My office-mate has this Pandora station that he listens to every single work day. It started out as a Led Zeppelin station, which I was definitely A-OK with because I very much enjoy the Zep. There were a bunch of other classic rock staples on the station too – Grateful Dead, The Doors, Pink Floyd – all good bands that I enjoy listening to of my own accord.
Now, if you’ve been living under a rock for many years and are unfamiliar with the way Pandora works, here’s a quick run-down: you search for an artist you like and then Pandora plays you a song by that artist. You can either thumbs-up the song to tell Pandora you liked it and would like to hear more of that type of music, or you can thumbs-down it to tell Pandora it’s on the wrong track for your tastes. Pandora then uses some fancy algorithms and like, I don’t know, fucking internet gnomes with ESP to build a radio station for you based on your musical tastes / preferences. As such, it’s entirely possible to start out with a very specific genre (say, classic rock, for example) and, through thumbs up / thumbs down-ing songs, manage to make your playlist drift in some spectacularly odd directions.
Which brings me back to office-mate’s Pandora station.
Like I said, it started out as your basic classic rock station. Over time, I started to notice that a lot of the same songs were being played over and over again. That’s not uncommon with Pandora – basically, it tries to stick to what it thinks you’ll like, even if that means playing different versions of the same song over and over. We went through a phase for a while where we’d hear three versions of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” and at least two different versions of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” every day without fail. Which, while annoying to my weird OCD brain, was still bearable.
That was about six months ago. Apparently office-mate has spent the last six months thumbs-upping every Jimmy Buffett, Bob Marley, Steely Dan, and steel-drum instrumental track that Pandora has spit at him because today, I can predict with frightening accuracy at least twenty-five songs that I’ll be guaranteed to hear over the course of the seven hours we’re usually in the office together. Probably more than twenty-five if I really tried, honestly…the first twenty-five are just super easy ones I could come up with off the top of my head. On days when I don’t listen to my own music over my headphones, I end up going home with songs stuck my head that I would never willingly listen to on my own – mostly Steely Dan. I fucking detest Steely Dan.
So, this morning, after an entire weekend of not having to hear office-mate’s classic rock cum island getaway Pandora station, you can’t even imagine my annoyance at waking up to “Kid Charlemange” by STEELY NUT-SUCKING DAN running on loop in my head.
I had to sing “Bohemian Rhaphsody” to the dog just to break the cycle so that I could function again.