Wednesday, August 6, 2008

You Either Shut Up or Get Cut Up

Every day that I am at work, I play a game. It's called "what should I listen to while I work?" and usually it's a dead heat between NPR, WRR and letting iTunes inevitably pick my least favorite songs from my music library repeatedly. Actually, there's problems with all of these options. NPR gets way too uppity for me sometimes. I'm not looking for Larry the Cable Guy but sometimes I just want someone on NPR to make a decent off-color joke. And I don't mean an off-color joke that somehow winds back around to America's dependence on foreign oil. I like WRR because I have a healthy love of baroque chamber music. What I don't have a healthy love of: John Philip Sousa marches, the fact that every other WRR selection seems to be a scratched CD and most importantly, the owner of Avery Air Conditioning's insistence on doing his own spots. Seriously, some things are best left to professionals.

So I occasionally get desperate enough to forage around the dark recesses of internet radio. The kind where you tell it the name of a handful of artists that you like and it thinks it can clairvoyantly make a playlist that will rock you gently 'til the clock strikes 5. Of course, it's horribly wrong. The one that provides me the most amusement is Yahoo's Launch player. Mostly because between sponsored ads and label-funded content shoehorned in between my selected Foreigner songs, some of the things it genuinely thinks are songs I am going to like are amazing. Amazingly wrong. And the label-paid-for Today's Hits is always nice. It's the only way I can keep my finger on the pulse. And man, the pulse is weird.

So I decided to give Launch an hour of my day today to see what it had in store for me. No skips. Hit me with your rhythm stick, so to speak:

(Now looking at my station profile, my favorite artists according to my ranking system are: Primal Scream, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, The Smiths, Dwight Yoakam, Eddie Money, Loverboy, John Foxx, New Order. I don't know if that's true but let's say that it is)

Scarlett Johanssen - "Falling Down"

Jesus. Not starting off well, Launchy. I am one of the 11 people in the world willing to admit I don't get the appeal of Tom Waits. Therefore, I certainly don't get the appeal of a mediocre actress covering Tom Waits. This was a bad idea. This is not good.

The Wombats - "Let's Dance to Joy Division"

I'm wondering if it played this because it knows I like Joy Division and New Order or because these guys are obviously the new "It" Brit band who probably all look like they need B12 vitamin shots? I would have probably adored this song when I was 14 and begging my mom to take me to Bills to buy import singles. It's cute enough. I guess. Meh.

Squeeze - "Cool For Cats"

Fuck. Yeah. I'm always ok with this song.

Plies - "Bust It Baby, Part 2"

First off, I thought at first that this guy's name was PILES. Which was juvenile and funny to me. But then it got FAR more juvenile and disturbing. This is one of those label-sponsored Current Hits. Now, this is "Bust It Baby, Part 2" so I can only imagine what Part 1 entailed. But as I sit here listening to this, I wonder how much further my jaw can drop. Instead of going into further details, I will just link the lyrics to this song here. Wow.

Stevie Wonder - "Part Time Lover"

I get a lot of shit from everyone I know because I don't like Stevie Wonder. Not as a person. He wears caftans a lot and that's cool with me. I like caftans too. I just don't dig his music. And you wouldn't believe the cries of injustice that go up when you say that. But guess what? I like this song. There? Happy? I'm sure it's blasphemy and this is considered his "Let Me Up (I've Had Enough)" but, well, suck it.

REO Speedwagon - "Find Your Own Way Home"

From their 2008 release of the same name. Oh dear. Oh good lord this is bad. As in "I hope there's some more Scar Jo coming up" bad.

Siouxie and the Banshees - "Cities in Dust"

(review unavailable due to the fact that Amanda spent the song's entire 3:14 duration shadow-dancing and twirling around her office with this song cranked at full volume with her door closed)

Santana - "You Just Don't Care"

You're right. I don't. Skip. Sorry.

Joe Walsh - "All Night Long"

I love Joe Walsh. You know how John McCain said he would follow bin Laden to the gates of hell? Well I would do the same to Joe Walsh only in a really positive and appreciative way. And when we got there, I would buy him taquitos for writing "Life's Been Good."

Super Furry Animals - "Herman Loves Pauline"

Obviously, this was a great choice. Pat on the back, Launchy! "Marie Curie was Polish born but French bred. HA! French bred!" Gets me every time.

The Ting Tings - "Great DJ"

If there is one thing you are not, Launch player, it is a Great DJ. This is a Current Hit. I can tell because I don't know who these people are other than maybe seeing Perez Hilton drawing cocaine trails on their faces. That and firmly believing this song will be used in an attempt to sell me a Nissan in less than a year. Yawn.

Jim Jones - "Love Me No More"

First off, does this guy not know about the Jim Jones before him? Wow. I guess if you're trying to be an edgy urban artist, it can't hurt to be associated with the guy who talked thousands of people into drinking poisoned Kool Aid.

Oh. My. God. These lyrics are insane. Seriously. "Respect my mind or respect my grind" is pretty much what I've been trying to say this whole time with this blog.

Evans Blue - "Over"

This is what the kids call "modern rock" and it's fucking atrocious. Seriously, this is the worst thing I have heard in easily a few years. I would rather listen to "Bust It Baby, Part 49" than this pile of waste. Over indeed. Game over.


Anonymous said...

I'm going to write a companion piece to this, except that I've graduated from Yahoo Launch player to is good because it plays me a bunch of bonehead southern rock a la Joe Walsh and recommends 'hot new artists' to me like the Black Crowes, while feeding me sides of Tanya Tucker, Richard Hawley, that one Edison Lighthouse song, and it's convinced at times that Paul Revere and the Raiders is my favorite band. Also it likes to suggest John Fogerty's 'Centerfield' to me about once a day, which I sometimes let play until the end depending on how much I am annoying by the UK. Get a account.

Anonymous said...

"Annoyed", not "annoying". Although I am probably very annoying to the UK with my neverending ability to crank up some Fogerty to get me through the day.

amandacobra said...

My mom, with no irony in her voice, lists Paul Revere and the Raiders as one of her all time favorite bands. Right after Meat Loaf.

I don't know if I can abandon Launch just yet. Basically, your "Centerfield" is my daily "Urgent" by Foreigner. And that's not something I can give up so easily.

DTC said... is awesome.

and paul revere was great.

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Michael Bear Lube said...

I've not heard that Piles song, but just read the lyrics and imaging it sounds exactly like the Outhere Brothers. Yes?

amandacobra said...

Yes. Very similar.

By the way, my favorite part of googling the lyrics of "Wiggle Wiggle" is this part of the song:

"Energy! (8x)"

Z said...

Have you tried Pandora? Commercial free. Also believe it or not they plan non-majorlabel artists heavily too.

As for the Ting Tings, the lead singer of the band is a Heather Locklear lookalike who sings in Cockney, wears pink tights, green tap dancing shoes, and jumps around on some Dance Dance Revolution type board/pad/thing to make electronic noises, while she's playing her guitar. take that for what it's worth.

MichaelBL said...

HAAAHAAAAA! I frgot about that!

ENERGY! Wigglewigglewigglewiggle!

My first born has a name.


Ting Tings - that's Mancunian, not Cockney, I'll have you know, sunshine.

Their album s very hit and miss, and that single is shit, but 'That's Not My Name' is a great single, kinda like 'Decepticon', but more... northern.