Don't you just love how much Pandora knows about you and your taste in music, and the terrible memories from your past it conjures up based on a magical algorithm? So does McSweeney's Sarah Rosenshine.
"One (Is The Loneliest Number)" THREE DOG NIGHT
Thanks, Pandora! But I'm going to have to say "No" on this one. I know you thought I'd like it because of its R&B influences and acoustic rhythm piano, and while normally I'd go wild for acoustic rhythm piano, this is the song that used to go through my head when Mike and I would be sitting in his car at the end of an epic 11-hour date with nothing left to say because we'd just spent the last 11 hours together. And when I finally got out of the car I'd always be thinking, Maybe that's a bad sign that a song about the misery of being in a relationship is stuck in my head? But then I'd think, No, that's silly, it's just its very effective use of call and answer vocal harmonies.
"Paint It Black" THE ROLLING STONES
Oh, no! This is what I played on repeat that night he called me drunkenly from across the city and told me he wanted to "Take a break" and then made out with Katelynn at a party. Then he put this song on the Forgive me pls mix CD he made and I took that as a sign that maybe it was meant to be, but I obviously should have just taken it as a sign that we had both heard that weird Muzak version of it that afternoon in Panera. Katelynn! Of all the girls in the world, why would you ever hook up with a girl whose name defies all reason like that? THUMBS DOWN.
"Float On" MODEST MOUSE
Hello? Pandora? Do the words "Technical virginity" and "1996 Toyota Camry" mean nothing to you?
"Message In A Bottle" THE POLICE
All right, this one's on me a little bit. I was admittedly in a horrible mood. But still, he had no business saying unequivocally that he'd never let his kids be raised Jewish. Really? He couldn't have told me that the first time I started talking about how I used to teach Hebrew School or how I was looking forward to going to my Grandmother's seder or all those other times that I talked about the fact that I am a Jewish person and Judaism is important to me? Those were never appropriate times to tell me, but instead he had to save it for that time we were in line at CVS buying a pregnancy test because I was five days late? That was an ideal time to tell me that he thought religion was the universal evil and he could never abide having children that subscribed to it? And then later, after all four tests we bought had come up negative, when I made up a version called "Message On A Wet Stick" he didn't think it was funny at all, but maybe he was just still mad that I called him a limp-dick in the middle of CVS.
"Your Song" ELTON JOHN
Dammit, Pandora. Come on! This was my sister's wedding song! This was playing when Rachel and Todd were first dancing and it was so cute and then I glanced over at Mike and hoped that maybe in a couple years our families would be watching us dance to another song with mild rhythmic syncopation and acoustic sonority but instead last week he dumped me over Gchat. Oh, God.
"Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You" FRANKIE VALLI
Now you've done it, Pandora. You guys are sick. This chromatic harmonic structure is completely overwhelming and it reminds me of the fact that sometimes Mike looked at my eyes. THUMBS DOWN. What? I've reached my skip limit? Hey, I'll tell you when I've reached my limit, Pandora, which is when, after two and a half years together, Mike starts saying things like, "I never imagined us staying together this long when we first started dating" and "I still don't know why you followed me to Phoenix" and "You've always been needy, it's just never bothered me before." That's my limit, and not some arbitrarily predetermined amount of songs based on music licenses and copyright law. So skip it. No? OK.
"I Hope You Die" BLOODHOUND GANG
Oh, this is good. I like this. Please keep playing songs and artists with musical qualities similar to this one. Thanks, Pandora. You're the best.
McSweeney's is an independent publisher based in San Francisco that publishes books, a quarterly fiction journal, a quarterly film DVD magazine, a monthly culture magazine, and a daily humor website. The McSweeney's iPhone app is available through the Apple store. For more information, visit mcsweeneys.net.