Pandora’s Jukebox

The name Pandora means “all gifted” in Greek. In ancient Greek mythology, Pandora received many gifts from the Gods, including the gift of music, from Apollo. She was also, as we all know, insatiably curious.

Unlike those Gods of old, however, we celebrate that virtue and have made it our mission to reward the musically curious among us with a never-ending experience of music discovery.

It’s also important to note that at the bottom of Pandora’s box was Hope…

Pandora is possibly better known as “she who released the ills of man into the world,” but I like and would not argue their creative muse. is back-ended by the Music Genome Project©, the most comprehensive analysis of music known (by me). My wife pointed out to me that is great for those (numb skulls) that only listen to music for…well…music. She, being of a distinctly different genre of listener, listens to music for the lyrics. That is, she follows great songwriters. Their music is second in interest, though of a particular caliber and aspect of good. To know what I’m talking about, you’d listen to examples from Sting, the Moody Blues, Rod Stewart, et al. Since music is a monolinguistic experience for her, she doesn’t often get trapped into liking catchy pop tunes like those of us who just listen to the music.

I was reading the descriptions on some Caribou coffees the other day and came across the following ambrosial qualities:

A fragrant brew that starts with a silky, syrupy taste and ends with smoky berry notes.

A rich, rugged blend with pecan, brazil nut, and exotic fruit tones peeking out of a lush dark canopy. Organic.

A lively blend of intense, juicy coffee with high lemongrass notes and a deep undercurrent of peaches and plums.

These subtle flavors can be detected within the dark stuff, but sometimes they’re only recognized after having read them. Now that I have read them, I want to search for coffees that combine the specifics that I find especially delicious. That’s a different problem.

That got me thinking about, and I realized that they’re missing a similar method to discovering music. Let me know if I’m missing something entirely, but I would love it if the Music Genome Project worked in such a way that I could pick out the qualities in music that I really like, then have the MGP find matching titles. And maybe they can work on a side project for me to find coffees in the same way.


  1. I am like you in that I appreciate music for it’s own sake. I am like Amy as I also appreciate great lyrics, especially those that make me laugh: The rabbit leaped; the rabbit hopped. The rabbit bit my turnips off…. Little more rabbit stew, little more rabbit stew. Ot Granny does your dog bite, dog bite, dog bite? Granny does your dog bite? No, child, no. Granny does your dog bite, dog bite, dog bite? Daddy cut his bite off a long time ago. (These also have a great melody–the best of both worlds). It would be wonderful if Pandora could couple lyrics and melodies; thereby satisfying both types of music lovers.
    Rosin Up That Bow!

  2. Maybe I’m missing what it is you’d like the MGP to do… but doesn’t Pandora allow you to mark a track as like or dislike, and then it [supposedly] learns what kind of music you like?

    Maybe it was something else I used and not Pandora, but one of them would tell you that the music has a certain beat to it or certain style – after awhile it would learn what beat/style you liked and play more like that.

    Anyhow, as for me – I listen to the music. I don’t usually listen to the lyrics even when I know them. It’s funny, I can be singing along to a song, not missing a word – but I have no idea what I’m saying. Sometimes after falling into that trap, I’ll get around to listening to the lyrics and not liking the song anymore. But I think that listening to the music before lyrics is what makes me like so many different styles. I can go from pop to rock to country to r&b and back (thank you iPod). However, since I met Jenny early last year I’ve started listening to Country music. I don’t know if it’s simpler music or what, but I listen to the lyrics first with Country.

    So there’s my 2 cents worth. 🙂

  3. Pandora implicitly creates a list of music that matches my interest. What I’m talking about doing is actually selecting the traits in the music that I like and then having it show me all the songs that match. It’s slightly different, and perhaps I’m just being picky. However, part of the reason I want to do this is because my radio stations could have the tendency to “merge” if I continually select songs I like, but for no distinct reason. So it would be of more value to have a catch-all station that has all music with the attributes I build into a single bucket. Then if I want something different, I pick different attributes to hear different songs. I guess it would depend somewhat upon whether we’re talking an “AND” match or an “OR” match.

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