Thursday, October 18, 2012

Two decades of Number One Singles. And a broken foot.

Update on the foot: I have a new shoe thingy that's supposed to take pressure off my toe but I don't think it does. My other foot and knee are feeling the pressure, as well as my hands. Two weeks on crutches is not advisable, for those of you who were thinking you might try it. Four weeks to go, I guess...

I mentioned last week that I'd worked my way through all the number one singles since the year I was born. It was an educational experience. In the first few years, I didn't recognise too many of the songs, and was somewhat horrified by a few (there was actually a number one that included rap and yodelling). I made rules: I was not allowed to skip any if they were terrible, but if I couldn't find a particular song I could listen to a different version or skip it. If a song came up twice, i only had to listen to it once (this was especially good with things like Crazy Frog).

It was interesting to slowly move through the years and come to a point at which I began to recognise a lot of the songs, or be able to link them to a certain event in my life - a dance concert, a school disco, playing cassettes in the car. Music is very good at capturing the feeling of a particular time, and listening was like taking a journey through my life.

I was surprised at how some songs hadn't dated at all, and how others were so clearly from a particular era (eighties/early nineties) that it made me cringe. I found one song that I really like except for one repeated line in the chorus, which marks it as a product of the early nineties. They should rerelease it, without that bit. Am I conditioned to dislike songs that came out before I was properly listening to music, or is the music just bad? I'm not sure.

Closer to the present day, I found myself astonished at how many years had passed since a particular song was number one. Time should not move so quickly. You could also see the rise of particular types of music, and I enjoyed things like listening to Cher's first artistic use of auto tune, and then hearing all the number one songs that have used it in the last ten years.

Some of the music was bad, as number ones sometimes seem to be. Some of it was pretty good. The whole thing took me about a week and a half, and I'm not sure I'd do it again, but it was a good experience. Maybe I'll go through all the number two singles that weren't number ones next, though that might be harder to figure out.

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