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Pandora Gets Shuffled


This, sadly, will be my last post on the Pandora Challenge. As I wrote before, the Tony Kornheiser Show returns on Tuesday, and I am excited to run with rumblings of a 60-something-year-old, grumpy, orange, bald man in my ear.

I must admit, when I started the Pandora Challenge, I thought after a while it would get boring and tiresome. With the exception of a couple of runs, that wasn’t the case. I enjoyed the vast majority of the songs and stations I listened to, even the ones I thought I would never enjoy.

I got to experience songs from every decade going back to the 1950s; East and West Coast rap; Alternative, Today’s, Hard and Real Hard Rock; and even Bollywood. It was a great two months, and while the summer challenge is over, on those days where the Tony Kornheiser Show doesn’t come on, the podcast gets delayed or I listen to it during the work day, I’ll be eager to flip on Pandora and pick a station I’ve never listened to before.

For my last Pandora run, I listened to a little bit of everything as I hit the shuffle button and all the stations I’ve heard this summer came back. Here’s what I got:


Elvis Presley – “Suspicious Minds”

From the Elvis Presley station, of course. While not having a very upbeat tempo, I loved that Thursday’s 5-mile run started with this song. What a great Elvis song.


Calvin Harris – “Feel So Close”

From the Today’s Hip Hop Hits station. I’m not a big fan of this song. I’m not a dubstep fan, but what’s part of the beauty with the Pandora Challenge is that you get songs you’re not in love with, and sometimes you learn to appreciate them. Other times you just power throw them with hopes that something better is waiting on the other side. This was the latter.


Def Leppard – “Let’s Get Rocked”

From the Hard Rock station. As I said in my post last month, I don’t know much of Def Leppard except for “Pour Some Sugar On Me,” so it’s good to get more experience with the band. Even on my final Pandora Challenge run, it gives me something new to help me get the rock out of here.


The Black Keys – “Howlin For You”

From the Today’s Alternative station. This station lost a challenge to the ‘90s Alternative rock station, but if Today’s Alternative would have played more of The Black Keys, it might have won. I really like this band and this song.


Shreya Ghoshal – “Yeh Ishq Hai”

Bollywood!!!!! This was my surprise hit station of the entire Pandora Challenge, and I’m so happy that Pandora picked a song from the station. I have no idea what the lyrics say, but like all the other Bollywood songs, the energy was high and it made me feel happy.


Backstreet Boys – “Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely”

From the ‘90s Pop station, the first station on the Pandora Challenge. The Backstreet Boys may not be getting the attention *NSync has gotten this week – though both have been grossly overshadowed by Miley Cyrus – but I still enjoy Backstreet Boys’ music over their boy band rivals.


Garbage – “Run Baby Run”

From the ‘90s Alternative station. The ‘90s Alternative station is brutal. First, it soundly defeated Today’s Alternative in the challenge, and after I give Today’s Alternative some props for playing one of my favorite current bands, it turns around and plays one of my favorite bands from the ‘90s. “I’m Only Happy When It Rains” is still in my top-10 of songs ever, so touché, ‘90s Alternative.


Nelly – “Ride Wit Me”

I guess this is the 2000s Summer Hits station, a station that I hated at the time because it played less-than-stellar songs from the decade. But here we go with Nelly, an artist who, had he been played in the channel’s original turn, would have turned the mediocre Summer Hits playlist into a glorious one. I’m glad Nelly finally gets a chance to shine.


Imagine Dragons – “Radioactive”

Ugh, stop playing this stupid song! Pandora had a trend of messing up the playlists with a terrible song at the end, so why stop now? I applaud the consistency.


So there you have it. I had some station requests that I didn’t get around to, but I promise I’ll do them in time. This won’t be my last ever Pandora running post, just my last one for the Pandora Challenge. If there are other stations you think I missed this summer, let me know and I’ll do my best to get to them. Thanks for reading all this gibberish this summer. I got a bunch of likes and many new followers, and I appreciate every one of you! Now it’s time for football season, so stick around for those awesome posts, too!

