Although I was excited when Pandora began to provide classical selections, I was quickly disillusioned. The biggest problem is that classical pieces don’t break down nicely into radio sound-play excerpts. When I hear a movement from a symphony, concerto, or other suite, I usually long to hear the rest. It is not equivalent to different tracks on an album. The situation seems to have improved but I find that I am spending more time on other stations on my Pandora Custom Stations list.
That’s Pink Floyd?
Occasionally it is very difficult for me to establish a genre on a Pandora station. I first learned this when I set out to create a David Bowie station. All I learned was how much David Bowie material there was that I didn’t like. I woke up to Bowie, as it were, with Ziggy Stardust. I obtained a few other albums and I Bowie perform on the Serious Moonlight Tour at the Carrier Dome. So there is a Bowie sub-genre that is what works for me. I despaired of training Pandora to find the spot for me and I haven’t visited that station in some time.
Another station worked quite differently for me. I am also a Pink Floyd fan. There is also Pink Floyd that I don’t like. I now have my station trained to play practically every version of Another Brick in the Wall they have recorded. That’s great, although I would really like more on the Distant Sound of Thunder groove.
No, the problem with my Pink Floyd station is that Pandora keeps suggesting songs by other artists that I do like but that I don’t associate with Pink Floyd at all. I can see what might be the connection, but the associations are not what puts me in a Pink Floyd state of mind. Billy Joel, Steve Perry, Tom Petty, and Genesis just don’t fit for me.
Pandora allows a selection to be moved to a different station. That was a problem. I liked these non-Pink suggestions, but I didn’t have a station that was always appropriate but I didn’t want to lose the recommendation.
Finding Classic Album Rock … My Number, at Last
So far, I have solved my problem in having Pinkness on the Pink Floyd channel with two smart moves.
First, I added some artists to my Pink Floyd station that I figured would give me more-likely Pandora Picks. The first artists that I added are Emerson, Lake & Palmer, King Crimson, and Yes. You might be starting to see my warped musical background at this point.
Secondly, and this is a terrible disclosure, I created a Classic Album Rock station. That title doesn’t work with Pandora, so I created an REO Speedwagon station (really) and renamed it to Classic Album Rock.
Pandora does a kind of training by playing a song from the selected artist. I gave "Can’t Fight This Feeling" a thumbs up.
Next, Pandora offers a different artist that has a strong genre match. I gave Boston’s "More Than a Feeling" another thumbs up.
So far I have not put one selection on the Thumbs-down list. Here is the subsequent play list that Pandora offered up:
- Huey Lewis and the News: Do You Believe in Love
- Eric Clapton: Let It Rain
- Jackson Browne: Walking Slow
- Fleetwood Mac: Monday Morning (thumbs up)
- The Open Mind: My Mind Cries
- The Kinks: You’re Lookin’ Fine
- The Rolling Stones: Wild Horses (thumbs up)
- Fleetwood Mac: Gold Dust Woman
- Cat Stevens: Wild World (Live)
- Scott McKenzie: San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers in Your Hair) (wow, really takes me back)
- Little River Band: Lonesome Loser
- Journey: Feeling That Way
- REO Speedwagon: Keep On Loving You
- Scorpions: No One Like You
- Van Halen: You Really Got Me (David Lee Roth version)
- Kansas: Carry On Wayward Son
- Boston: Peace of Mind
- Collective Soul: Shine
- The Cars: Tonight She Comes
- Queen: You’re My Bestfriend
Wow, it’s like listening to Philadelphia’s WMMR in the 60s and, later, to Brother Weez in Rochester, without the commercials and the chatter. What a win for a peaceful Sunday noon while I prepare to take my OLPC XO-1 out to play.
I wonder when I’ll hear from Foreigner and Jethro Tull. D’ya think Motown is unlikely? Heh.
I hate to confess that Pandora now has my number.