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May 26, 2020
They say you should never meet your idols, that you’ll only be disappointed. We had this possibility in mind going into our first interview with Carly Rae Jepsen, the pop star who inspired us to start our podcast Switched on Pop when Nate taught “Call Me Maybe” as a case study in music theory. Six years later and hundreds of pleading emails later, the time had come to meet the muse and unpack her latest offering, Dedicated Side B. In the course of composing her last two albums, E•MO•TION and Dedicated, Jepsen wrote over 200 songs. Many of her favorite works didn’t make it on either final album, so she’s started a tradition of releasing “Side B” records on the one-year anniversary of her last release. Her newest collection of unreleased music fluidly crosses decades of musical history and spans a vast emotional range. We spoke with Jepsen over Zoom about how she curated her latest B-Side release from a massive body of work. Would this beatific figure, once described by poet Hanif Abdurraqib and the “most honest pop musician working,” live up to her reputation? Listen to find out. SONGS DISCUSSED Carly Rae Jepsen - Call Me Maybe, Julien, Party For One, Now That I’ve Found You, No Drug Like Me, Want You In My Room, Cut To The Feeling, Run Away With Me, Window, This Love Isn’t Crazy, Solo Squeeze - Tempted By The Fruit Irving Berlin - God Bless America performed by Kate Smith Vulfpeck - Back Pocket Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 19, 2020
Lo-Fi hip-hop has emerged as a hugely popular genre and internet subculture. Its millions of loyal fans rely on curated lo-fi playlists and live-streams to write to, study to and even fall asleep to. Heck, we even wrote a good chunk of our book to Spotify’s lo-fi beats playlists. There’s just something about those ambient, spacey, plodding beats that place us in a state of determined zen. But what of its musical roots? Who are its stars? And why, despite its mass following on YouTube, Spotify and elsewhere, is it nearly impossible to spot on the Billboard? We trace lo-fi from its godfathers to its moments in the sun, to the complex creative ecosystem playing out on streaming platforms today. MORE You can find music from this episode on this week’s Spotify playlist Sign up for Cherie Hu’s newsletter Water & Music that sent us down the lo-fi hip hop rabbit hole Check out Seneca B on Spotify: Check out weird inside on Spotify Check out eevee on Spotify SONGS DISCUSSED Brenky - Bye Brenky - People J Dilla ft. Common, D’Angelo - So Far To Go Isley Brothers - Don’t Say Goodnight (It’s Time For Love), Pts. 1&2 Charlatan - Wasted Jazz Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 12, 2020
Like many events, the international song competition Eurovision 2020 has been canceled. Sadly, there will be no champion crowned this year... or will there?! Charlie and Nate comb through the emotional, the catchy, and the downright bizarre entries, then—with some help from our audience and 2018 Eurovision winner Netta—pick the best song in all the land. Come for the Lithuanian moose dance, stay for the unshakeable power of pop glory in a world gone mad. Songs discussed Netta - Toy Netta - Ricki Lake Senhit - FREAKY! Tornike Kipiani - Take Me as I am Go-A - Solovey Efendi - Cleopatra Gjon’s Tears - Repondez-moi The Roop - On Fire Dadi Freyr - Think About Things Roxen - Alcohol You Little Big - Uno Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 5, 2020
When BBC America reached out to do a piece about the music of Killing Eve, we jumped at the opportunity. The series antagonist, Villanelle, is an unpredictable assassin. On a dime she shifts from cold and calculating to child-like and jocular. Her personality swings are accompanied by a captivating psychedelic pop soundtrack. Whether you are familiar with the series or not, this no spoilers episode breaks down music from the 1960s that has earned its place on primetime.  SPONSORED BY BBC AMERICA Songs Discussed Unloved - We Are Unloved  Psychotic Beats - Killer Shangri-:ah The Ronettes - Walking In The rain The Beatles - Strawberry Fields Brigitte Bardot - Contact Betty Hutton - It’s Oh So Quiet Björk - It’s Oh So Quiet Jo Stafford - Some Enchanted Evening Duke Ellington - Skin Deep Roxette - Listen To Your Heart Jacqueline Taieb - La Plus Belle Chanson The Beatles - Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite! Support explainer journalism — all things pop included — by making a contribution to Vox today: Visit bit.ly/givepodcasts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 5, 2020
When BBC America reached out to do a piece about the music of Killing Eve, we jumped at the opportunity. The series antagonist, Villanelle, is an unpredictable assassin. On a dime she shifts from cold and calculating to child-like and jocular. Her personality swings are accompanied by a captivating psychedelic pop soundtrack. Whether you are familiar with the series or not, this no spoilers episode breaks down music from the 1960s that has earned its place on primetime.  SPONSORED BY BBC AMERICA Songs Discussed Unloved - We Are Unloved  Psychotic Beats - Killer Shangri-:ah The Ronettes - Walking In The rain The Beatles - Strawberry Fields Brigitte Bardot - Contact Betty Hutton - It’s Oh So Quiet Björk - It’s Oh So Quiet Jo Stafford - Some Enchanted Evening Duke Ellington - Skin Deep Roxette - Listen To Your Heart Jacqueline Taieb - La Plus Belle Chanson The Beatles - Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite! Support explainer journalism — all things pop included — by making a contribution to Vox today: Visit bit.ly/givepodcasts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
April 28, 2020
Since 1996, Fiona Apple has only ever had one hit, “Criminal.” Nonetheless, every album she’s released has been nominated for a Grammy. Her newest work, Fetch The Bolt Cutters, has received near universal acclaim. Apple’s songs are simultaneously idiosyncratic and relatable, tackling unusual themes for pop songs: middle school bullies, uncomfortable dinner conversation, toxic masculinity and female friendship. Apple accompanies her idiosyncratic lyrics with homemade percussion and only minimal piano. The final product is on the borderline between crafted composition and impromptu improvisation. It is this duality which makes the work relatable and timeless. Her two song suite “I Want You To Love Me” and “Shameika” have connections to Beethoven, Yeats, and Patti Smith, which we break down in the first half. And listeners call in during the second half to share what moved them about the album.  Songs Discussed Fiona Apple - Fast As You Can, Criminal, Under The Table, I Want You To Want Me, Shameika, Fetch The Bolt Cutters, Ladies, Heavy Balloon  Beethoven - Moonlight Sonata Patti Smith - Gloria: In Excelsis Deo Van Morrison - Gloria Support explainer journalism — all things pop included — by making a contribution to Vox today: Visit bit.ly/givepodcasts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
April 21, 2020
Doja Cat has gatecrashed the Top 40 with her effervescent hit “Say So.” How did this Internet personality best known for a song whose chorus is “B***h, I’m a cow!” join the ranks of Dua Lipa, Drake, and The Weeknd? The answer involves a voice that careens from gentle soul to fierce rapping, a catchy chorus that grabs you from the first measure, and most importantly, interpolating the guitar patterns of Nile Rodgers, the secret sauce behind four decades of smash hits.  Songs featured: Doja Cat - Say So, Juicy, Fancy, Moo Chic - Good Times Sugarhill Gang - Rappers Delight Diana Ross - I’m Coming Out David Bowie - Let’s Dance Daft Punk - Get Lucky Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
April 14, 2020
A lot of people miss the old Kanye. The last time we reviewed his music was back in 2016 when he released the work-in-progress album “The Life Of Pablo.” Since then, Kanye has put out four albums: Ye, Kids See Ghost (with Kid Cudi), Jesus Is King, and Jesus Is Born (with the Sunday Service Choir). In the same period he’s also caused a media ruckus with his union to the Kardashian family and his foray into political punditry. His public persona has largely overshadowed his musical offerings. But what does the music communicate when we separate it from its messenger? We take the opportunity to listen with an open mind, especially to his most recent two albums. In the first half we examine his recent innovations as one of hip-hop’s best produced with the help of RapAnalysis.com’s Martin Connor. In the second half we speak with music industry veteran and gospel expert Naima Cochrane in order to place Kanye’s spiritual turn in a larger arch of gospel history.  Songs Discussed Kanye West - Follow God, Closed On Sunday, Father Stretch My Hands, Freestyle 4, Every Hour, Golddigger, Famous, Jesus Is Lord, I Thought About Killing You  Fat’s Domino - The Fat Man Run DMC - Walk This Way (ft. Aerosmith) Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
