alberto music history
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alberto music history

This graph shows the history of my music taste in the last 9 and a half years (months after Spotify first launched in Spain).

What's this?

In August of 2019, I looked at almost 10 years of my music data from Spotify, and used OrganizeYourMusic to analyze my data.

  • The dots plotted represent each one of the songs I've added to any list I own. I visualized it based on the popularity of the song on the Y axis, and the number of days since I added the song on the X axis. I also plotted the "deep" values to highlight the songs that are very rare.
  • I played around with the visualizations to find trends in genres, connections and correlations between the genres and types of music that I listened to.
  • Lastly, I added 5 high level lessons about my music taste from looking at this data.

blue shows any song that's not classified under the plotted filters

red is for rock music

purple is folk

pink is songwriter music in Spanish

orange (deep) is for underground stuff

green is for neosoul and r&b

brown is flamenco

A Music History of Alberto

This graph shows the evolution over all of my music listening history. Keep in mind that I cut out the first ~700-1000 songs, which I first added but are not correctly tagged by Spotify. It's not a great loss tbh - it's mostly Linkin Park, The Offspring, Spanish rap and other early 2000s and late 1990s teen rebel music. Alas.

This is how it looks with the outlier songs included. Most of it is from the 2000s - that one orange one at the top? That'll be Take On Me!

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So this is it! Let's zoom into the correctly tagged music. We'll dissect this graph piece by piece.

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First, there was rock. As you could see in the previous graph, I started listening to a lot of rock in my teenage years. As I grew up, I progressively stopped listening to it.

Around 2013 and 2014 (2000 days or 5 years) I got back into rock big time - I came back home from a year abroad in the US and started playing guitar with my friend Pedro and my friend Pedro, who got me into lots of rock and other stuff like blues - I listened to A LOT of Clapton during this era of my rock revival.

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But what did I listen to during my rock hiatus? Lots of old shit, as you can see around the 2500 day mark. Two artists were mainly responsible for this: Van Morrison + Joaquín Sabina, whom I listened to all the time during my year abroad. I also listened to a bunch of jazz, blues and soul from the 1960s and 1970s over that time.

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Around the 1500 day mark, you can see I went crazy on the 1960s and the 1970s - a timeframe that perfectly coincides with the productive years of the Beatles - a band I was obsessed with during the last part of 2015, as you can see by how many songs I added to my playlists (which is all of their songs).

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What other trends are there? A bunch of 1970s and 1980s songs in this very last year?

That must be the effect of my Fania Records discovery! I actually had listened to some of these artists before (Rubén Blades, Joe Bataan) but I recently discovered a bunch of new ones (Willie Colón, Tito Puente, Hector Lavoe) AND realized they were all a part of the same movement! Connecting the dots and learning about their music in NYC was super cool to me and I got obsessed with it, once again (see graph below, most of them are way down because they are not popular at all!)

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Some of the groups of 1970s and 1980s dots that are spread all over the graph represent my funk music catalogue. It's actually been one of my most consistent music genres!

There are 3 stages in my funk-listening career: the first is the discovery of the classics (below), like James Brown, The Meters, Sly & the Family Stone, etc. which I listened to a long time ago (around 2012 and 2013) along with soul, motown, jazz and blues. An important observation must be made here - I did not yet play guitar or understand much about music, which greatly affected my music taste, as I was not able to distinguish different types of music that much.

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The second stage in my funk journey is much more interesting: my friend Pedro puts a guitar on my hands and I learn to play. Soon enough, he teaches me about the power of the groove. And before you knew it...

Oh shit.

My music taste will never be the same after this - I start listening to my old music, and I'm like "damn, that makes a lot of sense". I start to appreciate music way more than I had before, and I'm blown away by the groovy bass lines, tension-filled funk guitar riffs, and the drums of masters like Clyde Stubblefield. Below you can see that explosion.

Lesson #1: When I understand a genre, its defining elements and its relation to other genres, I enter a whole new listening experience
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And yet again, funk would come back into my life, as it always does, but now with more contemporary versions and artists that would evolve the exquisite grooves of Funkadelic, James Brown and other masters.

An interesting observation too is that there seems to be a negative correlation between my consumption funk and flamenco music. At any given time, I usually am listening to mostly-Spanish music (songwriters, flamenco, rumba, etc.) or mostly-US/UK music (funk, blues, R&B, neosoul, etc).

Lesson #2 - I usually have overarching music interests that last for a few months and influence my day-to-day music listening.
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Speaking of which! Here's some Neosoul and NeoR&B for good measure. It correlates perfectly with my arrival in London (pretty crazy music scene there if you ask me). Look at that graph!

Lesson #3 - I am very influenced by the music of the place that I am in
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One great example for this lesson is my time in Buenos Aires, where I start listening to cantautores (songwriters) all the time (700-1200 day mark), and mostly dominated by Jorge Drexler, which became something of a demigod for me for a long, long time.

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That summer, I went back home, and I continued listening to (now Spanish) songwriters, which took me too... flamenco!

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Flamenco was just a revelation from me, plus it added an aspect of history and anthropology that drove me crazy! I've been mildly obsessed with it every since, but you can see how the great brown stain follows my great pink stain.

Lesson #4 - When not changing my taste based on a location change (radical changes), my taste often evolves slowly and from genres that are connected to one another)

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One of the connectors between cantautor music and flamenco was the perfect hybrid that Javier Ruibal represents. You can see that my flamenco-only chart explodes around 500 days, but just wait for it...

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Check out all the red dots representing rumba, a subgenre of flamenco that Ruibal is classified under. There's a vertical line around 500-600 that's ONLY RUIBAL! I developed another musical-intellectual crush on him given how much of a musical language he's developed from traveling and living in North Africa, South of Spain and LATAM.

Lesson #5 - I become super driven to learn more about music when I'm able to connect music to history, anthropology, geography and even economics.

To conclude, I must show one of my favorite graphs: the only songs I've listened to from the following genres:

australian pop

rap catalán

old school dancehall

and... gipsy pun

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And with this, let's close this journey with my music from the last year. In the last year, I've listened to a lot of flamenco early on (after coming back home for the summer and a part of London along with lots of funk, neoR&B and afrobeat in London), and with a recent surge in indie jazz and flamenco once again (I miss home) in the last few months. This has been a fairly diverse last year!

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So there you have it! Almost 10 years of music history, resulting in my music today. A wonderful journey inspired by places, people and history! Hope this inspires you to learn more about your own journey and how you personally listen to music.

What did you think?

Would love your thoughts :)