Amazon MP3 Widget: Hot or Not? Also, Some Songs I Like

In my never-ending quest to find more playlist widgets than I could ever possibly use, I recently discovered the Amazon MP3 Clips Widget, which lets you build a playlist of 30-second samples of songs available for purchase in the Amazon MP3 library. I think this is very cool in some ways, but not so cool in other ways. Or to say it another way, I think it's both Hot and Not.


  • You can add a whole album at once.

  • It's really easy to build your playlist. Like, really really super-easy. (imeem, I hope you're reading this).

  • The files are not DRM'd in any way. Eat it, Apple. Eat it hard.

  • It has the potential to make me money. [Editor's note: please purchase some MP3s via the links in the widget! Please! My children need wine!]
  • At first I thought you could only have 1 playlist widget, but now I'm not so sure. However, it still gets an entry in the "Not" category for being unclear on that point in their FAQ.

  • Sadly, Amazon doesn't have every album ever made in their library...and unlike imeem, you can't just upload a song you want in your widget.

  • 30-second clips are lame. Totally lame.

By the way, if you want to read some writeups of the best albums of 2008 (so far), there's a great one over at Music For Ants (thanks to Nate for the link) or you can vote for your own choice at NPR's All Songs Considered blog (or join in the NPR-bashing over at Idolator). Anyway, here's why I chose these songs:
  • That's Not My Name by The Ting Tings
    Like the rest of the world, I've been infected with this ridiculously catchy ear candy and have been unable to shake it. That's all I can say in my defense. I have my brother to thank for introducing me to them.

  • Run To Your Grave by The Mae Shi
    Once again, I can thank my brother for recommending this band to me, when I was looking for stuff to download during the last free-leech period over at waffles.fm. This whole album is totally awesome (and you should buy it from Amazon using my widget), even if most of it seems to focus on the theme of a vengeful deity.

  • Lay It Down by Al Green
    Would you believe I've never actually heard a whole Al Green album before his latest one? That's just one of the many gaping holes in my musical education. Here's some geekery for you: a friend of mine posted to Twitter about the great NPR piece about this album, which led me to "borrow" it from stmusic.org. I don't think any actual human interaction took place in that chain of events. All hail our robotic overlords! Also, this song is really catchy and puts me in the mood for love, if you know what I'm talking about. And I think you do.

  • In The Rushes by Islands
    All together now: my brother introduced me to this band [Editor's note: how do people without siblings hear about new music?] and so far I would give them a solid B. However, they have 2 things going for them: 1) They were started by two guys from the Unicorns, who get a B+, and 2) Towards the end of this song, the band goes totally crazy and starts covering/rewriting A Quick One, While He's Away by the Who, which is without question one of the greatest songs ever written. So that's pretty cool.

  • Here's Your Future by the Thermals
    The Body, The Blood, The Machine is one of those albums I can put on whenever I don't know what I want to listen to, and 99 times out of 100 I'll be perfectly satisfied with my choice. It's another entry in the "vengeful deity" category, and I think the imagery of the lyrics coupled with the simplicity and energy of the music make it a fantastic album whether you're in the mood to really listen to it, or just have it on while you drive around really fast, honking the horn and saying "whoo!" to the ladies.

  • Million Dollar Boots by Lord T & Eloise
    I don't have the words to properly explain these guys, but think "Billionaires for Bush" meets "mediocre hip-hop." I know that sounds terrible, but go watch the video and be enlightened.

  • Chemicals Collide by Cloud Cult
    These guys are amazing. You'll never guess who introduced me to them. They have a new album which I like even more than The Meaning of 8, but this song has been a heavy favorite in the rotation this summer. In addition to being eco-heroes, this band is also able to draw inspiration from really, really sad things and make beautiful music out of it. That makes me hopeful.

  • Dead Fingers Talking by Working For A Nuclear Free City
    Despite their overly long band name, I recently became a fan of these guys through an unnamed sibling. This song doesn't really sound like the rest of the album, but I dig it a lot. I hope you will too. Amazon had 2 entries for it in its database, and for some reason this one seemed to be much higher quality than the other one. So there you have it.
What do you think? What songs are stuck in your head this summer? What's the best album of 2008? Will I ever make a cent off of this widget? Let me know in the comments.


99 said...

i feel like i should get paid for all of my wonderfulness. papa needs a brand new lp player. and to pay the mortgage.

songs that are working for me (that you didn't already list):

smile for me - quinn walker. he's sort of part of that acid campfire music that's so popular with the kids. i love when people i've never heard of put out double albums.

happiness - goldfrapp. to quote the girl from the supremely creepy movie hard candy: "i fucking hate goldfrapp." i thought it did, anyway. here she's embraced her inner brian wilson. it works.

atom - british sea power. i can't understate how much i hated their second album. their third album has a few good tracks, including this one, which i think might be their best ever and one of the most fun songs i've heard this year.

complaint department - lykke li. tell me it's swedish pop and i'm immediately in love.

turn tail - the young knives. ridiculously catchy post-punk-pop-something.

as we were - a whisper in the noise. reminds me of early 80s peter gabriel, although possibly even creepier.

time to pretend - MGMT. for anyone who loved that last lcd soundsystem album. that would be me.

bellawood - evangelicals. maybe they've been listening to the phantom of the opera soundtrack. and decided to make it fun?

the boy i wish i'd never met - a smile and a ribbon. who said something about swedish pop? a chick who can't sing writes a whole album about her ex-boyfriend. brilliant! and half-assed!

that's all i can think of right now.

Anonymous said...

The Thermals make me happy!

Anonymous said...

Not sure that you'd like The Black Keys, but I love their new album "Attack & Release," particularly the songs strange times and psychotic girl.

Jordan Hirsch said...

@99: Great list, thanks for all the suggestions. I think "Time to Pretend" is one of the catchiest songs I've ever heard (reminds me of some of the bands I used to listen to in the early 90s whose names I've all forgotten), even though I also think it's the only decent track on that album.

@kate b: The Thermals are just good for cheering people up, despite their subject matter. And the latest Black Keys album hasn't grabbed me yet, but I'll give it another try.

99 said...

you should give the MGMT album another chance. it's pretty solid throughout. yes, the first track is the best, but the rest is good as well.

i also endorse the new black keys. and the last black lips album. and probably some other "black" bands as well.