April 7, 2020
The band 5 Seconds Of Summer have just released their fourth studio album, Calm. Lead vocalist Luke Hemmings and bassist Calum Hood join us to talk about some of Australia’s biggest hits. In the first half of our conversation we discuss the catchy rhythms and vocals in Tame Impala’s song “Borderline,” a song driven more by vibe than conventional structures. Then on side B, 5SOS break down their new single single “Wildflower” and its countless 80s references. One sound in particular, the “stab” or “orchestral hit” in "Wildflower's" chorus, truly evokes the 80s. The song’s producer, Rami Yacoub, had used the sound before on Britney Spears “Lucky,” as had 100s of other artists who first got their hands on this sample from an Australian inventor who forever changed the sound of music. Songs Discussed 5 Seconds Of Summer - Youngblood 5 Seconds Of Summer - Who Do You Love 5 Seconds Of Summer - Lie To Me (ft. Julia Michaels)  AC/DC - Highway To Hell Midnight Oil - Beds Are Burning  Tame Impala - Same Ol Mistakes  Tame Impala - Borderline Post Malone - Circles Slipknot - Before I Forget  Massive Attack - Teardrop  Tom Petty - Wildflowers 5 Seconds Of Summer - Wildflower  Fleet Foxes - Ragged Wood Cindy Lauper - Time After Time Oasis - Wonderwall INXS - Need You Tonight Talk Talk - It’s My Life Tears for Fears - Everybody Wants To Rule The World Enya - Orinoco Flow Stravinsky - Firebird Suite Afrika Bambaataa- Planet Rock Pet Shop Boys - Always On My Mind Britney Spears - Lucky  5 Seconds Of Summer - Red Desert  More Estelle Caswell’s Earworm Video on Peter Vogel’s Fairlight CMI and her playlist of Orchestral Hits Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
April 5, 2020
Scandal and intrigue surround Joe Exotic, the central character of the new Netflix documentary Tiger King. Among the many bizarre traits of this zoo keeper, Exotic tries his hand at country music. Interspersed throughout the series, Joe sings about his love of big cats as well as his hatred for his nemesis in a gruesome murder ballad. But it turns out that amongst his many lies, Exotic’s country career may be yet another fabrication. Charlie speaks with journalist Robert Moor, host of the podcast Joe Exotic: Tiger King about who’s really behind the music.  Songs Discussed Joe Exotic - I Saw A Tiger Vince Johnson Band - He’s Loving You Jake Owen - Down To The Honkytonk  Lonestar - My Front Porch Looking In Joe Exotic - Here Kitty Kitty Spindrift - Speak To The Wind Johnny Cash - Long Black Veil Joe Exotic - This Is My Life George Straight - Living For The Night Sean Watkins - I Saw A Tiger More Robert Moor’s Twitter Thread on what Tiger King left out NY Mag: Tiger King Joe Exotic and His American Animals  Podcast: Joe Exotic: Tiger King Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
March 31, 2020
In the year 2000, D'Angelo released Voodoo—with some help from Questlove, Angie Stone, Raphael Saadiq, and a band of jazz veterans—an album that has cast a long shadow with its unique sound of stripped-down soul, Faith Pennick, who literally wrote the book on the record, joins to break how D'Angelo broke the "shiny suit" regime of R&B, explore how he conjured the spirits of J Dilla, Prince, and Roberta Flack, and consider how one video almost derailed his career. Check out D'Angelo's Voodoo by Faith Pennick, from Bloomsbury's 33 1/3 Series Songs discussed: D'Angelo - The Line, The Root, Spanish Joint, Chicken Grease, Untitled (How Does it Feel) Rev JC Burnett - Amazing Grace Prince - Kiss Justin Timberlake - Damn Girl Thundercat - Them Changes Slum Village - CB4 Charlie Hunter and Scott Amendola - There Used to be a Nightclub There Roy Hargrove - Strasbourg / St. Denis Solange - Cranes in the Sky Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
March 24, 2020
With Nate’s birthday around the corner, it’s time to admit that our go-to birthday song is actually the worst to sing to someone. There are reasons both musicological and cultural why this wooden celebratory number needs to go, ranging from funereal rhythms to Wagnerian opera to the Wizard of Oz. Tune in to uncover the horror of “Happy Birthday” and consider some of the alternatives on offer, including a recent Anne-Marie hit that takes birthday wishes and turns them around 180º. Songs Discussed Frédéric Chopin - Piano Sonata No 2 in B-Flat Minor, III John Williams - The Imperial March Judy Garland - Over the Rainbow Richard Wagner - Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde The Beatles - Birthday Anne-Marie - Birthday Fetty Wap ft. Monty - Birthday Stevie Wonder - Happy Birthday Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
March 17, 2020
Latin Trap megastar Bad Bunny may be best known to American audiences for his feature on Cardi B’s #1 “I Like It’, but the Puerto Rican native is known to music-lovers worldwide for more than just those few bars. Bunny started off as a student in Universidad de Puerto Rico studying audio visual communications. He was bagging groceries at a supermarket in PR when he posted his song ‘Diles’ on SoundCloud. That moody, 808-fueled track turned into a record deal, as well as huge feature opportunities with bigger acts like Becky G, and of course--Cardi. His newest project, YHLQMDLG (an acronym that stands for the Spanish translation of “I do what I want”) is currently smothering the Hot Latin Billboard Chart. The albums opening track, "Si Veo a Tu Mamá" had us listening to the origins of Bossa nova, and investigate how elevator music-sounding samples and overused chord progressions add up to latin trap magic for El Conejito Malo.  Special thanks to Bad Bunny super fan and listener Maita, for never giving up hope :) Songs discussed: Bad Bunny - Diles Becky G ft. Bad Bunny - Mayores Cardi B ft. Bad Bunny, J Balvin - I Like It Bad Bunny ft. Drake - MIA  Bad Bunny - Si Veo a tu Mamá Antônio Carlos Jobim - The Girl From Ipanema Bad Bunny - Soliá Bad Bunny ft. Kendo Kaponi, Arcangel - P FKN R Bad Bunny ft. Jowell & Randy, Nengo Flow - Safeara Missy Elliot - Get Ur Freak On Bad Bunny -
March 10, 2020
Gone are the days of a clear dividing line between “mainstream pop” and “conscious” music. Many of the world’s highest-grossing pop stars are climbing the charts with lyrics that seem to get right at the very weight of human existence. They’re tackling climate change, and drug addiction, crippling anxiety, inequality, sexism and racism. It’s a fascinating shift to witness. That’s why this week, we’re especially thrilled to be chatting with folk-pop duo Overcoats. JJ Mitchell and Hana Elion are known for otherworldly harmonies that sound more like a single voice diverging in two rather than the other way around. We discuss two singles off their new album “The Fight” (out now), and reflect on how seemingly small decisions about a song’s arrangement can make things like anxiety and microaggressions feel a bit easier to carry. Here’s a teaser quote from the episode that we’ll be thinking about for a while: “We often use repetition as a way of saying something until you believe it...that’s very true for this song as well. We’re singing ‘There’s a fire / There’s a fury’...it feels apocalyptic. But the more you say ‘We’ll get through it’ and the more voices join in, it starts to feel true, and starts to feel hopeful.” SONGS DISCUSSED Overcoats - The Fool Overcoats - Fire & Fury The Supremes - Stop In The Name Of Love LCD Soundsystem - Watch The Tapes Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
March 3, 2020
This week, Charlie talks to Lauv, the singer, songwriter and producer behind unfailingly catchy tracks such as “Mean It” and “I Like Me Better.” Lauv’s a master at making the sad feel fun—masking themes of anxiety and betrayal with upbeat, percussive production. He even does a bit of the opposite, too, by infusing his joyful songs with vulnerability and emotional complexity. You’ll soon be able to hear all of that and more on his debut studio album, ~how I’m feeling~, out later this week. Our conversation explores Lauv’s song-making process and touches on everything from T Swift (Lauv counts himself a fan), “mind” rhymes, and the particular nuances of loneliness in the internet age. Today’s episode also features the voices of some of our wonderful listeners--special thanks to Katy, Sadie, Robert, Genevieve, Keen and everyone else who wrote in with questions for Lauv. Songs Discussed: Lauv with Anne-Marie - fuck, i'm lonely Lauv & LANY - Mean It Lauv - I Like Me Better Lauv & Troye Sivan - i’m so tired... Lauv - Changes Lauv - Modern Loneliness Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
