When the old T61 came crashing down, replaced by a new model with less choice and no communication between artist and listener, I thought, now they’ve turned into just another Pandora radio. Lately I have to admit that I was being a little unfair – to Pandora.
I enjoyed Pandora online radio quite a lot several years ago. I eventually grew tired of it and drifted away, mainly because they weren’t “indie” enough. I couldn’t find a lot of what I was looking for and I didn’t have enough choice. I made some interesting stations and got to put a bit of my own spin on them, but I wanted to explore a lot more.
Now I find I have a use for Pandora once again. There are some things that annoy me about it. I don’t like the commercials, or the fact that you can only skip so many songs before you get a message saying their licenses won’t let them let you skip anymore. And again, I find some artists are unavailable that they really should have. No Fela Kuti for Christ’s sake!
But there are a few advantages as well. First of all, things just got VERY busy at my job. I can’t afford to get as involved in an online music site right now as I was on the Old T61. I tried to use that as a simple radio when I was busy, but the temptation to always be messing with it was too distracting. Pandora is a lot more hands-off – that’s something I don’t like when I have more free time, but when I’m very busy it keeps me out of trouble. Second, although it might not have enough off-the-wall music for my taste, it has a lot of classic stuff that you can’t get on sites that focus on unsigned and indie-label artists. There is some music that every music lover should hear and know about, no matter how indie you are.
I made a few stations this weekend and tweaked some of my old ones from years ago. “Smooth Soul” is one I can play at work, enjoy, and keep on working without getting distracted. It’s mostly Philly Soul, with some Motown and other things thrown in. Every now and then they toss in something I didn’t know about. I especially love the Philly Soul stuff, because it’s quite pretty and not as overplayed as Motown music.
It won’t let me embed the station or even link to it on my blog, although I was allowed to Tweet it. Below are some of the artists and songs I put in to give the station its vibe:
The Spinners (“I’ll Be Around,” “Could It Be I’m Falling In Love”), The Delfonics (“La-La (Means I Love You),” “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time)”), Blue Magic (“Sideshow”), The Dramatics (“Whatcha See is What You Get” is probably their best-known song, but “In the Rain” is my favorite), The O’Jays (tons of great songs, but especially, “Back Stabbers” and “For the Love of Money”), The Intruders (“Cowboys to Girls”), Shuggie Otis (not Philly Soul, but he still fits in the mix – “Aht Uh Mi Head,” “Inspiration Information”), The Main Ingredient (“Everybody Plays the Fool”), The Stylistics (“You Make Me Feel Brand New”).
However you get to hear those songs, you need to hear them. They’re good for your soul.