Those wacky Amazon recommendations

I occasionally look at what Amazon recommends for me when I’m searching out new books or foreign or classic films that might be of interest. But when it comes to music, I think the pixies in that department for Amazon recommendations are spending to much time imbibing in various substances. Here’s some of Amazon’s recent music recommendations for me:

Elton John – Greatest Hits 1970-2002 because I gave high marks to Experience Hendrix: The Best of Jimi Hendrix. Granted, these are both greatest hits type CDs but I just don’t think the fact Jimi occasionally lit his guitar on fire means I like pap such as “Candle in the Wind.”

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s Uncle Charlie & His Dog Teddy because I like the eponymous first album by Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Again, I am totally baffled. What connection does the country/bluegrass-tinged sound of the Dirt Band’s album (which produced the hit “Mr. Bojangles”) have to the progressive rock and synthesizer sound of EL&P. Granted, I have both albums but buying one certainly had nothing to do with the other.

In a similar vein is a recommendation for Leon Russell’s debut album because I love Steely Dan’s Aja. Both recommendations are Japanese import CDs but that certainly can’t be a valid basis for a recommendation. Having seen Russell perform in the 1970s (and send pieces of the lid of a grand piano flying from “dancing” on it in his cowboy boots), I guarantee there’s nothing in the most jazz-oriented of Steely Dan’s releases that is likely to show up on the Russell CD.

This one, though, tops them all: David Bowie’s The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust because I’m a big fan of Neil Young’s Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. This is even funnier than “if you like Jimi you might like Elton.” You really got to be messed up if you think a glam rock concept album about an alien rock star bears any relationship to godfather of grunge Neil riffing with the Danny Whitten version of Crazy Horse. Somebody really needs a new set of ears.

I cried when I wrote this song
Sue me if I play too long

“Deacon Blues,” Steely Dan, Aja

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2 comments to Those wacky Amazon recommendations

  • James

    What’s so wacky? They don’t use EARS. The recommendations are based on what other people who BOUGHT the album in question also bought.

    Generally it’s safe to say that people who buy classic rock buy classic rock. You’ll notice that they didn’t recommend any new music, or nineties grunge, or Sinatra-ish pop, or hip-hop, or electronica.

    So what WOULD someone who bought Leon Russell’s debut album ALSO like?

  • James

    Just took a look at your “desert island discs”. I think you just proved my point.

    MY desert island discs would include Ida Widawati, David Sylvian, Sibelius, NEU!, Tommy James & the Shondells, Malopoets…. if I look at something at Amazon, I get offered things like it. If I put a playlist in one of those “analyze your taste” websites, I get REALLY wacky recommendations.