February 25, 2020
When Bristol-based producer Laxcity logged onto Twitter to find out that Justin Bieber sampled his music, he was at first unphased. The sampled material came from a royalty-free sample pack on Splice.com, free for Splice users to add to their track. Then accusations of theft started rolling in. Another artist, Asher Monroe, had used the same sample just a few weeks earlier and he accused Bieber of copying the idea. Laxcity inserted himself into the argument to show that the so-called offending sound, was in fact his, but not limited to anyone’s use. This mixup led to Bieber shouting out Laxcity, giving the nascent producer a career boost. On his episode we speak with Laxcity, Splice CEO Steve Martocci, PEX COO Amadea Choplin and Verge reporter Dani Deahl (who first reported the story) to unpack how sampling works in today’s music. Then we hear how Beiber’s new album, “Changes,” interprets the sample to convey Bieber’s personal evolution in the public eye. Songs Discussed Laxcity - Good Morning (Splice Sample) Asher Monroe - Synergy Justin Bieber - Running Over, Sorry, Available, Yummy, Intentions Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
February 18, 2020
In 2019 guitar made a comeback in the top 10. According to analysis from Hit Songs Deconstructed, about a third of all songs featured the electric guitar, a nearly 10% jump from the year before. In 2020 this trend isn’t stopping. Recent releases by Halsey, 5 Seconds of Summer and Joji all prominently feature electric guitars tones. They reference 90s nu-metal, grunge and metal genres. More than a nostalgic nod, these songs draw from an era that was self-consciously “alternative” to convey disaffection, frustration and longing. SONGS DISCUSSED Khalid, Normani - Love Lies Juice WRLD - Lucid Dreams Halsey - Without Me Joji - Slow Dancing In The Dark Joji - Run Metallica - Enter Sandman Santo & Jonny - Sleep Walk Chuck Berry - Johnny B. Goode Buddy Holly - That’ll Be The Day LCD Soundsystem - Losing My Edge 5 Seconds Of Summer - No Shame Nirvana - Come As You Are Halsey - Experiment On Me Rage Against The Machine - Bulls On Parade Limp Bizkit - Break Stuff MORE Listen to our conversation about MIA’s “Paper Planes” and Drake’s “God’s Plan” with Sam Sanders on NPR’s It’s Been A Minute Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
February 11, 2020
Selena Gomez has her first #1 song on the Hot 100. “Lose You To Love Me” is a confessional look at her past five years of heartbreak and health challenges. By contrast, her single “Look At Her Now” is a testament to moving on and moving up. Each of these songs inhabits a different musical and lyrical world and we were lucky to get to speak with her collaborators on the songs to take us behind the scenes of how they came to be. Justin Tranter and Ian Kirkpatrick are two of today’s most in-demand writers. They walk us through how Selena takes her personal emotions and translates them into public catharsis on her album “Rare.” Songs Discussed Selena Gomez - Vulnerable, Lose You To Love Me, Look At Her Now Crash Test Dummies - Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmmm Dua Lipa - New Rules More Watch Selena Gomez interviewed by Zane Lowe on Beats One. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
February 4, 2020
The boy band One Direction has been on hiatus for nearly five years, yet only now have all of the members of the group released a solo album. But how do these efforts from Niall, Liam, Harry, Louis and Zayn stack up? Vox Writer (and One Direction fan) Alexa Lee compares albums as a challenge for each member to rise to their greatest artistic potential. SONGS DISCUSSED Zayn - Let Me Zayn - Entertainer Niall Horan - Nice To Meet You Niall Horan - Put A Little Love On Me Liam Payne - Strip That Down Liam Payne - Hips Don't Lie Louis Tomlinson - Walls Louis Tomlinson - Kill My Mind Harry Styles - Adore You Harry Styles - Watermelon Sugar Harry Styles - Cherry MORE Read Alexa’s piece “2 winners and 3 losers from One Direction’s solo albums” Listen to Nate convince Charlie to love One Direction in an early episode of Switched On Pop Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
January 28, 2020
Post Malone has confounded your hosts since he emerged on the scene, so this week we sit down to try and get to the bottom of our cycles of attraction and repulsion through deep analysis of his current hit, "Circles." Along the way, we discuss trenchant questions such as: How is the minor IV always the saddest of all chords? Why does Posty tend to sound like a certain ruminant mammal? And, what happens when you plug Tchaikovsky into a Wu Tang name generator? Songs Discussed: Post Malone - Circles, Rockstar, Stay, Congratulations, Candy Paint, Fleetwood Mac - Landslide Tchaikovsky - Symphony No 6, Finale And don't forget to enter the Wu Tang Name Generator Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
January 21, 2020
Mac Miller, Future and Billie Eilish all have good and bad news to share. On Miller’s posthumous album, Circles, he exposes personal struggles with fame, addiction, and mental illness — sobering topics given his unintentional drug overdose last year. Yet at the same time we hear him searching for “good news,” practicing self care and accepting that “there's a whole lot more” waiting. Future & Drake’s celebration of material excess also finds them “working on the weekend” just to keep up appearances. Similarly, Billie Eilish has achieved “everything [she] wanted,” but dreams of death and darkness overwhelm her. But she’s buoyed by the support of her brother FINNEAS. Many pop songs are about a single emotion: love, heartbreak or exuberant joy. But these great songs evoke more complex emotions, existing somewhere in a liminal space between our hopes and fears. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
January 14, 2020
Dua Lipa remembers the disco era in her hit “Don’t Start Now.” What may sound like just another dance floor track, upon deeper listening unfolds as a celebration of the genre. References to Gloria Gaynor, Chic, Giorgio Moroder and The Bee Gees are all waiting here for the curious listener to uncover. But so are the Italian and Daft Punk inspired bass lines. Yet the song is more than just one big disco ball cliché. It is brilliantly written too. We asked our listeners to help us highlight the best moments of the song as this is a song that continues to sound anew upon each playback. In 2020, the influence of Disco is still very much alive and Dua Lip’s “Don’t Start Now,” written with Caroline Ailin, Emily Warren and Ian Kirkpatrick, is a shining example of a great contemporary disco track.  Songs Discussed Dua Lipa - Don’t Start Now Gloria Gaynor - I Will Survive Chic - Good Times Giorgio Mordoer - Baby Blue The Bee Gees - You Should Be Dancing The Michael Zager Band - Let’s All Chant MFSP - TSOP Todd Terje - Strandbar Piano Fred Falke and Alan Brav - Intro Daft Punk - Voyager Ryan Paris - Dolce Vita Madison Avenue - Don’t Call Me Baby Marvin Gaye - Got To Give It Up Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
January 7, 2020
The sound of R&B is difficult to pin down. Since the 1950s, the label has been used both as a genre and as a catch-all for the entirety of black popular music. Soul, funk, disco and even hip-hop have at times been covered by this "R&B" umbrella. On Chance The Rapper's new album, The Big Day, all of these influences come through—and he's not alone. On recent Kehlani records, 90s R&B and 2000s trap both play a role. But both these artists are a far cry from the 50s R&B sounds of Sam Cooke. To understand how R&B has changed over time, we consult with Trevor Anderson, manager of Billboard's R&B/Hip Hop chart. Then we speak with R&B super-producer Oak Felder to understand how R&B is progressing and what it might become. Songs Discussed Chance The Rapper – Hot Shower Chance The Rapper – I Got You Sam Cooke – You Send Me Elvis Presley – Crying In the Chapel The Temptations – I Can’t Get Next To You Mtume – Juicy Fruit Biggie – Juicy Toni Braxton – Breath Again Janet Jackson – That’s The Way Love Goes Boys II Men – I’ll Make Love To You Lauryn Hill – Doo Wop (That Thing) Diddy – I’ll Be Missing You (feat. Faith Evans & 112) Nelly – Dilemma Kehlani – Distraction SWV – Weak Aaron Hall – I Miss You Usher – You Make Me Wanna Brandy – Sit-in Up In My Room Dru Hill – In My Bed Silk – Freak Me Demi Lovato – Sorry Not Sorry Jodeci – Cry For you Mariah Carey – Vision of Love Kehlani Everything Is Yours Chance The Rapper – All Day Long Queen – Fat Bottom Girls Diana Ross – I’m Coming Out For an in depth history of R&B on Billboard, read Chris Molanphy's feature on Pitchfork. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
