Friday, May 16, 2014

My Pandora Stations

(Sorry about no blog Wednesday -- I'm having trouble keeping up with blogging these days, but I'm trying to be more intentional about planning ahead so I don't have last-minute "I HAVE NO BLOG" snafus like this week.)

I'm a big fan of Pandora, and I've created a pretty fun selection of stations to match all the various moods and situations I like having music for. So I thought I'd give you a pretty quick rundown of the stations I have set up at the moment. For each station, I let it play three songs (not counting ones I voted down because they didn't fit) to give you an idea of the kinds of things I get here.

Workout Music - As you would guess, this is the music I have set up for when I exercise. Basically, it has to have a driving, steady beat to keep me on track as I walk around. It's much easier for me to walk when I have a beat to walk to. I like a variety of genres, so I seeded it with Adam Lambert, Eminem, Michael Jackson and, of course, "Eye of the Tiger."
First three songs that come up: "Don't Stop the Music" by Rihanna, "Sweet Child O' Mine" by Guns N' Roses, "September" by Earth, Wind & Fire

Lady Rappers - While I can take or leave rap as a genre overall, I really like female rap artists. So I seeded this station with Nicki Minaj, Missy Elliott, and Iggy Azalea, and now it is awesome.
First three songs that come up: "Fancy" by Iggy Azalea, "Pound the Alarm" by Nicki Minaj, "Work" by Iggy Azalea (it went back to her again because I had to skip a couple that were just R&B)

Sacred Sunday - A year or so ago, I discovered that religious choral music is much, much better for putting me in a worship mood than just about anything else, and I figured it would be a good idea to have that as its own station. I really don't KNOW a lot of religious choral music and hardly ever recognize anything played on this status, but it's more about finding the right sound than collecting a specific set of songs. It's very much about the atmosphere. The station gets its name from a room I used to frequent that played this style all day every Sunday.
First three songs that come up: "Give Unto the Lord" by Edward Elgar as performed by St. John's College Choir, "Hymn - Anthem on 'Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones" by Healey Willan as performed by the Elora Festival Singers, "Crux Fidelis" by Sir Lennox Berkeley as performed by St. John's College Choir

J-Pop/K-Pop - Another genre I don't really know a lot about, but I'm growing to enjoy it more and more. There's an infectious cheeriness to the Asian pop sound.
First three songs that come up: "Scream" by 2ne1, "Gangnam Style" by PSY, "So Cool" by Sistar

Classic Folk Rock - Seeded with comfortable folk favorites like Joni Mitchell, Simon & Garfunkel, and Peter, Paul & Mary. There's just something very soothing about this sound to me, and I love having this station available.
First three songs that come up: "Time of the Season" by The Zombies, "The Times They Are A Changin'" by The Seekers, "Carolina In My Mind" by James Taylor

1970s Collection - I just didn't have anything in my collection yet that was very 70sish, and I figured I should, because variety is awesome! Seeded with songs by The Bee Gees, Donna Summer, and "I Will Survive."
First three songs that come up: "Boogie Oogie Oogie" by A Taste of Honey, "Let's Groove" by Earth, Wind & Fire, "Fresh" by Kool & The Gang

My Old Christian Songs - I may not listen to almost any of these songs anymore, but I love the nostalgia of a song showing up and making me go, "Oh, my gosh, I haven't heard this in FOREVER." This is a pure nostalgia station. Anything newer than my high school years is voted down.
First three songs that come up: "I Promise" by Stacie Orrico, "Imagine Me Without You" by Jaci Velasquez, "Always Be My Home" by Rachael Lampa

Praise and Worship Radio - Yes, I do occasionally have an occasional desire to hear some praise and worship stuff. Not very often, and it's mostly background music, and I vote down every single Casting Crowns song that tries to play... but this station does exist.
First three songs that come up: "How Deep the Father's Love For Us" by Phillips, Craig & Dean, "Forever" by Chris Tomlin, "Blessed Be Your Name" by Travis Cottrell

80s Pop - One of my favorite rooms to hang out in on was one that only played 80s music. It may not be a very deep decade as far as pop music goes, but it sure is a lot of fun.
First three songs that come up: "Separate Ways" by Journey, "How Will I Know" by Whitney Houston, "Come On Eileen" by Dexy's Midnight Runners

Boy Bands - Oh, how I love ridiculous boy bands. They get a station all to themselves.
First three songs that come up: "Bye Bye Bye" by *NSync, "As Long As You Love Me" by Backstreet Boys, "MMMBop" by Hanson

