30 Day Song Challenge Solved Objectively

This is going around Instagram while we’re all in COVID19-induced lockdown, so I thought it would be fun to do, with two changes of my own.

  1. I’m too lazy to wait 30 days to do this. I’m doing it all at once.
  2. I have over 16 years of song statistics since the last time my music library was reset. Obviously that doesn’t include listens in the wild, on the radio (remember radio?), Pandora, Spotify, randomly asking Alexa for it, or what have you…but it is a significant data set.

With those things in mind, I’m going to sort my entire music library by play count, and I’m going to solve these questions as objectively as possible. I think this approach will actually create more interesting answers than if I did this the traditional way, because it will make me put things in these categories I never would otherwise.

Also: No repeats. A song being picked once disqualifies it for later.

1 – A song you like with a color in the title. La Roux – Colourless Colour

There’s a good chance that you could consider that one cheating, since it only extremely vaguely has a color in the title. I think it qualifies. If you don’t, there’s another track with only two fewer plays as of this writing in my library, that I have known and loved for far longer: Soundgarden – Fell On Black Days.

2 – A song you like with a number in the title. Madonna – 4 Minutes

That thing in the intro about the play counts forcing me to pick things I never would otherwise? Here’s one. I obviously like this song, but without the data to back it up, I never would have considered it my favorite number-based anthem.


3 – A song that reminds you of summertime. Queens of the Stone Age – Feel Good Hit of the Summer

This one, on the other hand, I couldn’t have planned better if I’d tried.


4 – A song that reminds you of someone you’d rather forget. Staind – It’s Been Awhile

Since I’m not a teenager, this one was nearly impossible to answer by any metric. Eventually I had to scroll down to a song I’ve played a total of only 21 times, the last of which was over six years ago. But it counts? I think? A song I want to forget, for a person who is irrelevant to me in all measures now.


5 – A song that needs to be played out loud. David Guetta – Turn Me On

No shame. Blast this fucker.

6 – A song that makes you want to dance. Queens of the Stone Age – Broken Box

7 – A song to drive to. Stone Temple Pilots – Trippin’ on a Hole in a Paper Heart

8 – A song about drugs or alcohol. The Crystal Method – Trip Like I Do

What songs aren’t about drugs or alcohol, really? This is a nebulous one, because I had to either keep scrolling until I found a song that was unequivocally about drugs and/or alcohol, or I had to accept the first song with a reference to drugs or alcohol in it. Neither felt ideal.

I went with the latter and skipped approximately a billion songs.

9 – A song that makes you happy. Kate Nash – Pumpkin Soup

Also no shame. I love this song. And Kate Nash. Y’all motherfuckers need to listen to more Kate Nash.


10 – A song that makes you sad: Alice in Chains – Brother

Complicated one. I’m not sure if this makes me sad or just melancholy, but it definitely qualifies.

11 – A song you never get tired of: Queens of the Stone Age – The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret

Whatever you do, don’t tell anyone.

12 – A song from your preteen years. Nirvana – Breed

No cheating on this one. I wasn’t going to merely pick the first song on the list that technically came out when I was a pre-teen. Oh no, it had to be something I was actually listening to then.

This worked out shockingly well for me.

13 – A song from the year you were born. Duran Duran – The Reflex

First: thank the gods that the Plex database stores release year so I could query on it.

Second: This also worked out very well for me.

Yeah, Metallica’s Kill ‘Em All album also came out in 1983, and Seek & Destroy was literally the next song down in the play charts, but even though Metallica is a much more important band to me personally overall…Duran Duran deserves to represent 1983 more than they do. No hating.

14 – A song you’d love to be played at your wedding. April March – Chick Habit

Since I am married, I’m going with songs that actually were played at my wedding. Like some of the above. And this one.

15 – A song you like that’s a cover by another artist. Stone Temple Pilots – Dancing Days

This is the best version of this song don’t @ me.

16 – A song that’s a classic favorite. Blondie – Call Me

Classic is a rough definition. This is one I can apply it to without caveats. It feels weird describing 90s songs as “classics” to me yet, despite the fact I know that they are by any reasonable definition.

17 – A song you’d sing a duet with someone on karaoke. Rihanna – If I Never See Your Face Again

One caveat: I’m Rihanna. Fuck Adam Levine.

