Recently The Other Half did some work on a dance/trance playlist for the car and also for his playlist at work. He finds that kind of music keeps him awake while driving – I find it impossible to keep still when this kind of music is playing, and I recently did a day of work with him where we got so much shiznit done thanks to this music it was unbelievable.. Here is one of our favourite tracks at the moment.
I had not heard this song for ages, but then my apple iPhone lost all my music and I had to borrow The Other Half’s spare iPhone which happened to have some older tracks and playlists. One part of this video clip for this song was pretty memorable – the skeletons on the dance floor, and whenever I hear it I see skeletons jumping in my mind.
This song is by the Chemical Brothers, and I do enjoy some of their other music.
Somewhere nearby in a parallel universe, there is a version of me sitting in Starclass on a Jetstar flight to Hawaii, listening to “Amsterdam” by Coldplay, over and over again.
As we were taxi-ing out to take off, I was loading up songs onto my playlist. There were several different Coldplay albums on my iPhone and somehow I put Amsterdam on the playlist multiple times. There were a couple of live versions, a couple of album versions, and I think somehow I loaded them on more than once each.
I tried to sleep on that flight. Every time I woke up, Amsterdam was playing. It felt like maybe this night went on forever but time was passing without me knowing it. I was managing naps, but because every time I woke up I heard the same song, I felt like I was getting no sleep at all.
Now, anytime I hear that song, I am immediately back on that plane, flying to Hawaii. But I never, ever actually get there. I just keep flying hearing that same song.
I am secretly a bit of a Coldplay fan. Sometimes one of their songs is exactly what you need to sing along to. And while we are talking about them, I really loved one of their filmclips many years ago – for The Scientist. I loved the concept of it, going backwards instead of forwards.
It is interesting to me that particular song was the one that played over and over. My first ever trip overseas by myself was on KLM which is based in Amsterdam, and I did a quick stop over there on my way back from the Isle of Man.
I am officially the last person in my nearby extended family to sign up for Pandora Radio. Surprisingly the first people to sign up were my parents who are both over 65 now. They bought three Sonos wireless speaker systems which all come with a Pandora radio subscription and they can control it with their iPads.
One speaker system lives upstairs, and two downstairs, one in the kitchen and one in the dining room which we now experience at dinner time as a surprise to ourselves. My parents have long been people who love to listen to music and Pandora is fantastic for them because of how it works.
The next person to sign up was The Other Half, who has been deeply enjoying the 80s and 90s alternative stations, plus creating his own stations. I’ve enjoyed the stations from time to time in the car and around the house but it was still not enough to convince me to sign up, because I usually like to be the one in control and play the specific song I want to hear.
But then one day The Other Half played his 80s alternative station and the song “Head Over Heels” by Tears for Fears got stuck in my head for 5 days in a row. I tried to flush it out of there, truly I did, but every morning I would wake up and it would be playing in my head. It reminded me how much I love Tears for Fears and I thought I would create a TFF station for myself.
How Does Pandora Work?
Pandora uses the Music Genome Project to analyse music and group like songs together. You can create a radio station based on a specific song, or based on one artist.
When you create your station, you may find it does not play the song or artist you have chosen right away. It will not always play songs by the artist you picked – it plays similar music. This can be a great way to find new artists with music that is similar to the artist you like. It can also be deeply annoying at times – if you put in Take That, you’ll get a lot of boyband music, some of which you might love, some you might not love.
As you listen to music you can give the track a thumbs up or a thumbs down. Clicking “thumbs-up” tells Pandora “you like this track” and helps to bring in more tracks like it to your station. Clicking “thumbs down” tells Pandora not to play this track on that particular station.
If you thumbs down, it will skip the track and play another track – though you get a limited number of skips each hour. Once you have hit your hourly limit of skips, it apologises for continuing to play the song and lets you know once the song is finished you will never hear it again on that station. But be aware, if you switch stations you might hear that track again.