December 31, 2019
On a trajectory to be one of the biggest pop stars for this generation, seventeen year old Billie Eilish is not, however, your typical pop star. Her music speaks to the real anxieties of young people without any veneer. She sings from the perspective of monsters and villains. Her hushed voice, baggy style, and direct demeanor subvert the norms of the pop princess. And her music is dark, but still catchy. Billie co-writes and produces her sound with her older brother Finneas O’Connell. Together this family duo have crafted the second biggest selling album of 2019, “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” On this episode, we examine how Billie and Finneas crafted a cultural phenomenon, why their message speaks to this generation, and we speak with Finneas about the creation of their hit song “Bad Guy.” MORE Watch Billie and Finneas break down “Bury A Friend” on The New York TimesBillie Eilish – Ocean Eyes Billie Eilish – Bored Billie Eilish – You Should See Me In A Crown Billie Eilish – Bad Guy Billie Eilish – Bury A Friend Marilyn Manson – The Beautiful People The Doors – People Are Strange Nine Inch Nails – Closer Billie Eilish – ilomilo Billie Eilish – All Good Girls Go To Hell Billie Eilish – Xanny Frank Sinatra – Dream A Dream Billie Eilish – I love you John Carpenter – Halloween Theme Billie Eilish – Bellyache MORE Billie Eilish explained on Vox.com Watch Billie and Finneas break down “Bury A Friend” on The New York Times Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
December 24, 2019
There are icons, and then there’s Dolly Parton. The country singer-turned-actress-turned-cultural phenomenon has produced a nearly unparalleled body of work, in both quantity (Parton is the sole or co-author of more than three thousand songs) and in legacy. Despite releasing her first album over 60 years ago, Parton’s songs are still covered and performed live by today’s pop artists. Presidential candidates are still selecting her songs as official walk-on music. So what is it exactly that makes her music so enduring? Today, we select four essential Dolly songs for dissection and try to answer that big question with the help of composer, longtime radio-maker and host of the new hit podcast, Dolly Parton’s America--Jad Abumrad. Whether or not you identify as a Dolly Parton fan, or even a country music fan, we think you’ll love this one. Songs discussed Dolly Parton - Dumb Blonde Dolly Parton - Down from Dover Dolly Parton - Jolene Dolly Parton - Light of a Clear Blue Morning Kesha - Praying Mariah Carey - Hero Andra Day - Rise Up Dolly Parton - 9 to 5 Stevie Wonder - I Wish Dolly Parton - Mule Skinner Blues Thanks to Jad, producer Shima Oliaee and the rest of the Dolly Parton’s America team. You can check out the eight episodes they’ve released so far, and keep an eye out for the final one at www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/dolly-partons-america. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
December 17, 2019
Bass distorted to the edge of audibility; voices croaking out dark and violent lyrics; a hacked-together DIY aesthetic. This isn't a fringe musical movement, this is the sound of TikTok, the video app used by millions in Generation Z. And soon enough it might also be the sound of pop as we know it. Cat Zhang from Pitchfork stops by to clue us into the sonic reality of music's newest platform, from Gordon Ramsay to pumpkins screaming in the dead of night. Songs Discussed Savage Ga$p, 93FEETOFSMOKE - Pumpkins scream in the dead of night haroinfather, Savage Ga$sp - Tunnel of Love Arizona Zervas - ROXANNE HL Wave, Jhonny Flames - Gordon Ramsay Hooligan Chase - Asshole Comethazine - Walk Peter Kuli, Jed Will - ok boomer Young Spool, Jakob - WTF Check out Cat's article The Anatomy of a TikTok Hit on Pitchfork Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
December 10, 2019
We hand over the hosting duties to Constance Grady, book reviewer for Vox.com, to discuss our new book/baby - Switched on Pop: How Popular Music Works and Why it Matters, and go deep on two specific concepts we haven’t touched nearly enough on the show: timbre (with the help of Sia’s “Chandelier) and sampling (via M.I.A.’s iconic “Paper Planes). The book of course goes further, devoting a full chapter each to sixteen different concepts we’ve explored on the show (think harmony, modulation, syncopation, genre), and pairing those concepts with the pop tracks that really bring them to life.  There are so many people who helped us get this thing from concept to bound stack of papers that you can hold in your hands, but right now, right here, we want to shout out: our listeners. You all shape the show every week by suggesting incredible episode ideas and recommending songs for us to break down. You also inspired this book, when you asked us year in and year out for a definitive guide to the essential musical knowledge necessary to understand contemporary pop. We hope you like it, and know that your emails, tweets and analysis continue to delight and inspire us to no end. SONGS DISCUSSED Carly Rae Jepsen - Call Me Maybe Sia - Chandelier M.I.A. - Paper Planes MORE Switched on Pop: How Popular Music Works and Why it Matters is available now! Find it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound or buy directly from Oxford University Press. Book illustrations by the indomitable Iris Gottlieb: https://www.irisgottlieb.com/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
December 3, 2019
The East Coast / West Coast hip hop feud between Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls is full of tragedy and conspiracy, but what did it really sound like? For the third season of of the hit podcast Slow Burn, host Joel Anderson and producer Christopher Johnson dig up untold stories about this infamous rivalry, and they join Nate and Charlie to break down boom bap, G Funk, and the surprising points of overlap between two titans of rap. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
November 26, 2019
Electric Guest (Asa Taccone and Matthew Compton) take a left turn towards pop on “Dollar" — a song about making more out of less, something too many people find themselves to do right now. The music follows the same principle, turning cheap synths and canned horns into a symphony of sound. We chat with Asa about how the track — equally inspired by Stevie Wonder and Bertolt Brecht —came to be and why pop can be a balm in dark times. Songs Featured Electric Guest - Dollar Stevie Wonder - Uptight (Everything's Alright) Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
November 19, 2019
Nate doesn’t know much about the musical style known as emo. Sadly, he was too busy nerding out on jazz during his youthful years to catch the moment. That’s a shame, because emo is experiencing a revival right now - most surprisingly within the world of hip hop. All of which leaves Nate in the awkward position of not really having any idea what’s going on, so thank goodness for some schooling by Vox culture reporter Allegra Frank, who spent her teenage years the right way: getting emotional to the soundtrack of emo. Her first lesson about this endlessly fascinating subculture? It’s way more than just a sound.  Songs discussed: Sunny Day Real Estate - Seven Jawbreaker - Do You Still Hate Me?! My Chemical Romance - I’m Not Okay (I Promise) Fall Out Boy - Sugar, We’re Goin Down Panic! At the Disco - I Write Sins not Tragedies Jimmy Eat World - Lucky Denver Mint Jimmy Eat World - A Praise Chorus Jimmy Eat World - The Middle American Football - Never Meant Foxing - Lich My Prince  The World is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die - Heartbeat in the Brain Check out more of Allegra’s work here: https://www.vox.com/authors/allegra-frank And learn more about Tom Mullen and Washed Out Emo here: http://www.washedupemo.com/about Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
November 12, 2019
