Android radio round-up: And the winner is...

John Walton
Cell Phone Editor
Published: February 3, 2009

#1 Last.fm. The official Last.fm client, Personal Radio, is of a caliber even better than I expected from the team that's done more than any other to analyze and interpret the listening habits of music fans on every platform possible. The interface is beautiful, and features all the things you'll find on the site so many have come to love. But this app is more efficiently organized than the website.

The limited space eliminates ads and superfluous options. This app is about rapid access, but cuts no corners. This is meat-and-potatoes Last.fm. Tagging, searching similars, buying on Amazon, creating stations, managing friends, band info, album covers, and everything you could possibly hope for is here. And despite my not participating in much scrobbling (running a little app that keeps track of your taste), Last.fm knows me all too well. I'm constantly falling in love with bands, first listen.

After login, the user is prompted with two options: pre-existing account library, and suggestions. I go for suggestions and am presented with some shoegazey, noise-laden dream pop. Ride's Dreams Burn Down. Good stuff. When it's done, I select "listen to similar artists," and I'm appropriately given Sometimes, by the seminal, My Bloody Valentine. The horror flick ripped that name off, kids. And if movie previews are the only place you've heard it, may the cosmos have mercy on your soul. The album cover displays a red ribbon on the corner, which indicates the band is on tour. Wait... really? Hmmm. Not for me. There's more to the States than California, MBV.

Last.fm plays in the background and stays in the notification bar for easy access. It's great to be able to get back to it so quickly to rate a song that just ended. I don't think this thing scrobbles. But you can vote love or hate on the tracks the app streams.

There is a non-official client in the Market called aLastFM, which functions fine, but was depreciated with the release of an official client. There was a third, that fell below my three star minimum.

Oh man, the Flys. I forgot all about them. Holiday Man is such a fun album. Therein lies the joy of Last.fm.

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