Erin Roan MacDonald

More for the Madonna generation

A-ha I am getting old. The other day I was telling my twenty something coworker about one of my new favorite websites, It is really awesome. It’s an online make your own radio station, part of the music geonome project, where music is classified by “genes”, truly an homage to musical organization without the normal bias. Rather then designating a band based on its musical genre or how popular it is/was, the music is organized by things such as harmony, tempo, lyrics and arrangement. You can make a station based on your favorite artist or artists and enjoy streaming from the web free and made just for you.

If you make a station based on one particular musician, Pandora will play music by that musician frequently but also add songs from others that match its gene. When I created my Madonna station, A-ha was in the line up along with another 80’s hit-Borderline by Madonna and I just assumed they had chosen to add A-ha because they were a hit around the same time as Borderline, when many die-hard Madonna fans came of age. Not so. Since Pandora is based out of Oakland, CA, I had the opportunity to chat with one of the music analysts who came into the store where I work and explained the process to me. What a great job, he gets paid to sit around and listen to music.

Geoff had never heard of A-ha! Which was a little weird to me, but of course why would he? Even though Pandora has classified A-ha’s seven albums spanning from 1985 through 2005, a music quiz game on Facebook recently identified them as a one hit wonder. But what MTV generation kid could forget the beginning days of music videos and A-ha’s partially animated video. The video where girl meets guy inside a comic rocked video waves, winning 6 awards and was nominated for two more at the 1986 MTV music video awards.


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