Just how powerful is Spotify’s all conquering algorithm? How accurate is it in guessing a person’s music taste?
In ‘This Week in Discover Weekly’, I attempt to find out. I’ll listen to my Spotify Discover Weekly playlist and offer first impressions on each track in a line or so. I’ll then make a decision as to whether to KEEP in ‘Songs’ or DISCARD. The ratio of KEEP to DISCARD will give the playlist a score and that’s about a scientific as it gets.
The Heart Strings’ Beautiful Abys sure is catchy. I don’t like it, but it’s catchy. DISCARD before it gets stuck in my head.
Mourn are adamant that Your Brain is Made of Candy and consequently believe that you can only handle just over two minutes of thrashy guitar squalls. I’m not against it, but I can’t see myself coming back to it. DISCARD
Tomorrow’s Tulips’ Flowers on the Wall has a loose, slacker-ish thing going for it that would be grungey if grunge wasn’t so much goddamn effort. I like it. KEEP
Some Things Just Stick in Your Mind. Like Vashti Bunyan songs. Not this one though. DISCARD
Christopher C Duncan Duncan‘s album ‘Architect’ earned him a Mercury nomination. For is from that album, so this is Mercury nominated stuff, guys. I liked his track ‘Say’ better. DISCARD
Jackson C Frank’s Blues Run The Game is a butter advert waiting to happen. DISCARD
I gave Pile‘s Baby Boy the benefit of the doubt because it very vaguely reminded me of Andrew Cedermark but after a few minutes I decided you can’t go around giving things the benefit of the doubt because they sound a little bit like Andrew Cedermark. I hate this. DISCARD
What’s the charge Unloved?
“Guilty. Guilty of Love that is.”
To be honest I’ve given more thought to that little scene than I have to the song which is nice enough but doubt it’ll last the week. DISCARD
When You Finally Return is a duet for plucked guitar and mournful wail that I’ll keep. KEEP
Television Personalities’ Diary of a Young Man is worth writing home… about… in your… diary. No that’s shit. It’s good spoken word over scratchy guitar stuff. Like, have you heard Vox Humana by Deerhunter? This apparently came first. KEEP
Don’t think you’re tricking me into KEEPing your song because it’s got the word Keep in it, Flo & Eddy. That said, a verse about getting high with Ronald “The Gipper” Reagan is a sure-fire way of getting Keep it Warm KEEPed. Well played.
Is This What You Wanted? asks Leonard Cohen and no this isn’t what I want, no. I hate it, and four minutes with it feels like forever. DISCARD
Stereolab alumni Cavemen of Anti-Matter make exactly the kind of music you might expect for “Stereolab minus Lætitia Sadier”. That being “good but also instrumental”. KEEP
Viet Cong’s Throw it Away sounds like it’s been unearthed from 1979. KEEP
Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch’s Scale of Volitility earns a coveted KEEP because it’ll no doubt find its way onto a ‘Songs to Work to’ playlist.
Opening with a gently throbbing beat not dissimilar to something Yo La Tengo might kick off an album with, Cloud’s Fly into the Mystery shifts into something more Broken Social Scene-ish. So the 20 year-old inside me is suitably pleased. KEEP
And so we arrive at the seemingly obligatory and entirely welcome African Pop track on my Discover Weekly. Amanaz’s I am Very Far is what you might describe as Zambia’s version of The Kinks if you were trying to hurriedly describe 30 songs every week. KEEP
Swedish supergroup Amason’s… look, you had me at Swedish supergroup. Algen is all the things you might expect from a coming together of alterna-Scandinavians. KEEP
Charlie Hilton’s short, sweet, whispy Palana is… those things I just said. KEEP
A Fistful of Butter makes Happy Jawbone Family Band’s medicine go down, their medicine being adorable psych-folk; a genre I am now confident to say is what this is. KEEP
Oblivion’s opening bars had me settling in for something more ambient than what I got once The Seshen’s vocals came in. It’s pleasant enough but not all that memorable. DISCARD
Artists with a full ‘About’ page, pics and album artwork but only one track on their profile must be Spotify’s version of a Googlewhack. Such is the case for Lace Curtains, their profile offering up just the one track: High Fantasy, which is a few brief minutes of restless, effervescent jangle pop. KEEP
John Wizards‘ Muizenberg has me wishing I could recycle comments from that track by The Seshen earlier. Oh wait, I can. See above. DISCARD
Car Seat Headrest’s earnest, yelping, fuzz-laden Something Soon is really hard not to like. So I’ve decided to like it. KEEP
In much the same way as I get some kind of African and or Korean pop tune from the 60s in my Discover Weekly each week, I also get a mildly underwhelming blues number that I imagine I’d like more if I was drunk. I’m So Depressed, Abner Jay. DISCARD
The chiming guitars of Gold Celeste’s Is This What You Can Not Do? grabbed my attention from the off and it only got better from there. KEEP
Similarly gripping; Chess by Joon Moon. Sounds like something Minnie Riperton might have panted her way through in the 70s. KEEP
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s Sense marks the second appearance of a Wizard on my Discover Weekly. It gets shitter the longer you listen to it. DISCARD
Thanks to Bones & Beaker’s Heartbroken in Love, I now feel like I’m in Zara trying on something fucking ghastly. DISCARD
The Replacements’ Androgynous has the shambling gait of one of those Randy Newman songs that I have to try to ignore in order to enjoy Toy Story. DISCARD
This week, the algorithm scores a borderline average 16 out of 30.