A frog thrown into a pot of boiling water will jump right back out, but if it’s heated gradually the frog will have no idea it’s boiling alive. This is what the Spotify program, “Boil the Frog” aims to achieve by boiling the listener from artist to artist, genre to genre in a seamless stew of discovery. What it does is generate a playlist between two artists you select and runs you through a chain of artists with snippets of tracks from each one.
“If I took artist X and combined them with artist Y, what would it sound like?”
What “Boil the Frog” does better than most other generic programs powered by Spotify is it gives you control over new music you’d like to find. It’s like asking the question, “If I took artist X and combined them with artist Y, what would it sound like?” Fulfill your heart’s greatest desires by finding abominations of music like Miley Cyrus/Miles Davis crossovers or explore your favorite controversy by tracking Taylor Swift all the way to her career-maker, Kanye West (JK, DON’T HATE ME). Sometimes, it’ll find the perfect go-between artist but at its worst it may give you new music related to your favorite artists. It’s fun to play-around on and if you build a chain you like you can save the playlist directly to your Spotify by logging in, free of charge.
The program curates a diverse selection between artists with the lengths of the chain varying. I’ve found that if you select artists from separate genres, it will be a much longer chain than if you select artists from the same genre. Also, playlists between artists of differing genres seem to require the most manual polishing, like the in between of Frank Ocean (R&B) and The Flaming Lips (psychedelic rock) which was very awkward and polarizing. It took a couple toggles with the bypass button to make it work, sort of.
But between artists of different sub-genres it’s much more palatable on the first go, like between Jeff Rosenstock (punk) and Brand New (emo). Punk and emo are very different but have many similar characteristics making them sister genres. However, Brand New is much more popular and the results around the band were also much more popular. The more obscure the artist or genre the more obscure the in between, which can be important if you are looking for new music. If you’re bored at work and need a new kick-ass playlist for your road trip, try curating your own playlist with “Boil the Frog!”