The Nice Surprises of iTunes’ Genius

Itunes geniusI often listen to albums, but I also like to let serendipity rule my listening at times. This morning, at my desk, I didn’t know what to listen to. So, as I often do, I switched to iTunes and pressed Option-Space; that’s the keyboard shortcut that launches Genius Shuffle. This is a feature that picks a random track from your library, and applies the Genius algorithm to create a playlist.

I generally do this a few times until I find a “seed” track I like; also, because iTunes picks from all of my music, and often selects classical tracks, which I don’t listen to like this.

After three or four tries, it came up with Nico’s Little Sister. I love her melancholy voice, and haven’t heard her music in a long time, so this was an interesting section. As you can see to the left, the playlist continues with related music, such as tracks by Lou Reed, John Cale, Brian Eno, David Bowie, Roxy Music, and others.

But one track stood out: the Dylan song, I’ll Keep it With Mine. And that’s what’s interesting. Because that’s a song Dylan wrote for Nico and never released; it’s on here Chelsea Girl album, and was only released a few years ago in one of Dylan’s Bootleg Series collections.

The surprise is that Genius was able to add that Dylan track to this playlist. Because as an artist, Bob Dylan doesn’t fit in this selection, but this song certainly does.

Bravo Genius.