Friday, August 6, 2010

In which I tell you of an awesome, "new" discovery

Let me preface this by acknowledging up front that I tend to be a bit, how shall we put it?  Late to the party when it comes to the hippest, most happening, latest things.  (See? I just used the word hippest which I'm fairly sure is no longer hip.)

Well, one of the things that is a new discovery (to me) that I wanted to share with you is this little thing called Pandora Radio.  Now, I apparently had already discovered Pandora's website once before, but it didn't take the first time.  (I only know this because when I rediscovered it, it turned out I'd set up an account for myself at some previous juncture and then promptly abandoned and forgotten the website entirely.)  I re-discovered Pandora as an iPod Touch app, and have become utterly smitten.  Smitten, I tell you!

So for those of you who are as un-in-the-know as I, let me tell you what Pandora does - it is a radio station where you get to pick all the music and then it plays the songs you want for you.  But more than that, it uses the info you've given to it about songs and artists you like and then comes up with other music that is similar and plays that for you, too.  There's a thumbs-up/thumbs-down feature that helps it tailor the musical choices for your own personal stations as well.  

It is so, so cool, y'all.  I (re-)discovered Pandora a couple of months ago, when I was looking through music apps for my Touch while we were in the midst of The Great Renovation Project, Phase II - Stripping and Painting, and I immediately set up a few different stations.  First, I made an 80s station.  (Duh.)  When Hubby got too sick of All 80s Music, All the Time, I obliged him by creating a Classic Rock station.  It was really darn delightful because by putting in the names of artists I liked (and then dashing over to my iPod mid-paint-rolling to thumbs up or down a particular song), it played classic rock type songs I enjoyed (The Eagles, Steve Miller Band) and not ones I haaaaate (the Horse With No Name song, for example).

I've created a few other channels, like Old Time-y Country (the Oak Ridge Boys, Randy Travis, Dwight Yoakum, Kenny Rogers, Alabama) and the "J.J. Cazh" station (as Hubby and I nicknamed it thanks to the various Andy Samberg bits on SNL) which plays Jack Johnson, my friend Tulpen's boyfriend, Five for Fighting, Dave Matthews, the Wallflowers, and so on in that vein.


I made one more station - my Harry Connick, Jr. station.  Because I love me some Harry Connick, Jr.  Seriously love.  Have been a fan for decades (which makes me sound old, but it's technically true, so there you go).  As in, I've been a major fan since high school before When Harry Met Sally came out and he started getting really famous.  I went to the opening night of his first run on Broadway way back in 1990.  Actually, I was quite a Harry groupie in my younger years, and even met him several times.  (Nothing remarkably groupie-like ever happened, I must admit, although he did accidentally drive a remote-control car over my foot one time outside his tour bus in Syracuse.)  That was the same night he autographed this:

which I promptly had framed for an exorbitant amount of money (especially for a broke, college student, which I was at the time) and proudly hung on the walls of every college dorm room and apartment bedroom in which I lived from that moment forth until Hubby and I moved in together, when it was deemed no longer appropriate decor and thus has been living in the basement for the past 16 years.  (Sorry, Harry... if it meant you'd come and visit us - and hey, we have a piano! - then I'd totally hang it back up right this minute!)

Annnnnyhow, of course I needed a Harry Station, so I set one up toot sweet.  I added Michael Feinstein, Barry Manilow, Tony Bennett, Dean Martin, Ella Fitzgerald, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and Frank Sinatra to that station as additional artists I like, and let her rip.

And do you know what I've learned since starting that station?  What Pandora has taught me?

That I am a big Michael Bublé fan.  Huge.  Now, please note that prior to setting up my HCJr Pandora station, I only had the vaguest idea of who Michael Bublé was - he floated out there on the far periphery of my knowledge.  I had seen him on SNL, where he was funny in that skit with Jon Hamm but as we were watching SNL off the DVR, as we do 99% of the time, we fast forwarded through the musical performances.  I'd caught snippets of his songs during my daily "Five Minutes To Try and Stay Current and Hip" (dang it, should I not be saying "hip" so I sound more hip?  How about "groovy" instead?  "Fly" perhaps - or with a ph like phat?  Phly?) in which, shortly after waking up in the morning, I start out watching one of the various iterations of MTV (thanks to which I have more than a mere inkling of who Lady Gaga is, for example) but within moments, I'm back on VH1 Classic where it is always 80s videos in the morning and odds are good that instead of seeing anything new and current, I'll find videos like Take on Me or The Reflex.  Ahhhhhhhh, sweet, comfortable nostalgia.  But I digress.  My point is, every time a song I didn't immediately recognize (or, more to the point, I didn't recognize that particular rendition, since 99.9% of this station is standards), I'd look on my iPod and voila, it was Michael.

So there you go.  Pandora is so awesome it gave me a new artist to lurrrrrve.  I'm not saying it doesn't have its occasional misstep, like the time I was merrily making pad thai to the strains of my Old Time-y Country station, when sandwiched between the Gatlin Brothers and George Strait came.... I Don't Want To Miss a Thing by Aerosmith.  ?!?!?  I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm a huge Aerosmith fan, but I don't want to hear a rock power ballad in the middle of my twangin' and pickin' and harmonizin' - not that I thumbsed them down.  I mean, I couldn't do that to my beloved Aerosmith, even when they popped up on the wrong station.  So, while Pandora isn't perfect, it's a pretty awesome discovery, at least for my groovy world.

Stay tuned for further "breaking news" of new discoveries I've made, like about the horseless carriage or the light bulb............



My name is Andy. said...

Very cool. it sounds like the old Yahoo Music site... I was so upset when they changed that! After using it for 5 years it had learned ALL of my musical habits and only ever played things I loved. I'll have to check out Pandora!

My name is Andy. said...

and of's not available outside of the US.....

Creative Junkie said...

I need to get more into this because it sounds exactly like what I need. I need a station for all ABBA music.

The Empress said...

Oh,man, now even MissusSmith is more techno than me.

THis is bad...