Once upon a time, classical music was pop, so today it's worth stepping back and asking: where does one genre stop and the other begin? Can classical ever be popular again? And why do only some classical tracks makes for good samples? Luckily James Bennett II of classical station WQXR is on hand to break down these and other musical conundrums, including but not limited to: killer opera clowns, Bach hip hop hybrids, and the namesake album of this very podcast. Songs discussed: Dessa and the Minnesota Orchestra - Chaconne Enrico Caruso - Vesti la Giubbia Mario Lanza - Because You’re Mine Wendy Carlos - Prelude and Fugue in C Minor Jackie Evancho - Nessun Dorma Jackie Evancho - Burn Lindsay Stirling - Underground Vitamin String Quartet - Shallow Florence Price - Symphony 1 Nas - I Can Black Eyed Peas - Back 2 Hip Hop Victoria - Impropreia Kanye West - Gone Check out more of James's writing here: https://www.wqxr.org/people/james-bennett-ii/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
November 6, 2019
NPR's Sam Sanders stops by to break down the tracks that Switched On listeners have been loving. Swedish dancefloor confessionals, songs that stop time, the specificity of Lana Del Rey, and the awkwardness of descending fourths: it's all on the table in this freewheeling conversation of deep musical nerdiness. Songs DiscussedTove Lo ft Kylie Minogue - Really don’t like uCamila Cabello - LiarAce of Base - All That She WantsTyler the Creator - EARFQUAKETaylor Swift - Cruel SummerLana Del Rey, Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus - Don’t Call Me AngelLana Del Rey - Happiness is a butterflyKing Princess - ProphetKim Petras - Hillside BoysIDK - PornoJai Paul - Str8 Outta MumbaiJai Paul - Genevieve (Unfinished)Many thanks to everyone who called in for this one: Amanda, Jackie, Melanie, Alec, Madeleine, John B, Steve, Courtney, Julia, Zach, Lee, Tara, Habbi, and of course - John from Baltimore. For more of Sam's great takes on culture, check out It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders.  CORRECTION: A version of this episode incorrectly stated that Jack Antonoff was a writer on the song "Lover." Taylor Swift was the sole credited songwriter on that song, while Jack Antonoff has a production credit on the piece. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
November 5, 2019
Back in the fall of 2017, our producer Megan Lubin went for a stroll near her house, popped in earbuds, and heard a song that’s stuck with her ever since: “Si Tú Supieras Compañero” (“If you only knew, my friend”), by the Spanish pop star Rosalía. Since then, Rosalía’s star has continued, especially after the 2018 release of “El Mal Querer,” Rosalía’s genre-blending album of R&B and flamenco.  On this episode, we dig into Rosalía’s sound to try and figure out what stopped Megan in her tracks back then, and what keeps us coming back. With the help of New York Times Magazine writer Marcela Valdes, we break down key elements of the flamenco tradition, like the hard-to-define magic of duende, and count out some of the diabolical rhythms that keep us dancing.  Songs Discussed Rosalía - Si Tú Supieras Compañero Rosalía - BAGDAD (Cap.7: Liturgia)  Rosalía - PIENSO EN TU MIRÁ (Cap.3: Celos) Episode Spotify Playlist: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4zRce31m3RhCjVwmSSMz2Q Read “Rosalía’s Incredible Journey from Flamenco to Megastardom” by Marcela Valdes: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/10/08/magazine/rosalia-flamenco.html Watch Rosalía performing “Me quedo contigo”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32d1bq-kG5c More coverage of Rosalía from The FADER magazine: https://www.thefader.com/artist/rosalia **A previous version of this episode claimed that Alicia Key's "Fallin'", Aretha Franklin's "I Never Loved a Man", "Marvin Gaye's "Here, My Dear" and Kelly Clarkson's "Breakaway" were all written in 3/4 time. That was in error, and we've edited the episode to reflect that. CORRECTION After airing this episode, listeners informed us that many Romani people consider the term “gypsy” to be antiquated, discriminatory and derogatory. We apologize for airing this this word in the episode, and will avoid its usage in all forgoing work. See the NOW foundation’s explanation for further detail: The “G” Word Isn’t for You: How “Gypsy” Erases Romani Women Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
October 29, 2019
Last year, NPR Music ran an audacious headline: "Rihanna Is The 21st Century's Most Influential Musician." Millions and millions of fans the world over agree, and while we try to avoid overt expressions of pop favoritism, we think they’ve got a strong case. It’s for that reason and a dozen others that we were thrilled to welcome Gina Delvac of the hit podcast Call Your Girlfriend back to the show to discuss the legendary career of one Ms. Robyn Rihanna Fenty. As we all await her ninth studio album (R9), join us for a virtual* blunt-smoke-laced tour through the hit songs that defined her early sound, and a delectable deep dive into her most recent album, ANTI. *Zero blunts were enjoyed at the time of recording. Songs Discussed Rihanna - Pon de Replay Rihanna ft. Jay-Z - Umbrella Rihanna - What’s My Name Rihanna ft. Calvin Harris - We Found Love  Rihanna - Cheers (Drink to That) Rihanna - You Da One Rihanna - B*tch Better Have My Money Rihanna ft. Drake - Work Rihanna ft. SZA - Consideration Rihanna - Needed Me Check out Jenny Gathright's NPR article “Rihanna Is The 21st Century's Most Influential Musician” here: https://www.npr.org/2018/08/15/638551793/rihanna-is-the-21st-centurys-most-influential-musician And find even more work from our wonderful contributors this week down below: Gina: http://ginadelvac.com/ Ivie: https://ivieani.contently.com/ Zoe: https://zoehaylock.com/ Cate: https://www.cate-young.com/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
October 22, 2019
Anil Dash is obsessed with Prince. Since he’s the host of the tech podcast Function, he has a unique perspective on the Purple One’s complicated relationship with technology. Anil joins the show to break down the many ways that Prince predicted the sound and science of modern pop, from drum machines to online distribution to internet culture. We’ll discuss how Michael Jackson jacked Prince’s electronic experimentation for Thriller, why Prince liked to lurk in fan chat rooms, and how he found ways to change his sound without ever sacrificing his integrity. We’re only beginning to understand Prince’s legacy, but Anil takes us one step closer to fully appreciating the ahead-of-their-time talents of a once-in-a-century artist.  Songs featured: Prince - 1999 Kraftwerk - The Robots Talking Heads - Once in a Lifetime Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five - The Message The Human League - Don’t You Want Me Baby Prince - Little Red Corvette Michael Jackson - Thriller Santana ft. Rob Thomas - Smooth Prince ft. Eve - Hot Wit U Prince ft. Ani Difranco - Eye Love U, But Eye Don’t Trust U Anymore Prince - How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore Prince - Black Sweat Prince - THIS COULD BE US Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
October 15, 2019
Men singing high is so ubiquitous in modern pop that we might take it granted, never pausing to ask: has it always been this way? Estelle Caswell, who makes the Emmy-winning Earworm series for Vox, decided to find out, and she stops by to share results from her painstaking study of male falsetto in pop music from 1958 to today. Some of her findings may surprise, like 1996 was the peak year for falsetto, Justin Timberlake doesn't sing as you high at might think, and falsetto has been around as long as pop itself.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
October 7, 2019
NPR's Sam Sanders stops by to break down the tracks that Switched On listeners have been loving. Swedish dancefloor confessionals, songs that stop time, the specificity of Lana Del Rey, and the awkwardness of descending fourths: it's all on the table in this freewheeling conversation of deep musical nerdiness. Songs DiscussedTove Lo ft Kylie Minogue - Really don’t like uCamila Cabello - LiarAce of Base - All That She WantsTyler the Creator - EARFQUAKETaylor Swift - Cruel SummerLana Del Rey, Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus - Don’t Call Me AngelLana Del Rey - Happiness is a butterflyKing Princess - ProphetKim Petras - Hillside BoysIDK - PornoJai Paul - Str8 Outta MumbaiJai Paul - Genevieve (Unfinished)Many thanks to everyone who called in for this one: Amanda, Jackie, Melanie, Alec, Madeleine, John B, Steve, Courtney, Julia, Zach, Lee, Tara, Habbi, and of course - John from Baltimore. For more of Sam's great takes on culture, check out It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders.  CORRECTION: A version of this episode incorrectly stated that Jack Antonoff was a writer on the song "Lover." Taylor Swift was the sole credited songwriter on that song, while Jack Antonoff has a production credit on the piece. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
October 7, 2019