It Turns Out –
I really LOVE not being the one in control. Sometimes the biggest thing that stops me from playing music is having to choose what to play. I do still have a small element of control with the thumbs down button. I deeply appreciate that this is not a commercial station where some random radio person is choosing what music I will listen to, plus bombarding me with ads as a constant surprise.
Finding Music I Love But Forgot About – I loved music when I was a kid. Some of the songs I really loved I’d completely forgotten but Pandora has helped me find and enjoy them again.
Musical Memories – when I was a kid, I had “In A Big Country” as a single record, and I used to play it over and over and over again. One day the Split Enz channel played that song to me, and those memories returned to me..
Thumbs Up History – You can see which songs you have given the thumbs up to – see mine here. You can also see the thumb history, radio stations, and activity of the people you are following.
Thumbs Down History – Giving the thumbs down usually isn’t anything personal against the songs or artists, it might be that you are trying to build a specific kind of station and that specific song does not fit in. You can view the thumbs up and thumbs down history for each station by clicking on options under the station name, then station details..
Add Variety – Want a station with heavy metal and 80’s pop? Want Sinatra and David Bowie combined together on a station? Want to experiment and create something unique? You have a lot of options with the add variety option.
Data Hungry – Pandora can really chew up your data allowance. I’d recommend only using it at home on your wifi. On the plus side to this downside, you will find more music you love and can add to your portable or mobile phone playlist.
Out Of Service Area – When you have no wifi or internet connection, the music dies. That is very sad and slightly irritating at times.
Mobile Irritations – If using Pandora on my mobile, I find I am continually having to unlock the phone to give my thumbs up or down.
Live Music & Acoustic Versions – While you might love a song in the original recorded format, you may not love it as a live version. I still have not worked out if clicking thumbs down to a live song removes the not live version from your station.
Terribly Annoying Ads – There was an ad with someone singing off key, I wanted to throw my phone across the room. Luckily the ads do not seem to play very often for me anymore and it isn’t because I upgraded my account, either.
No Family Plan – With most things these days there is a family plan option so you can have more than one person using a service. As yet there is no such family plan on Pandora. While I have read you can use one account on two devices at once, I prefer to have my own account and my own stations.
In Conclusion –
It would seem from reading the above that there are more downsides than upsides, however my experience has been excellent and I *love* Pandora Radio. It is free and quick to sign up, so why not give it a try?
More Reading –
Over To You –
Have you used Pandora or a similar service? Would you like to try it out? Are you someone who likes to make their own playlist, or do you prefer someone else to pick the songs?
Last week I had the flu, and I spent a couple of nights staying up so the other half could get an uninterrupted sleep, so my body clock is all out of whack again. Even so, we planned a few things for Saturday. I wanted to go over to Berry to take some photos of the place I’m planning to go to in the event of the Zombie Apocalypse, and I also wanted to drop into haven and space and Candleberries – two great shops you should not miss if you ever go to Berry..
First we dropped into haven and space where we picked up a replacement coffee mug for one we had broken, and two new designs. These mugs are gorgeous and they last a very long time. Priced at $4.95 per mug, they are also great value. The candles pictured were $4.50 each.
As it was past two, we decided to get a snack as well. We didn’t want too much as we were going out to dinner at 7. haven and space have opened up a cafe behind their new store called Sakana and I’d eaten there before when family was visiting, so we dropped in for a bowl of chips and a couple of iced coffees.
The iced coffees arrived in these magnificent tall glasses with my favorite colour blue around the rim. If you are reading this post here on my blog, see how that blue matches my blue background colour? :) ——> over there?
We dropped into Candleberries and picked up some wax melts and a new candle for The Other Half. Why yes, that melt set is scented salted caramel popcorn, and it does smell exactly like that. There’s also Home Sweet Home which will stay here and Black Cherry which will go off to my aunt in the next package along with the salted caramel popcorn. By the time she receives it, her cancer treatment will be nearly finished.
