What's Your Most Played Song?

What’s Your Most Played Song?


Now that we’ve finally cleared out all of those “best of” and “year end” music lists of 2011 — and good riddance! — here’s something different: most played songs. The songs that show up on your most played list aren’t necessarily the songs that defined the year for you. They can be timeless — the comfort songs you return to over and over again. Or they can reflect periods of brief, intense obsession, such as, in my case, with “My Heart is a Drummer” by Allo Darlin’, which I first listened to on a recommendation from a friend, and proceeded to play 50 times in a span of three days.

Here then, from 43 music writers, editors, critics and assorted Awl music lovers, is a behind-closed-screens look at the most played songs in their digital-music libraries, as counted on iTunes or Spotify accounts. Keep in mind: Some people use iTunes mainly at home or at the gym, which can make counts lopsided; others didn’t have much of a digital archive as they recently got new computers, cleaned out their hard drives or just prefer to listen to records and CDs. For fun, we also included links to participants’ “best of 2011”-type lists, for those who had ‘em.

Alex Balk, The Awl
“Going Home (Theme of ‘Local Hero’)” by Mark Knopfler, 16 plays

Zach Baron, The Daily
“Re: Stacks” by Bon Iver, 70 plays
The Daily: Songs of the Year

Amos Barshad, Grantland/Spin
“Trust Issues” by Drake, 52 plays
Grantland: The Year in Music

Lauren Beck, The L Magazine
“Ever Falling in Love” by Times New Viking, 54 plays
The L Magazine: The Top 25 Albums of 2011

Shirley Braha, MTV Hive
“Twelve Roses” by Beach Fossils, 48 plays
MTV Hive’s Best of 2011

August Brown, Los Angeles Times
“I’m On One” by Drake, DJ Khaled, Rick Ross & Lil Wayne, 48 plays
Los Angeles Times: Year-End Top 10 List

Dave Bry, The Awl
“Jigsaw Falling Into Place” by Radiohead, 31 plays

Tobias Carroll, Freelancer/Vol 1
“Always Returning” by Brian Eno, 109 plays
Dusted Magazine: 2011

Amanda Dobbins, New York Magazine
“Rolling in the Deep” by Adele, 1748 plays

Sasha Frere-Jones, The New Yorker
“Katy On A Mission” by Katy B/“Tangerine” by Led Zeppelin, play count n/a
The New Yorker: The Best Music of 2011: The British Singers
The New Yorker: The Best Music of 2011: The American Singers
The New Yorker: The Best Hip-Hop of 2011
The New Yorker: Lists of Lists and Endings of Endings

Adam Frucci, Splitsider
“I Was There” by the War on Drugs, 32 plays

Caryn Ganz, Spin
“’Till the World Ends” by Britney Spears, 58 plays
Spin’s 20 Best Songs of 2011

Mark Graham, VH1 Tuner
“Here’s Looking At You, Kid” by The Gaslight Anthem, 68 plays
VH1 Tuner: The Best Songs of 2011 According to Your Friendly Neighborhood VH1 Staffers

Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly
“Always See Your Face” by Love, 65 plays

Peter Holslin, San Diego City Beat
“DC Rails” by Ale Mania, 290 plays
San Diego City Beat: The best, and worst, music of 2011

Amy Phillips, Pitchfork
“Summer’s Kiss” by the Afghan Whigs, 18 plays
Pitchfork’s Staff List: The Top 100 Tracks of 2011

Amanda H. Hatfield, Brooklyn Vegan
“The Perfect Fit” by the Dresden Dolls, 52 plays


Michael Edison Hayden, GQ
“Heaven or Las Vegas” by Cocteau Twins, 42 plays

Will Hermes, Rolling Stone, author of Love Goes to Buildings on Fire
“Good Intentions Paving Company” by Joanna Newsom, 15 plays
Rolling Stone: 50 Best Singles of 2011

Hilary Hughes, The Weekly Dig
“Slight Figure of Speech” by the Avett Brothers, 286

Margo Jefferson, author of On Michael Jackson
“If You Want Me To Stay” by Sly Stone, 208 plays


Maura Johnston, Village Voice
“America’s Suitehearts” by Fall Out Boy, play count n/a
Village Voice: 47 Great Songs From 2011

Steve Kandell, Spin
“Beat It” by Michael Jackson, 57 plays
Spin’s 20 Best Songs of 2011

Frannie Kelley, NPR/The Record
“Shine Blockas” by Big Boi ft. Gucci Mane, 325 plays
NPR Music’s 100 Favorite Songs of 2011

Gerrick D. Kennedy, Los Angeles Times
“Countdown” by Beyonce, 42 plays
Los Angeles Times: Best of 2011 in local hip-hop and R&B;

Scott Lapatine, Stereogum
“Take Care” by Drake/”Snowflake” by Kate Bush, 10 plays
Stereogum’s Top 50 Albums of 2011

Rachael Maddux, Freelancer
“Rambling Man” by Laura Marling, 46 plays

Dave Mandl, The Brooklyn Rail/WFMU
“The Lonely Goatherd” from The Sound of Music, 489 plays

David Marchese, Spin
“Skinny Love” by Bon Iver, 30
Spin’s 20 Best Songs of 2011

Jane Marie, The Hairpin
“Shakey Dog” by Ghostface Killah, 123 plays


Matthew Perpetua, Fluxblog/Rolling Stone/Pitchfork
“Countdown” by Beyonce, 98 plays
Fluxblog 2011 Survey Mix

Caryn Rose, Freelance/author of B-Sides and Broken Hearts
“Bulletproof” by the Afghan Whigs, 653 plays

Alex Ross, The New Yorker
“Bocet — Lament,” recorded by Béla Bartók, from Smithsonian Folkways collection called Folk Music of Rumania, 66 plays
The New Yorker: The Best Classical Music Recordings of 2011

Doree Shafrir, Rolling Stone
“Dog Days Are Over” by Florence + the Machine, 133 plays
Rolling Stone: 50 Best Singles of 2011

Maria Sherman, Freelance/WNYU Music Director & DJ
“Collapse” by Iceage, 146 plays
WNYU 2011 Top 10 List

Hank Shteamer, Time Out New York
“Ritual” by Ghost, 10 plays
Time Out New York: The best (and worst) music of 2011

Choire Sicha, The Awl
“On Parade” by Electrelane, 110 plays

Jessica Suarez, MTV Hive
“Peripheral Visionaries” by Young Galaxy, 11
MTV Hive’s Best of 2011

Seth Colter Walls, Slate/Village Voice/Washington Post
“Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow” by Funkadelic, 100+ plays
The Awl: 100 Great (Not Best!) Songs of 2011

Chris Weingarten, Spin
“Lightweight Jammin’” by E-40, 18 plays
Spin’s 20 Best Songs of 2011

Edith Zimmerman, The Hairpin
“Dancing On My Own” by Robyn, 134 plays

Lindsay Zoladz, Pitchfork/Canonball
“Disciplinarian” by Eternal Summers, 81plays
Pitchfork’s Staff List: The Top 100 Tracks of 2011

Nadia Chaudhury’s most played song is “Good Intentions Paving Company” by Joanna Newsom with 120 play counts.