How Pandora Radio Made Me Hate Jack Johnson

12.28.09

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Side Stepping

Let me step to the left before I plow face-first into my Pandora Radio complaint by stating that I LOVE Pandora Radio. LOVE. IT. Pandora has introduced me to hundreds of new bands to swoon over and reunited me with past lovers. As one of many parents who lose their musical way after college ends and child-rearing begins, I wandered lost in a ten-plus-year phase of no longer knowing where to find music I really love. Now days, Pandora provides me with a constant flow of new music based on other bands I tell it I love. Acquainting myself with bands is once again one of my favorite hobbies, just as it was in when I was in junior high and high school.

Now that my devoted love for Pandora Radio is on the table, let me side-step again—this time to the right—for devoted fans of Jack Johnson. He may be a decent musician. I don’t mean to offend all you ladies who love him. I might have actually liked him a little if it weren’t for Pandora’s obsessive and bizarre man-crush on him, and its insistence that we all get dosed with Jack daily. I over-dosed on Jack soon after Pandora hit the internet.

Pandora Radio has a man-crush on Jack Johnson.

Either that or Jack is paying them a beautiful amount of money. Maybe Jack OWNS Pandora. Why my accusations of either a crush, a conspiracy, or under-the-table money-passing? If you plug almost any band or artist into Pandora, it will tell you that that band or artist shares qualities similar to Jack Johnson.

When I first began creating my own personalized stations on Pandora, I thought Jack Johnson was okay. There were a few songs I even enjoyed. That lasted about a few days when I realized Jack was invading my stations every few songs. I am a lover of new discoveries and repetition of the same music or style or sound will kill my interest and it will kill it fast. Jack began to get a lot of thumbs down on my new stations.

The more stations I created, the more I realized a pattern. Having created more than thirty different Pandora stations, I have only found a couple where Pandora didn’t throw me a Jack-ditty by the third song. Seriously. All of the songs on a station are supposed to have similar musical characteristics to the original band you chose, but almost without fail Jack will be your song number three, no matter the music genre of your original band.

Not only that, but if you don’t start giving Jack the good-old thumbs-down, he’ll sprinkle your station with his non-dynamic and always-calm voice every handful of songs. I began complaining about this on twitter and got a quick response from Pandora’s twitter account. They told me that two thumbs-down will ban that artist from your station permanently, except for the songs you’ve already given a thumbs-up, and unless the band is the one that initially created your station.

Great, I thought! There is a way to stop these regular buzz-kills! I was pretty sure I’d given Jack plenty of thumbs-down’s already, but I have so many different stations, maybe they were spread around and somehow never happened twice on the same one. I began counting. And then I complained to Pandora on twitter when, after the fourth thumbs-down on my Sublime station, he popped in again, just a song or two later.

Maybe Pandora’s resident twitterer had her numbers wrong. Or maybe Pandora excused Jack from the thumbs-down rule because its man-crush is so tight, it cannot imagine anyone wouldn’t love him the way it does. Whatever it was, eventually, after numerous thumbs-down—maybe I downed every single song he ever released—I got my stations to a happy point where Jack’s pop-ins were relatively rare. I was a happy girl…until today.

Jack Came Back

All of a sudden this morning, Jack invaded my Sublime station four times during less than ninety minutes of listening. And yes, I was giving him the thumbs-down every time. The fourth Jack-intrusion happened with only one song after my third Jack-booting.

So what’s the deal, Pandora? Did you think my short reprieve from his music made me forget how much Jack’s inability to change vocal levels bothers me? Did you think that your obsession with him escaped my memory during that short sweet period when he wasn’t invading all of my stations? Not this girl. I may be one of only a few, but I am not in love with Jack Johnson. And if there was ever any hope of me sorta-liking him, your insistence on seeing every band and musician in light of Jack destroyed it. Please, Pandora…understand that we don’t ALL love him. No way am I interested in becoming the third member to your love triangle.

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14 Responses to “How Pandora Radio Made Me Hate Jack Johnson”

  1. Tweets that mention Noell Hyman » Blog Archive » How Pandora Radio Made Me Hate Jack Johnson -- Topsy.com says on :

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by noellhyman, Avital Gertner-Samet. Avital Gertner-Samet said: RT: I LOVE your writing @noellhyman Decided to start my blog . . . http://bit.ly/4s6pTt [...]

