Everyone has a story behind their Top 25 played tracks on iTunes, with our most played track often being one that holds particular emotional significance to us. Other times, iPods were simply left on repeat in a bag overnight, amassing a whopping 8345934 plays… but we’ll ignore that shall we. Our writers have worked together to write the story of their most played songs in their iTunes library – and we’d love for you to tell us yours!
Stuck In My Teeth // Circa Waves – Hannah Woollaston
When asked ‘What it the most listened to track in your iTunes library?’ I knew straight away what mine would be. Circa Waves’ absolute belter of a track, ‘Stuck In My Teeth’, may seem like an odd choice but a good one in my opinion. It was the first track I heard from the band and they had me hooked. 30 seconds in and the lively energy reminds me of their fellow Scousers, The Wombats. The track opens with a bubbly guitar riff that continues throughout, underneath the catchy vocals which creates an optimistic vibe that flows through the song.
The track was released earlier this year in March, its B side being ‘100 Strangers’ produced by Jim Abbiss (Arctic Monkeys, Catfish and The Bottlemen). The track has also featured as Zane Lowe’s ‘Hottest Record In The World’, so for me this track is proof that in the age of over-produced dance music there is still call for a good old guitar-driven indie pop/rock song.
They’re a young band however this is only given away when listening to their lyrics, the angst of being “a little too young with not enough time”; they aren’t trying to prove themselves but are in fact saying they are blocked out or misunderstood by older generations, this only makes them more relatable.
While perhaps not being the most innovative of songs, to be honest, who cares? It’s a catchy, light-hearted, summery track. Time will tell whether there is more for this lot, but with more tracks like this one up their sleeves, be prepared to hear a lot more of them!
Back In The Game // Jamie T – Jess Readett
Well it comes as no surprise that a Jamie T track is my top most played on iTunes – my mother can attest that his début album has been the soundtrack to life in my bedroom ever since it was released 7 years ago. His track ‘Back In The Game’ has managed to bag a total of 1007 plays and accompanied me through god knows how many essays, early mornings and the whole five minutes I devote to sorting my hair/face out. I guess you could call it my ‘go to’ song and I imagine I’ll be 96 years old, armed with a Zimmer frame and still singing the lyrics down a hospice corridor – it’s timeless. Like all his work, ‘Back In The Game’ is completely raw, unpolished and uncensored (sorry mum, yes he did just swear twice in one sentence).
The reason I love it so much has to be the whole ‘thrown together in my garage 5 minutes ago’ vibe and of course them witty lyrics that are non-short of genius. Jamie’s the kind of boy you know you shouldn’t take home to your dad but hell you’re gonna anyway, he’s fresh, exciting and a total maverick. I personally think ‘Back In The Game’ has so many plays not only because it’s Jamie T’s and I love him (duh) but also because it’s about getting ‘Back In the Game’ and therefore my break up remedy. Forget Bridget Jones, Ben and Jerry’s and infinite vodka shots, everybody knows that any boy can be moved on from / ‘game re-entered’ when you are armed with an iPod and the right music taste. Thank God mine is better than my taste in boys.
Norgaard // The Vaccines – Katie Pilbeam
‘Norgaard’ comes from one of my favourite debut albums ever, ‘What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?’ and is unsurprisingly the most played song in my iTunes library. I once read an article which compared ‘What Did You Expect…’ to someone pushing a drum kit and a few guitars down a flight of stairs (someone forgot to tell them to push Justin Young down too after such a disappointing second album) to make a fantastic musical racket, and I feel ‘Norgaard’ is the song which embodies this sentiment entirely. Relentlessly energetic for the whole 1 minute and 38 seconds, it’s the song that puts me in the best mood and makes me want to dance and sing at the top of my lungs in equal measure.
Norgaard // The Vaccines – Hannah Kelleher
At only one minute and forty seconds long, no time is wasted with introductions in Norgaard. Getting straight to the point in all aspects of this masterpiece, The Vaccines prove that it’s not always obscure metaphors and complicated guitar riffs that make a great song but often just the simplest things. Many people have said that it’s not long enough but this short and sweet tune is so wonderfully catchy that it leaves you hungry for more, and in my case, so much more that it soon became the most played song in my iTunes library.
Sweet Disposition // Temper Trap – Ella Thorns
For me, The Temper Trap has always been a classic in my household. ‘Sweet Disposition’ accompanies every single possible mood, I’m never sure whether to cry or dance, which is probably why it’s playing constantly. The song represents the ups and downs in life which is incorporated into both the lyrics and music. Beginning with an upbeat tone set by the guitar, the vocals slowly ease in and the drums gradually increase the beat of the song – creating a more intense chorus.
