Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Real Zen of Genius

I upgraded to iTunes 8.0 today, which includes Genius, a new feature that builds a playlist around a single song that you select (it will also recommend other songs and albums for you to buy). Other than perhaps going back to the same artist a few times too many, it’s hard not to be impressed by this trick of artificial intelligence. I mean, I selected Marshall Crenshaw’s “Mary Anne,” and this is the playlist it created:

1. Marshall Crenshaw, “Mary Anne”
2. Nick Lowe, “So It Goes”
3. Squeeze, “In Quintessence”
4. Dave Edmunds, “Girl Talk”
5. John Hiatt, “Thing Called Love”
6. Richard Thompson, “I Feel So Good”
7. Big Star, “September Gurls”
8. R.E.M., “Sitting Still”
9. Elvis Costello and the Attractions, “The Only Flame in Town”
10. Pete Townshend, “Slit Skirts”
11. Elvis Costello, “(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes”
12. Marshall Crenshaw, “Starless Summer Sky”
13. Utopia, “Love in Action”
14. Squeeze, “Annie Get Your Gun”
15. The Replacements, “I Will Dare”
16. Rockpile, “Teacher Teacher”
17. Nick Lowe, “I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass”
18. The Posies, “Golden Blunders”
19. Marshall Crenshaw, “There She Goes Again”
20. Joe Jackson, “On Your Radio”
21. XTC, “Earn Enough For Us”
22. Cheap Trick, “So Good to See You”
23. Graham Parker and the Rumour, “Passion Is No Ordinary Word”
24. Graham Parker, “Hold Back the Night”
25. The Clash, “Hitsville UK”

I might nitpick a little (couldn’t it have thrown the dB’s in there?), but I think I could listen to that list once a day for the rest of my life.

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