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Tune-Deaf Scott Brown Opens Pandora's Jukebox

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Old 10-06-2008
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Tune-Deaf Scott Brown Opens Pandora's Jukebox
I was 10 when I realized I had lousy taste in music. Billy Joel's "An Innocent Man" was my gateway drug: I listened to it on infinite loop, in perfect contentment, for days. Later, in high school, I began huffing a deadly theater-nerd mix of piano-driven rock balladry, pseudo-political folk-pop, Danny Elfman soundtracks, and Enigma. College, the place where most people atone for the sonic sins of their youth, was a haze of Ben Folds Five and Dave Matthews Band. And things haven't really improved since. Bad taste was less of a problem when our playlists were private affairs. Today, however, our personal soundtracks broadcast who we are, and it's simply not acceptable to swan around with the Indigo Girls' "Galileo," Annie Lennox's "Walking on Broken Glass," or (God help me!) Billy Joel's "Big Man on Mulberry Street" blazing across your iPhone screen. (One is ironic, two is quixotic, but try all three and you can hear the NSA giggling on the other end of the line.) Luckily, there are high tech treatments for bad taste — or so we're told. Pandora, for example, is designed to refine and expand your aural palate by working with your preferences, not against them. No shame and no looking back: Only progress! And now Pandora is on my iPhone: On the go, on the train, in da Sam's Club, I'm always on the road to musical self-improvement — which is the whole idea of portable, personalized, preference-driven software, right? To digitally whittle us closer to Perfection...

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