You Have Been Pandoracized

1 Apr

pandoraI am a huge fan of Pandora radio.  I’ve been aware of them since they existed only as the Music Genome Project – a lot of guys I met when I first moved out here worked there, coding music.  It sounded like a cool gig – listen to new bands and break down each song by 150 or so categories, and get paid to do it!

After they created Pandora and plugged in the Genome Project, things started really  taking off.  I’d say it was when their iPhone app was released that they really hit the tipping point – now everyone knows about them!

Just like I did with the Squaretape EP, I sent them a copy of The Exited Door right when I was finished.  Today, I went on over to see if it had been uploaded, and it had, so I promptly loaded up Kirk Hamilton Radio. Amazing.

Here’s the coolest part – it’s possible to look at the Music Genome Project’s coding for each song, and you guys, it is simultaneously awesome, hilarious, and a little bit terrifying. There’s nothing quite like seeing your song, one that you spent days conceptualizing, writing, and arranging, broken down into unflinchingly accurate one- or two-word bullet points.

Take “The First Time.” As I wrote the song, I was like, “Well, I want to put in some piano, focus on vocal duets, and have the first half of the tune be acoustic, then go electric…”

Well, according to Pandora…

The First Time:
acoustic rhythm piano
varying tempo and time signatures
a busy horn section
melodic horn lines
a clear focus on recording studio production
major key tonality
melodic songwriting
paired vocal harmony
mixed acoustic and electric instrumentation
electric guitar riffs
slide/pedal steel guitars
vocal duets

Ha! So clinical, so accurate! Apparently there are 100 more categories, as well.

Here’s another one, for Dan’s feature “The Mayor.”

The Mayor:
punk roots
a political satire lyric
extensive vamping
a busy horn section
melodic horn lines
minor key tonality
mixed acoustic and electric instrumentation
dirty electric guitar riffs
an aggressive male vocalist
prominent organ
prominent percussion
humorous lyrics
vocal harmonies

Heh.  “Prominent organ.”

The last one may be my favorite; it’s for Lindsay’s feature “You’ve Changed.”

You’ve Changed:
great lyrics
acoustic rhythm piano
varying tempo and time signatures
intricate melodic phrasing
melodic horn lines
a clear focus on recording studio production
mixed minor & major key tonality
melodic songwriting
orchestral arranging
paired vocal harmony
thru composed melodic style
mixed acoustic and electric instrumentation
a prominent flute part
electric pianos
vocal duets
prominent percussion

“Great Lyrics,” huh?  Why, thanks, Pandora!

Anyway, if you’ve yet to check out this site, go there, and while you’re there, take a gander at  my radio station – it’s always fun to see who the computer says I sound like. Ten bucks says that the first artist to come up is, like, Sarah Barielles or Los Lonley Boys.

Also: shout-out to the amazing Kevin Seal, a fellow hoosier who does all sorts of stuff for Pandora, including the Pandora Video Series (that recently featured Gabe Dixon Band!), and who plays with the always-awesome Griddle as well as with Michael Zapruder’s Rain of Frogs.

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2 Responses to “You Have Been Pandoracized”

  1. Dorothy April 8, 2009 at 10:13 pm #

    Hey Kirk… it’s Dorothy from the playback group.
    You do know about http://lastfm.com too , right ?
    I like it better than Pandora though they have similar intents.

    • Kirk April 8, 2009 at 10:56 pm #

      Hi Dorothy! I do know Last FM – I’m pretty sure I sent them a copy of my record.

      I’ve never used their site, but I’ll check it out. Is there anything specific about it that you prefer to Pandora?

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