You’re a Genius

September 22, 2008 - 2:09pm -- swingbug

iTunes introduced this new “genius” feature in its latest incarnation. The idea is that you feed it a song and it makes you a playlist to match.

I tend not to like products that label themselves as “genius” or other superior adjectives. My feeling is that if you have to say it yourself then it’s probably not true. Like fancy ketchup. Make your product and let the New York Times write the review, huh?

But I’m a geek and I like a new tool so last night Shawn and I cued it up and gave it a whirl. We started it during dinner so I gave iTunes something easy. Come Away With Me by Norah Jones. Not surprisingly, It went from Norah to Ella and Louis and the usual suspects for some nice jazzy dinner music. Good enough, but like I said, that was an easy one, so let’s step it up a little bit.

Shawn and I were conversing over dinner about artists who defy genres, so when the dishes were put away, he fed the genius in my computer some Beastie Boys. It drew a blank with Shadrach (I’m disappointed in you, Apple) but did better with Intergalactic. Sort of. To be fair, I have an embarassingly limited collection of hip-hop (friends and neighbors, make me a mix and expand my horizons) but I was not impressed with its choices all things considered. Will Smith and Tribe Called Quest? Not so much. Strike one.

Okay, now we were really going to push it. Shawn and I raised an eyebrow at each other. They Might Be Giants. It’s on, dude. We gave the little genius Birdhouse in your Soul and waited to hear what came out. This is what it gave us:

  1. Birdhouse in Your Soul, They Might Be Giants
  2. If I Had $1,000,000, Barenaked Ladies
  3. I Will Survive, Cake
  4. Tempted, Squeeze
  5. God Only Knows, The Beach Boys
  6. Where It's At, Beck
  7. Werewolves of London, Warren Zevon
  8. Everything About You, Ugly Kid Joe
  9. Cecilia, Simon and Garfunkel
  10. She Blinded Me With Science, Thomas Dolby
  11. Santa Monica, Everclear
  12. We Used to Be Friends, The Dandy Warhols
  13. Elevation, U2
  14. Ray of Light, Madonna
  15. Your Racist Friend, They Might Be Giants
  16. Fairytale Of New York, The Pogues
  17. Two Princes, Spin Doctors
  18. Pinch Me, Barenaked Ladies
  19. You Can Call Me Al, Paul Simon
  20. Faith, George Michael
  21. The River of Dreams, Billy Joel
  22. Steal My Kisses, Ben Harper
  23. Good Vibrations, The Beach Boys
  24. Desert Rose, Sting
  25. Dead Man's Party, Oingo Boingo

iTunes, you just might be a genius after all.

I saved this playlist to my lengthy and distinguished collection, entitled “You’re a Genius” and burned a copy for my car. I’m duly impressed. I have a few footnotes on this list that I feel I must make. Though I do like Madonna, that’s not one of my favorites. I’m more of an Immaculate Collection kind of girl. And while I’ll allow that “Where’s It’s At” is a pretty good tune, I’ve never really forgiven Beck for that horrible Loser song they put out over a decade ago that radio stations still insist on playing from time to time.

I can hold a grudge.

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