In an effort to feed the slavering beast that is last.fm, I’ve been playing music out of my collection in iTunes rather than listening to the radio. In a further effort to make my musical tastes seem as eclectic as possible, I’ve been working off of a randomized playlist that takes all the music I haven’t listened to lately and shuffles it, in the hopes that those hidden gems I’ve got stashed away on my hard drive will bubble back to the top. Setting a music player to shuffle songs always leads to playing the old “what music does iTunes like?” game, because for whatever reason, people like to look for patterns even when there are none to be found.

Of course, since the whole point of last.fm is that it keeps a record of the music you play and judges everything based on which artists you play most often, this game should no longer be any fun, the joy of unfounded conclusions smothered by the dull grey of actual facts and numbers. On the other hand, if there’s one thing my brief career in data warehousing taught me, it’s that facts and numbers aren’t so much unreliable as they are overrated.

So when last.fm tells me that my favorite artists are Stereolab and They Might Be Giants, I’m inclined to ignore it, even though it’s probably right. I’m more interested in what I think my PowerBook’s favorite albums are. Ani Difranco’s Not So Soft and the Spirit of Gamer sampler collections seem to be very popular with iTunes’s random number generator at the moment. My computer is also going out of its way to play as much Thelonious Monk as it possibly can, to the point where I’m starting to suspect that it’s been going out and downloading more albums behind my back. Not that I’m complaining.

What surprising musical choices are your computers (or other electronic music devices of choice) making these days?