Obsessively Scrobbling

I’m rapidly approaching 200,000 scrobbles on Last.fm. It’s currently 199,858, which will be even higher by the time I finish writing this, as I’m currently listening to music (when am I not?). That will be 200,000 scrobbles since 23 July 2005, which is a hell of a lot of music.

I think I’m going to write something about how my music taste has evolved since my teenage years. When I opened my Last.fm account in July 2005, I was currently enjoying some time off from education while I prepared to go to university in September of that year. I was a floppy haired spotty 18-year-old, who’s taste in music largely consisted of punk pop and people screaming in my ears at a volume that 37-year-old me be horrified at.

While I still enjoy a lot of that stuff, I’ve branched out to listening to pretty much anything. My quest to constantly listen to new music and new genres borders on the obsessive, but there’s so much music out there that I want to hear that I’m probably going to spend the rest of my life doing it.

I expect I’ll hit 200,000 by Friday at the latest. I’m having to keep a close eye on it as I don’t want my 200,000th scrobble to be something completely random. But, at the same time, maybe it should be completely random as that’s more natural. Or I could just stick on my most played song, which is currently The Middle by Jimmy Eat World (still an absolute banger of a song).

If you’re not on Last.fm and you listen to a lot of music, then what are you waiting for? We need to keep that site alive, so I’ll always recommend that you use it. I successfully convinced my wife, although the fact that it’s tracking the Disney baby lullabies that Alexa plays for our youngest at night isn’t exactly a great reflection of her taste in music. I’m sure she’d tell you it should be wall-to-wall Busted instead. I’ll refrain from commenting about whether that’s any better!

Songs of the Week #3 (Week of 7 August 2023)

Welcome to the triumphant return of Songs of the Week! I realised that it lasted two weeks before it looked like I packed it in, but I had a good reason to put it on hiatus as my daughter ended up in hospital for just under two weeks. I’ve been meaning to write about it here, but I can’t bring myself to put what happened into anything coherent right now. 

Having to take a break from my blog doesn’t mean that I stopped listening to music. Music is what I turn to when times are tough, and while I didn’t listen to anywhere near as much music as I normally would, I would still stick headphones in my ears when I got chance, mostly when I was walking back to my accommodation from the hospital.  

So, the tracks in this week’s playlist don’t just come from the last week. Instead, I’ve thrown in some of my most listened to, as well as some great new discoveries, to create a bumper playlist of 60 songs. 

Highlights include the latest release from Olivia Rodrigo in ages, ‘Vampire’, although she’s since released ‘bad idea right?’. One of my rules with these playlists is that I only include one track per artist a week, so ‘Vampire’ makes it in ahead of her new song as I think it’s a better song. 

I’m really loving Taking Back Sunday’s new song ‘The One’. It’s quite different to their older stuff, but, like me, the band has matured and so has their sound. It’s great to see bands that were a big part of my youth still going strong, so I’m looking forward to seeing what else Taking Back Sunday has in store. 

Three bands to feature this week that seemingly came out of nowhere (although I’m wrong, of course, as this blog post points out about Picture Parlour and laments people using the term ‘industry plants’, a term that has been levelled at two of the bands I’m about to mention here) are FIZZ, with the infectious as fuck ‘High in Brighton’, the apparent ‘next Wet Leg’ The Last Dinner Party, with ‘Sinner’, and the aforementioned Picture Parlour with ‘Norwegian Wood’. The last one is my favourite, with raw, scratchy vocals that transport you straight into a rocky dive bar and it reminds me a bit of Courtney Love’s Hole. I’m really looking forward to seeing what all three bands do next.  

Speaking of rocky as fuck songs, be sure to check out ‘HAMMS IN A GLASS’ by Winona Fighter. Other highlights include ‘Spiral City’ by CARR, new track ‘Drag Me Down’ by Loveless (which I’ve recently really got into, listening to both of their albums recently), ‘Every Night’ by Flor (another band whose albums I’ve been devouring, but this track is an absolute banger!), and ‘Lights Out’ by the brilliantly named Teen Jesus and The Jean Teasers. 

That’s it for this week. Check out the full playlist below and, as always, you can check this month’s ongoing playlist by clicking here. I’m pretty sure the schedule will be back to normal next time, so have a great music-filled week until then! 

