Talk about intelligent design. A friend sends a link to a personalized radio station called The Music Genome Project. Tell it a favorite song and it will stack up a collection of songs that I might also like, it promises.
I like the url: pandora.com. I give it a spin.
I'm planning a whole Springsteen/Stones/Steely Dan thing before the friend makes one more suggestion:
Tell it bad songs.
There is a reason the friend is an editor.
I think a while before realizing that nothing says I have excellent taste better than Chuck Berry's "My Ding A-Ling."
Seconds later my personalized playlist is streaming back at me, starting with Berry's "Johnny Too Goode." Too good, indeed. My tunes need tweaking. The site allows you to guide it by making another suggestion. I suggest "You Light Up My Life" by Debby Boone.
The right stuff, apparently. "Rose Bouquet" by Phil Vassar starts playing. It's just the way I like it - a little pitiful, and over-produced. "We were something, you and me," he croons. Inspirational country, I'm guessing.
But not quite inspirational enough. More guidance. How about "Honey" by Bobby Goldboro?
The program seems to have a lazy, last-in, first-out mentality. It gives me "It's Too Late" by Goldsboro. It doesn't disappoint, though. It's got a little march-step percussion, a chirpy chorus, and I wonder for the first time from his careful pronunciation if English is his original language.
Then the Music Genome Project really shows its genius: "You're The Part of Me" by Jim Ed Brown and Helen Cornelius (no relation to Don, we can safely assume.) A subtle use of vocal harmony, mild rhythmic syncopation, plus lyrics like "You're the part of me that makes me believe in me."
On the album cover he's dressed in a tux; she's got on some satiny frock. This is a real toe-tapper.
It is at this point that I realize that even the dog has cleared the room.
Make your own mix here. I recommend starting with Melanie's "Brand New Key." I once heard a guy lock himself in a Hartford radio station and play nothing but that song until they broke down the door.