NPR's Sam Sanders stops by to break down the tracks that Switched On listeners have been loving. Swedish dancefloor confessionals, songs that stop time, the specificity of Lana Del Rey, and the awkwardness of descending fourths: it's all on the table in this freewheeling conversation of deep musical nerdiness. Songs DiscussedTove Lo ft Kylie Minogue - Really don’t like uCamila Cabello - LiarAce of Base - All That She WantsTyler the Creator - EARFQUAKETaylor Swift - Cruel SummerLana Del Rey, Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus - Don’t Call Me AngelLana Del Rey - Happiness is a butterflyKing Princess - ProphetKim Petras - Hillside BoysIDK - PornoJai Paul - Str8 Outta MumbaiJai Paul - Genevieve (Unfinished)Many thanks to everyone who called in for this one: Amanda, Jackie, Melanie, Alec, Madeleine, John B, Steve, Courtney, Julia, Zach, Lee, Tara, Habbi, and of course - John from Baltimore. For more of Sam's great takes on culture, check out It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders.  CORRECTION: A version of this episode incorrectly stated that Jack Antonoff was a writer on the song "Lover." Taylor Swift was the sole credited songwriter on that song, while Jack Antonoff has a production credit on the piece. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
October 1, 2019
Dallas Taylor, host of the stellar sound design series Twenty Thousand Hertz, stops by to fill Nate in on the science and style of mastering: the subtle art that explains why Metallica had to re-release a controversial album, Kanye sounds so crisp, and why the best pop really pops.  Songs Discussed Lizzo - Juice Kanye West - Heartless Led Zeppelin - Stairway to heaven Pink Floyd - Money Daft Punk - Get Lucky Metallica - The Day That Never Comes DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince - He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper The Beatles - Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds Intrigued by mastering? Get your fix with the Twenty Thousand Hertz episode The [Compressed] History of Mastering. We are conducting an audience survey to better serve you. It takes no more than five minutes, and it really helps out the show. Please take our survey here: https://voxmedia.iad1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_ewVXHPZIsQNlxCR?Source=note Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
September 24, 2019
Charlie's out on parental leave, which means no one is here to stop Nate from going off the rails. And you know what means... JAZZ! As soon as dad left the room, Nate enlisted his favorite journalist, jazz and sports writer Natalie Weiner, to come on the show and discuss her incredible 1959 Project — a day-by-day chronicle of jazz during one of its most pivotal years. We listen to classic 1959 albums Miles Davis's Kind of Blue and Dave Brubeck's Take Out, discuss the complex legacy of Billie Holiday, and dig into some of the year's forgotten gems. Sixty years later, jazz is no longer the cultural juggernaut is once was — but it still has much to teach us about pop culture of the present. Playlist: •Miles Davis - So What •Dave Brubeck - Take Five •Billie Holiday - Blue Moon •Billie Holiday - Billie's Blues •Erykah Badu - On & On •Amy Winehouse - There Is No Greater Love •Muriel Roberts - Sleigh Ride •Terry Pollard - Laura •Willene Barton and her Trio - Rice Pudding Check out the 1959 and 2019 jazz cuts we're listening to. We are conducting an audience survey to better serve you. It takes no more than five minutes, and it really helps out the show. Please take our survey here: https://voxmedia.iad1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_ewVXHPZIsQNlxCR?Source=note Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
September 22, 2019
The pace of new music releases these days is dizzying. Sometimes it’s like watching someone do a magic trick--we *swear* those songs weren’t there a second ago! But then, there they are, popping up in batches right out of thin air. Of course, behind each individual release sits months of decision-making by the artist: who to collaborate with and when, how to structure the musical product of that collaboration, what to call it, how to release it, when, and on what platform. The list is long, and each of those choices has a big impact on how we hear the song. The Verge’s Dani Deahl recently sat down with reigning Princess of Pop, Charli XCX, to discuss how she approaches those decisions, and how that approach is bucking long-established norms in popular music. In this special bonus episode of Switched on Pop, Dani rings up Charlie (not XCX) to recap that conversation and put Charli (XCX)’s artistry in context. Via Dani, we learn that for Charli collaboration is more than just an artistic choice; and release strategy is much more than a major label playbook. There’s a total freedom in the way Charli releases music, and we love it. Huge thanks to Dani for bringing us this peek into her world. Songs discussed:Charli XCX - Boom ClapCharli XCX, Christine and the Queens - GoneCharli XCX ft. Lizzo - Blame It On Your LoveLizzo - Truth HurtsCatch the rest of Dani’s conversation with both Charli/es in the newest episode of The Verge’s ‘Future of Music’ video series, We are conducting an audience survey to better serve you. It takes no more than five minutes, and it really helps out the show. Please take our survey here: https://voxmedia.iad1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_ewVXHPZIsQNlxCR?Source=note Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
September 17, 2019
For most parents, “Baby Shark” is the nightmare that will not end. Ever since the South Korean educational company Pinkfong released the song earlier this year, it’s almost impossible to avoid. The infectious children’s tune has more than 2.3 billion views on YouTube and made it onto the Billboard Top 40 list. So what makes this song so catchy and irresistible to children? And how do the rest of us cope with the unavoidable hit while keeping our sanity? Andrea Silenz, host of the parenting podcast The Longest Shortest Time, and Charlie explore the phenomenon that is “Baby Shark. Songs DiscussedPinkfong - Baby SharkFrank Zappa - Baby SnakesStevie Wonder - Isn’t She Lovely Suzanne Vega - Tom’s DinerBaby Shark/ Tom’s Diner mashup “Baby Diner”The Weeknd - I Can’t Feel My FaceRadioheadPinkfong - The Penguin DancePinkfong - Lions in LoveDrake - God’s PlanMicheal Jackson - Billie JeanWhitney Houston - I Wanna Dance With SomebodyBruno Mars - Uptown FunkBeastie Boys - Brass MonkeyVanilla Ice - Ice Ice BabyJosh Groban - River The Beatles - All You Need Is LoveHarry Potter theme Raffi - Baby Beluga  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
September 13, 2019
Ross Golan is no stranger to Switched on Pop. This week, the songwriter and host of the hit podcast And The Writer Is… joins Charlie for a BONUS episode (cue siren) about the surprising lessons learned from a collective seven years behind the interview mic. Tune in as Ross and Charlie discuss the infinite shelf-life of classic songwriting techniques, the happy accidents behind some of your favorite hit songs, and the essential qualities of a good listener. Find more Ross on Switched on Pop in Episode 58, ‘What’s to Love About Ed Sheeran?’, and catch more of And The Writer Is… when Season 5 premiers this Monday, September 9th — anywhere you listen to podcasts. Episodes discussed:#80 How to ‘Make Me Feel’ with Lizzo#123 What BTS’s “Boy With Love” ft. Halsey Can Teach Us About K-pop#99 Entering Beard Phase (with Mike Posner)#107 How Streaming Changed the Sound of PopSongs Discussed:Lizzo - Truth HurtsSister Nancy - Bam BamPaul Anka - Put Your Hand on My ShoulderBTS ft. Halsey - Boy with LuvAriana Grande - Break Free Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
September 10, 2019
On this very special episode, we join forces with the hilarious podcast OFF BOOK. When our powers combine, Zach and Jess of Off Book, plus their killer backing band of Scott, Dana and Brett create an improvised musical, while Nate and Charlie break down the sound and structure of a Broadway show. Stay tuned for deep thoughts about what separates pop music from musicals, wild speculation about the origin of the word “vamp,” and an ENTIRE FREAKING MUSICAL COMPOSED FROM SCRATCH that will make you laugh your face off. This is not one to miss. Find more episodes of Off Book on their website h.earwolf.com/off, or anywhere you find podcasts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
September 3, 2019
