I have discovered the joys of Internet radio.
I'd tried listening to Internet radio a year or two ago, but I was unhappy with the Microsoft Media Player experience. We have cable Internet, so our broadband connection should be enough to handle the streaming music. I don't know whether the problem was in Media Player or in the particular radio stations I tried, but the sound kept skipping and pausing, which just doesn't make a good listening experience.
Then my daughter got her iPod and added iTunes to her computer, and next thing you know I've got iTunes on my computer too. My entire CD collection now lives on my hard drive, and I can listen to anything I own in whatever order I like quite easily. Sometimes I'm in the mood for something in particular, so I load up my playlist with these songs or albums and let them go. But usually I just want to listen to random music, so I generally listen to my whole library in a variety of orders: alphabetical by song title, alphabetical by album title, alphabetical by artist, . . . Okay, so I'm an alphabetical-order not-so-random-order kind of girl. I have enough CDs that listening to my entire collection takes about a month and a half to two months, but after almost a year of that now, I'm getting a bit tired of my collection, even with all the tunes I've either downloaded for free on Free Music Tuesdays or outright bought from iTunes.
I like listening to the radio, especially the unpredictable nature of what I'll hear next. Unfortunately I can't get good radio reception here in my dungeon office, but that doesn't really matter, because radio around here sucks big time. Most stations have a playlist of about 100 songs, it seems, and of this list, they play about 10 of them repeatedly throughout the day. For songs I hate, this is torture to listen to. But for songs I start out liking, this is just plain cruel, because the songs suffer from overplay and get old too fast. And don't get me started on the commercials.
Last week iTunes released an update, which I downloaded promptly. Rather than just hitting Play for my current playlist, however, I decided to poke around the application a bit. Previous versions of iTunes have included Internet radio stations, but I'd never found one I really liked. Admittedly, I try listening to a station for only about a minute or two. If the station isn't playing something I like immediately, I click on the next one. Sometimes a station will play a decent song, but then its next song sucks, so click and I'm off to the next station. After about five or ten minutes of flipping through the various stations, I give up. None of the stations play anything sufficiently compelling to keep me listening longer than a song or three.
I am completely in love with a radio station called Radio Paradise (click here). It bills itself as "DJ-mixed modern & classic rock, world, electronica & more." I've been listening to it for several days now, and I don't think I've heard any songs repeated even once during that span. This station plays plenty of groups I've heard of but plenty more that I haven't. It plays much much deeper cuts off of albums than what most stations play, even the local so-called alternative independent radio station. So while I might have heard of a particular band, I usually haven't heard the song before — unless I happen to own the CD. But mixed in with all this new-to-me music is also a bunch of classic stuff I know intimately. To me, this is the best of both worlds — cool stuff I know along with great new stuff.
Here's its playlist for the past hour (Pacific time, since that's where the station is located):
1:09 pm - Chris Isaak - Dancin'
1:05 pm - Squirrel Nut Zippers - Blue Angel
1:01 pm - Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros - Johnny Appleseed
12:57 pm - John Lennon - Watching The Wheels
12:52 pm - Gooding - For Love
12:49 pm - Sonny Landreth - South Of I-10
12:45 pm - John Hiatt - Drive South
12:41 pm - Gomez - Miles End
12:38 pm - Rheostatics - P.I.N.
12:32 pm - Ray LaMontagne - Forever My Friend
12:27 pm - Daniel Lanois - I Love You
12:23 pm - Mindy Smith - Jolene
12:18 pm - Depeche Mode - Enjoy The Silence
12:12 pm - Snow Patrol - Run
12:08 pm - U2 - The Ground Beneath Her Feet
12:04 pm - Grey Eye Glances - Close Your Eyes
If you have iTunes, you can find this station by clicking on Radio, then opening either "Alt/Modern Rock" or "Eclectic" and scrolling down to Radio Paradise. If you don't have iTunes, why not? Geez, join the 21st century already! Okay, if you don't have iTunes, go to Radio Paradise's website and you'll find a variety of listening options.