Want me to check out your music for possible inclusion in one of my weekly playlists? Please email me at tmulrooney AT gmail DOT com. Please include a Spotify link to your track. 

  1. Lost Cause – Jules Paymer
  2. Vampire – Olivia Rodrigo
  3. Sour – Echosmith
  4. High In Brighton – FIZZ
  5. The Cheaters guide To The Galaxy – Warwick Smith
  6. The One – Taking Back Sunday
  7. Give Me My Halo – YONAKA
  8. Summer of Luv (feat. Unknown Mortal Orchestra) – Portugal. The Man, Unknown Mortal Orchestra
  9. St. Girlfriend – Games We Play
  10. Dummy – The Regrettes
  11. Bad Actors – The Menzingers
  12. The Time Of Year Always – Crawlers
  13. Firestarter – SUMR, Siamese
  14. Like an Animal – Piqued Jacks
  15. Rattlesnake Heartbreak – Miniature Tigers
  17. Push It Down – L Devine
  18. On My Way – Dazy
  19. Unwritten – Settle Your Scores
  20. Indecent – Maggie Miles
  21. Fuck Around Phase – Housewife
  22. Lights Out – Teen Jesus and the Jean Teasers
  23. The Implication – Parrotfish
  24. $wing – FEVER 333
  25. BOOM – Cassyette
  26. Tomorrow Is Closed – Nothing But Thieves
  27. delirious – swim school
  28. Heaven Without You – KID BRUNSWICK
  29. Honda Civic – Lauran Hibberd
  30. I Gotta Feeling – STONE
  31. Electric Touch (feat. Fall Out Boy) (Taylor’s Version) – Taylor Swift, Fall Out Boy
  32. Think of Us Kissing – Hamish Hawk
  33. Stand Anthem – Beverly Glenn-Copeland
  34. Can You Get To That – Funkadelic
  35. Bloomsday – Samantha Crain
  36. Just Like Heaven – Hannah Peel
  37. Setting Sun – Howling Bells
  38. Clemency – Emma Pollock
  39. Norwegian Wood – Picture Parlour
  40. In My Head – NewDad
  41. Weekend – Body Type
  42. What’s The Point In Life – Coach Party
  43. HAMMS IN A GLASS – Winona Fighter
  44. Consciousness – JonoJono
  45. Rather B Dead – Middle Part
  46. Who’s Laughing Now – DURRY
  47. Spiral City – CARR
  48. Get Up Kid – Thirty Seconds To Mars
  49. Do You Wanna Talk – Wild Horse
  50. I Know I Know – Vistas
  51. Remember All The Girls – The Sherlocks
  52. Woman Of The Year – The View
  53. Strawberry Woman – Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
  54. Every Night – flor
  55. Sinner – The Last Dinner Party
  56. Classics – Moon Taxi
  57. How Does It Feel – Tom Grennan
  58. Might Love Myself – Beartooth
  59. Modern Day – BLOXX
  60. Drag Me Down – Loveless

Songs of the Week #2 (Week of 12 June 2023)

This week I’ve mostly been on the hunt for artists that I’ve never listened to. This is one of the reasons I love the stat tracking music website last.fm (check out my profile here) as I can instantly look-up the artist and see if I’ve ever listened to them before. While I can’t guarantee I’ve never heard them while out in public or at a party, I can assume that most of the artists I’ve listened to are included in my last.fm profile.

I’ve been tracking what I’ve been listening to on there since 2005, and I’ve it says I’ve listened to over 16,600 artists so far. But that’s barely scratched the surface of how much music there is in the world (just look at the profile for BBC Radio 6, who is currently clocking in at over 88,000 artists). Obviously, I’ll always have my favourite musical artists that I’ll stick on when I don’t feel like hearing anything new, but I also don’t want to spend my life stuck in the same musical rut. I like to branch out and try things from all sorts of genres, so that’s why you may see a random mix of genres in every weekly playlist.

Yeah, you could say I’m a little obsessive in hunting down new music, but I’m not one to sit still when it comes to music. One day I hope to publish a post about all the ways I find new music, as there’s far more ways to discover music then you may think. With that in mind, this week I’ve mostly been doing one of the things I do to find new music, and that’s through listening to Spotify’s Fresh Finds playlists.

