Switched on Pop
Switched on Pop
Vox
Best Arts & Culture podcast Webby 2020 winner about the making and meaning of popular music. Musicologist Nate Sloan & songwriter Charlie Harding pull back the curtain on how pop hits work magic on our ears & our culture.
D.O.C. (Death of the Chorus) with Emily Warren
Listen to Top 40 pop over the last decade and you’ll notice something weird is happening. The chorus—the emotional apotheosis of a pop song, its dizzying high, its cathartic sing-along center—is disappearing. In its place, artists from Bad Bunny to Taylor Swift are toying with new, chorus-lite song forms that introduce a new musical grammar to the sound of contemporary pop. We may not think much about pop structure when listening to our favorite songs, but this is a big deal—the last time pop experienced such a seismic shift was when the chorus first came into fashion, back in the 1960s. What does this mean for modern musicians and listeners? Emily Warren, songwriter for new-guard stars like Dua Lipa and Khalid, joins to break down why the sea change in pop form represents a new horizon of creative possibility. Songs Discussed Bad Bunny - Si Veo a Tu Mamá Future & Drake - Life Is Good Billie Holiday - Blue Moon Beyonce - Formation Travis Scott - Sicko Mode Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody Aretha Franklin - (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman Drake - Laugh Now Cry Later (ft. Lil Durk) Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jan 11
41 min
ICYMI: The End Of Pop Music As We Know It: Fall Out Boy & Charli XCX
Is it true that all pop music sounds the same today? For the past year the “pop-drop” has dominated the airwaves. This new form of EDM infused pop came out of DJ culture and has infused its sound with every mainstream act like Lady Gaga and Coldplay. Tiring of this sound, some artists are finding creative ways to parody this pop trope. The rock outfit Fall Out Boy’s “Young And Menace” demonstrates equal parts mastery and mockery of the pop-drop. And PC Music, a rising art-music label out of London, skewers the whole of pop cliché on their mixtape collaboration with Charli XCX. After this episode, we promise you’ll be ready to move on to new sounds. Luckily, listeners have collaborated to create a new favorites playlist to help you cleanse your palette. This episode was originally published May 2017. SONGS DISCUSSED The Chainsmokers – Closer Kygo & Selena Gomez – It Ain’t Me Lady Gaga – The Cure Fall Out Boy – Sugar We’re Going Down Fall Out Boy – Young And Menace Jay Z – D.O.A. (Death Of Auto-Tune) Ariana Grande – Into You Katy Perry feat. Skip Marley – Chained To The Rhythm Drake – Passionfruit Postmodern Jukebox – Sugar We’re Going Down Swinging Britney Spears – Oops! I Did It Again Skrillex – Bangarang DJ Snake – Middle Beyoncé – Love On Top Icona Pop – I Love It (feat. Charlie XCX) Iggy Azalea – Fancy ft. Charli XCX Selena Gomez – Same Old Love Charli XCX – 3AM (Pull Up) (feat. MØ) Hannah Diamond – Every Night Bronze – Thy Slaughter Danny L Harle – Super Natural (ft. Carly Rae Jepsen) SOPHIE – JUST LIKE WE NEVER SAID GOODBYE A.G. Cook – Superstar Ariana Grande – Side To Side Coon Sanders Original Nighthawk Orchestra – I’m Gonna Charleston Back To Charleston Spotify Playlist Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jan 5
48 min
ICYMI: Do You Believe in Life After Autotune?
Auto-Tune may be the most divisive effect in music. Artists have protested it publicly at the Grammys, and critics have derided the effects for its inauthentic reproduction of the voice. And yet, nearly a decade since Jay-Z prophesied the death of Auto-Tune, the sound is alive and thriving in contemporary pop and hip-hop. Journalist Simon Reynolds has written a definitive history of Auto-Tune for Pitchfork that fundamentally changed how we hear this sound. This deep dive criss crosses geology, technology, and the evolution of pop as we know it. Songs Discussed: Cher - Believe Katy Perry - Firework Rihanna - Diamonds Future - F*ck Up Some Commas Emma Robinson - Stay (Cover)  Imogen Heap - Hide And Seek  Zapp & Roger - Doo Wa Ditty (Blow That Thing)  T. Pain - Chopped N Screwed ft. Ludacris  Lil Wayne - “How To Love” Kanye - “Heartless” The Black Eyed Peas “Boom Boom Pow” Jay-Z - Death Of Auto-Tune Elvis - Mystery Train The Beatles - Tomorrow Never Knows Whispering Jack Smith - Baby Face Kesha - Tik Tok Bon Iver - Woods Future & Juice WRLD - Jet Lag ft. Young Scooter  Shek Wes - Mo Bamba The Carters - Apeshit Further Reading: Simon Reynolds - “How Auto-Tune Revolutionized the Sound of Popular Music" Simon Reynolds -Energy Flash: A Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Dec 29, 2020
49 min
Wham! Op. 84 “Last Christmas” with Chilly Gonzales
Wham’s 1984 contribution to the holiday cannon, “Last Christmas,” has surprising staying power. When Grammy-winning pianist Chilly Gonzales set out to record a holiday album, “A Very Chilly Christmas,” most of the selections were over a half century old. That’s because most of our favorite seasonal songs come from the 1960s and earlier. But in addition to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas,” Wham’s “Last Christmas” reliably returns each winter. Despite the cheesy 80s synths and drum machines, the song’s harmonies are remarkable resilient, a testament to George Michael’s auteur songwriting method. Celebrated artist known for his solo piano works, collaborations with Feist and Daft Punk, and his musical masterclasses series, Chilly Gonzales—musical genius—AKA “Gonzo,” sits down at the piano to share in the beauty of this nu-classical Christmas love song, as well as a few selections from his new album “A Very Chilly Christmas.” MORE Get tickets for A Very Chilly Christmas Special airing Dec 23rd at www.chillygonzales.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Dec 21, 2020
