music — Thinking Outside the Box

If you’re older than 30 (maybe 19), music radio sucks. You have a few choices:

  • Listen to the new “music.” Good luck finding a radio station with a playlist larger than 10 songs, or that plays music. (Is my age showing?…)
  • Listen to a “classic rock” station. This isn’t without its pitfalls, though. How many times can you bear to hear Stairway to Heaven? Besides, isn’t there any good new music?
  • Subscribe to satellite radio. Actually, I don’t know if this is any good. I would hope so, with the number of stations. I have a hard time paying a subscription for something that should be free. I don’t even have cable. Why would I pay for radio?
  • Find an internet radio station. But where to start?

Here’s where: Pandora. Based on the Music Genome Project, it classifies music according to hundreds of attributes. You create a music station by selecting an artist or song. Pandora will then play other music having the same attributes. You can select more songs and/or artists to refine your station.

So far, I’ve had better luck creating a station by choosing songs instead of artists. Maybe, it’s because the artists I’ve selected play wide ranges of music. Your mileage may vary.

Pandora is incredibly responsive. In the past 24 hours, I’ve received two e-mails answering my questions and suggestions. I hope they survive.

Oh, by the way. It doesn’t cost anything. They are advertising supported. For three dollars a month, you can turn off the ads. The ads don’t pop over what I’m doing, so I don’t see a reason to pay to eliminate them.

Give them a listen.


Not So Lonely

WARNING: Purchasing the Los Lonely Boys CD can be hazardous to your health. It was to mine. I experienced pain similar to when I’d broken my foot. My left shoe felt too small. My foot felt heavy and weak.

As I drove along, with my car stereo blasting my new purchase at an appropriate singing volume (if it’s loud enough, I can imaging I’m singing on key), I was unconsciously tapping, no, stomping, my left foot to the beat.

I have learned to control my foot-tapping. If only I could sing on key.

Highly recommended. Even my kids like it!


Has Been — NOT!


Earlier this week, I was at Borders buying a couple of gift certificates for people at work. Whenever I’m there, I have to check out the CDs that they have in the players to see if there’s anything I like. There in the middle of one of the groups of five CDs was William Shatner’s new album, Has Been. I’d read a favorable review of in Guitar Player magazine, so I gave it a listen. I’m not sure, but I think I was laughing out loud a couple of times listening to it on the headphones. Pity the other shoppers.

Shatner doesn’t do much singing (at least not on the songs I previewed). Instead, Shatner talks over music, but it’s good. The lyrics are strangely relevant and shockingly blunt. Here’s a sampling from “It Hasn’t Happened Yet”:

I dreamt of success
I would be the best
I would make my folks proud
I would be happy
It hasn’t happened yet
It hasn’t happened yet
It hasn’t happened

Or how about from “You’ll Have Time”:

Live Life
Life life like you’re gonna die
Because you’re going to
Oh yes
I hate to be the bearer of bad news
But you’re gonna die

Maybe not today or even next year
But before you know it you’ll be saying
“Is this all there was?
What was all the fuss?
Why did I bother?
Why did I waste it?
Why didn’t I taste it?”
You’ll have time, baby
You’ll have time
‘Cause you’re gonna die
You are gonna die
Oh yeah

I was back at Borders last night, Christmas shopping with my middle daughter. I had her listen to “It Hasn’t Happened Yet” and “You’ll Have Time.” When we saw they were sold out, she was disappointed that I hadn’t bought one when I was there earlier.

I don’t know whether it’s worth a purchase. It’s a lot of fun to hear the first time or two, but will it get old fast?

Is it just me, or does William Shatner have fun with everything he does? Maybe it’s that he doesn’t take himself too seriously. has re-hired Shatner to be its spokesman and is offering a bobble-head doll. Check it out.