Fresh Finds is a Spotify brand that seeks to highlight new music from independent artists. Spotify’s thousands of editors and music experts scour blogs, social media, and go through submissions they receive, and some of them will end up on a Fresh Finds playlist. There’s a main Fresh Finds playlist that is a mix of genres, and then there’s sub-playlists like Fresh Finds Pop, Fresh Finds Indie, Fresh Finds Rock etc. The main playlist is completely refreshed every Wednesday, whereas the sub-playlists get new songs added every Wednesday, but the older ones may stick around for a month or two.

Fresh Finds is a great way to find new talent that may only have a few hundred listeners through Spotify, if that, and I’ve found some absolute gems through this initiative in the past. I’ve included quite a few on this week’s playlist, and expect more to appear on playlists in future weeks.

In addition to Fresh Finds and my regular Spotify listening, I’ve also been trying out some random artists on the likes of Bandcamp and Soundcloud. There’s a great profile on Soundcloud that I follow from a blog called Fresh On The Net. This is run by Tom Robinson, who has a show on BBC Radio 6. Each week, artists can submit their songs to The Listening Post. These are then listened to by Tom and the team, as well as anyone else who visits the blog, and voted on to create a top ten each week. The songs may end up on BBC Radio 6 too, but there’s no guarantee.

One of the new albums I checked out this week was Jessie Ware’s latest release, That! Feels Good!. I’ve only included the title track on the playlist, but the whole album is well worth listening to. It’s a catchy, pop album filled with wall-to-wall bangers.

Finally, speaking of BBC Radio 6, on Friday I was listening to the 10 June 2023 episode of The Craig Charles Funk and Soul Show on BBC Sounds. A bit of funky music is the perfect way to get that Friday feeling. So, there are a few songs from the show included on the playlist too.

Anyway, enjoy the playlist. I’ll be back with more picks next Sunday! Don’t forget, you can check out my June 2023 playlist to hear everything (at least everything that’s available on Spotify) that I’ve been loving this month.

NOTE ON LAST.FM: I mainly track my music (known as ‘scrobbling’) through last.fm’s connection to Spotify. But when I’m listening to other stuff through my laptop, such as the radio or websites like Bandcamp, I use a Chrome extension called Web Scrobbler. It doesn’t work with every website that plays music, but there are a good few hundred supported. If I hear a song in other places, I’ll sometimes use Shazam on my phone to find out what it is, which then gets automatically added to a Spotify playlist. I may then manually add it to last.fm with Open Scrobbler. But I’m not obsessive about doing that, as adding each song manually would suck up a lot of time.

  1. Off The 45 – Jo Hill
  2. His Sofa – Nieve Ella
  4. Real Life – Lanterns on the Lake
  5. Dream Girl – Baby Queen
  6. Devotion – The Pink Spiders
  7. Save Rock And Roll – Fall Out Boy, Elton John
  8. Run, Run, Run – McKinley Dixon
  9. Out In The Streets – The Bug Club
  10. Money Talks – Hallan
  11. Undo the Blue – Iraina Mancini
  12. If You Don’t Want My Love – Jalen Ngonda
  13. Haunted – Spanish Love Songs
  14. Sorry – Konyikeh
  15. Cherry – MINOE
  16. Darlin’ – Flour
  17. Analogue – Folk Bitch Trio
  18. Cheddar – petie
  19. Mommy Issues – Jules Paymer
  20. Lovely Dream – Ghost King
  21. Caroline – Banfi
  22. I’ve Loved You For So Long – The Aces
  23. Crying On The Subway – Annie Tracy
  24. Daydream in Tokyo – Lucy Gaffney
  25. 23 – Wallice
  26. Afterthought – La Rhonza
  27. That! Feels Good! – Jessie Ware
  28. Walls – The Satellite Station
  29. Cool Down My Hearts – Ella Thompson
  30. There Is A God – The Staple Singers

Songs of the Week #1 (Week of 5 June 2023)

One of my favourite things to do is to listen to music. I have it on all the time; whether I’m at work, washing the dishes, or taking a walk. I’m in a fortunate position that I have a job that allows me to listen to music all day. I think I’d be lost without this benefit, as sticking on some good tunes really helps me focus and get the best out of my day. I’m even listening to music as I write this, with Inhaler – Just to Keep You Satisfied currently blaring out of my speakers.