"Make Me Feel," is the first hit from Janelle Monáe's 2018 album Dirty Computer,  and a sensual song about the fluidity of desire. In the pre-chorus, the singer proudly expresses that she is a "sexual bender." Fans have embraced the song for breaking free of normative sexual expectations. But these non-binary statements aren't limited to the lyrics. The message is reinforced with musical concepts drawn from the blues, Prince and Michael Jackson. To help break down this track, Nate and Charlie are joined by singer/rapper Lizzo. She and Monáe both collaborated with Prince, making Lizzo uniquely qualified to unwind his influence on the song. We also discuss Lizzo's song "Truth Hurts" and her podcast "Good As Hell" where she talks to the queens of hip hop. Hands down, Lizzo is one of the most talented, knowledgable and fun guests. You don't want to miss this episode. Songs DiscussedJanelle Monáe - Make Me FeelMichael Jackson - The Way You Make Me FeelMichael Jackson - Beat ItFats Domino - Blueberry HillPrince - KissYing Yang Twins - Wait (The Whisper Song)Lizzo - Truth HurtsSister Nancy - Bam Don't miss Lizzo's podcast "Good As Hell" on Spotify Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
August 27, 2019
Today we're revisiting an episode inspired by a pair of classic VH1 shows: “Behind the Music” and “Where Are They Now?” Our subjects are two songs representing the lunatic fringe of 90s culture, “Cotton Eyed Joe” and “How Bizarre.” In the course of our musicological investigation, we uncover dark truths about these seemingly anodyne hits that will make you question everything you know about pop music. And in the end, we reach a definitive answer to a perennially vexing question: “WTF was 90s music so weird?” Songs Discussed Rednex: Cotton Eye Joe Pop in an Oak The Way I Mate Cotton Eyed Joe: Fiddlin John Carson Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys Karen Dalton Chieftains Nina Simone OMC: How Bizarre Right On Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
August 20, 2019
Every year, critics and media outlets the world over put out definitive song-of-summer guides based on... well, we’re not always entirely sure. Certainly popularity, as measured by streams and radio play; not to mention that bewildering feeling that creeps up some time mid-July, prompting whispered exclamations of: “man, this song is everywhere.” But the most ubiquitous track isn’t necessarily the one you’ll have on repeat on those steamy summer commutes to work, nor is it the song you’ll want soundtracking this year’s vacations, graduations, summer flings and backyard cookouts. In this episode, we abandon the pursuit of a single song of summer, and ask the question we’re more interested in: What does summer sound like? To answer that question, we asked you, our listeners, and got some downright awesome suggestions in return. Your voicemails covered everything from Hot Girl Summer anthems and nostalgia-inducing dance jams, to globally infused collaborations and just-released future-feeling indie rock cuts. Today, we travel across the full spectrum of summer feels, and the music that comes through when we need it the most. Songs DiscussedMUNA - Number One FanAmber Mark - Put You OnJonas Brothers - Only HumanShawn Mendes, Camila Cabello - SeñoritaCharlie XCX, Christine and the Queens - GoneBTS, Zara Larsson - Brand New DayKaty Perry - Teenage DreamPost Malone - SunflowerLil Nas X, Billy Ray Cyrus - Old Town RoadPinkfong - Baby Shark Khalid - BetterMegan Thee Stallion - Big ol’ FreakMegan Thee Stallion, Juicy J - Simon SaysSaweetie - My TypePetey Pablo - Freak-A-LeakCity Girls - Act UpMegan Thee Stallion, DaBaby - Cash ShitClairo - Sofia HAIM - Summer GirlLou Reed - Walk on the Wild SideMother’s Daughter - Miley CyrusRosalía - Aute CutureAriana Grande - NASABANKS - GimmeGrimes, Hana - We appreciate powerLizzo - Truth HurtsPaul McCartney - JetDon Henley - The Boys of SummerSantana, Rob Thomas - SmoothBritney Spears - ToxicThe Slits - I Heard it Through the Grapevine Missy Elliott - SlideFreddie Gibbs, Madlib - CataractsVampire Weekend - 2021 Misc extras Listen to all of these songs and more on the Switched on Pop Songs of Summer 2019 Playlist.  Note In this episode we made light of PTSD by using the term irreverently - thanks to listener feedback we're better aware of how destructive such diminishing comments can be to people dealing with trauma. We apologize for the misuse and will strive to avoid it in the future.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
August 13, 2019
The sound of R&B is difficult to pin down. Since the 1950s, the label has been used both as a genre and as a catch-all for the entirety of black popular music. Soul, funk, disco and even hip-hop have at times been covered by this "R&B" umbrella. On Chance The Rapper's new album, The Big Day, all of these influences come through—and he's not alone. On recent Kehlani records, 90s R&B and 2000s trap both play a role. But both these artists are a far cry from the 50s R&B sounds of Sam Cooke. To understand how R&B has changed over time, we consult with Trevor Anderson, manager of Billboard's R&B/Hip Hop chart. Then we speak with R&B super-producer Oak Felder to understand how R&B is progressing and what it might become. Songs Discussed Chance The Rapper – Hot Shower Chance The Rapper – I Got You Sam Cooke – You Send Me Elvis Presley – Crying In the Chapel The Temptations – I Can’t Get Next To You Mtume – Juicy Fruit Biggie – Juicy Toni Braxton – Breath Again Janet Jackson – That’s The Way Love Goes Boys II Men – I’ll Make Love To You Lauryn Hill – Doo Wop (That Thing) Diddy – I’ll Be Missing You (feat. Faith Evans & 112) Nelly – Dilemma Kehlani – Distraction SWV – Weak Aaron Hall – I Miss You Usher – You Make Me Wanna Brandy – Sit-in Up In My Room Dru Hill – In My Bed Silk – Freak Me Demi Lovato – Sorry Not Sorry Jodeci – Cry For you Mariah Carey – Vision of Love Kehlani Everything Is Yours Chance The Rapper – All Day Long Queen – Fat Bottom Girls Diana Ross – I’m Coming Out For an in depth history of R&B on Billboard, read Chris Molanphy's feature on Pitchfork. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
August 6, 2019
For the live action remake of the Lion King, Beyoncé, (who voices Nala in the film), recorded and curated a companion soundtrack called The Gift. She worked with leading Afropop stars to expose the music of the continent to a global audience. In her piece, “Diversity Is in the Details: What Beyoncé’s 'The Lion King: The Gift' Gets Right and Wrong,” Okayplayer music editor Ivie Ani argues that the album highlights music while unintentionally treating the continent as a monolith. Ani joins Switched On Pop to break down this album and what it means for Afropop. Songs DiscussedBeyoncé, Jay-Z, Childish Gambino, Oumou Sangaré – MOOD 4 EVAOumou Sangaré – Diaraby NenBurna Boy – JA ARAFela Kuti – Water No Get EnemyFena, MDQ, Mayonde, Kagwe, Blinky Bill – PARTY NATIONListen to Blinky and Ivie’s East African playlist recommendations Leave us a voicemail about your favorite songs of summer: 385-626-6179 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
July 30, 2019
Why is it that every hip restaurant plays the same music? When Eater restaurant editor Hillary Dixler Canavan kept hearing similar songs while dining for work assignments, she compiled a playlist of what she heard. It included songs by LCD Soundsystem, M83, Grimes, Biggie, Beck and the like. Her subsequent article about this music, “This Is Every Generically Cool Restaurant’s Playlist,” went viral. She’d captured the elusive sound of small plate dining. But what left her guessing was why this sound? And how did it reach so many restaurants in cities across the U.S.? She brought this question to Switched On Pop to understand why this 00s mostly indie sound was the ideal background for post-industrial chic establishments. Investigating the issue, she discovered a small bubble of music selectors who curate these lists for businesses. She spoke with Yvette Bailhache, a D.C. based music selector for restaurants and bars about how these lists are made. And she asked Jonathan Shecter, founder of the Las Vegas based background music service Playback Prodigy, about what makes an ideal background sound. What she discovered is surprising. The sounds in the background may dictate more of our foreground than you’d expect. Music DiscussedLCD Soundsystem - I Can ChangeM83 - Midnight City Grimes - GenesisIce Cube - It Was A Good DayWu-Tang Clean - CREAMThis Will Destroy You - KitchenListen to Hillary’s Every Restaurant Playlist and for more stories and news on food, subscribe to Eater's podcast Upsell Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
July 23, 2019
