Wednesday, June 18, 2008

web 2 assignment - my turn at pandora

I heard about pandora last year from my intern at the studio, he thought I should check it out, and I didn't have time, but my curiousity was peaked in class recently.

I've tried three stations with varying levels of popularity of the initial band I entered. The popularity of that initial artist really had an effect on the overall success of the computers choices in the station.

I started with Snow Patrol - an Irish band who has an urgent combination of beautiful melodies (and a great accent) and jagged guitars and drum loops (mixed with classic Irish jangly guitars ala U2). This band has risen to popularity in the US initially through use in indie films but have had two breakout albums in recent years with significant radio play. Here's the playlist that I got off of Snow Patrol:
1) Snow Patrol - great first song choice
2) Keane - didn't surprise me that they were listed, all my friends and my sister keep suggesting them to me and I just don't like them (even though on the surface I should). I think the computer picked this for the same reasons that my friends do, but they are missing the intangibles that cause me to like a band - thumbs down
3) Snow Patrol - I didn't actually know this song, from a rarity or B-side I think
4) The Fray - obvious choice by the computer, but a good band
5) The Bloc Party - never heard of them - not polished enough (even rough and disjointed can be polished - ala Sonic Youth - these guys just aren't there yet) - thumbs down
6) U2 - yuck - I respect them greatly - love the guitar work - but can't stand the songs - thumbs down
7) coldplay - obvious choice - but okay
8) Snow Patrol - great song, single from most recent album
Overall Station success: 7/10 (good stylistic similarity, missing the intangibles)

Station 2 - Matthew Good Band (relatively unknown in US - currently broken up too)
1) Matthew Good Band - great first song choice (they're a canadian band who was popular in the late 90s but very few know about them state side)
2) Foo Fighters - love love love dave grohl (he and I swapped hair styles for many years - I'd start a trend, he'd copy and vice versa - he's one of my idols!)
3) Splender - never heard of them (but recognized the song), but definitely part of the early 90s sound - but pretty generic - it'll stay in the lineup I think
4) Weezer - great, but very different mood than Matthew Good Band (what's the computer thinking here? is it just looking at the year, i know they say they don't but the last couple selections sort of point that way) - not very stylistic or emotionally similar to MGB
5) Matthew Good Band - great great song
6) Red Hot Chili Peppers - they were respectable in the early/mid 90s but are terrible since. This is one of their worst albums - they also are 180 degrees opposite the emotion or lyrical point of MGB - poor choice by computer - thumbs down
7) Weezer - again - good band, wierd combo with MGB
Overall Station success: 4/10 - some bad bands, no stylistic or emotional similarity

Station 3 - Paramore (currently very popular)
1) Paramore - good starting song
2) The Veronicas - good, unexpected follow up
3) Cartel - good
4) Everlife - good enough if a little bland (they're a disney band I think) - i'll keep for now
5) Paramore - good song, 2nd single from the 2nd album
6) Anberlin - AWESOME to include this in a Paramore station! GOOD JOB computer
7) Yellow Card - makes sense to include them in this group
8) the used - very good selection
9) everlife - again already, maybe not so good, i'll dump them
10) Flyleaf - nice thought - a little bland but very acceptable - love girl fronted hard rock!
11) Fall Out Boy - obvious choice for this station, but acceptable
12) Just surrender - never heard of them, but okay, not great, but okay
Overall Station Success - 9.5/10 (good selection of bands, close stylistically and emotionally)

So it seems that the popularity of the band and the recentness of the band are both factors in the success of the station. Matthew Good Band is unpopular and old compared to Paramore and Snow Patrol. But I very much like pandora!

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