I also love writing, but it’s obvious from the last post being months ago that I’ve not been doing much of that lately. So, in an effort to both start writing more and share my passion for music, I’m going to start a new series in which I present my songs of the week.

I can’t promise it will be long. Sometimes it may just be a short track list and a few comments, while other times I may delve more into why I love the songs I chose. I’m going to try and pick at least 10 tracks that I loved that week. Sometimes there may be loads, sometimes there may only be a few (I’ve managed 25 this week). It really depends on how much music I’ve listened to that week. Although, at the rate I go through tracks, it will take some extenuating circumstances for me to not have enough choices that week.

The songs I pick won’t necessarily have been released that week, or even recently, although I’ll try and pick at least a few new tracks. With music streaming services apparently having over 100,000 tracks added every day (and it’s probably more now that AI generated music is flooding these services), it’s impossible to keep up. Even my Release Radar, a playlist that Spotify generates every Friday that includes new tracks from artists I follow and may be interested in, bangs out 200 tracks a week, and I can never get through it. But this is clearly a first world problem. As Jake Shears says in one of my picks this week, ‘there can never be too much music for me’.

No, the songs I pick will be a mixture of new and stuff that I’ve simply been really enjoying that week.

I’ll add these songs to a new Spotify playlist each week, which I’ll embed in every post. So, you can easily check out how great or terrible you think my taste is.

Anyway, enough blabbing, what have I picked this week?

I’m not going to talk about everything, as we’ll be here all day, but I’m going to pick out some highlights.

First up is ‘Not Strong Enough’ by the supergroup boygenius (made up Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus). The whole album (ironically called ‘the record’) is a shoe-in to be on my list of best albums released in 2023, but ‘Not Strong Enough’ is my favourite track on the album, as it’s simply sublime. The best thing about it is that all three singers have sections they sing on the song, and each sound unique but still manage to meld together perfectly to create one of the best tracks of 2023.

Speaking of new albums, May 26 wasn’t just a great day because it happens to be my birthday, but also because Arlo Parks released her new album ‘My Soft Machine’. The whole album is fantastic, but ‘Devotion’ is my pick from it. I recently started listening to Arlo Parks, thanks to Spotify’s all-knowing algorithm, and her new album shows me I made an excellent choice to hit ‘play’.

Blur released their first new single since 2015, unleashing The Narcissist, which is the first single off a forthcoming album that the band recorded in secret. I must admit that, beyond the hits that we all know, I’m not overly familiar with Blur’s discography, so I’m finding it hard to compare to older stuff. But it’s a good tune, and I’m looking forward to seeing what they do on the new album.

Bring me the Horizon released an absolute banger a few weeks back. ‘LosT’ is inspired by the emo genre, with the band saying that My Chemical Romance influenced the song. It was accompanied by an absolutely mad, but brilliant, music video. Naysayers will bemoan the fact that it sounds nothing like BMTH’s early sound, but bands evolve and BMTH have been experimenting with new sounds for ages now. I’m of the opinion that they’ve never been better than they are now, and I’m really excited for what the next album will be, especially if it includes more bangers like ‘LosT’.

If you’d told my younger self that I’d be loving the likes of Harry Styles and Jonas Brothers songs, I probably would have laughed. But these two tunes – Music For a Sushi Restaurant and Waffle House – are ear worms, and Harry Styles is putting out some fantastic music. I’m far past the point of caring about genre or how music snobs perceive a certain artist. All that matters is that I enjoy listening to it.

Probably the biggest outlier on this list is The Salmon Dance by The Chemical Brothers. I added this because it’s a) weird as hell and b) a banger. I first heard it a few weeks back on BBC Radio 6 (man, if you ever want to know how out of touch you are with music beyond the charts, listen to an hour of that station) when it was chosen as one of the Teatime Anthem’s. For some reason, I instantly fell in love with it and proceeded to play it to death over the following few days.