The silence created in the stanzas further emphasises the joys and sadness in life whilst in the chorus “A moment, a love, a dream, a laugh, a kiss, a cry, our rights, our wrongs” are repeated throughout, showing their outlook in life being concentrated on pure sensations. With such lyrics, anyone can relate to these emotions and whether it means anything to you or not, it’s a great song to pick you up and prevent those days where you’re just feeling sorry for yourself and replace it with a smile.
You Only Live Once // The Strokes – Juliette Rowsell
Now, let me get one thing straight before I continue: in no way does this song endorse or even mention the phrase ‘YOLO!’ once in its 3 minutes of glory.
Instead, what The Stroke instead do in their 2006 hit is capture the very essence of society in their beautiful yet highly addictive track, with Julian Casablancas’ assertion of “some people think they’re always right / others are quiet and uptight” being relatable to exactly every single person on the planet. The Strokes have complete mastery of music throughout the song, never finding limitations within themselves, instead thoroughly dictating their guitars and drums to create a piece that grabs you from the initial guitar riff that resides throughout the song.
It is the sheer talent and mastery The Strokes display throughout ‘You Only Live Once’ that mean it made its way to the top of my ’25 most played’ playlist, having absolutely nothing to do with the fact I may have accidently once left this song playing on repeat all night on my iPod without realising. Nope, that didn’t happen at all…
Woman // The 1975 – Tori Fortuna
With 28 plays since the time I downloaded it about two weeks ago, ‘Woman’ by The 1975 has quickly reached the top of my most-played in my iTunes (which is a rather new library, but that’s beside the point). You can find me listening to it late at night, when I’ve stayed up too late again and I’m deep in thought. The song’s meaning isn’t deep – lead singer Matt Healy sings about his encounter with a prostitute as a teenager – but it means more to me. The way his voice echoes as if he were in a stadium, the quiet murky sounds accompanying the vocals; Healy sings as if this woman were filling a void in his life. It’s a lonely song that makes me feel less alone.
“You try chasing dreams / man it’s harder than it seems” are lyrics that tend to keep me grounded when I’m lost in thought. Right now life feels like it’s moving so fast, being a teenager, and a lot of the time we have the urge to grow up as fast as we can because we want to live for ourselves. There’s nothing wrong with a little waiting to grow up when you’ve got years to do so. You’ve only got a few years as a teenager so you might as well revel in it while you can.
Black Art Number One // The Ghost Of A Thousand – Dan E Brown
‘Black Art Number One’ has racked up almost 1400 plays on my iTunes since 2008 and has acted as a kind of musical touchstone for me as I’ve grown up. Exploding out of the Brighton Hardcore scene in 2007, The Ghost Of A Thousand dispensed a melodic cacophony of two to four minute jaunts of incendiary anthems, undiluted angst and dissatisfaction for a generation that was pensive and needed something new amongst the monotonous churn of cookie cutter bands emerging on the UK punk circuit.
The band has stuck with me since the early part of my teens, with my affinity towards them being down to the fact that they played at the first ever gig I attended, acting as support slot to the poster boys of 00’s rock and hardcore, Reuben. What I found alluring about TGOAT was the angular nature of their songwriting, which provided a perfectly good counterpoint to the controversial bandwagon that The Gallows was riding at the time.
‘Black Art Number One’ was the debut single from, what went onto be, TGOAT’s seminal album, This Is Where The Fight Begins. The 2 minute and 47 second slab of hardcore summed up the euphony and anarchy that the band dispensed throughout their career, and for me, acted as a starting point when it came to my personal songwriting. My understanding of drums would be nothing if I hadn’t of heard Memby Jago’s impassioned drum fills and the mindset towards riff writing, as demonstrated by guitarist Andy Blyth, has stuck with me right down to this day.
Sadly, the band split up in 2011 and thus ended an era of honest UK hardcore, but their influence has ricocheted throughout most modern punk genres and has left me thankful for the knowledge that their music gave me and indebted, knowing that I was lucky enough to see their rise and fall from start to finish.
Sex // The 1975 – Jess Jayne
It was around this time last year when I first saw and heard Sex by The 1975. What first struck my attention was the unusual but interesting music video which involved two young lovers and glimpses of the band themselves. Ever since then, I have been addicted (some may say obsessed) with the song as well as the band. However, I wouldn’t say there’s a story behind why this is my most played song besides the fact that it introduced me to this wonderful band whose music can easily brighten up my darkest days – apologies for the cheesiness!
