Songza for Android review: Perfect playlists for just about any activity

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Give Songza some details about your activity, and it will suggest a few suitable playlists. Screenshot by Jaymar Cabebe/CNET

If none of Songza's six activities is right for you, you can easily bypass them. From the drop-down menu at the top, you can find shortcuts to the Popular and Explore screens. The Popular screen showcases featured playlists, those that are currently trending, and the most popular playlists of all time. Meanwhile, the Explore screen offers up a more traditional browsing experience, as it lets you sift through Genres, Decades, Activities, Culture, and Moods. Finally, there's a Record Store Clerk button that offers up niche playlists like "Indie Music That's Not Too Weird" and "When You're Over Being a Music Snob."

According to Songza, all of its playlists are "made by music experts," which I think offers a clear and significant benefit. Since playlists aren't algorithmically programmed, they are more likely to come in varieties that aren't found on other services like Pandora. Take my "St. Ides Sippin'" playlist. It is a subtle yet noticeable departure from the more generic '90s Rap playlists that are available elsewhere. While nuanced variations like this might not be achieved by an algorithm, they certainly are by Songza's experts. And it's because of this unique variety that Songza is able to provide a soundtrack for just about any activity or mood.

As with Pandora, you can vote songs up or down as you listen. This helps the app get better acquainted with your musical taste so that it can provide better playlist recommendations later. You can also skip songs while you listen, but only six times per playlist, per hour.

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