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Pandora Goes Back to School


First off, I would like to apologize for not updating the blog and the Pandora challenge in over a week. I know the “Work was crazy” excuse isn’t acceptable, but it’ll have to do for now.

On a melancholy note, this is the final week of the Pandora challenge. On Tuesday, the Tony Kornheiser Show returns to the air and will entertain my daily runs until next summer. I’ll try to make this week good.

The end of summer means the Tony Kornheiser Show returns to the radio, and it also marks the return of school. Louisiana public schools returned a couple of weeks ago, meaning terrible parents racing down my street in the morning to get their kid to school and then annoying parents yelling at you to slow down when you’re already going 20 in the school zone. How many more months?

LSU started on Monday, but other than getting stuck in traffic over the weekend when the students moved in, that doesn’t affect me. Another sign I’m getting old.

To celebrate the return of school, Pandora introduced a “Back to School” album, so that was my playlist on a 5-miler over the weekend. Going into the station, I had no idea what to expect or what “Back to School” songs included. It wasn’t really what I expected at all…


Labrinth – “Beneath Your Beautiful”

I never heard this song before, and it’s good. It’s also a lot slower than what I was expecting, which, again, I had no idea what to expect.

But at least the name of the song is fitting for going back to school. Way to use the wrong form of “You’re” in the title of the song, Labrinth. Your an idiot.


Macklemore and Ryan Lewis – “Same Love”

While I appreciate their message behind the song, this was the first time I listened to it from start to finish. I normally switch the radio station when this song comes on because it’s so slow and boring. I applaud the effort, but this song does nothing for me entertainment-wise.


Lana del Rey – “Summertime Sadness”

See, this is more of what I was expecting! Well, maybe not the slow sound of these three songs, but it’s fitting with the end of summertime and the sadness of kids going back to school. I know none of yall would have figured out that symbolism with this song, but I’m here to help. I do hold an English degree, and this type of deep, thoughtful examination of meaning is what I majored in. It pays off daily.


Maroon 5 – “Love Somebody”

Shouldn’t it be time for this band to dissolve and Adam Levine to start an independent career?


Ke$ha – “Crazy Kids”

I think I’ve said it before, but again, weak effort, Ke$ha.


Fall Out Boy – “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark”

I’m also ready for this song to slowly go away. I really liked this song when it first came out, mainly because it was the intro song to LSU baseball games, but after a disappointing baseball postseason, I’m ready to no longer know what this song sounds like in the dark.


Pitbull – “This Moment”

Maybe a bit too much hair in the back

Maybe a bit too much hair in the back

Confession: I love Pitbull. I know I shouldn’t, but I can’t help it. I realize he’s a douchebag and by enjoying his music, I become douchier, but his music is so damn catchy!

A couple of Halloweens ago, I dressed up as Pitbull in his Dr. Pepper commercial. It was fantastic. I suited up, balded down and did the best I could to find an ascot. I was ready to have a real good time.

Sadly, though, the Halloween party was attended by people who didn’t watch TV and never saw the commercial and hipsters who never heard of Pitbull. Complete failure. But I did get to enjoy Dr. Pepper and some Malibu all night, so I had a real good time.

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Pandora Goes to the Movies


This post is about Wednesday’s run, so while it’s not exactly timely, I still wanted to share it because the playlist was surprisingly good. I written about a few songs that have reminded me about the movies they’re in, and so with that in mind, I decided to listen to a whole playlist devoted to just movie soundtrack songs.

Wednesday’s run was an 8-miler on the treadmill at the gym because it rained all day and didn’t stop until late Wednesday night. Except for a couple of duds, this playlist held my attention and kept me away from the treadmill boredom.

Elton John — Can You Feel the Love Tonight (The Lion King)

There’s going to be a theme of Disney movies throughout this playlist, so just get used to it. The Lion King is my favorite Disney movie (Up comes in a close second because I hate myself and love being sad 5 minutes into a movie) so even if this isn’t an ideal running song, I still enjoy it.


Grease — You’re the One That I Want (Grease)

I don’t think I’ve watched Grease from start to finish before. I’ve seen the end with this song, but I can’t recall ever sitting down and watching the whole movie straight through. Is that normal?