Finally, I’m still listening to Enter Shikari’s latest album, A Kiss for the Whole World x, quite a lot, and the title track remains one of my faves. The album got to UK number 1, a first for the band, and I’m implore you to check it out if you haven’t already. I do still prefer their previous effort, but I listened to that non-stop, so it’s going to be hard to top it.

Here’s the full list of my picks this week, followed by a Spotify embed so you can easily check it out.

  1. Not Strong Enough – boygenius
  2. So Sorry – Lola Young
  3. Labour – Paris Paloma
  4. Devotion – Arlo Parks
  5. The Narcissist – Blur
  6. Nothing Matters – The Last Dinner Party
  7. LosT – Bring Me The Horizon
  8. Music For a Sushi Restaurant- Harry Styles
  9. BLOW OUT MY CANDLE – Betty Who
  10. The Salmon Dance – The Chemical Brothers
  11. I’m sorry – lovelytheband, blackbear
  12. Too Much Music – Jake Shears
  13. How Does It Feel – Tom Grennan
  14. Waffle House – Jonas Brothers
  15. Tattoo – Loreen
  16. A Kiss for the Whole World x – Enter Shikari
  17. Mountain – Sam Ryder
  18. Bitter – Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!
  19. After Hours – Aly & AJ
  20. People pleaser – Cat Burns
  21. Mountains at Midnight – Royal Blood
  22. Overcome – Nothing But Thieves
  23. Under You – Foo Fighters
  24. Double Life – Cold War Kids
  25. Kicking Up A Fuss – BC Camplight
Songs of the Week Playlist #1 – Week of 5 May 2023

If you want to see what I’m listening to throughout the month, I maintain monthly playlists that I add my favourite tracks to as I listen. Here’s the playlist for June 2023.

Our Christmas Present Is A New Baby

The Mulrooney family meeting Father Christmas who has come on a sleigh to local streets.
Noah is quite clearly thrilled to meet Father Christmas! This is part of a mini Christmas parade that comes through our area every year. They collect money for Pendleside Hospice and hand out presents (Selection Boxes) to children. It was worth freezing our arses off!

Christmas 2022 was pretty uneventful for the Mulrooney family, which, at my age, is the way I like it. We did the usual stuff; Noah opening his presents, the Christmas day meal at the in-laws, being lazy on Boxing Day while also attempting to build Noah’s new toys. We did other stuff around it too, such as going for Christmas Eve breakfast at a local pub. Although, this turned out to be a bit of a nightmare thanks to the impatience of a three-year-old. It was standard stuff, but that’s perfect in my book. 

At the same time, Christmas this year felt unique. While we’ve spent time ensuring that Noah has a magical time, much of our focus has been on what comes after Christmas. Because, a few days from now, our new baby will have arrived.  

It’s odd knowing the exact date your baby is going to arrive, providing everything goes like clockwork. Because Alex has chosen to have a C-section, the hospital assigned us a morning slot in which to turn up. As long as we don’t get bumped down the list due to any emergencies, our baby will be into this world without Alex having to go through the stress of a natural labour (which didn’t happen with Noah either, not through lack of trying on Alex’s part). We’ve heard that a planned C-section is much calmer than the emergency C-section that happened with Noah, so we’re looking forward to the process being a lot smoother. Fingers crossed. 

Are we ready for our second child? I don’t think anyone is ever fully ready. We didn’t feel ready for our first child, but we coped and he’s a now a healthy little boy who often drives us up the wall! People keep telling me that a second child is a whole different ball game. While I’m looking forward to the challenge, I know that the job of being a parent is about to get much harder.  

Thankfully, my work has allowed me to extend my two-week paternity leave by letting me tack on two weeks annual leave so I can have four weeks off work. When you add that to the week I’ve had off for Christmas, that means I’ll be having over a month away from work.  

I wanted to do this for a few reasons. First, it’s going to be a lot harder to look after a new born when you’ve already got a three-year-old causing chaos around the house (he won’t be going back to our childminder until the second week of January). Second, Alex is going to struggle to do things while she recovers from a doctor slicing her open (she can’t drive for six weeks), so I want to be there to help as much as possible. Finally, I want to have as much time to bond with my new child as possible without the distraction of a daily job. I only had two weeks off when Noah arrived, and part of that was taken up by studying for an exam I’d been going to classes for. The plan is to be more present this time around. 