On the way back to the car we spotted these cows in a window. It is lucky the shop was not open, is all I can say.
We went out to dinner at our usual Chinese restaurant with my parents, my Uncle and his wife, and two other friends my parents know from work. When we arrived at the bowling club there was quite an impressive band setup including a sound desk and a proper drum kit which said “The Villains” on it.. Little did we know at the time what an amazing performance would come to us as a surprise.
The club was absolutely packed with people – I think it is the last weekend of School Holidays here and it is always packed in school holidays but not usually to this extent. My uncle reported back to us after one of his smoke breaks that he was talking to someone outside and that they had said this particular band had people coming from places somewhat far away – they had groupies following them.
After dinner we could not get a seat out in the club, every seat was taken. We ended up in their function room off to the back, and we could see the band members in costume. They took to the stage a little after 8:30 and we all headed out into the room to see the band kick off with a performance of an Icehouse song called Walls which sounded more like a Pink Floyd song, it was just amazing. The sound setup was brilliant, the music was incredible, and the band was engaging and captivating.
The singer was dressed as The Riddler and he had a microphone stand with a question mark in it. I believe we had The Penguin as the keyboard player, The Joker as the bass player, The Devil as the drummer, and the most notable mention goes to Darth Vader as the lead guitarist. His costume must have been a total sweatbox, but he never removed any part of it, and he played in it for over 2 hours – with a short break in the middle. Plus instead of heading directly outside on his break, he took off into the crowd to let them pose for photos with him – and his lightsaber.
I have for you a short video clip of the Darth Vader guitarist. :) This was taken during Down Under by Men At Work. You will notice he is marching, despite being wrapped in much quilted fabric. This is some serious costume dedication right here.
When they took a break, we talked about leaving because one or two had an early morning the next day, but we all decided this band was too good to leave. And in the latter half of their show, even The Other Half got up and danced which happens so rarely I cannot recall another such incident!
I completely understand why they have groupies following them, and I could see myself doing the same thing. They are due back at our club in August and we will definitely be there. None of the videos on their website do true justice to this band. You have to be there in person.
When they left the stage we were among the very vocal crowd shouting for an encore, and they came back on with two band members in white coats and performed “She Blinded Me with Science” – a bizarre choice but we all loved it.
The final song they played was Underneath the Radar by Underworld, a song I have always disliked, but they made me love it. And that speaks many volumes. Most of the music was songs from the early 80’s and music I had on records, back in the days of records, music we played on Saturday mornings to clean the house, and music my friends and I used to create dances for.
They played music from bands like Depeche Mode, Madness, Split Enz, the ever wonderful and unforgettable “don’t you forget about me” by Simple Minds made famous by The Breakfast Club movie, and even a song from The Cure! It was one of my favourites too, Inbetween Days. There were a couple of newer songs, most notably Pretty Vegas which I knew from Rockstar: INXS and Mr Brightside by The Killers.
By the time we got home, I was so tired I went to bed at a reasonable hour for the first time this week. And can you believe, entry to the bowling club is free. We pay the tiny amount of $11 each year to be a member, and that allows the member many benefits, such as using the boat ramp, the courtesy bus, and various other awesomes.
Before I even had time to sit down and put my thoughts together about the new cd from Take That they have released an awesome song which is in the new movie X-men First Class..
Like all songs with me, I wasn’t too sure about it the first time I heard it, but it is quite the addictive little tune and before long it was going round and round in my head.
Without further ado, love love. Have a listen and let me know what you think! ;)
Surprisingly this does not refer to progress on the chicken coop we are building, but to Take That and the re-uniting of Robbie Williams to the band..
I was always a huge fan of Take That from the early days, in fact I had virtually every inch of my bedroom covered in posters, I had every video and cd and even some of the Take That dolls. I never did that when I was younger – I waited until I was almost not a teenager anymore to go through my band fan phase.