Also, you may think this song is a joke answer, but as of this writing, it’s literally the fifth most-played song in my entire library:

Plex play count library

The other tracks are blurred to protect any surprises that may be coming further down this list. The play counts are blurred to protect myself.

18 – A song you like from the 70s. Jim Croce – You Don’t Mess Around With Jim

I’m not sure anyone is more surprised that this is the one that came up than me, to be honest.

19 – A song that makes you think about life. Christopher Tin – Baba Yetu

How to answer this one. Most of the music at the top of my charts reflects on my life in some way, I’m sure, but not my current situation. Is there a song that makes me think about life as a whole? My scroll wheel and I set out on a mission to find out. I almost picked Rock is Dead because rock is dead and I think about that a lot, but it seemed like cheating. So I kept scrolling.

And then there it was, with 108 play count at press time. The perfect answer.

20 – A song that has many meanings to you. Nirvana – The Man Who Sold The World

I wasn’t even sure how I could possibly answer this one until I hit this song in the list. It has unique associations across multiple eras of my life. It counts.

21 – A song you like with a person’s name in the title. Panic! at the Disco – The Ballad of Mona Lisa

This song is a banger.

22 – A song that moves you forward. Queens of the Stone Age – If Only

I’m interpreting “moves you forward” as “gets you really hyped up”, and picked accordingly.

23 – A song that you think everybody should listen to. Timbaland – Carry Out

Oh man this one was EASY. This song is so terrible it wraps around to good, back to terrible, back to good, back to terrible, and over and over again like five damn times. And the video is amazingly terribly awful badgood too. It’s pure fucking garbage. I love it. Please read the lyrics. They’re amazing. Do you like it well done? Because I do it well. I could have filled this entire list with nothing but 00s Timbaland facial expressions and it would have been fine.

24 – A song by a band you wish were still together. The Donnas – Love You ‘Till It Hurts

It was tempting to make this the highest-rated song by a band that’s broken up and be done with it, but that would have been Cobra Starship, and honestly…I think we got enough Cobra Starship in the world. As to how Cobra Starship could be the answer to this question and not already appeared above…eh keep reading. So then I thought, which of these bands could actually have created additional good music if they were still together? That list became weird. Let’s look at the eliminated ones:

  1. Cobra Starship. I think they were done.
  2. Stone Temple Pilots. More than done.
  3. The Cataracs. Not a band.

And then…ah we found one!

Yeah, I’d buy a new Donnas album sight unseen.

25 – A song you like by an artist no longer living. Stone Temple Pilots – Big Bang Baby

There’s so many to choose from here, including so many songs that are already picked above, that this could have been almost anything.

26 – A song that makes you want to fall in love. Garbage – My Lover’s Box

G36: Yo dawgs imma need an assist here. I can’t just keep scrolling until I get to a song that reminds me of Holly, that doesn’t seem like it’s in the spirit of the thing.

G16: On it.

G26: Yeah we got this.

G36: Cool thanks. Just let me know what you come up with and ship it up when you spot it okay.

G16 + G26: Done.

27 – A song that breaks your heart. Akira Yamaoka – Your Rain (RAGE MIX)

G36: Hey guys come back!

G16: All you buddy.

G26: We outta here babe.

How can this possibly break my heart, you ask? I truly considered scrolling down until I found an epic breakup song somewhere, but then I saw this, and thought…nope, it works. Silent Hill was either my favorite or second favorite video game series of all time, and it’s dead forever. I fucking love DDR, but no one cares about it anymore either. The games, the music…a time we’ll never get back. But what a good time it was while we were there. Thanks Konami.

28 – A song by an artist whose voice you love. (tie) Florence + The Machine – Howl | Garbage – Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go!)

I’m not choosing between these when they have the same play count. Florence Welch and Shirley Manson can battle it out somewhere else. Florence is probably the technical winner, but Shirley will always have my heart.

29 – A song you remember from your childhood. Fleetwood Mac – Little Lies


30 – A song that reminds you of yourself. Nine Inch Nails – Capital G

Damn right.


Honorable Mention (Day 31): Cobra Starship – You Make Me Feel…

For obvious reasons, most of the top songs by total play count in my music library got picked somewhere in this list. Strangely enough though, there was a song in the top five of total play count that never really went anywhere it felt like, and if you’d asked me before I looked at the statistics how often I played that song, I never would have even guessed it would be in the top five. So here’s to you, honorable mention song, which I apparently listen to constantly but have no emotional attachment to.