Thursday, February 10, 2011


It's no secret that Ali and I don't share the same taste in music. On the face of it, this is kind of odd, because I enjoy just about anything ...except the more extreme kinds of alternative and rap and heavy metal. And Alison will listen to anything... as long as it's alternative rock.

Well, that's a vast oversimplification. I actually do enjoy some kinds of country (especially bluegrass) and alternative (especially the older stuff) and heavy metal (especially the more Zeppelin-influenced stuff). And Alison does like a lot of the music I listen to, and her absolute favorite music is folk/jazz/punk/funk/alternative in the style of Ani DiFranco, who we both agree is a genius.

Our tastes do overlap, but the 'centers' of our musical tastes are in very different areas. I usually like things that I can either (a) play in the background while I work, or (b) lose myself in musically; and this means I gravitate towards jazz fusion, new age, and instrumental folk. Alison prefers things she can deeply engage with lyrically, and which she can give all her attention to. And even when we do like the same song, we often enjoy it for different reasons.

So when we started making a list of songs we might like to hear at our wedding reception, we ended up with quite a motley list...

Today I took our list and put all those songs and artists into Pandora.

Pandora is an internet radio service that allows you to create stations based on things you like. It has a vast database of music, cross-indexed every which way; so once you 'seed' a station with songs or artists, it will seek out similar music and play it for you.

So I put in artists like Spinal Tap, Ani DiFranco, and R. Carlos Nakai, and songs like Harbor, 500 Miles, The House of Tom Bombadil, Bottle It Up, Lucky Ball and Chain, Somebody to Love...

And I got out some pretty great stuff: Norah Jones's Sunrise, The Presidents of the United States of America's Video Killed the Radio Star, Sky Sailing's I Live Alone, Spinal Tap's Stonehenge, Ani's Swandive...

This isn't a plug for Pandora or anything — and I got some not-so-great music too — but if you want a sense of what our wedding reception might be like, you can listen to the station here. I've been exploring for a while in this odd, small space where our musics overlap, and finding it very pleasant indeed.

Now, if we could just figure out some way I could practice my banjo without driving her insane...


  1. Sounds pretty cool, but the link to the Pandora station is broken ...

  2. Sorry, Nathan -- try it now, it should work. (It did for me -- and started playing "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" by Queen. Yeah. :-) )

  3. I just want everyone to know that this is Jeff's creative interpretation of my musical tastes! I cannot be held responsible for what bizarre songs come up on Pandora!