53 min
Taylor Swift has "evermore" of a good thing
Just five months after releasing her Grammy-nominated album “folklore,” Taylor Swift surprised fans with a continuation of sorts — her ninth studio album “evermore.” Working with many of her “folklore” collaborators, Swift says that the team “couldn’t stop writing songs.” Like its sister album, “evermore” shies away from over-the-top pop production, and leans into Swift’s craft. Stripped of the highly produced synth layers from her “Lover” and “Reputation” era, Swift’s lyrics and vocal performance shine in their unvarnished restraint. On this hour-long album, Swift shows her ingenuity with the building blocks of songwriting, giving us more of her signature Swiftian strengths: Lyrics, melody and story.  More Read "Figure It Out: The Linguistic Turn in Country Music" by Jimmie N. Rogers and Miller Williams in Country Music Annual 2000 Listen to Jenny Owen Youngs album Night Shift for more rubber bridge guitar and great songs Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Dec 14, 2020
45 min
Women's Rap Renaissance
Producer Bridget Armstrong shares her top tracks from women who are running hip-hop in 2020: Megan Thee Stallion, Tierra Whack, Rico Nasty, Flo Milli, and CHIKA More Listen to the Drake episode on In My Feelings: https://switchedonpop.com/episodes/93-drake-vs-drake Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Dec 7, 2020
42 min
Red Hot + Blue with Meshell Ndegeocello
In 1990 John Carlin and Leigh Blake pioneered a new kind of charity album. Together they co-founded Red Hot, a non-profit music label that uses music to raise money and awareness to for the fight against AIDS. This year is the 30th anniversary of their record: Red Hot + Blue, a platinum tribute album to Cole Porter, featuring artists like U2, Jody Watley, David Byrne, k.d. lang and Annie Lennox. Having released 20 projects and raised over $15M for AIDS charities, Carlin reflects back on Red Hot's idiosyncratic approach to reaching music audiences with a public health mission. And ten time Grammy nominee Red Hot collaborator Meshell Ndegeocello discusses how her contributions informed her own prolific music activism. More Listen to Red Hot's records at redhot.org Listen to Meshell's Chapter & Verse by calling 1-833-4-BALDWIN or visiting www.meshell.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Dec 1, 2020
43 min
The Cyndi Lauper Conspiracy (with Sam Sanders)
Every song Cyndi Lauper writes is pop perfection according to Sam Sanders, host of NPR’s “It’s Been A Minute.” Many fall for “Girls Just Want To Have Fun,” but Sanders's favorite song is the slow burner “All Through The Night,” save for one moment: the synthesizer solo. For Sanders, this solo never fit in. Charlie investigates the source of his musical malady and uncovers how the 80s got its groove.  Songs Discussed Cyndi Lauper - Girls Just Want To Have Fun Cyndi Lauper - Time After Time Cyndi Lauper - She Bop Cyndi Lauper - All Through the Night Janet Jackson - When I Think Of You Janet Jackson - The Pleasure Principle Janet Jackson - Nasty Kenny Loggins - Danger Zone Whitney Houston - Greatest Love Of All Queen - Who Wants To Live Forever Tina Turner - What's Love Got To Do With It Cyndi Lauper - Change Of Heart Phil Collins - In The Air Tonight Kim Carnes - Bette Davis Eyes Tom Petty - You Got Lucky Cars - Lets Go Talking Heads - Burning Down The House Parliament Funkadelic - Atomic Dog The Weeknd - Blinding Lights Dua Lipa - Physical Little Mix - Break Up Song Miley Cyrus - Heart of Glass (Blondie Cover) More Read Dr. Megan L. Lavengood's research on the DX7: https://meganlavengood.com/research/ Listen to Dave Smith's (recently re-released) Sequential Prophet 5 synthesizer: https://www.sequential.com/product/prophet-5/ Learn about William Wittman's production credits on Discogs: https://www.discogs.com/artist/170639-William-Wittman Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Nov 24, 2020
36 min
ANTHEMS: Missy Elliott — Work It
Cultural critic Ivie Ani breaks down how Missy Elliott broke into the pantheon of anthems, and how she changed the scope of who could belong. Songs Discussed Missy Elliott - Work It Blondie - Heart of Glass RUN-DMC - Peter Piper Rock Master Scott & the Dynamic Three - Request Line Snoop Dogg - Y'All Gone Miss Me Vanilla Ice - Ice Ice Baby Justin Timberlake - Sexy Back Trace Adkins - Honky Tonk Badonkadonk Missy Elliott - The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly) Lil Kim - Not Tonight (Remix) Missy Elliott - Lose Control (feat. Ciara & Fat Man Scoop) Missy Elliott - Sock It 2 Me Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Nov 17, 2020
37 min
ANTHEMS: Smash Mouth — All Star
When Smash Mouth wrote "All Star,” they knew that it was going to change their lives. But they never expected it would become an anthem played in sports arenas, soundtracked by Hollywood, and embedded into seemingly every internet meme. Darryn King joins the show to break down "The Never-ending Life of Smash Mouth's 'All Star.'" Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Nov 10, 2020
34 min
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