Imagine Dragons — It’s Time (The Perks of Being a Wallflower)

I haven’t seen The Perks of Being a Wallflower — and I probably never will — so I was confused why Imagine Dragons started playing in my headphones. At least it wasn’t “Radioactive.”


The Jungle Book — The Bare Necessities (The Jungle Book)

The second Disney song in four tries. It’s been so long since I’ve watched The Jungle Book that I can’t say what it’s about and what the plot is. I know this song (because everyone knows this song) but that’s it.


Adele — Skyfall (Skyfall)

Yes, Adele won the Oscar for this song, and I realize I’m probably in the minority here, but I’m just not a big fan of her song. Skyfall the movie was fantastic, and paired together with the film’s opening credits, this song is great, but I don’t think it stands well on its own. The Academy tells me I’m wrong, though, so I can accept it.


Bob Seger — Old Time Rock & Roll (Risky Business)

Bob Seger’s song is a repeat from the Old Guy Radio Pandora station. And in that post, I said that I can’t, and really not many people can, hear this song and NOT think of Risky Business. So it was great that in the Movie Soundtrack station this song played. How perfectly fitting.


John Williams — Raiders of the Lost Ark Theme (Raiders of the Lost Ark)

By this time I’ve been running about 21 or 22 minutes and I’m starting mile 4, so my concentration and focus is waning. Then Pandora plays the Indiana Jones theme and redeems itself for all the other crap songs it’s played throughout this challenge. This song motivated me to keep running like I was Indy escaping Belloq and his band of Hovitos for taking their golden idol.


Kevin Spacey — Beyond the Sea (Beyond the Sea)

I had no idea this was Kevin Spacey until I got home and looked over the playlist. I knew he was on Broadway, but Frank Underwood can sing (though I have no idea what Beyond the Sea the movie is about).


Timon and Pumba — Hakuna Matata (The Lion King)

Another song from The Lion King. My favorite song from that movie isn’t “Hakuna Matata” or “I Just Can’t Wait to be King,” but rather “Be Prepared,” sung by the antagonist Scar. Maybe it’s that I feel a special connection to the younger brother in the movie and how he gets screwed over by his older brother, or maybe it’s like I really enjoy Jeremy Irons’ voice (I quote Die Hard With a Vengeance too much for Katie), but I love that song.


Aerosmith — I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing (Armageddon)

I won’t lie, I turned the volume up a lot when this song came on. Armageddon is a decent movie, screw the haters who say it sucks. But for some reason I really, really love this song.


Christina Perri — A Thousand Years (Breaking Dawn)

Now we enter the chick movie part of the Movie Soundtracks station.


Pitch Perfect — Bellas Regionals (Pitch Perfect)

A medley of “The Sign,” “Eternal Flame” and “Turn the Beat Around.” I didn’t hate the movie, but I could have done without this song.


Gary Jules — Mad World (Donnie Darko)

While I love Donnie Darko, Tear for Fears’ version of this song will always be my favorite.


Survivor — Eye of the Tiger (Rocky)

Pandora has been notorious for playing slower, less energizing songs at the end of the run, but not this time. It’s not the best Rocky song to work out to (Hello, Hearts on Fire), but it’s one that everyone can get pumped about when hearing. With football season two weeks away, I’ll be hearing this song a lot from LSU’s band, so it’s good to get this started.

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Pandora Plays Elvis


It’s been raining a lot in Baton Rouge lately, which has helped keep the temperatures down a bit. Thankfully. So on Tuesday, with a heavy lunchtime downpour and an incoming thunderstorm keeping temperatures in the mid-80s, I ventured outside for 6 miles.

I ran the first three miles fast, too fast, at 7 minutes per mile and slowed to an 8 minute per mile pace for the final three. By a hair I finished the run and got inside before that incoming thunderstorm showed up and drenched the area all night. Close call, but I won.

As for the music, I decided the King’s time had come. I didn’t pass out or throw my underwear on stage, but the King of Rock did serenade me on the 6-mile run thanks to Pandora’s Elvis Presley station.


