Fred's Radio, Annotated

Don’t it make you want to rock and roll
All night long Mohammed’s Radio
I heard somebody singing sweet and soulful
On the radio, Mohammed’s Radio

Several of us have been talking about the relative merits of Pandora vs. the player as a way to find good music you’ve never heard. Fred Wilson really digs I like, but so far I’m more sold on Pandora.

Fred’s one of my “friends” so I thought I’d fire up his Personal Radio and see what songs played and what I think about them. Here are the first 10 that played and my thoughts about them:

1) Ween – Take Me Away. Though Fred and I like a lot of the same music, his tastes are chronologically broader than mine. I know everything about music prior to 1990 and almost nothing about music after 1995. Ween is sort of in between- I’ve heard a few of their songs, but not many. This one doesn’t do much for me.

2) Cat Power – Willie. My God, what a beautiful song! It sent a shiver up my spine. Perfectly beautiful. Great use of horns. A 10+.

3) M. Ward – Paul’s Song. I’ve read about M. Ward on Fred’s blog, but this is the first song of his I’ve ever heard. Fred, if you like this guy, go check out Bill Morrissey’s first 4 records. Good writing. I like it, but I’ve got Cat Power on my brain now.

4) Nirvana – Where Did You Sleep Last Night. As a general rule, I’m not big on the whole grunge thing. But this song actually has a melody, perhaps because it’s a cover of an old blues song. I’m no Nirvana fan, but this sounds good.

5) Rolling Stones – Stop Breaking Down. Fred and I share a love of Exile on Main Street. I love this song.

6) Peter Green Splinter Group – Running After You. Peter Green, the original force behind the first and better incarnation of Fleetwood Mac was one of the greatest guitar players in the world until he basically went mad. Peter Green average is better than just about anyone else’s finest moment. Not an earth shattering song, but any Peter Green is good.

7) Billy Bragg & Wilco – Airline to Heaven. Fine song off of the second Mermaid Avenue record. Good 12 string guitar.

8) Kings of Convenience – Misread. Never heard of this band before. Mellow indy sound. I like it, but I don’t love it. This would be a good song to listen to sitting on a deck overlooking some water on a fall day.

9) The Flaming Lips – Fight Test. I assume Cat Stevens got co-writing credit for this song, because it is virtually identical in melody and close in lyrics to Father and Son, one of Cat’s best songs. I like it a lot, but I keep thinking of the original song when I hear it.

10) The Zutons – Moons and Horror Shows. Never heard of them either. Great folksy number, that actually turns into an even better song half way through. I like it a lot.

All in all, I am pretty impressed by Fred’s Radio. will become a significant part of my music listening experience. But I still slightly prefer Pandora.