Today I listened to the always charming This American Life podcast (where-in I learned that host Ira Glass is allegedly straight–who knew?). The episode features bits from a series of live shows that TAL did around the country in support of their companion television show, which I have never seen.
They toured with this husband-and-wife duo of an indie band called Mates of State. I liked what I heard, so I figured I’d purchase some MP3s and give them a more extended audition in my music collection. But which songs to buy?
- First stop: Wikipedia, which indicates that they have five albums, dating from 2000 to a May, 2008 release.
- Next stop, eMusic, where I’m a subscriber. eMusic only offers their first three albums. eMusic says their most popular songs are, in order, “Ha Ha”, “The Kissaway” and “Fluke”.
- To Amazon. Amazon claims to stock four albums, but one is, in fact, just an EP. Plus, they say that the 2004 album is Mates of State’s “latest release”. Clearly this is not the case. Top songs on Amazon: “Goods”, “Along for the Ride” and “Jellyman Kelly”.
- Next, the iTunes store. I don’t usually buy from them, but I figured I’d have a look. iTunes lists six albums (including the EP). Confusingly, one album is listed twice. Assuming the 2008 album isn’t out yet (though why isn’t it available for pre-order?), iTunes has the most exhaustive catalog. Most popular songs: “Goods”, “Along for the Ride” and “Fluke”.
- On YouTube, the top videos are for the songs “Fraud in the 80s”, “Get Better” and “Fluke”.
- Finally, there’s Last.fm. The most popular songs there are “Ha Ha”, “Think Long” and “Like U Crazy”.
Finally, I visited the band’s website. Why did I go here last? Because band websites are often lousy, and rarely help me to answer the question “which songs should I buy?”. I see that their forthcoming album isn’t out to May 20th, 2008. Their first single is out, though, and the video features a scooter rider in rabbit mask:
There’s clearly little consensus out there on the best three Mates of States songs. Is there a market out there for a website that just answers that question? It could be FirstThreeSongs.com. It could grab data from the above (and other) sources, and produce a reasonably definitive three song starter list for every band on the planet.
Somebody go forth and make that, please.