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#NerdMusicMonday: Game of Thrones Spotify

Welcome to #NerdMusicMonday, where we feature some of the greatest geek-inspired music to start your week on the right note. We also review geek-inspired music things that we see floating around the Internet, for better or worse.


Game of Thrones Spotify

In yet another display of marketing genius, Spotify released Game of Thrones Spotify at around the same time that Season 6 started on HBO. Once again, guests and subscribers got to see Spotify’s algorithm in action, and get a character playlist that matched the genres they listen to the most. I’ve decided to do a review of the lists they put together, but this time, the coverage is going to be a lot more extensive than the feature I did on Spotify Star Wars. I’m still going to use the same criterion for judging all the playlists, which I’ve quoted below:

I’m coming from the same school of thought that the founders of the Fan Soundtrack Project had back on Livejournal. For many fans who did FSTs and continue to do playlists on places like Spotify and 8tracks, making a mix meant trying to capture the essence of a series, a ship, or a character through music. Sure, this was often limited by the fan’s own preferences in music, but in theory it was about selecting the perfect songs from genres that could make anybody listening to the list associate it with the subject matter at hand. Fanmixes are much like the musical versions of fanfiction and fanart: a perspective on a character, a ship, or a series through the lens of someone who loves said character, ship, or series.

Game of Thrones Spotify, like Spotify Star Wars, isn’t about making fan mixes. It’s about showing what Spotify is capable of doing, and giving fans of something a little extra to go with their usual music routine. However, I feel that should not excuse failing to make even a token effort to select songs that at least “sound” like the character in question.

Alternatively, we could look at the playlists as a theoretical “this is what XXX character would listen to”! I’ve noticed that a lot of the articles that gabbed off about Game of Thrones Spotify took this approach, so I’ve attempted to include my own take on top of the criteria that I already outlined.

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Anyway, here’s the first batch of playlists! Some of these entries and the entries in other articles are going to have a genre breakdown while others will have a list of sample artists instead. Huhu, internet research is hard when no master list for your Thing exists!

Robert Baratheon

Playlist Run Time: 1:51

Featuring Artists Like… The Band, Bad Company, Luke Bryan, Janis Joplin, Florida, Georgia Line

If you’re into classic rock and country or just looking for a playlists to put on during a cross-country road trip, this playlist is definitely for you. On a character level, I can see why these songs embody Robert. I can also kinda see him tuning into this sort of thing. My main beef with this set is that it’s extremely repetitive. You get a whole bunch of songs from the same artists instead of a wider range of the genres that this playlist features.

Shireen Baratheon

Playlist Run Time: 1:40

Featuring Artists Like… Lisa Downing, Philip Wesley, Tim Neumark, Karen Fitzgerald, Greg Maroney

This is a wonderful piano collection. In fact, it features some of my old favorites like “River Flows In You” by Yiruma. It isn’t hard to picture Shireen enjoying songs like this. Furthermore, if you consider what happens to her in the show, this playlist takes on a whole new level of Fucking Sad.

Ygritte

Playlist Run Time: 1:39

Genre Composition: 58% Scottish Rock, 22% Alternative Rock, 20% Folk

This one is a mixed bag for me. The playlist in itself is great to listen to for fans of the genres that it draws from, with old “classics” like the Cranberries, Garbage, and Soul Asylum. However, it pretty much fails on the level of character representation because it’s more like a shippy mix for Jon Snow and Ygritte than it is a character study. If you’re looking at it as the sort of playlist that Ygritte would listen to, it really works. I fondly dubbed this “the angry girl in love with an idiot” mix.

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At the end of it all,  I’d recommend this list to people. It’s nicely done.

Gilly

Playlist Run Time: 1:32

Genre Composition: Rosie Thomas, Neko Case, Diane Cluck, Ron Sexsmith, The Chapin Sisters

I really love the sound of this playlist. It features some cool lounge/jazzy remakes of hit songs like “Toxic”, “Heroes”, and “Halo”, which are all worth checking out even if you don’t normally listen to music like this. On a similar vein to Ygritte’s playlist, Gilly’s playlist is something that she’d conceivably listen to, but it fares much better on the level of representing the character. The shippy undertones for her and Sam are a real theme in the sound of it too.

Ned Stark

Playlist Run Time: 1:41

Genre Composition: 55% Classic Rock, 23% Pop, 22% Folk

This one’s a great complement to Robert Baratheon’s playlist, which is a nice artistic choice given the fact that they were close. For example, Game of Thrones Spotify seems to have selected ZZ Top’s “La Grange” as the theme of their friendship. This genre composition honestly fits Ned as a character for me than it does for Robert, but I wish that it wasn’t as repetitive with its songs. Nevertheless, if you like listening to this stuff, check this one out.


I’ll have deets on five more playlists up for your perusal next week barring any pressing features from WAG’s end of the fence! Got anything to say about these playlists? Send us a raven over on Twitter or leave a comment below!

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Pam Punzalan
Pam Punzalan
29, female, not in Narnia about anything. Games, teaches, writes, reads, flails, smokes, occasionally drinks, loves cats. Answers to Kae, Pamela, Pam, Pam-Pam, Pammy, Pammeth. Pamera, and Pammu. Also part of the admin team of Girls Got Game, over at http://girlsgotgame.org/!
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