Most people are familiar with Pandora, and if you aren’t let me just give you a real quick synopsis. Pandora is a website in which you give them the name of an artist, song, or genre that you like, and it picks out other songs based on your preference. You can like or dislike songs to further filter your suggestions and eventually it will create what it thinks is a good play list for you. The really neat thing about Pandora is that if you sign up for an account, you can create multiple channels based on different things and switch around in them.

I only use Pandora while I’m at work, and I typically have my Mac just sitting there running it, since that’s my media machine for work. I’m not a huge user of the service, sometimes I’ll forget to even turn it on during the day. Today, however, I’ve been looking through my channel list, and remembering when or why they were created. A person’s taste in music can really say a lot about them. I only recently (within the last 5 years) began experimenting with music and what I like. Any time before then I usually listened to classical music or just NPR. This post I’m going to go over my (limited) station list in Pandora and just take a walk down Pandora lane.

I currently have 8 stations in my list, the first one is a techno station. Most people don’t really care for techno, or electronica in general, but for programming you can’t find a better type of music. It typically has a high BPM, really good and steady bass, and no spoken words. I like the fact that it doesn’t say anything because when I’m really trying to focus, I don’t want to listen to lyrics, my one track mind would get derailed and I’d end up in no-whereville wondering why Venus Fly Traps are carnivores. Trance is the other electronica station on my list, and it is pretty much exactly like techno, except will have lyrics for the song, but never really complicated. I use these two interchangeably since stations can sometimes start repeating.

The next station on my list is Adult Contemporary. I’m having a little trouble remembering why I have this station! So far it has played some decent stuff, Dave Matthew’s Band, John Mayer, that kinda thing. I imagine this was created in one of my more light hearted moods, where I was smiling at the world. I like the music, it is light and has a bright feel to it, something that would make a good day just a little bit better.

The next two channels on my list are Romance Piano Solos and String Ensemble. As I said earlier, most of my musical background was in classical. I have always enjoyed the sound of a solitary piano, the intensity that has to be played by a single musician to capture the scope of a song thrills me. I find the piano one of the few instruments that can make a lasting impact on someone by itself. I typically reserve the solo piano for my more somber and serious times, there are few lighthearted songs that are played, and normally each song inspires in me a feeling of deep thought and a stirring for intellectual meaning.

The String Ensemble channel is reserved for those times in which I want something airy and light. String ensembles typically bring a smile to my face. The cooperative effort of musicians playing a piece to perfection thrills me. I enjoy the precision that is required, and the crisp sound of each instrument being played. This type of music always seems to make me cheery and playful.

Texas Blues. I actually learned a lot from finding this channel. There are several types of blues, and most of them don’t sound anything like the type of blues you hear in movies. Texas blues can be a little confusing, as the genre carries a good range of sounds. There is the low, quiet sound of mournful singing, or the energetic sound of an electric guitar and a steady drum beat. However, this channel is usually reserved for my more sad and sombre moments. I like to listen to this station when it’s dark outside, and it is very quiet around me. I close my eyes and try to focus on the emotion from the musicians and the singer, at times I think you can really feel what they are feeling. It is a very immersive genre.

The last two stations are what I typically listen to when I am trying to be productive around the office. These are the only stations based off specific songs or artists. The first is my Whiskey in the Jar station, based off of Metallica’s cover of the song. I have always liked that song, and really can list it as one of my favorites. This station carries some of the stuff that I just like to listen to. Heavy guitar distortion, solid drums with good bass hits, and the kinds of beats that make you nod along to the music.

The Verve Pipe station was really a joke to begin with, made in homage to the song The Freshmen, which is an office favorite and joke (since I work at a University, freshmen do think they are wise, and they never compromise). I have to admit the channel really grew on me though, and I’ve kept it around as a more somber working channel, for the end of the day when it is time to wind down, maybe stare out the window for a little while and contemplate things.

Music really plays an important part of my life now. I discovered its ability to inspire, build up, tear down, comfort, enrage, and nullify. I think that every part of our lives should have a personal soundtrack, just something to enhance our every day lives. Sometimes it is true that only a song can really get the point across of how we feel. If you had a soundtrack, what would play in your life?

Be sure to check out more of my ramblings at Synaptic Thought.