Algorithmic recommendations work in mysterious ways, and they don’t always get it right. Every Spotify user has wondered how the hell this song wound up on that playlist—or why a song they accidentally thumbs-upped once two months ago keeps popping up again and again.
Songslikex offers an alternative to Spotify’s unreliable recommendation algorithms. It’s easy to use: Go to songslikex.com, type in a song you like, and hit enter. You’ll get a custom playlist that opens with your chosen track, followed by 50 randomly-selected tunes that sound similar. I’ve been wearing my “perfect songs” playlist out recently, so I fed Songslikex my current favorite tracks to see if it could find some new additions.
This playlist based on Prince’s “When You Were Mine” certainly goes places—some of them puzzling—but I’m down for the ride:
I’m also sincerely feeling the recommendations it made based on Björk’s “Hyperballad,” which is the first time I’ve ever said that:
Like every other playlist-generating algorithm, Songslikex isn’t quite sure how to find songs like “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak. There’s not a single Orville Peck song on here, which feels like a real gimme:
Overall, Songslikex is fun and effective. I enjoyed listening to these playlists a lot, and as a bonus, they helped me find new artists that I may not have encountered otherwise. I also appreciate that the song choices are randomly generated, because it gives you some measure of control over the algorithm’s output—if you’re not loving the first attempt, you can keep trying. You’ll get something new every time. This is preferable to constantly hearing the same song across multiple similarly themed Spotify radio stations and playlists.
There’s one downside, though: Songslikex only works with Spotify, which is disappointing for anyone who prefers a different service. As one of the dozens of people who use Pandora Premium, I’m used to this kind of thing, but it still bums me out. The playlists I got from Songslikex kick ass, and I would very much like to use them on Pandora, where I pay for the privilege of not hearing four 30-second ads every third song. But if you use Spotify and want to shake up your playlists, give Songslikex a shot.