Elvis Presley — “Tutti Frutti”

The idea for an Elvis Pandora station came while driving to work in the morning. Queen’s version of “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” came on the radio, and lo, I decided it must be time for Elvis. A lot of good ideas can come from listening to Queen if you pay attention.

I was hoping for more Elvis songs like “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” or “Jailhouse Rock,” but Pandora gave me a lot of “Tutti Frutti”-esque songs. You’ll see if you keep reading. That’s the good and bad with Pandora is that you have no idea what songs you’re going to get. I thought for sure in the East Coast/West Coast hip hop battle I’d get classic East Coast songs, but that wasn’t the case.


Chuck Berry — “Johnny B Good”

For those slight disappointments, though, Pandora many times will play a great song you had no expectations of hearing. There is no way you can hear “Johnny B Good” on a run and feel disappointed. I could have listened to this song 14 more times during the run and been happy. I wanted to get on stage at Hill Valley High School’s Enchantment Under the Sea dance and embarrass my future parents with my version of this song.


Percy Sledge — “When a Man Loves a Woman”


Ritchie Valens — “La Bamba”

Granted my Spanish is very rusty, but this was I think the first time I’ve heard this song since probably high school and I was able to translate a couple of lines. Most notably “I am not a sailor, I am a captain.” Google even verified that I was correct, so boom.


Elvis Presley — “Shake, Rattle and Roll”


Chuck Berry — “No Particular Place to Go”

A giant step down from the first Chuck Berry song in this playlist.


Elvis Presley — “That’s All Right”


Johnny Cash — Cry, Cry, Cry”

The Man in Black makes an underwhelming entrance.


Jerry Lee Lewis — “Whole Lot of Shaking Going On”


Jerry Lee Lewis — “Great Balls of Fire”

From one big ’80s movie song to another. A few years ago Katie and I went to San Diego for a conference and we ate lunch at Kansas City BBQ, the restaurant where Anthony Edwards and Tom Cruise sang this song in “Top Gun.” When I tell people this, their first response is, “You mean ‘You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling?'” No, watch the movie again. It’s the crappy-looking BBQ joint with Meg Ryan and Kelly McGillis both there.

Screen shot 2013-08-15 at 12.12.59 PM

As for the song, like the food at Kansas City BBQ, it’s fine but nothing to go crazy over. Now take me to bed or lose me forever.

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Pandora Battle: East Coast Hip Hop vs. West Coast Hip Hop


This weekend’s runs were mixed in location, speed and overall feel, even though both Friday afternoon’s and Sunday morning’s runs were both four miles.

Friday afternoon found me in the gym back on the treadmill with a 7:30 minute per mile pace for the first three miles. The last miles I revved up the pace to 10 miles per hour, or 6 minutes per mile. At that speed on a treadmill, each step carries a stronger force, and therefore louder crash, than a step at a slower pace. At 10 mph, my steps echoed through the entire cardio section at the gym, garnering awkward looks from Max Fitness elite. I take it not many people go 6 minute per mile pace on treadmills.

Saturday was a day off from running as Katie and I went down to the French Quarter for the Red Dress Run. It’s not an actual run, but a bar hop with everyone in red dresses. I wore the finest red skirt Baton Rouge’s thrift stores had and Katie wore a red Target dress, which turned out to be the most popular choice of the procrastinating guys out there.

I don't know why it looks like Katie is trying to pinch my nip

I don’t know why it looks like Katie is trying to pinch my nip

Sunday’s run was outside, but still feeling the effects of Saturday’s events, it wasn’t easy to get through. At Mile 1 I was fine, at Mile 2 I felt the hand grenade, at Mile 3 the Vieux Carre at Hotel Monteleone made its presence felt, and at Mile 4 whatever whiskey and rye drink I was handed later at Hotel Monteleone voiced its dissatisfaction of the run.