In January I was channel surfing when I found “Look back, don’t stare” – a documentary on the making of Progress which was the cd they created together. Somehow I had completely missed this entire process. I knew they were back together but I had no idea they had put the cd out yet. So color me shocked, I spent some time watching their videos on youtube and raced off to the nearest CD store the very next day to grab the cd.
I’ve got a lot to say about it and not a great deal of time right now, so this is why I am saying towards progress and not actually progress, because I will write about the album another day.
In the meantime I will like to leave you with my favourite song from the Take That foursome days. They have always done excellent sing along type songs (and so has Robbie while on his own) and this one is no exception. I firmly believe that Gary Barlow is the Elton John of our generation – an incredible song writer and singer who makes music that is unforgettable. When you team him up with the rest of the band the harmonies are very awesome indeed.
If you don’t know it, click below to see Rule The World. It is an extremely popular song for weddings in the UK for somewhat obvious reasons – however it is not the only popular wedding song belonging to them. :) Enjoy!
We have literally hundreds of songs on the memory stick in the car. This one *never* fails to get my fingers tapping. It may surprise you that I love the music of this band. :) However those of you who have been readers for a while know my musical tastes range from Roy Orbison to Metallica and pretty much everything in between. ;)
Dire Straits – The Sultans Of Swing.. :)
There is something about JayKay. He can really dance. The rumor is he is quite egotistical. And short. And a bit of an idiot. However I don’t know him personally, so I can’t judge based that stuff. He is short (apparently), and he likes cars, he can sing and he can really dance. I’ve always liked Jamiroquai.
I love watching him dance. The video clips are great. I also love that he wears some very odd hats.
The Grand Finale is about to start here in Australia, so here we go!
Apparently there was something like 97 million votes. Whoa! One David got 56% and one David got 44%. So you might ask, which one am I hoping to see win? Patience people, I’ll tell you during this two hour finale.. They check in with the home towns, and then the top 12 appears on stage. All in white and wow, check out Syesha – the only competitor wearing something short on stage and what a pair of legs! She really grew during the competition. I remember one show right at the start of Idol where she wore something so terrible I thought she’d be kicked off just based on that.
Now David Cook appears, singing and then the other David joins him, singing Hero. Let us see what fascinating feats of shaving Cook has indulged in while waiting to find out his fate. Looks like just a little bit of trimming since last night. I really am not in love with the furry and the new goatee – it isn’t a good look.
Now they descend into some lame ad for a movie involving what looks like Mike Myers dressed as a guru who is apparently their spiritual advisor – and he agrees with me about the furry! You’re on tv, shave, says the guru. But other than that, this is lame with a capital L.
Then the Guru appears on stage with Ryan. He predicts that the winners name will be David. Yeah, that is kinda a given. Ryan gets on the Guru’s flying pillow and that was pretty funny. Then Syesha takes the stage, looking gorgeous – and then Seal appears to sing with her, also looking gorgeous. No wonder Heidi adores him.
And now for some ads, during which I will share with you which David I am hoping will win. I liked both the Davids equally right up until the last show – I thought they had both been very consistent during the show, I liked David Cook’s rock style (but was starting to get tired of those stupid boots – there comes a point at which you get a bit silly making something your “trend” and David hit that point about two weeks ago when he almost fell over due to those silly shoes – it’s not worth breaking yourself over!) and I liked what he did with the songs. He reminded me a lot of Lukas Rossi on Rockstar Supernova, taking the songs to a new level and making them his own.
Archuleta has always been cute, there is no doubt about that. He can really sing, too – as long as the song isn’t too fast. His voice is better suited to ballads and when you find what you’re good at, you should stick with it. David has done exactly that.
Ads Over – here is Jason Castro with Hallelujah and this is my favourite song of his. This song always reminds me of The West Wing because it played in there at some point – Jason does this song very well. Now he isn’t in the competition he performs a lot better but he is shaking like a leaf and has to use two hands to steady the mike.
