Some features of AllMusic, though, are not so much useful as they are stupid, worthless or all-around pointless. The 'stupid' content has been greatly reduced since they dumped the feature where you check boxes that allow you to categorize Mariah Carey as “gothic”, but the ‘worthless’ is still very much in play since it’s so easy to hack the ‘Similar Artists’ feature by being deliberately goofy (“If you like Alan Jackson, AllMusic thinks you’d also like: KEIJI HAINO, CRASS, HARRY PARTCH.”)
The ‘pointless’ crown goes to the bewildering “Search By Mood” and “Search By Theme” features. This is a thing where you click on a ‘mood’ or ‘theme’ selected by the dingbats in AMG’s marketing department, and it coughs up a list of albums to fit that ‘mood’ or ‘theme’ (the difference between a mood and a theme is sometimes hard to discern). So, say you’re going to have a party and the theme is “Grief/Loss”, just click on that, and AllMusic will give you a list of recommended albums at which to shake your bereaved booty. Or let’s say you wake up one morning and you say “I think I’m going to be greasy and knotty all day”. Just select those from the AMG mood list, and you’ll know what to program into your iPod for your greasy knotty adventure.
(Today’s “featured mood” is “Outrageous”, and one of the suggested albums is Slayer’s Reign in Blood. Yeah, it’s really OUTRAGEOUS!)
When I’m doing tedious paperwork at my job, which is pretty much most of the time, I like to think about the many moods of AllMusic, and contemplate what music could possibly fit it in my own musical universe. What to listen to when I’m feeling austere? What music fits my circular moods? What do I put on the turntable when I’m feeling crunchy? What goes on iTunes when I come home all hypnotic? What’s the perfect song for the naïve? What should I listen to when I’m all organic? How about ramshackle? What’s the difference between a ‘sexual’ mood and a ‘sexy’ mood? What in God’s name is ‘suffocating’ doing here?
Also, what would one do at a “Fondness”-themed party? What’s the right silverware for “Day Driving”? Isn’t every day a “Drinking” day? What do you wear to an “Illness” get-together? Does “Maverick” refer to the horse, the TV show, or the attitude? Can I play Orthrelm at a “Reflection” party? How about Sleep at a “Slow Dance” competition? If I “Stay In Bed”, how can I reach the stereo? And wouldn’t you be pissed if your album wasn’t included in “The Creative Side”?
I hate rock critics. Also marketing people. But AllMusic, I love you!