  2. Avital says on :

    I’m excited about your new blog. I love your writing (and the skirt too. I must get one too).

    As for the subject matter, I hear LAST.FM which is fabulous, although there are many repeats and bands/singers that are creeping out of my ban list.

    I believe your assumption that maybe some money is passed under the table isn’t far-fetched… :) => After all, they have to make a living, don’t they?

  3. Ibis says on :

    LOL! I love this post and enjoyed every minute of it. Especially since I have also been Jack-Johnson-ized during every Pandora session.

    Love the blog!

  4. admin says on :

    Tali–That skirt is from American Eagle Outfitters. :)

    I’ve been meaning to try Last FM but I’m such a Pandora-freak it’s hard to get away from it.

    Thanks to both of you for liking the post!

  5. Gordymac says on :

    I think similar about JJ. All of my friends, as well as my wife, are crazy about him. I just don’t think so. It’s good to know that there are others out there who don’t think he hung the moon or something. Also, Pandora rocks.

  6. Noell Hyman » Blog Archive » Music Monday: A Slightly Stoopid Kind of Mellow says on :

    [...] case you mistook my Jack Johnson rant for a dislike of mellow music, I thought I’d share a great band that is mostly chill but, [...]

  7. Noell Hyman » Blog Archive » The Desire for Stuff. Or, the Excess of Living Rooms says on :

    [...] inner feisty-child is punching at the bricks today. Please excuse me while I release her for another rampage, this time regarding living rooms. And dining [...]

  8. J says on :

    I love that I found your site by googling “too much Jack Johnson Pandora”. I can not get him off of my reggae stations.

  9. Brian Johnson says on :

    Mine is Wilco. I don’t hate them, I don’t love them but every fourth song? I am quickly developing a hatred toward a band I don’t even know.

  10. Fred Astair says on :

    I’ve written to Pandora several times about Jack. His music is not to my liking at all. Drivel. His type of music is what I like but his writing and singing is flat, singsong. Pandora has replied to me that when you thumbs down a song it is never played again – as we all know when it comes to Jack that is not true. And they said when you thumbs down a singer consistently that singer is not played often. Things have gotten better for the past 6 months. Instead of Jack every 10 songs I get him now maybe once a session.

    It’s sort of like Netflix. I watch 4 star rated scifi as an example. Movies with good writing, direction and acting and they send to me as recommended 2 star movies with poor writing, direction and action. I tell Pandora I like 4 star quality singer/songwriters like Norah Johes, the Band and Van Morrison and they pick a lot of good ones but then they give me 1 star Jack.

    What I don’t understand is the logic behind the Jack thing. For people like me the repetitive playing of Jack just makes us hate him more. And for those that love Jack and want to hear him all the time, well if the marketing of Pandora is to try and sell downloads you would think they wouldn’t over play anyone so people that really loved Jack would download his junk rather than listen for free.

    I know Jack and I don’t like Jack.

  11. Ben says on :

    This blog post came up when I typed the full question: “Why does pandora think I like Jack Johnson?”

    I’ll go on full rants to my wife after I’ve disliked what seem like ever single song in every single radio station – yet his songs reappear.

    AND I’m not afraid to say it – I HATE listening to Jack Johnson – very dull, boring songs!

  12. TracyTC says on :

    Did you ever think when you wrote this post that it would still attract visitors over two years later??? Like you, I’m a HUGE Pandora fan and my stations are pretty varied, yet there’s Jack on nearly every one of them. It takes a lot to drive me to Google to find out if he owns the darned company, but here I am. I dare them to figure out how to weave JJ into my Hugh Masekela station, tho. =-)

  13. admin says on :

    No!! It’s hilarious because I only posted to this blog for a short time, so it’s just a tiny little thing. But I do get posts every so often from people GOOGLING this issue just like you! That really does say a hell of a lot… :)

  14. Brian says on :

    I live in San Clemente, Ca. When I first moved here 9 years ago I could not get away from this horrible music by Jack Johnson. I hated it then and to this day can’t stand his simple minded, monotone, boring, monotonous drivel. Give me some Ramones, Clash, Rage, Stones, Zeppelin, even Neil Diamond.
    Jack Johnson sucks.

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