139. One of Our Most Downloaded Episodes – Music Clustering


Happy Thanksgiving! While you are driving to your holiday feasts, take a listen to one of our most downloaded episodes – Music Clustering. For whatever reason, clustering of good music happens rarely. We decided to look at what years really produced consistently awesome music. We made up our own metric for “awesome.” Every year has flagship songs so what we really looked at was the second tier, the songs that surrounded the flagship songs. Listen to hear our crazy theory about music clustering. You will be surprised what years make the cut.

A.V.Club Podmass review of our Music Clustering episode:

How does one characterize a great year for music? Can it be quantified by dollars earned, records sold? Does it have more to do with the number of great artists who were working at the top of their game? Does it correspond with a previously under-appreciated genre going mainstream? On their podcast, Who Stole What?, brothers Tristan and Rory Shields offer an elegantly simple explication: the ratio of decent songs to not-so-decent songs on the radio. To illustrate their thought process, the two musicians chose four years from the past half-century—two of them great for music, two of them much less so—and took a look at the top 100 songs from that year, which they then broke down into three categories: classic songs, memorable songs, and songs that you might not even know exist. Great years, according to their theory, might only have a few true seminal hits, but are loaded with songs that are unoffensive and pleasant, if not amazing. Bad years are deserts of the forgettable, speckled with oases of quality. The year that featured the most consistently enjoyable radio-listening experience turns out to be very unexpected.

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