Apr 10

The Magic of Dance

If your kid (evidence only for kids <3) is acting out his/her terrible two part — there is a solution:  Queen and Michael Jackson.  My 2.5 year-old daughter asked for a few encores of “Rock You” song.  And, if you ignore the lyrics and just groove, PYT, Beat It, and Billie Jean are winners.   We jammed for a good 20-30 minutes — and she transformed back into her fun self.  I had forgotten how fun it is to break loose and dance.  I wonder what happens between the body and the mind that releases all those good vibes.

Evidence Exhibit A (weak)

Evidence Exhibit B (no science — but makes sense)

Evidence Exhibit C (getting closer):

Still, dance boosts mood more than does exercise alone. In a study at the University of London, researchers assigned patients with anxiety disorders to spend time in one of four therapeutic settings: a modern-dance class, an exercise class, a music class, or a math class. Only the dance class significantly reduced anxiety.

Evidence Exhibit D (seems like the real deal)

Mar 09

Music Trends in Tag Clouds

Last 12 Months Most Played Tracks

Last 12 Months Most Played Tracks

I’ve got a wide variation of bands in my last 12 months.  When you look across 3 years or so of data, you get a different picture — with some dominant bands/names.

3 Year Most Played Tracks

3 Year Most Played Tracks

Pictures created using wordle and last.fm.

Feb 09

Google Trends Versus Twitter Twist Trends

Both Franz Ferdinand Tonight:Franz Ferdinand and Andrew Bird Noble Beast have released new albums in the past 30 days. I started thinking about how good they are, relative to one another.

In my initial preview I found “Tonight” to be the same old Franz — in a boring way, while “Noble Bird” was the same old Andrew in a good way. I turned to Twitter and Google to see what everyone else is thinking.

First, Google shows parity in the US across the two acts in search, with Franz Ferdinand getting substantially more news hits. Oddly, the albums were released in separate weeks and search results don’t reflect this.

Andrew versus Franz

Andrew versus Franz

The most interesting distinction through Google Trends came through the location information. I started with no regional filters. Franz Ferdinand popped very high in Croatia and other seemingly odd places. I then filtered for only in the United States.

Andrew versus Franz by location

Andrew versus Franz by location

Bird crushed Franz Ferdinand in Austin, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, and Minneapolis. FF dominated Irvine, CA and LA. Not sure what that means? Bird rocks and FF doesn’t (yes I live in Chicago).

Franz versus Andrew

Franz versus Andrew

Twitterers are making more noise about Franz Ferdinand (sorry about the color swap, blue = bird in these graphs) — though in general, the tweet rate looks low. They start to look similar over the last few days.

The real metrics here are actual listens, downloads, or sales. Based on current Amazon Sales Rank, in CD format, “Tonight” ranks #36 and “Noble Beast” ranks #94. However, as an MP3 download,”Tonight” ranks #54 and “Noble Beast” dominates at #12.

I have a few tools I can use moving forward to track this stuff in more detail. Not sure what to make out of this just yet — but interesting nonetheless.

Jan 09

A New Year a New Instrument?

Source:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/bestrated1/22250347/

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bestrated1/22250347/

We were at friends for dinner this weekend.  C has multiple stringed instruments — one of which was a mountain dulcimer.  I tried tuning a banjo, unsuccessfully.  He then brought the dulcimer.  I couldn’t stop playing it.  It might be one of the few strings I can play (maybe  not master).

Jan 09

I Can’t Stop Watching

Working on the Railroad

My daughter got some little picture books for Christmas with some familiar songs and rhymes.  There is a shortened verison of “Working on the Railroad” that I’m just not sure how is supposed to be sung.  In my searches for the song I came across the above Rooftop Singers performance.  For some reason I keep playing this over and over.  The highlight — when Lynne Taylor comes in huskily for the fee fi fo part.