Luckily, at least the music was good. I combined Friday and Sunday’s run music into another Pandora battle, similar to last week’s ‘90s Alternative against Today’s Alternative. Except this week, it’s a battle that’s raged for more than two decades and has claimed the lives of two big-name rapper in Tupac and Notorious BIG. Yes, that’s right, it’s East Coast hip-hop vs. West Coast hip-hop.

DMX — “Ruff Ryders Anthem” vs. Dr. Dre — “Keep Their Heads Ringin”


The first showdown is a good one. You don’t get many bigger West Coast rappers than Dr. Dre, and against any other East Coaster, he would win going away. But this is DMX, and while Dr. Dre’s “Keep Their Heads Ringin” was huge in 1995, “Ruff Ryders Anthem” was huge when I was entering high school in 1998.

With all due respect to the movie “Friday” and its soundtrack, you got knocked the fuck out, man! Point East Coast.

East Coast: 1
West Coast: 0

Method Man — “All I Need” vs. Tupac — “Ambitionz Az A Ridah”


What makes me qualified to decide this rap battle? Absolutely nothing. I am the last person who should decide if West Coast rap beats East Coast or vice versa. I do own multiple Tupac, Dr. Dre and Ice Cube CDs, along with the aforementioned “Friday” soundtrack, and I have a few Kanye West, Jay-Z, Notorious BIG and 50 Cent CDs. So I don’t feel I’m biased in this battle.

This round, though, is all Tupac. There isn’t much that’s going to beat Tupac in an East Coast/West Coast battle, minus a drive-by shooting (sorry, I had to). I won’t deny it, he’s a straight ridah, you don’t wanna fuck with him. Point easily goes West Coast.

East Coast: 1
West Coast: 1

Styles — “Good Times” vs. Snoop Dogg — “Gin And Juice”


The West Coast starts off the battle by bringing out its big guns. Dre, Tupac and now Snoop Dogg. And these aren’t even current Dre and Snoop Dogg songs, which can easily be beaten by lesser East Coast rappers. Instead, these are their biggest works next to “Nuthin’ But A G Thang,” which I have because I think I stole my brother’s Chronic album like 20 years ago.

Meanwhile, East Coast returns with Method Man (OK) and Styles (Who?). This one could get ugly soon. Point West Coast.

East Coast: 1
West Coast: 2

50 Cent — “21 Questions” vs. Tupac — “Can’t C Me”


East Coast rap is refined. You can tell they went into a studio and worked it over and over again until is was perfect. The beats match with the lyrics and everything is in harmony.

West Coast rap is raw. The beats are matched up, but there is a lot less harmony in the music. That missing perfection, though, is replaced with genuine emotion.

It all comes down to which type of music you prefer. Like I said, I have both of these artists’ CDs and I listen to their music often, but for a run, “21 Questions” is probably the worst 50 Cent song to play. Like I said, ugly fast.

East Coast: 1
West Coast: 3

The Game — “How We Do” vs. Dr. Dre — “Fuck You”


Again, where are the big-name rappers, East Coast? Where’s Notorius and Nas? Where’s  De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest? Or go further back to Sugarhill Gang and Run DMC? I know I said Dr. Dre and Tupac are hard to beat, but “Rapper’s Delight” or “My Adidas” can do it.

Instead, the station gives me The Game and “How We Do” vs. Dr. Dre. Point West Coast. Game. Set. Match.

East Coast: 1
West Coast: 4

Jay-Z — “Girls Girls Girls” vs. Warren G — “Regulate”


The match is over, but we’ll recap the final two songs briefly. I love Jay-Z and the Black Album, but “Girls Girls Girls” isn’t that.

Craig Mack — “Flava In Ya Ear” vs. Ice Cube — “You Know How We Do It”


Again, big name West Coaster. Ugly.

If only Briantology was around in the mid-’90s, then Notorious and Tupac would still be around and maybe the hip hop scene would have peace. West Coast dominates this rap battle, but don’t for one second believe it’s the best hip hop out there. Pandora doesn’t have a Southern Rap station, but if it did, Lil Wayne, Juvenile, T.I. Ludacris and the countless other hip hop artists to come from God’s heartland would destroy any coast. Make ‘em say, Uh!

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