Fundamental Measurement in the Human Sciences
  • Scott Westerfeld: Uglies
  • Sven Plöger: Gute Aussichten für morgen
  • Henry David Thoreau: Walden
  • Mike Oldfield: Changeling
  • Raymond Chandler: The Lady in the Lake
  • Scott Westerfeld: Pretties
  • Suzanne Collins: Catching Fire
  • Jane Austen & Seth Grahame-Smith: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
  • Scott Westerfeld: Specials
  • Eckart von Hirschhausen: Die Leber wächst mit ihren Aufgaben
  • Edward R. Tufte: The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint: Pitching out Corrupts within
  • Ayn Rand: Three Plays
  • Oscar Wilde: Lady Windermere’s Fan
  • Henryk M. Broder: Hurra, wir kapitulieren!
  • John Green: Paper Towns
  • Vince Ebert: Denken Sie selbst! Sonst tun es andere für Sie
  • Dave Eggers: Weit gegangen
  • Elisabeth Kabatek: Laugenweckle zum Frühstück

Habe ich dieses Jahr wirklich nichts von Terry Pratchett gelesen? Das schreit nach einem Vorsatz für 2010! Erst einmal werde ich aber wohl die fünf, sechs Bücher fertiglesen, die sich hier angefangen türmen (Gibt es intelligentes Leben?, The Greatest Show on Earth, Kritik der reinen Toleranz, Nothing for Ungood, Eine Geschichte von Liebe und Finsternis, American Gods usw.). Literarische Höhepunkte für mich waren 2009 eindeutig die beiden Hunger Games-Bücher sowie Paper Towns. Meine Lieblingsalben kamen von Richard Shindell und den Ninja Dolls.

Good News and a List

John Green commented on my recent video:

Wow, this is amazingly awesome. Favorited. And yes, this totally wins a book. Message me your address. Thanks for being awesome; this made my day!

How very flattering! A great way to start my week; looks like I’ll soon have Paper Towns. Then Hank Green‘s song The List will hopefully make sense to me. Meanwhile, I made a list of all the other books I sang about. The links are mainly to Wikipedia articles, because there readers can easily switch from German to their preferred language. Funnily, most (but not all) of my very favourite books ended up at the very beginning.