16 December, 2007

Pandora radio from the Music Genome Project

It is said that music truly is the universal language; perhaps there is truth to this statement because music is both mathematical (and we all know math to be a universal language) and emotional at the same time.

Case in point: I was listening a new station on Pandora.com (clicking on this link brings you to my profile page on Pandora). Pandora is the free Internet radio service where

  • you can create your own station by naming just one/song artist, and Pandora will use the Music Genome Project to discover related works that it think you might like,
  • you can vote individuals songs and artists into/out of your stations,
  • you can create an unlimited number of stations,
  • you can share your stations with your friends and the rest of the world,
  • you can see who else is listening to any particular song/artist at the moment,
  • you can get information about the currently playing song/artist/album with one simple click,
  • while Pandora goes about playing new content it thinks you might like, you can purchase the song from iTunes or Amazon.com, as it's playing, right from the Pandora interface), and
  • where you can do all of the above completely free of charge (except for purchasing the music from iTunes or Amazon)

I called my new station "The Crooners Station." As you may have guessed, I set up the station to play all of the great oldies from the greatest Crooners--both male and female--that America had to offer: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Billie Holiday, and Bette Midler.

So I was pleasantly surprised when my new station played Barbra Streisand's People. I haven't heard this song in such a long time and, as always is the case with Babs, it was sung with such flawless execution and heartfelt emotion that I'm glad I wasn't in public because I was basically falling apart at the seams, overwrought with emotion. And how great is a radio station where you tell it that you like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Billie Holiday, and Bette Midler, and it's able to determine that there's a good chance you'll like Barbra Streisand, Fred Astaire, Perry Como, Ella Fitzgerald, and Peggy Lee?

This is one of the many songs that's able to do this to me and it got me to thinking: are there any songs out there that hold a significant emotional value for you? Over songs do you end up coming apart at the seams? Post a comment and let me know which music takes you on that emotional rollercoaster we all so desperately want to avoid 99% of the time.

And as I'm writing this, another of Babs' songs is coming on that's bringing tears to my ears (I just made that up--whaddya think, tears for your ears?): Somewhere (Live from her The Concert - Act 1 double- CD set. And what was just as moving as Babs' singing was the statement that she made reflecting her views on diversity and equality (how the world would be such a boring place if we were all the same, how we should all embrace each otehr's differences but be treated equally, etc.), before she blossomed into song.

So head on over and give Pandora a listen; if you enjoy listening to music, I'm confident that you'll find something to suit your tastes there. And while you're there, check out my profile and see the stations I've created. And let me know if you create any stations so I can check out your musical tastes, as well!