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January 09, 2006

Pandora's Box

I can't remember who first mentioned Pandora (I think it was MsKick), but for the last few weeks I've been listening to it and building a really entertaining customized "radio station" of streaming music.

I started by using Toad the Wet Sprocket as my base musical recommendation. From there, the system recommends songs that are similar in style and lets me rate whether I like or dislike them. If I give the song a thumbs down, I skip to the next recommendation and the song in question is never played again.

Over time it builds a station of songs I like based upon my ratings and bands that I have specifically added to my station (like Jimmy Eat World, the Gin Blossoms, and the Dandy Warhols). You can also add specific tracks to a "Favorite Songs" list. This is helpful because it lets me go back and remember which new artists I'm interested in exploring further.

When you click on the display for a song - the display shows the CD cover, the band name and track name - you can also access links to buy the song off of iTunes or the full release from Amazon.

To give you an idea, I'll post what songs it serves up this morning, and what I did with them:

  • Toad the Wet Sprocket (it always starts the day with Toad), "Fly From Heaven" - Thumbs up!
  • Third Eye Blind, "Jumper" - No rating, but I listened to it because I haven't heard it in awhile.
  • Weather, "All This Time" - Thumbs down.
  • The Hold Steady, "Most People are DJs" - Thumbs down, with extreme prejudice.
  • Dandy Warhols, "We Used To Be Friends" - Thumbs way up.
  • Cracker, "Movie Star" - No rating, but sang along.
  • Urge Overkill, "The Candidate" - Dismissed.
  • Robert Pollard, "I Drove a Tank" - Kicked.
  • Paris, Texas, "Cemetary City" - Thumbs down, hoping for something better soon.
  • Pavement, "Rattled By the Rush" - No rating; I like Pavement, but this song is merely OK.
  • Cracker, "Sweet Thistle Pie" - Nooooooo.
  • Jimmy Eat World, "Pain" - Thumbs up.
  • The Countdown, "Say Something" - No rating, but it was decent.
  • The Bravery, "Fearless" - *yawn*
  • Toad the Wet Sprocket, "I Think About" - Ups.
  • Vic Chestnutt, "Panic Pure" - A little too alt-country for me.
  • Joe Jackson, "Get That Girl" - No rating.
  • Fire When Ready, "The Right Hook" - Downer.
  • Wolf Colonel, "The Almond Gorilla" - I am now ready to switch to Winamp.
  • Inspiral Carpets, "Please Be Cruel" - My faith in Pandora is restored.
  • Graham Parker, "Did Everybody Just Get Old?" - WTF?
  • Sinead O' Connor, "Jealousy" - No rating.
  • Kenny Loggins, "Just Breathe" - No really, WTF???
  • Dandy Warhols, "Godless" - Big ups; Mike, this could be your theme song!
  • The Lucksmiths, "Now I'm Even Further Away" - These people sound exactly like the real Smiths.
  • Pale Fountains, "Palm of My Hand" - And these guys sound a lot like Fun Boy Three.
  • Chuck Prophet, "No Other Love" - I like this song, but I'm not going to rate it.
  • The Decemberists, "Clementine" - I've been wanting to hear these people, and now I have. The lyrics to this just made me laugh out loud.
  • Owen, "In the Morning, Before Work" - All the wimpy-boy music/plaintive wailing is starting to run together. Ha! This song just name-checked Morrissey. That tells you everything you need to know. That said, I kinda like this song. He's using a dobro, and that makes me happy.
  • Everlast, "Lonely Road" - Hell the no.
  • Travis, "Side" - Mmm, Scottish boys (second only to Irish boys).
  • Escape Club, "Walking Through Walls" - If you're going to serve me this horrid 80s band, at least give me "Wild, Wild West."
  • Archers of Loaf, "Plumb Loaf" - No rating.
  • The Black Halos, "Darkest Corners" - Loud. Gone.
  • The Replacements, "Johnny's Gonna Die" - I love the 'Mats, but this isn't one of their best songs.
  • Comet Gain, "Saturday Night Facts of Life" - Music for whiners, which we skip.
  • Urge Overkill, "Vacation In Tokyo" - Dismissed again.
  • The Calling, "When It All Falls Down" - I didn't really like this, but I listened to it.
  • The Outfield, "Closer To Me" - How dare Pandora give me a song by the Outfield that isn't the JOSIE'S ON A VACATION FAR AWAY song???
  • Alex Lloyd, "All You Need" - I really liked this one and will definitely try to find more by this guy.
  • Simple Plan, "I'm Just a Kid" - PLEASE KILL ME NOW (and here's where Pandora stopped skipping through songs I don't like - you can only do that so many times in an hour).
  • Mike Johnson, "Come Back Again" - Listened to, but not rated.
  • Big Head Todd & The Monsters, "Tangerine" - No.
  • Dandy Warhols, "Mohammed" - Way Up.
  • The Perishers, "Trouble Sleeping" - This was really, really good. I've added the CD to my Amazon favorites and will probably consider buying it after I hear more tracks.
  • Chris DeBurgh, "A Night On the River" - Um ... no.
  • Sebadoh, "Soul and Fire" - Skipped.
  • Dada, "Where You're Going" - I was talking to Rappy and didn't notice this was on.
  • 8Stops7, "Good enough" - Boring, skipped.
  • The Jayhawks, "Better Days" - Not bad!
  • Moonbabies, "Stars of Warburton" - Who the what now? And do they mean PATRICK Warburton? But whatever, I kind of liked this one too.
  • Wide Mouth Mason, "Midnight Rain" - Too country, ditched.
  • Toad the Wet Sprocket, "Way Away (live)" - *screams*
  • 16 Horsepower, "I Seen What I Saw" - I don't even know what to make of this, and I say that in a good way. Honestly, I've never heard anything like this before - it's gothic, but melodic and not really moody. I'm at a loss. Must hear more.
  • The Go-Betweens, "Here Comes a City" - Really, really good. INSANELY good, even.
  • Someone Still Loves You, Boris Yeltsin, "Anna Lee" - That's it, I give up.
I was hoping to hear my first Pandora discovery, Fretblanket's "Into the Ocean" - which I've put on my Favorites list - because I LOVE this song but cannot find it online anywhere (illegally or legally).

Posted by Highwaygirl on January 9, 2006 12:55 PM to the category Entertainment

Wow Pandora is great!

Posted by: Mikey at January 10, 2006 08:11 AM

Thanks for introducing me to Pandora. I've been listening to it all day.

Posted by: lifeonhold at January 10, 2006 09:45 PM
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