I know I’m in a fortunate position to be able to take so much time off work, and I’m super grateful to the company I work at for letting me do this. We’ll be hit on the financial side for a bit, which isn’t the most ideal situation when it feels like everything is going up in price, but we’ve worked it all out and we can get by on less for a while.  

It won’t feel real until I’ve got our new baby in my arms because, right now, I’m still a bit unaware of how much our life is going to change for the second time. I never thought we would be here again, especially after what happened the first time, but here we are. I’m over the moon about growing our little family, and so excited for what’s to come in the future. Although you may have to remind me of that when I’m attempting to survive the day on two hours sleep! 

If you want to read Alex’s thoughts on this, head over to her blog post.

The Songs Of My Life: U2 – Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of

I wouldn’t call myself a U2 fan. There are certain U2 songs that I like, but I never go out of my way to listen to them. Yet in the year 2001 – long before U2 would annoy millions of people by putting their new album on everyone’s iPhone – when I was at the tender age of 14, one of their songs came to mean a lot to me. That song was Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of.  

Released on 29 January 2001, I was the second single from U2’s tenth studio album, All That You Can’t Leave Behind. According to a Rolling Stone interview with Bono from November 2005, the song is about the suicide of his close friend Michael Hutchence, the lead singer of INXS. It’s written in the form of an argument where Bono tries to convince Hutchence that suicide is foolish. 

It’s a row between mates. You’re kinda trying to wake them up out of an idea. In my case, it’s a row I didn’t have while he was alive. I feel the biggest respect I could pay to him was not to write some stupid soppy song, so I wrote a really tough, nasty little number, slapping him around the head. And I’m sorry, but that’s how it came out of me. 

Wenner, Jann S. (3 November 2005). “Bono: The Rolling Stone Interview”. Rolling Stone. No. 986. pp. 48–67, 102–103.

As a 14-year-old, I was unaware of what the song was actually about. The original reason I fell in love with it was due to the music video released for the song. Three versions exist, and the version that I fell in love with was the original version (also known as the US version). It features an American football game where a placekicker keeps reliving a field goal he missed that would cost his team the game. The video ends with the linebacker, now a postman, as an old man. He kicks the ball and scores. 

This video captivated me and my brother. It used to play on either TMF or The Hits music channels quite a lot, and always around the same time of day. This happened to be not long after we finished school. When we got off the bus, we’d run towards our home to turn the TV on and catch it before we missed it. We’d then sit there with grins on our faces while we watched it.  

I’m not sure why we loved the video so much. Watching it back today, it’s well shot and the story it tells is relatable to us all. No, I don’t mean that we all go through missing a kick at school. But we do all go through something that went wrong that we keep playing over and over in our heads.  

The more I watched the music video and listened to the song, the more I came to connect with the lyrics. As a teenager, I suffered from social anxiety. I would repeat conversations I’d had with other people over and over in my head. I’d wish I’d said something different or been a bit more approachable. Like a lot of teenagers, I obsessed over how people perceived me, and I wanted people to like me. But my social anxiety prevented me from being the real person I wanted to be. It also meant that I could come across as unapproachable and disinterested in involving myself in social activities with others. I tried to avoid social situations because I got anxious thinking about them.

There were so many moments during my teenage years when I’d get stuck replaying the same situations over and over in my head, wishing I’d done something different. Wishing I’d talked to that girl, or wishing that I hadn’t gotten so pissed off at someone and ended up having an argument over nothing. I always seemed to be ‘stuck in a moment’ rather than forgetting about it and moving on with my life. The lyric ‘don’t say that later will be better’ was always me saying I’ll come out of my shell when I’m ready, rather than going and doing something about it right now. 

These days, I’m far better at dealing with and moving on a lot quicker than I used to. That social anxiety is still around, but it’s not half as bad as it used to be.  

This song reminds me of darker times in my life, but it’s a positive thing as I know I ended up getting through it all to achieve the great life I have today. It also reminds me of having a connection with my brother and bonding over something we both enjoyed. That’s why I love music. It reminds you of periods in your life and the connections you shared with others.