Every time a new year rolls around, I look forward to Spotify’s “Your Top Songs of Whatever Year.” I have my pet artists I can listen to everyday and having all of my favorite songs in one place is a real treat. It never made sense to me why Spotify didn’t have a simple way to track your listening like this Top Songs playlist did. They obviously keep track of these statistics around so why don’t we have access?
Well, Smarter Playlists doesn’t give you those statistics but it does give you tools to make these playlists and download them directly on your account. Just like “Boil the Frog,” this program was made by Spotify Programmer Paul Lamere and it’s a program made specifically for non-programmers. The commands are separated into different components neatly coming together into a circuit of awesomeness.
It’s all fairly simple and you can import circuits other users have created if you don’t want to make your own. As far as “Your Top Songs” go, there is a specific component for this that can be decided based off how far back you’d like to go, like best of the month, the year or all-time.One of the circuits I threw together took my largest playlist containing pretty much everything I listen to and filtered in down by BPM and “danceability.” The skill-ceiling for this site is higher than what I can demonstrate but it’s a simple way to create and customize playlists. I suggest playing around with it some and share what you create!
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!”
Weezer’s “Pacific Daydream” has finally been announced for release on October 27 and is shaping up to be a make-or-break album for critics and fans alike moving forward.
The band’s frontman, Rivers Cuomo, hinted at the forthcoming album calling it the “Black Album” in contrast to the previously release “White Album,” acclaimed for it’s fun, surf-rock vibes and a welcome turning-point in their discography. But Cuomo wants to do his own thing on “Pacific Daydream” rather than trying to meet the expectation of nostalgic fans, and rightfully so.
He is calling this album a mix of “The Beach Boys and The Clash” which sounds like a rough combination. If they stick with the surf-rock vibes that worked so well on the “White Album” over “The Clash” then it may be another classic Weezer album and not another 00s throwaway. But if Weezer has proven anything in their 25 year-long career it’s that they have a tendency mess good things up. Let’s see what happens!
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