Music is an emotion driver.  It can help you workout, get through tough times, or simply change your mood.  Songza aims to be your situational music player, providing playlists of predetermined types of music.  Over the last week, I have found myself enjoying the premade playlists for almost every situation I’ve looked for.

Songza is broken up into 5 main sections.  Concierge, My Playlists, Popular, Explore, and Settings.  I find myself mostly using the Concierge mode as I enjoy being catered to in finding music.

Concierge
Somewhat like Pandora, the Concierge mode, and app in general, will not let you play specific songs or even artists.  Unlike Pandora, where the music is generated based on a user selected song or artist, Songza’s Concierge mode will recognize what time it is, and give a bunch of situations you may be in right now.  Currently, the app knows it is Sunday afternoon and is offering to play music for me based on, ‘Brand New Music, Relaxing at Home, Sitting on a Back Porch, Doing Housework, Summertime, or Spending Time with Your Kids.’

These change depending on the day of week and time of day.  Writing this review – lets say I am Relaxing at Home.  When I press this option, I am given another 6 choices.  In this case they are ‘Today’s Relaxing Hits, Mellow Raggae, Low-Key Indie, Laid-back Acoustic, Classic, Eclectic Mixes, or Laid-Back Country.’

Given that I’m in the mood for some hits, I’ll choose the first option.  A final selection screen will let you fine tune your music even more.  I am presented with three options.  ‘Soft Pop, Acoustic Versions of Pop Songs, Contemporary Blue-Eyed Soul.’

Once a selection is made, an explanation of the playlist is given, and the options to favorite (a star) or begin playing (a play button) are presented.  There are also similar playlist listed below.  The first song is not one I like, so I can easily skip to the second which is Fireflies by Owl City.  Each song can be thumbed up or down which will provide Songza with finer tuned playlists to your liking.

My Playlists
This handy screen will keep a history of the playlists you’ve listened to as well as give access to your favorite playlists.  Additionally, your friends activity is listed under the friends tab.  This will show what stations friends have listened to.  This data is available as long as you’ve connected your login to Facebook.  Account creation and connection can be done the first time the app is launched or from the Settings menu.

Popular
The Popular screen will provide Featured, Trending and All-Time best Playlists.  The featured screen provides a simple list of playlists.  The Trending screen breaks them down a bit further by ranking them from 1 to 10.  The All-Time screen does the same.

Explore
This screen will provide you the ability to search for a playlist both by typing keywords and browsing through categories including Activities, Moods, Decades, Cultures, Record-store Clerk, and Just for You.

Settings
The settings screen provides an outlet for you to give the app developers feedback and request a playlist.  Additionally, links to Rate the App, Tell a Friend, and a sleep timer are provided.  Signing out can be done from this screen as well.

While Playing Music
Facebook, Twitter, Mail, and a Shopping Cart present themselves by clicking a list button on the top left.  The Facebook and Twitter symbols are obvious and allow you to post the current song you’re playing on your Facebook wall or Twitter Page.  The mail icon will email the same message.  The shopping cart will link you directly to the currently playing song in iTunes where you can choose to purchase.  Background playing is enabled with Songza, so don’t worry about having to be in the app to keep the music going.

Overall
I sincerely believe Songza can give Pandora a run for it’s money.  While it’s not as flexible in providing music based on specific songs or artists, sometimes people just want the work to be done for them, and Songza does a great job of taking the work out of the user’s hands.  I’ve have occasionally had a song or two find its way into a playlist which I’m wasn’t fond of, but it was super quick to dislike and skip it.  Even better, there are no audio ads (though there are visual pop up ads), and the app is 100% free.  Songza is available for both the iPad and iPhone.  With a great ‘Now Playing’ screen which shows the album art and the ability to airplay, Songza is already a winner in my book and it was no surprise to find it among our best streaming music apps for iPhone and iPad.  I’ll be looking out for Songza to make big strides in the mobile music arena.  I suggest you get in now!  A 10/10 music app!