Jack Johnson Radio - I created this one a long time ago and never got around to changing its name, but it's basically a radio for smooth easy listening singers like Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz, and the occasional Michael Buble.
First three songs that come up: "Good People (Live 2008)" by Jack Johnson, "Free Fallin' (Acoustic) (Live)" by John Mayer, "I Won't Give Up" by Jason Mraz

2000s Radio Hits - To capture that time starting around 2001 or so when I started sneaking secular music on the radio :-) The time frame on this is a little wobbly, as I occasionally accept new stuff, but in general I like to keep this focused on about 2001-2007.
First three songs that come up: "Walk Away" by Kelly Clarkson, "I Gotta Feeling" by Black Eyed Peas, "E.T." by Katy Perry

Big Band Jazz Vocal Swing...Stuff - I seeded this one with Frank Sinatra and then just walked away. So it plays a LOT of Frank Sinatra. I should maybe mix it up and put some other standard singers in there too.
First three songs that come up: "I've Got You Under My Skin" by Frank Sinatra, "Ain't That a Kick In the Head" by Westlife, "On the Street Where You Live" by Dean Martin

Wonky Pop - I was delighted the day I found out there was a name for this genre, since I kept falling in love with artists that sounded like this. This station was seeded with Kate Miller-Heidke, Lily Allen, and Kate Nash, and although it plays Regina Spektor more than I'd like (she just feels far too serious to be lumped in with these others) it's still a super fun station.
First three songs that come up: "Ride This Feeling" by Kate Miller-Heidke, "One Of Those Days" by Joy Williams, "Eet" by Regina Spektor

Film Scores - Movie scores are pretty cool, though weirdly difficult to narrow down on Pandora. It keeps just wanting to put instrumental stuff in here, and I ONLY want movie scores. Also, their method of naming movie scores is the WORST. Half the time the song title is just the name of the movie itself. Ever so confusing.
First three songs that come up: "The Shawshank Redemption" by Thomas Newman, "The Road" by Nick Cave & Warren Ellis, "Gladiator" by Hans Zimmer

Random Instrumental - This station is mostly for giving me good background noise while I'm working on stuff. It's not really meant to be listened to.
First three songs that come up: "The Moon Is Down" by Explosions in the Sky, "More Than Scarlet" by Decoder Ring, "Moon" by Little People

Help! I Can't Be Sad! - Although the title kind of implies that I want help to be sad, it was actually intended to say the opposite: that I am sad, can't deal with it anymore, and want to feel better. I seeded it with a few of my foolproof happiness songs.
First three songs that come up: "God Only Knows" by The Castaways, "I Got You (I Feel Good)" by James Brown, "Johnny B. Goode" by Chuck Berry

Christian Stuff I Don't Hate - Seeded with the few Christian artists I actually genuinely enjoy for non-nostalgia's sake. Lots of Derek Webb, Chris Rice, Jars of Clay, and Nichole Nordeman. Good stuff.
First three songs that come up: "I Hate Everything But You" by Derek Webb, "The House of God Forever" by Jon Foreman, "Where I Land" by JJ Heller

Groovelily Radio - I like Groovelily and find their sound extremely unique, so I was intrigued to see what a station based on them would give me. Mostly it's a lot of female singer-songwriters... which is OK, it's a cool bunch of stuff.
First three songs that come up: "Here With Me" by Dido, "Ironic" by Alanis Morissette, "Don't Speak" by No Doubt

Geek Rock - Pretty sure this one is exclusively seeded with Jonathan Coulton. I can't remember if I added anyone else in there. Maybe some Ben Folds? Either way, this is my nerd rock station.
First three songs that come up: "The World Belongs to You" by Jonathan Coulton, "Go Kart Racing" by Garfunkel and Oates, "One Little Slip" by Barenaked Ladies

Disney, Etc. - The "etc" is there because I'm not sticking strictly to Disney. I'm also allowing songs from other children's movies like An American Tail or Anastasia. This ended up being weirdly difficult to pin down because it kept wanting to include showtunes, but it's pretty solid now.
First three songs that come up: "I Love To Laugh" from Mary Poppins, "Love Is an Open Door" from Frozen, "I Wanna Know You" by Hannah Montana & David Archuleta

Random Showtunes - My musicals station. Though the selection of musicals available on Pandora is pretty dismal.
First three songs that come up: "I'll Cover You" from RENT, "Defying Gravity" by Idina Menzel (a pop-ish CD single version), "Cell Block Tango" from Chicago

The Most Depressing Songs in the World - I seeded this with "Hallelujah," "Brick" by Ben Folds, Gary Jules' version of "Mad World," and, I believe, "Wolf at the Door" by Radiohead (the only Radiohead song I've ever liked). Because sometimes I just need to wallow in sadness for a li'l bit before I can get over it.
First three songs that come up: "Hallelujah" by Jason Castro, "Long Nights" by Eddie Vedder, "Falling Down" by Joe Purdy