This is something new – include the advertising in the actual show itself. There’s a Ford Ad (not that there’s anything wrong with that, I drive a Ford and I luuuuurve it) but why did I just sit through 5 minutes of ads here? Ford gives both the Davids a Ford Escape Hybrid. Nice!
Then the final 6 girls perform together, all in red. These group performances are fairly sucky, I think most people are over them. Again Syesha shows that she has her eye on the prize – that being a record contract. She’s doing everything right and looking as stunning as she currently does I have no doubt she will get one.
Now, while Donna Sum(ner? Mer?) performs on the stage, lets get back to the Davids. As I said before, the final show put one David miles ahead of the other. Archuleta was the best last night, there is absolutely no doubt. As always it comes down to song choice and he chose the best songs for his voice. David Cook sounded quite shouty at times, and at the end of the show you could see in his face that he wasn’t happy with his performances.
I am hopeful that the right David will win, but to be honest it doesn’t matter which David wins, both will more than likely put out a record. I would prefer that Archuleta gets it, but according to people.com Cook will win it. There’s pages and pages of comments on all the David VS David threads, arguing about which David is better. Sigh. Of course a lot of the comments get personal and are very childish – I remember seeing Archuleta being called a “monchichi” at one point. WTF is that supposed to mean? Is that some kind of odd insult?
Carly and Michael take the stage. Snore. I don’t find the Token Aussie cute or a good singer actually. And there have been some annoying ads here on Aussie TV with him in them for the Finale. Ryan reminds everyone that you can see the idols on the tour. We’re only 43 minutes into this finale and they bring out some lame comedian who is probably a star in the US but I’ve never heard of him.
And now the top 6 guys sing a song I hate more than any other song, Summer of 69. Oh, look, Bryan Adams songs – could it be that Bryan Adams is going to appear on stage? Call me psychic, I don’t know. But his songs suit Archuleta perfectly. And he looks so cute singing it. And guess who appears on stage. Can you guess? Could it be? Of course it is – Bryan Adams. Maybe I should be working with the police finding dead bodies or something being so psychic!
So the final two kinda reminds me of an Aussie final two, which was Guy Sebastian and Shannon Noll. Both have music careers in Australia now, but when they were the final two fans were feral about which one should win according to them. Look people, insulting the other competitor does you no favours – I personally believe it brings bad Karma to your chosen singer, so don’t do it. And what is with calling the opposing singer Gay? Is that supposed to be an insult? I am not sure what straight or gayness has to do with singing.
That was the big insult that a lot of people have used with at least two different Australian Idol contestants – Guy Sebastian (who just got married last weekend, yes to a *girl*) and Dean Geyer (who if I recall correctly is engaged to one of The Veronicas, a band which frankly I can’t stand).
David Cook performs with ZZ Top. I love these guys. I hate those stupid boots Cook is wearing. Clearly at some point a stylist has told him to glue them to his feet. Ironically, he is singing Sharp Dressed Man.
They jump to Cook’s home town, and some chick in a gold outfit does a lot of screaming. Ohhhkay then. Brooke White takes the stage with some guy – I missed that cos Seacrest doesn’t speak slowly enough sometimes. Snore. Brooke White says “Graham Nash” at the end, so that was probably who it was.
How long can they drag out the results? I’m guessing 1 hour and 45 minutes we might get close to finding out who has won. In the meantime.. Cook was pitchy last night, that was what annoyed me. If you’re going to get to the final two, you should be able to sing three songs hitting the right notes. Archuleta hit one wrong note the whole night, somewhere in the end of Imagine.
Please welcome to the stage platinum selling artists – No Name! Who the Fark are these people Ryan? A part of your job as host is to clearly tell us who these people are. I have no clue because frankly I don’t listen to top 40 music these days. But the lead singer has some pants sprayed onto his legs almost like leggins. The someone brothers, according to Ryan.
And now it is time to show some of the worst auditions. I don’t know why the Idol people enjoy putting us through this every year. One of them is actually not a bad singer but he is wearing a crazy outfit. Reynaldo Lapuz is his name, and he appears on stage! With a bit of training this guy could actually release a cd, I’m sure. Paula gets on stage in a big red dress and dances to the song. Aww. Maybe a duet?
