I love Pandora. I really do. It's like making an instant mix tape... except we don't really make mix tapes anymore, we make "playlists" but that just doesn't have the same ring. Anyway, let me just reaffirm that I enjoy and appreciate the whole Pandora thing, and we give them our money to have the fancy desktop whatsit.
That being said, when listening to my playlists, somethings I begin to wonder if Pandora is really paying attention. For instance, these things go together: OKGo, Franz Ferdinand, Death Cab, The Gorilliaz—this is acceptable. But don’t put crazy 90’s dance music in my mellow station. I don’t care that this song features a “dynamic female vocalist” or “minor key tonality.” Is it mellow? No! So don’t play it on the mellow station. Play it on the Usta-Usta station, or the Perky station, or anything else where BPM is a significant measurement. I can understand getting confused and playing The Smiths or even The Cure on my Grly Girl station, and I'll let that slide and just kindly notify Pandora that those songs belong on my Whiny Boys station. But MC Hammer in the midst of Coldplay & Travis? Honestly, that's not ok. My Bustamove station can handle the Hammer pants, so just scoot on over there and leave my soft-spoken UK boys alone, thankyouverymuch.
Besides, those little descriptions of why they're playing the song are really just an excuse to mock the magic behind Pandora. I am grateful it exists, but next time you read those things, do it in Strongbad's voice. And "many other similarities identified in the Music Genome Project" is really just a fancy way of sayind "a bunch of other stuff we couldn't be bothered to put here" and that is totally something Strongbad would say.
Plus, there needs to be something more than just Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down.
I think a scale of 1-10 would be way too complicated for me to handle, and I would spend the majority of every song weighing the consequences of picking the wrong numerical value, but I think I might be able to handle 1 to 5. Because, honestly, it's a crime that my very favoritist of songs get rated the same as songs that I just mostly enjoy. Songs I hate shouldn't have the same score as songs I just mildly dislike... although I'm awfully picky about giving a song the thumbs down sometimes. It's as if I don't want to hurt the song's feelings--or what if I like the artist, but just not that song? Will Pandora know the difference? What if I like the guitar solo in the middle, but the screetchy bridge part makes me want to donate my ears to some deserving deaf child rather than sit through it? How do I classify that with just a bi-directional thumb?
Also, the ads confuse me. Do I look like I need cat food? I mean I do, but what about my musical choices pegs me as a cat owner? Or a drinker of frappacchinos, which I’m not! Cold coffee is icky, no matter how fancy the name. Is it musicians who've been featured in Starbuck's? Is it because of my demographic information? Is there a magic combination of songs that lets the Music Genome Project know that I spend my evenings talking to my 3 cats? Was it Tori Amos plus Jason Mraz? Was it Lilly Allen following 4 Non-Blondes? I don't know. But they tried to get me to bring home Fancy Feast. I resisted the temptation, even though I was impressed at the cunning prognostications of the busy little gnomes that work around the clock to know just what ads to show my fragile, easily influenced self while listening to tunes to make the day go faster.
And the combination of products is odd—like the day that every add was for either Zaxby’s (which is awesome as a word, because it has a Z and an X… if proper names were allowed in Scrabble, this would be the word that you horded until you could play it on a triple word score, thus crushing your opponents very hopes and dreams... but I digress) or Plan B. Seriously? Listening to Muse & Queens of the Stone Age mixed with U2 somehow means I’m in for a weekend of fried chicken & copious quantities of what we delicately refer to as "married people time"? I mean…I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that as a weekend plan, that one makes me pretty happy. You know, I really like fried chicken!!