Rediscovering The Music of My Youth With Slacker Radio

I came of age during the 1980s, a period marked in large part by the 2nd British invasion. Moreover, I spent 18 months of the early part of the decade living in the mid-east. While there I was exposed to even more British New Wave/Post Punk as that was largely the music on the radio in Israel at the time.

To my mind it remains the best period in music and, thanks to Slacker Radio, I’ve been reexperiencing much of it.

Online radio is pretty awesome and two of the major players are  Slacker or Pandora. For a time I was partial to Pandora but Travis had a thing for Slacker and encouraged me to try it out. That was enough for me. I tried it and found out that he was right – Slacker is awesome. Unlike Pandora, Slacker Plus lets you skip an unlimited number of tracks on any individual station. (Pandora, on the other hand, gives you six skips per hour. Once this number is reached you need to switch to a new station in order to have a new series of skips available.)

Moreover Slacker lets you create “stations” based on either a performer/group’s name or a specific song. The “station” that gets created based on that tends to have a wider variety of songs available on it than Pandora and also tends, in my experience, to group far more similar tracks together.

I had been using Slacker to listen to a lot of current music but for some reason decided to check out some of the music I listened to in the 80’s. It was awesome.

I started by choosing the “Create Station” button.

It then let me customize the station by indicating which of their songs I like (Cruel Summer, He Was Really Sayin’ Something) and which I don’t (Robert de Niro’s Waiting).

It also let me select which related groups I like (Duran Duran, Pet Shop Boys, Tears For Fears, The Police, Kajagoogoo etc) and which I don’t (Cyndi Lauper, Devo, Talking Heads).

It then asked me to “Name” my new “Station” (“80’s Stuff I Like) and I was good to go.

But it gets even better with Slacker Plus…

On both my iPhone and the desktop Slacker Plus offers full lyrics for most songs. (The standard account only offers partial lyrics.)

Bios are also available for most artists…

As are details on the album from which the track came. (For those too young to remember, music used to come on these pieces of black vinyl and were grouped together into what were commonly referred to as albums.)

Along the way I was able to further refine my new “Station” by selecting those tracks which I preferred.

So I started by inputting “Bananarama” but within a short period of time I had built a custom station that included all my favorite artists. Song after song was a favorite from my youth.

Seriously, Slacker has allowed me to rediscover so much of the music that was. The sound track of my younger days. I mean, the music was awesome and included awesome groups like

The Thomson Twins, Adam and the Ants, Simple Minds, Bananarama, Oingo Boingo, OMD, XTC, Depeche Mode, Aztec Camera, The Cure, The Fixx, The Clash, Elvis Costello, Duran Duran, The Human League, Tears For Fears and the list goes on and on…

I can’t go back to those days (that WOULD be fun for a while) but thanks to Slacker the soundtrack is as awesome as ever. And at under $50 a year for Slacker Plus it is a bargain. A small price to pay for all the memories, and great music, that came flooding back.


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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.