One Republic sing – I LOVE this song, only because they play it on ads for Gossip Girl here. And out comes Archuleta to sing it – oh I can’t wait to hear this. :) I turn it up. Open the eyes David! Else Andrew Lloyd Webber will hunt you down and spank you. Well that was quite lovely. Oh, the washing machine is beeping, brb :)
Drat, I hate it when the Other Half leaves the spin speed on high, I had to peel the clothes out of the bowl. So I miss a cross to David’s home town, and Jordin Sparks in an ugly gold dress which I bet cost an absolute packet. Which I’m actually kinda happy to miss. It is now one hour and 27 minutes into the finale, and we still don’t have a winner. Surely it is time, after the break?
WTF – is that Robert Downey JNR? Ben Stiller? Jack Black? The first one I mentioned is a shock, the other two not so much of a surprise. But hey, Robert can sing, ya’all remember Ally Mcbeal? Bring Robert out on stage to duet with the Davids, please? Robert can teach Cook about appropriate facial hair. :)
Carrie Underwood in a bizarre outfit a’la Celine Dion. Totally looks like something you would see on Project Runway. Ouch. Will this material train hanging from sleeves become a new trend? Don’t ya’all wish Cook’s stylist had told him to do that rather than the ugly boots? Or maybe the gold high heels? Cos I don’t mind those. But I do mind the oversinging. Yes, this is all very Celine Dion – the Kmart version, perhaps.
Oh wait, another ad. 38 minutes in. Will my prediction be right? One hour 45, I said. We’re getting close to my guess. In fact this set of ads could last till one hour 45.
Now, the top 12 – George Michael – can he really be here? Could it be possible? Oh please.. that would rock. ;) Eew – Amanda Overmeyer. Yep, I am predicting a George Michael appearance, as this is the second GM song now. And the guys and girls are all dressed up. This Father Figure song actually sounds pretty good when sung by the top 12. Freedom, rock it out people. You probably won’t have a great deal of Freedom after this is all over, so make the most of it.
Ouch, the camera work gets a little ugly, who are we supposed to be watching? Is this just a series of random zooms in and out here, or what? And again my prediction comes true – George Michael appears – minus facial hair. What is going on here? Did Cook steal it all? GM looks very strange without the carefully chosen stubble.
and it is now 1 hour 49 minutes, still no results. Why not, people? WHY can’t we know already? This song seems to go on forever, 1 hour 52 minutes, they’re cutting it pretty fine here. Are we going to find out who the Idol is anytime soon?
Ryan welcomes George Michael to discuss his first US tour in ages. And to another break which is likely to go on for another 6 minutes, leaving us with one minute to find out who is the Idol, then a quick song, then fade to black. Who will it be? Cook, or Archuleta?
And we’re back, here are the results, or not. Judges final thoughts – Great season 7 says Randy, they are both winners. Paule – she is honored and proud to be sitting here, and some story about being truly special – Simon Cowell – apologises to David Cook for being disrespectful, Simon doesn’t care which David wins. I get the feeling that the two Davids don’t really like each other too much.
And now, drumroll. Who will it be? The winner is David.. Cook – NOOOOOOOOO!
Aww.. Bye Archuleta. America your Idol is David Cook. You voted – we couldn’t. Cook puts on the tears, which will surely sell him a few thousand more records. Well, after all the build up, this is a bit of a non event – Cook gets a song called Time Of My Life – not the Green Day one. It’s pretty sucky. Sometimes the one who wins get the worse deal – Archuleta can go off and do his own thang, Cook is tied to the Idol machine.
Cue the fireworks, cue the pitchy singing, I think this is how I would have felt if Shannon Noll won – a bit blah. No more American Idol – the show is over for another year. I would say night all, but it is just after mid-day here. :) So afternoon!