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Pandora Goes British

british

Welcome back to the Pandora challenge! It’s been a few days since I updated the challenge, not because I wasn’t running, but because of the weather. Rain threatened Friday’s run, so I went sans delicate little iPhone that dies every time a drop of water comes near it. That doesn’t mean I had no music as “Blurred Lines” got stuck in my head and wouldn’t leave.

Speaking of “Blurred Lines,” check out Vampire Weekend’s cover of it. I saw it this weekend and figured I’d share it with you all.

Sunday’s run was also without my iPhone because of a threat of rain, and that threat turned into full-on airstrikes as storms forced me to turn around after one mile.

But we were back on the challenge on Monday.

England has owned this summer, especially this past month. It started with a Brit — Justin Rose — winning the U.S. Open, America’s golf title, in June. For those who aren’t big golf fans, a non-American, especially a smelly European, winning the U.S. Open is a huge deal. Then Andy Murray won Wimbledon, giving the kingdom its first Wimbledon winner since 1936. This weekend was the British Open golf tournament. And now the royal baby has finally arrived, ending nine months of speculation over whether it’s a boy or girl but not yet ending what the prince will be named. (If God cares about royalty, they’ll name it Prince Marmaduke.)

So it only seemed fitting that Monday’s Pandora playlist be devoted to the kingdom across the pond. For the first time since 1812, the British invade Louisiana.

 

The Kinks — “You Really Got Me”

Previously on the Pandora challenge, the Judas Priest station played Van Halen’s version of “You Really Got Me.” Now I get The Kinks’ original recording of the song. So which do I prefer?

To be honest, they’re both pretty much the same. I didn’t realize before how similar the sound is in both songs. I’m not even sure why Van Halen remade the song if they didn’t change any of the sound with the electric guitar, drum beat or anything. Johnny Cash’s “Hurt” sounds different from Nine Inch Nails, Limp Bizkit’s “Faith” sounds nothing like George Michael and the above Vampire Weekend’s “Blurred Lines” is a different song than Robin Thicke’s version.

In this instance, you can’t beat the original, though.

Song Energy: 6/10
Run Motivation: 7/10
God Saved the Queen?: Yes
Overall: A

 

The Beatles — “All My Loving”

I was kind of surprised the British Invasion station didn’t start with the Beatles, but I guess No. 2 isn’t a bad spot.

 

Dave Clark Five — “Glad All Over”

 

The Zombies — “She’s Not There”

I got excited at first that the song was “Zombie” by the Cranberries, but nope, it wasn’t.

 

Peter & Gordon — “A World Without Love”

I’m starting to doze off now. I thought invasions had more energy than this.

 

The Beatles — “I’m Only Sleeping”

Beatles song No. 2.

 

The Beach Boys — “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”

Oh, Britain. You try so hard to be in the spotlight. Your one good tennis player wins his home tournament, a British golfer has the lead after three rounds of the British Open and your royal family grabs all the headlines for the future king’s birth. And then just like 237 years ago, America takes everything away from you.

American Phil Mickelson comes from behind to steal the British Open from Englishman Lee Westwood, the latest worst American alive George Zimmerman saves a family in a car wreck and steals the nation’s attention and the Beach Boys come from nowhere to assert their American music in your Pandora playlist.

I have no idea why Pandora decided to play The Beach Boys in this playlist because, as you would expect from a British Invasion station, every song was by a British group or musician. Like our Founding Fathers breaking out of King George III’s shackles, Pandora revolts against the tyranny of British music.

Song Energy: 5/10
Run Motivation: 6/10
God Saved the Queen?: THE QUEEN IS DEAD! MWAHAHAHA
Overall: A+++++++++

 

George Harrison — “Here Comes The Sun”

Another repeat song as The Beatles version was featured on the Old Guy Radio station. But this one is live and just George Harrison.

 

The Who — “My Generation”

I’m really glad this station got out of the British pop soundtrack and included some rock music. I was hoping the Rolling Stones would get on this playlist, but alas, they were left off. So I’ll settle with The Who, which isn’t a huge sacrifice considering I own a few Who CDs.