Hey Hey Girl // The Virgins – Beth Kirkbride
Take one of The Strokes’ laid back, drawling narratives, add a dash of swagger and the catchiness of artists such as Guillemots (‘Get Over It’ especially) and Black Kids (‘I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You’ – found on an edition of ‘Now 67’ undoubtedly buried beneath your bed and covered in dust) and you’ve probably got something similar to The Virgins ‘Hey Hey Girl’.
One thing cannot be disputed – The Virgins are not a band for playlists that you listen to as you’re walking down the street. That is, of course, unless you don’t mind looking like a monumental twat as you bounce along the street, mouthing “hey hey girl / we’re the wild type”.
The song opens with a chord sequence that suggests the track might be a little slower paced… but then the drum beat kicks in and the melody resorts to sporadically punctuating the racing beat. Frontman Donald Cumming’s (unfortunate surname, eh?) vocal sounds far too husky and mature to sound like the teen existence he narrates “cheerin’ from the bleachers” but this is just about forgivable due to the cheesy tempo and relatability factor.
Having recently reset the play count on my iTunes library, ‘Hey Hey Girl’ warrants first place with only 49 plays … it’s a good track for sprinting along to on the treadmill but it’s not one you can listen to on repeat without getting a bit of a headache, I’ll admit.
Get Off My Cloud // The Rolling Stones – Alicia Carpenter
At 2,376 plays, this tune reigns over the rest. In fact, Get Off Of My Cloud has to be one of my favourite songs of all time. The spirited, rebellious lyrics ignite something in me that’s impossible to extinguish.
Mick’s charisma oozes from every sassy quip as Keith and Brian’s twin guitars interrogate the oppressors: ‘just ‘cause you feel so good do you have to drive me out of my head’? You can’t help but relish in the irresistibility of defiance; I can just imagine Charlie Watts’ drumming whacking whatever stands in the way. As with copious other Stones works, the listener is uplifted and liberated- this song never fails to invigorate.
The Rolling Stones shouted out freedom and profligacy through this piece. Get Off Of My Cloud deserves to be at the top of everyone’s list, not just mine!
Ride A White Swan // T.Rex – Mairead Redmond
I first heard this song on the soundtrack to ‘Billy Elliot’. Lately, I’ve found myself listening to it a lot again, for no particular reason. I’ve discovered that it’s a truly excellent song to wake up to-set it as your alarm if you have a particularly tedious day ahead. I like to listen to it whenever I’m walking somewhere as well; its upbeat rhythm and cheerful melody are great accompaniments to any journey.
Be Safe // The Cribs – Michael Houston
Due to a very recent transferring of my iTunes, I have lost many of my plays so my most played song is “Be Safe” by The Cribs with a colossal three plays.
My story behind Be Safe? Well I wouldn’t say there was a great one but here it is: I first heard it when I was really down and going through a stage of frustration and lack of hope about my future. The song consists mainly of a narration from Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo talking over The Cribs’ backing vocals and Lee completely overshadows the band.
It’s a very relatable song from the start “One of those fucking awful black days/When nothing is pleasing and everything that happens is an excuse for anger” to the hopeful ending lyrics: “Open all of the boxes”. I think this is important to me because this song can give you hope from death, depression, illness, divorce, sadness, jealousy and frustration amongst other things.
Happy Anniversary // Best Friends – Joe Cadman
Despite their being an abundance of Bon Jovi and Keane in my iTunes library (thanks mum and dad), this little beauty still managed to come out on top so thankfully I’m not having to write about ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ here (you’re welcome).
Instead ‘Happy Anniversary’ by Sheffield quartet Best Friends is no.1, mainly due to the fact it’s just so bloody catchy. It contains a riff that will be stuck in your head for weeks on end and a chorus of ‘everyday we’re getting older / no regrets is what I told her’ which transforms it into a great escapist anthem that you simply can’t help but dance to.
With a final flourish of sun kissed euphoria it leaves you feeling completely uplifted, hence why it is the song that is at the top of my iTunes library and ‘Somewhere Only We Know’ is nowhere to be seen.
Made of Stone // The Stone Roses – Emily Booth
‘Iconic’ is perhaps the only way to describe this song. It’s probably the most played song in my iTunes library since it’s perfect for nearly any occasion or mood you just happen to be in; great to sing along to at the top of your voice (badly in my case) or just as good to listen to whilst you get that piece of work done the day before the deadline.
‘Made of Stone’ was almost certainly the song I listened to for motivation to do copious amounts of revision for GCSE exams- not the most exciting of stories, I know, but I didn’t fail so it must have worked! Clever lyrics about loneliness paired with a memorable guitar riff makes The Stone Roses’ ‘Made of Stone’ a song everyone should listen to.