Wednesday, October 29, 2014

My iTunes Genius Mixes

Mostly I forget these exist, but every once in awhile I find my genius playlists on iTunes and go, "Huh, I wonder what those are now."

For those of you who don't have iTunes, genius mixes are computer-generated playlists based on similar songs. You can create genius mixes from a certain song (kind of like doing a Pandora station of songs you already own) but you also get pre-created genius mixes based on genres that there are many of in your library.

The last time I looked at these, there were like four "musicals" mixes, three "soundtracks" mixes, and then some random genres. And then those songs didn't exactly line up with what they were titled. But that was a long time ago and I've gotten a lot of new music since then. Let's see what we have now and what they play!

KISS ME KATE - 2014 Monomoy Theatre from Flickr via Wylio
© 2014 Monomoy Theatre Photo GalPal, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio
Mix #1: "Musicals Mix"

Well, that's not a surprise. I do have a lot of musicals. The first three songs played on this mix are Michael Ball's version of "The Music of the Night," "Man in the Mirror" from A Man of No Importance (which I frankly forgot I even had), and "Big Money" from See What I Wanna See (which I haven't listened to in forever). So, yes, this seems to be a musicals mix. 10/10.

Mix #2: "Musicals Mix"

I never understood why they couldn't just combine my musicals mixes into a single mix, but whatever. This mix starts off with "Follow Where You Lead" by Idina Menzel, which is why these automatic mixes don't always work -- Idina's usually a musical singer, but this is from one of her pop albums. The second song is "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Mis, which is accurate, but the third song is "Taking Chances" as performed by Glee. Which... I mean, I guess it's a showtune because jukebox musicals are showtunes, but it feels out of place. This is like a 7/10.

Mix #3: "Adult Alternative Mix"

Done with the musicals. I always forget I actually have a lot of adult alternative songs, but I do indeed. We start off this one with a Christmas song: "Little Town" by Over the Rhine. It's followed by "Wastin' Time" by Kris Allen, which I didn't even know I had, and "Someone to Watch Over Me" by Alison Iraheta, which... is a jazz song sung by a rock artist, so classifying it as "adult alternative" seems a little weird. But overall that's about right. 8/10.

Mix #4: "Christian Rock Mix"

I do have a lot of random Christian songs in here, mostly as a nostalgic thing, but this mix starts us off with "To Know You" by Nichole Nordeman. It's a favorite of mine, but I'd hardly call it rock. The next choice is even weirder, though, as it is "The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy," which is... neither Christian nor rock. What? The third song is "Emmanuel" by Laura Story, and I have no idea what this song is or where I got it from, but it sounds maybe a little bit rockier than the previous to, if maybe pop/rocky. This is a crazy one. 3/10.

Mix #5: "Christian Rock Mix"

...Guys, this mix is somehow even more off than the previous one. Our first three songs are "You Are the Music In Me" from High School Musical 2, "Whistle While You Work" from Snow White, and "Let's Get Together" from The Parent Trap. Sure, these are squeaky-clean songs, so Christian families could listen to them, but this is most definitely like... a kids' songs mix. 1/10 because none of these fit.

Techno Punk from Flickr via Wylio
© 2008 Gregor Fischer, Flickr | CC-BY-ND | via Wylio
Mix #6: "Punk Mix"

The sample list of artist seems promising, as does the first song: "The Anthem" by Good Charlotte. (I don't believe I have any punk that's not pop punk... but then I've discovered a bunch of songs in these mixes I didn't think I had, so who knows.) The next two are "I Need a Break... But I'd Rather Have a Breakthrough" by The Rocket Summer and "What Went Wrong" by Blink-182, so, yup, we're on track here. 10/10.

Mix #7: "Dance Pop Mix"

I do have a lot of dance pop songs, so I expect this to be good, but then I also have a fair amount of Christian rock songs, and those playlists were goofed up. Song #1 is "Koocacho" by Kylie Minogue, which is mellow, but definitely dancey, so thumbs up. "Pearl" by Katy Perry and "Animal" by Ke$ha are up next, so clearly this is really the "Pop Artists Beginning With K" mix. These are all weirdly mellow dance songs, but I'll give it to them overall. 9/10.

Mix #8: "Teen Pop Mix"

And I definitely have a lot of teen pop. Let's see if this will actually play any of it. Let's see, we've got Glee's version of "Do You Hear What I Hear," the instrumental track "The Tear Heals" from Tangled, and "I'm Wishing/One Song" from Snow White. Um. Nope, this one is confused. 2/10.

Mix #9: "Classic R&B Mix"

I would assume this mostly exists because of my mucho Michael Jackson, but the first song is "Harbour Love" by Syreeta, which I completely forgot I owned, but I love it a lot. Not exactly sure it fits the tone I expected, though. Second song is "Rockin' Robin" by The Jackson 5, so that works great. And then we have... "Never Can Say Goodbye," also by The Jackson 5. So this mix appears to be "Michael Jackson + Syreeta." (I peeked ahead to see if it played anything else and it went with The Commodores, Stevie Wonder, and Ray Charles, so it does win.) 10/10.

SXSW Music 2011 - Austin, TX from Flickr via Wylio
© 2011 kris krüg, Flickr | CC-BY-SA | via Wylio
Mix #10: "Singer/Songwriter Mix"

This genre covers a lot, so we'll see whether it fits or not. Our first song is "Be Somebody" by Paula Cole, which I don't know anything about, but it sounds like it would fit, so sure! The next choices are "Lies" by Glen Hansard from Once and "Feeling the Pull" by The Swell Season, so overall I'm feeling OK about this mix. 9/10.

Mix #11: "Urban Crossover Mix"

I genuinely have no idea what that means, but the songs it plays are "London Bridge" by Fergie (which I occasionally feel guilty about owning and enjoying), "Bed" by J. Holiday, and "Queen of the Night" by Whitney Houston. So... more modern R&B/hip hop/pop songs? 8/10?

Mix #12: "Indie Rock Mix"

Well, the first song on this one was "Fader" by The Temper Trap, but the opening music sounded weirdly like the StrongBadia National Anthem and I was about to be like, "BEST MIX EVER." Unfortunately, I am less excited by The Temper Trap. I don't particularly like indie rock, but I seem to have a lot of it in my library and I don't really know where it came from. Song #2 is "Single Ladies" by Pomplamoose which is quite cool but it's more indie pop than indie rock. And song #3 is... "Hail Mary" by Pomplamoose. (Song #4, however, is "I Feel Fantastic" by JoCo, so that's cool and varied.) Aside from weirdly playing two of like... the four Pomplamoose songs I own in a row, it's fine. So... 8/10.

Probably won't listen to those ever again... but at least now I know that iTunes is REALLY CONFUSED about Christian rock.

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