During the run, I caught myself wondering what original Who fans, fans who started listening to the band in the ‘60s and ‘70s and are now in their 50s and 60s, think of this song. Do you still hope you die before you get old? What is your opinion of your generation? Because by all accounts, your generation is sort of ruining this country.

But that’s way more political than I want to be on this blog. The song, like I said, is great. It’s nice to get a more rock vibe and higher energy involved in the run.

Song Energy: 7/10
Run Motivation: 7/10
God Saved the Queen?: Bloody yes
Overall: A

 

Eric Burdon — “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”

From The Who’s energy to this. Sigh. Pandora doubts my soul’s good intentions, I suppose.

 

 

The Yardbirds — “For Your Love”

 

The Beatles — “It Won’t Be Long”

Beatles song No. 3. Run almost done. It won’t be long.

 

Manfred Mann — “Do Wah Diddy Diddy”

And this is the final song of the British Invasion run. Remember when I said I was getting tired of the pop sound in this playlist? Well, there isn’t a more poppy song than “Do Wah Diddy Diddy.”

This was a perfect way to end a bad run. For some reason, Pandora can’t keep the pace to the end. This is another prime example.

The energy is fine, but this could be one of the worst songs to listen to when you’re struggling to finish a bad run. It has absolutely no motivation whatsoever.

Song Energy: 5/10
Run Motivation: 2/10
God Saved the Queen?: Nope. Congrats, Charles. You’re finally king.
Overall: D

 

***BONUS TRACK***

Queen — “Bicycle Race”

I couldn’t leave on “Do Wah Diddy Diddy,” so when I got in, I opened iTunes and played my favorite Queen song. And finally, all is good again.

 

Overall, I was pretty disappointed with the playlist. I figured by British Invasion, there would be a lot of songs from the 1960s, but there’s so much good British rock music from the ‘70s and ‘80s that I figured any British station would play at least one or two of them. Nope.

During the July 4 playlist, I got American rock, country, blues and pop music.That didn’t happen with the British Invasion. The highest moment of the station was when Pandora played an American band’s song. Another point for America. USA! USA! USA!

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Pandora Plays Old Guy Radio

OGR

I wasn’t feeling it Wednesday when I got home and got ready for the afternoon run. Tuesday’s 6-miler tried to kill me, and while my knee was doing fine thanks to some icing and a few Aleve, I just had zero motivation to go.

But I’m trying for another triple-digit-mile month in July, and I’m already off to a slow start. I hit 100 or more miles in May and June for the first time in over a year, and going over the century mark is a big deal to me. I’m trying to keep it going, but thanks to a non-running trip to Atlanta to start the month, I’m way behind, so I gritted it out and ran.

Not far, 4 miles, but far enough to at least put up a respectable number in my running log.

As for the music, I’ve been doing mostly new-ish music in my Pandora stations, so I wanted to mix it up some today and go back to the oldies and listen to songs that were made before I was born. I am also missing the Tony Kornheiser Show podcast and his Old Guy Radio segments where he plays oldies music, so 60s, 70s and 80s Hits seemed appropriate.

My mom always listened to the oldies station in the car when we would drive to school, so none of the songs were “new” to me as I have a pretty broad ‘60s and ‘70s music knowledge. And I figured surely I wouldn’t get back-to-back playlist duds from Pandora, right?

You be the judge:

 

Beatles — “Here Comes The Sun”

There aren’t many other bands I’d rather start an oldies playlist with than the Beatles. And while the song isn’t fast and isn’t the most conducive to running motivation, it helped me connect with the outside world and the high heat outside.

Granted, I think a (voluntary) run in 95 degree heat probably isn’t what George Harrison was writing about or similar to the problems he faced at the time. (I’m not too keen on my Beatles knowledge, but I believe he quit the band before he wrote this song and John Lennon had been in a serious car crash around this time. Can anyone back me up on this?)

