A screenshot of the main page of Songslikex.com.  It has a purple background with

Screenshot: AA Newton

Algorithmic recommendations work mysteriously and not always correctly. Every Spotify user has wondered how the hell this song ended up on this playlist – or why a song they accidentally thumbs up two months ago keeps popping up.

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 will get a custom playlist that will open with your chosen track followed by 50 randomly chosen melodies that sound similar. I’ve been playing my “perfect songs” playlist lately, so I’ve fed Songslikex my current favorite tracks to see if there are any new additions.

This playlist, based on Prince’s “When You Were Mine,” sure goes in a few places – some of them puzzling – but I’m ready:

I also sincerely feel the recommendations it made based on Björk’s “Hyperballad” which is the first time I say this:

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Like any other playlist generating algorithm, Songslikex is not entirely sure how to find songs like “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak. There’s not a single Orville Peck song here that feels like a real gimmick:

Overall, Songslikex is fun and effective. I really enjoyed listening to these playlists and as a bonus they helped me find new artists that I might not otherwise have come across. I also appreciate that the song selection is randomly generated because it gives you some degree of control over the output of the algorithm – if you don’t like the first try, you can keep trying. You will get something new every time. This is preferable for constantly listening to the same song over multiple Spotify radio stations and playlists on similar topics.

There is one downside, however: Songslikex only works with Spotify, which is disappointing for anyone who prefers a different service. As one of dozens of people who use Pandora Premium, I’m used to this, but it still kills me. I got the playlists from Songslikex Kick Ass, and I would love to use them on Pandora, where I’m paying for the privilege of not hearing four 30-second ads every third song. But if you’re using Spotify and want to shake up your playlists, give Songslikex a try.