07 August 2009


I've still not got round to making any playlists for my iPod, and so can't trust it on shuffle yet, as it may play me something that's merely residing on it for a rainy day.

But I had forgotten that the newer ones come with built in 'Genius' to generate playlists for you based on the track you have selected.

It does this by comparing your library and purchasing habits with those of "other people", to suggest similar songs to the one you picked.

Other people......hmmmmm......

Other people are not to be trusted. It's "other people" that make Britain's Got Talent Britain's most watched show. It's "other people" that keep Duffy in Diet Coke and ridiculous leggings.

You've only got to go to "other peoples" houses and check out their CD collections to see what I mean. We all do it. First time we go to someones house we go straight to the music collection and start judging them - usually finding them lacking.

But iTunes reckons it knows so many other people, it must be able to use this knowledge to satisfy me on the way to work, so ok iPod, give it your best shot.

I headed out the door with Muses magnificent 'Knights of Cydonia'. I wanted wakey-wakey music, and that certainly fitted the bill. Six minutes and seven seconds later, it's time for the "Genius" to step up to the plate. 'Reptillia' by The Strokes blasts out.

So far so good. Not what I would have chosen for myself, but I like it, and it is in keeping with my general mood. So what will it throw at me next....

"'Map of the Problematique' by ..erm...Muse again." said the Genius

"Ok Genius, well worked out. It's even off the same album you fuckwit. I'll listen because I like it, but I was hoping for a bit more variety...now play me something else.."

"How about the super smashing 'Cherub Rock' from the super Smashing Pumpkins?" asked the Genius.

"Splendid" said I. "Now you're getting the idea. What's next?"

"I really think you want to hear a bit of 'Time is Running Out' said the Genius.

"Er..hang on. Isn't this just Muse again?"

"Yes, but it's off a different album. Different see? Variety!"

I was starting to suspect this Genius was a bit more Justin Hawkins than Steven Hawkin...

Yes Justin, that is a catchy tune, but isn't it just a little bit Queen rip off derivative, and basically what you just played me but ever so slightly different. Why can't you be more like Steven?

He knows what variety means, using his unique vocal stylings to maximum effect collaborating with artists as diverse as Radiohead (Fitter, Happier) and Daft Punk (Technologic) He was even Chers singing coach on 'Believe', for which I believe he also choreographed the video.

"Now do you get what I mean Genius?"

"I think so. You want something that matches the camp theatrics, killer 70's riffs and wailing vocals of Knights of Cydonia, not just lots more Muse?"

"Yes please."

"Ballroom Blitz by The Sweet?"


That is what I want Genius to to. To take something that I would never thing of playing myself, but matches my general ambiance, and brings a little grin of guilty pleasure to my face.

My next logical step would be to see how far I could push the Genius's logic, and try to get it to generate a chain that would get me as far away from where it started.

It would be a fair assumption that anyone who liked Knights of Cydonia would also like Ballroom Blitz, but since that hails from a long gone era (released 3 years before Muse's Matt Bellamy was even born!), it probably has fans that would have turned their noses up at some of the other 24 tracks on the Knights generated playlist - particularly Tenacious D's most tender and romantic 'Fuck her Gently'.

"So Genius. I like Ballroom Blitz. Find me 24 other songs like that one."

"Right you are sir. Anyone of these rather take your fancy?"

"Yes. ELO's 'Mr Blue Sky'. Got any more like that?"

"As a matter of fact I do. And I think you'll be particularly pleased with Supertramps 'Logical Song'"

"I would. Logical Song would be a logical step. Give me 24 songs like that one."

"You're the boss. Anything tickle your fancy?"

"I like a bit of Human League. Find me more like 'Don't you want me'."

"Madonna's 'Holiday'?"

"Ok - one last jump."

"Hit me Baby one more time?"

Yes - I think I will. I think I will hit you in your silly digital face. By trusting the listening habits of those pesky "other people", I have contrived by using playlists of only 25 songs, and 6 steps, to get from what is an undeniably a classic rock tune, to Britney. If I hadn't stopped there God only knows where it would have gone...

The fact that all the above songs are even on my iPod are inconsequential........

Next up I'm going to see how many steps it takes to get me from Ace of Spades to Ace of Bass. I bet I can do it in in less than 10, especially with the fucking retard at the controls.

I would have done it on the way home, but chose to listen to Geoff Boycott on Test Match Special instead.

Now he is a Genius.

I know he is, because the fucker never stops telling us.......

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