But it’s good to connect with nature and the outside environment to start the run. It brings you inner peace and happiness all over. (Who says I don’t love this sensitive shit?)

Song Energy: 3/10
Run Motivation: 5/10
Old Guy Radio Factor: 9/10
Overall: C

 

Creedence Clearwater Revival — Have You Ever Seen The Rain?”

Back-to-back weather-related songs. But the flow would have worked better if the rain song came first and was followed by “Here Comes The Sun.”

 

KC and the Sunshine Band — “Get Down Tonight”

Remember when I said that I associate oldies music to riding in my mom’s car on the way to school. Well, I also associate a lot of them with movies, in both and bad ways.

Like many, many, many ‘60s and ‘70s songs, “Forrest Gump” is the first thing that comes to my mind when I hear this song. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s not really a great thing either. There are many other better songs from “Forrest Gump” that I’d rather listen to.

Still, after the two previous slow songs, it was nice to hear something with some energy and excitement.

Song Energy: 7/10
Run Motivation: 6/10
Old Guy Radio Factor: 6/10
Overall: C

 

Kansas — “Dust in the Wing”

Another song associated with a movie. I will never hear this song and not think of Will Ferrell in “Old School.”

 

Van Morrison — “Brown Eyed Girl”

Finally a song I don’t associate with movies, but instead high school.

This song was a staple at every homecoming, prom, spring fling, Christmas dance I went to in high school. I went to those dances with the same group of about 12 guys and girls and every girl sang this song — except for the non-brown eyed girls. The blue-, green- and whatever else-eye-colored girls would sing their color. Actually, no, not sing. Scream as loud as 16 and 17-year-old girls can scream.

“Our hearts are thumping and you my BLUE!!!!! eyed girl. You’re my BLUE!!!!! eyed girl.”

Is this really necessary? I ask now because back then I didn’t want to get punched by asking my clearly discriminated female friends this question.

As for the run, it’s Van Morrison. How can you not love his music? It doesn’t have the high energy (again, it’s Van Morrison), but I still love his music.

Song Energy: 4/10
Run Motivation: 6/10
Old Guy Radio Factor: 6/10
Overall: B

 

Bob Seger — “Old Time Rock N’ Roll”

Oh look, another movie song.

Admittedly, I hadn’t seen “Risky Business” until about four years ago. I knew the general plot and of course knew the Tom Cruise underwear scene, but that was about it. One weekday night, Katie and I were sitting at home with nothing to do and decided to end that.

It’ll never top “Top Gun” as my No. 1 Tom Cruise film, but I did like it. I just wish I hadn’t been so late to the party on it, but to be fair, it did come out two months before I was even born.

As for the song, if Joel Goodsen can dance and play air guitar to it, then I can enjoy it on the run. Sometimes, you’ve just gotta say “What the fuck?”

Song Energy: 8/10
Run Motivation: 7/10
Old Guy Radio Factor: 2/10
Overall: B

 

The Foundations — “Build Me Up Buttercup”

Another movie song! Thank you, Ben Stiller, for ruining this song for me.

 

Queen — “We Will Rock You”

OK, you can’t get much better than this song to hear as you’re finishing any sort of athletic thing. Bravo, Pandora.

 

Natalie Cole — “This Will Be”

And then you do something like this? Are you kidding me, Pandora?

I’m running for crying out loud and you give me an eHarmony song as the final song? Screw you!

I actually got angry that this was the final song of the run. So angry that I started to run faster so I wouldn’t have to listen to it anymore. So in a way it worked, but not as it was intended to do.

No, I’m not looking for online dating, dating advice or my perfect match. I’m done with that, and thankfully, I’m done with this playlist.

Song Energy: 0/10
Run Motivation: 0/10
Old Guy Radio Factor: 1/10
Overall: F-

 

Overall, I think Pandora’s version of Old Guy Radio had some hits and misses — and one giant fuck up. But it did what I wanted it to do, and that was allow me to listen to songs I haven’t heard since I got my own car and stopped carpooling with my mom.

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