Friday, March 4, 2016

Pandora's Weird Suggestions

Today is Vivaldi’s 338th birthday, so in honor of the occasion I am listening to my “Vivaldi” station on Pandora. You would think a station called “Vivaldi Radio” would play Baroque music, and most of the time it does, but it likes to slip Mozart in quite a bit, and sometimes it goes way into the Romantic era. Pandora is weird like that. I have a Hawaiian Roots Radio station, and it plays a lot of reggae too (I guess that's also island music), but then it will suddenly play Finnish heavy metal. What?? My most reasonable station is called “Crystal Waters Radio,” after a singer who was popular in dance clubs in the early 90’s, and it basically sticks to late 80’s and early 90’s house music. I have a salsa station that mostly plays salsa, and a flamenco station that also plays a fair bit of salsa, as well as Arabic pop music. The weirdest one was the other day, when I was listening to “Earth, Wind and Fire Radio,” which should be dedicated to 70’s funk… and then they played a terrible slow song by Firefall! What do these two groups have in common, except that they were big in the 70’s and both have “fire” in their names? Firefall is very “white” music, and very sappy, and basically nothing like funk. I downvoted that particular selection right away, and it didn’t come back, but I’d love to know how it got there in the first place. Pandora supposedly uses a formula to guess music you would like based on tempo, modality, and things like that, so why would a station dedicated to upbeat, minor key music decide to play something slow and major key? This is why it would be a disaster to have computers run things. They think they know what you are looking for, but really they don’t. Except my iPhone – I swear it is learning Irish, because when I do Duolingo on it, it often suggests the correct word for the translation. Now THAT is scary!

Famous Hat

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