3. Pixies - Trompe le Monde
(1991) vs. 4. Pet Shop Boys - Actually (1987)
Pixies: The Rock Album. The noisiest and rockiest Pixies album pales in comparison with "Surfer Rosa" and "Doolittle," the two masterpieces of the Boston indie heroes, but nonetheless got a sound of its own and many charms, with its share of addictive melodies and their trademark sheer weirdness. "Actually" is also very good, with peaks as high as "It's a Sin." Anyway I prefer the 1990s Pet Shop Boys (my favourites songs could be "Being Boring" and "Se a vida é") to the 1980s ones. It's a sin, I know.
2. 2 Many DJ's - As Heard on Radio Soulwax Pt. 2 (2002) vs. 1. Ennio Morricone - Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo
I was tempted to vote for 2 Many DJ's, their brilliant mash-up album has been THE discovery of the game for me. The fact that it wasn't available on Spotify was finally an advantage, listening to it in an-hour sitting while looking at the visuals enhanced undoubtedly the experience. But listening again to the Morricone masterpiece I had to vote for him, his music is so unique, so imaginative and so powerful. The title theme is absolutely mythical but oh, "L'estasi dell'oro" is, ahem, pure gold.
7. The Knife - Deep Cuts
(2003) vs. 8. Paavoharju - Laulu laakson kukista (2008)
The Nordic battle of electronic vs. organic (not completely, Paavoharju had many electronic elements too). Yes, "Deep Cuts" is the album of "Heartbeats." Nobody can deny the greatness of the opening theme (although I maybe prefer –sacrilege!– the José González cover) but none of the songs that come after can match its brilliance (even if "Pass This On" with their trademark steel drums sound comes close). The ethereally weird sounds of Paavoharju are also remarkable but lose the Nordic battle.
5. Songs: Ohia - Didn't It Rain
(2002) vs. 6. Dolly Parton - Jolene (1974)
Trad vs. Alt-Country. "Didn't It Rain" is one of the last milestones of the subgenre Sadcore, "characterised by bleak lyrics, downbeat melodies and slower tempos" according to Wikipedia. There are several moments of sheer beauty throughout the album that justify my choice despite the brilliance of the Dolly Parton offering. If the choice had depended on the best song, "Jolene" (the song) would have won by a landslide, a song that it's a genre on itself (First Aid Kit built their career from it).
For this this round I haven't listened again to the whole albums but instead to the songs with more streams on Spotify enough to fill 18-20 minutes of music, so I became interested in the numbers of Spotify streams of every album. I summed up the Spotify streams and came up with the following list (the 2 Many DJ' album is not included obviously):
1 | She's So Unusual | 445.542.114
2 | Trouble Will Find Me | 277.227.446
3 | Jolene | 159.635.409
4 | Magnolia | 151.756.287
5 | Depression Cherry | 91.561.688
6 | Seven Swans | 89.008.407
7 | Speaking in Tongues | 82.857.740
8 | Deep Cuts | 71.834.901
9 | Actually | 46.107.291
10 | The Good, the Bad and the Ugly | 39.890.303
11 | Michigan | 35.826.502
12 | The Life Pursuit | 32.642.645
13 | Deltron 3030 | 31.866.726
14 | Z | 27.255.318
15 | Trompe le Monde | 21.071.455
16 | My Favorite Things | 20.503.758
17 | Hold Time | 16.575.730
18 | The Woods | 8.591.219
19 | New Magnetic Wonder | 7.118.785
20 | Mirage | 5.257.114
21 | Made in Japan | 4.522.553
22 | In Concert 1964 | 4.160.037
23 | Washing Machine | 3.788.342
24 | Fordlândia | 3.432.175
25 | One Beat | 3.096.091
26 | Ekstasis | 2.425.310
27 | Idjagieđas: In the Hand of the Night | 1.858.035
28 | Didn't It Rain | 1.814.018
29 | Velocity: Design: Comfort | 886.445
30 | Sexwitch | 874.686
31 | Laulu Laakson Kukista | 435.577
I wasn't surprised at all about the lowest ranked album (Paavoharju's) and the highest ("She's So Unusual"), album that included the song with more Spotify streams, "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" with 207,781,454 (only this song got more streams that the complete 20 last albums on the list). But there were some surprises to me (from positive to negative):
- The popularity of The National (more than 250 millions of streams!) and Dolly Parton (the song "Jolene" got more than 100 millions!).
- The (relative) high position of Talking Heads.
- The streams of "Seven Swans" almost triplicating the streams of "Michigan."
- The few streams of classic albums like "Made in Japan" (less than 5 millions), with obscure albums like the one by Apples in Stereo with more streams!
- The very low positions of the Sleater-Kinney albums ("One Beat" got little more than 3 millions).