Embarrassing Pop - This is for all the cheesy, ridiculous, happy pop that makes me smile but isn't necessarily something I'd want to brag about loving.
First three songs that come up: "Biology" by Girls Aloud, "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)" by Backstreet Boys, "Rockstar" by Hannah Montana

Sleep - This station is intended to help me fall asleep. Lots of soothing tunes here, nothing that's going to make me want to dance.
First three songs that come up: "Better In Time" by Leona Lewis, "The Luckiest" by Ben Folds, "Brick" by Ben Folds Five

Summer Vacation - I can't remember exactly what I seeded this with. Some Jack Johnson, some Beach Boys, and some reggae. Anything that made me feel like summertime.
First three songs that come up: "See What Love Can Do" by Eric Clapton, "Love Is" by Alannah Myles, "Stand By Me" by Ben E. King

Comfy Old Pop - There's some crossover between this and the Sleep station, but mostly this is a lot of Billy Joel, Phil Collins, and Elton John. Songs that just make me feel comfortable to listen to.
First three songs that come up: "She's Got a Way (Live)" by Billy Joel, "You Can't Hurry Love" by Phil Collins, "Don't Ask Me Why" by Billy Joel

Rainy Days - Seeded with a few particularly melancholy songs by Peter, Paul & Mary, Chris Rice, Derek Webb, and The Carpenters, this is not an overtly depressing station so much as it is just... for rainy days, where everything's mellow and a little sad.
First three songs that come up: "Same Girl" by Jack Johnson, "Sweet Pea" by Amos Lee, "Everything'll Be Alright" by Joshua Radin

Awesome Christmas - This one is pretty eclectic, as my favorite Christmas songs are pretty eclectic. I really suspect I'll end up using Spotify for Christmas music than Pandora, but we'll see.
First three songs that come up: "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" by Matthew West, "Christmas Is All Around" by Billy Mack, "Joy to the World" by Casting Crowns (I don't hate them when they're singing songs they didn't write)

New Cool Pop - This and my Embarrassing Pop station were created pretty close to each other, because I wanted to specify the difference between the pop I was kind of embarrassed to admit liking and the stuff that I was like, "No, this is cool, I'm allowed to be publicly a fan."
First three songs that come up: "Sunday Morning" by Maroon 5, "Chariot" by Gavin DeGraw, "Wordplay" by Jason Mraz

Happy Punk - I just put Bowling for Soup and Relient K into this station and got back more of the cheery pop punk stuff I like. I DO allow more melancholy stuff in here occasionally, but the overtly emo stuff gets voted down. I want this station to be music that makes me smile.
First three songs that come up: "My Girl's Ex-Boyfriend" by Relient K, "Ocean Avenue" by Yellowcard, "Swing Swing" by The All-American Rejects

Before-Me Rock - My classic rock station, with heavy emphasis on Aerosmith and AC/DC. Though I should probably make sure there's more Queen in there than there is. There, Queen has been added to the list.
First three songs that come up: "Shoot to Thrill (Live)" by AC/DC, "Slow Ride" by Foghat, "No One Like You" by Scorpions

Phew. All right, those are all my Pandora stations. Do you use Pandora? What mood-specific stations have you created?


  1. After seeing your list, I feel like I don't use Pandora as correctly as you do. I have, like, 10 stations that are all just "Disney" and "Wicked" and "Chris Rice" and "High School Musical". The one specific thing I have is that I have 3 Christian stations: "Fluffy Mood Christian" which has Klove artists and old Christian songs, "NLDC People Songs" which has Jesus Culture and Kari Jobe and Misty Edwards from stuff I discovered on the road, and "Bob Fitts" which has those old nostalgic CDs Mom used to play in the morning, with early worship songs and hymns.

    I think I just don't have the patience, or think I lack the decison-making skills, to make so many specifically mooded stations. I can do it ok on my MP3 player when I can fill it up with songs I know, but because so many songs that play on Pandora I DON'T know, it takes so much focus to pay attention to each song and see if it fits or not. Plus I don't like thumbs downing too often. I second guess myself on things I'll never care about.

    1. Yes! I use it the most correctly!

      Seriously, though, it's not about using it "right" or "wrong." It's usually about me being like, "I suddenly want to hear a lot of sad songs," and I create a station, listen to it for awhile, and tweak it based on what I want to hear right then. So it doesn't necessarily take patience, it just takes me giving in to what I want to hear right at the moment. The reason I have so many is because I have so many different moods I go for at different times. If I don't want to make a decision on a song I don't vote it up or down, I just leave it, figuring it'll play again sometime in the future and I can decide then if I want.