Lil Nas X licensed the beat for “Old Town Road” from an e-commerce platform. He originally bought a non-exclusive copy of the backing track for just $29.99 from a 19 year old Dutch record producer called YoungKio. And he’s not the first hitmaker to do so. Desiigner, Bryson Tiller and Queen Naija have all made hit songs from internet beats. These beats are big business. The arguable market leader, BeatStars, has paid its producers over $50M since its inception in 2008. The platform allows producers to market their beats to MCs and singers, boasting 340,000 active sellers and 1.5M tracks. BeatStars CEO Abe Batshon originally created the company to connect artists who may not live in the music industry hubs in L.A., N.Y., Nashville and Atlanta. His global ambitions were realized—producers on the platform come from all over the world. They release a steady stream of new music, marketing their original and sound-a-like beats to aspiring and emerging artists everywhere turning into ad music, Instagram stories and even Billboard Hot 100 hits. While BeatStars increases access to music, could this commoditization of music devalue the creative process? We speak with Abe as well as producers on the platform—songwriter Breana Marin and producer Dansonn—to understand how online beat selling is effecting the sound of pop music. Music Discussed:Lil Nas X - Old Town RoadBryson Tiller - Don’tYBN Nahmir - Rubbin off the PaintDesiigner - Panda’Queen Naija - MedicineCERTIBEATS - MojoBEATDEMONS - NohoBrytiago ft Bad Bunny - NETFLIXXXBreana Marin’s BeatStars pageDansonn’s BeatStars pageListen to “Bouncing On The Band Stand” by Marian Hill’s Jeremy Loyd (Clear Eyes) and Charlie (Charlatan). You can even license it for $29.99 for your own production. Vote for Switched On Pop in this year's People's Choice Podcast Awards! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
July 16, 2019
Shawn Mendes’ hit song “If I Can’t Have You” is so ridiculously catchy that Charlie had it stuck in his head after the first chorus. How is that possible?! Declamation, or the way that text is set to music, is a big part of the song’s appeal—every word that Mendes sings is perfectly in rhythm. In this episode we use Mendes’ latest track to explore creative declamation throughout history. How do artists from Whitney Houston to Queen to Taylor Swift keep finding new ways to sing the word “somebody”? Why did the composer Georg Friedrich Handel get in trouble for a bit of awkward text setting in one of the most famous pieces of Baroque music? And, does Beyoncé even know how to pronounce “sandcastles”? Finally, Mendes’ hit leads us to ask: is “incorrect” declamation is something to celebrate, or criticize? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
July 9, 2019
Find out how music creates a feeling of space in this three part episode. First, we may not realize it when we listen to Madonna's new record, but the location of her music is essential. In exploring her catalogue we hear the sound of different eras by just the space evoked in a song. Second, the same is true for Stephen Puth who uses spacial effects for brilliant creative purposes on his song "Look Away." When music is recorded in a studio with perfect acoustics, engineers manipulate that audio to place it in a 3D virtual space using reverb, delay, volume, panning and filters. Each of those effects changes our relationship to the music, and in Steven's case, the lyric. Finally, when we get outside the studio, like with Found Sound Nation and Make Music Day's “Street Studios”, music can echo the geography it is made in. Take this wild journey with us and truly expand your listening.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
July 2, 2019
How should we listen to K-pop? This music has become a global phenomenon, charting on the Billboard Hot 100, taking over social media feeds, and touring the world. In particular, the group BTS has captured the ears of millions, building an Army of fans along the way. As uninitiated listeners, the language and culture barrier left us uncertain about how to approach listening to, let alone breaking down their music. So we sought out the support of Dr, Suk-Young Kim, Professor of Critical Studies and the Director of the Center for Performance Studies at UCLA, and KCON's Vanessa Augsbach. Dr. Kim's research on K-pop helps to expand our ears and understand the genre's history and aesthetics, while Augsbach helps us better appreciate the fandom. Applying their insights, we listen to "Boy With Luv" as a  first foray into the wonders of K-pop. Read Dr. Kim's book K-pop Live: Fans Idols, and Multimedia Performance, Watch Vox's Netflix series Explained on the history of K-pop Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
June 25, 2019
Fans are not happy with Will Smith's update of the classic Disney song "Prince Ali" in the live-action Aladdin. Their complaint? The new "Prince Ali" is slow, sluggish, and dull. Indeed, the Smith version is 8 BPM (beats per minute) slower than Robin Williams's 1992 original—a subtle musical detail. We dig into the properties of tempo and key to understand why people have such a visceral reaction to a relatively small change and consider whether it suggests that we—meaning all of us humans, from musicians to amateurs—are more musically literate than we think. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
June 23, 2019
Nice Try! is a new podcast from Curbed and the Vox Media Podcast Network that explores stories of people who have tried to design a better world, and what happens when those designs don't go according to plan. Season one, Utopian, follows Avery Trufelman on her quest to understand the perpetual search for the perfect place. Enjoy this special preview of the first episode, Jamestown: Utopian for Whom, and subscribe to Nice Try! for free in your favorite podcast app.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
June 18, 2019
Ever notice that wobbly, drunken and underwater sound common in so many contemporary pop songs? In an era of pristine recording quality, music producers are referencing old and impure technologies to add character to their recordings. Digital cassette hiss, tape wobble, and vinyl crackle are intentionally added to productions as a facsimile of "authentic" recording technology. Why the sudden nostalgia? Where does this underwater sound come from? What does it mean? How is it made? Find out on a live episode of Switched On Pop, recorded at Recode's annual Code conference with guest host Estelle Caswell, creator of Vox's Earworm video series. Listen to Estelle's Spotify playlist of underwater intros.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
June 11, 2019
Rocketman is a spectacle the size of Elton John, four films in one. It contains a biopic, jukebox musical, addiction recovery story and a romance between friends. The soundtrack ties the story together by taking historical liberties to tell a fantastical story about one of the best living songwriters. Charlie is joined by Vox’s film critic, Alissa Wilkinson to breakdown the film and deconstruct how its melodic themes create an emotional arc. He also speaks with Giles Martin (son of 5th Beatle George Martin) who music directed the film and soundtrack about how he assembled an entire life’s work into a singular narrative. Songs Discussed Taron Egerton - RocketmanQueen - Bohemian RhapsodyTaron Egerton, Jamie Bell - Goodbye Yellow Brick RoadKit Connor & Gemma Jones & Bryce Dallas Howard & Steven Mackintosh - I Want LoveTaron Egerton - Crocodile RockTaron Egerton - Your SongTaron Egerton - Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest WordMozart - Requiem Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
June 4, 2019
On the KRCW series Lost Notes, Jessica Hopper plumbs pop music history for the most important stories never told. She brings us a bevy of lost gems, from Fanny, an all-female quartet of rockers that was one of David Bowie's favorite bands, to the Freeze a late-70s punk outfit now coming to terms with the offensive lyrics of their youth. Tune in to discover another side of pop, one that's rarely been heard.  Songs Discussed:Fanny - Charity Ball (Live Version)Fanny - Ain't that PeculiarThe Freeze - I Hate TouristsCat Power - The Greatest Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 28, 2019
A pop star collaboration is a foolproof way to grab the attention of two audiences at once. But do more collaborators actually make a better song? Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber put this question to the test in their new song "I Don't Care." The track takes us inside the head of an antisocial party hopper, who'd rather be back home with his lover. Nate and Charlie investigate how the songwriters works that message into their music and speak with Ross Golan about Ed Sheeran's songwriting brilliance. Songs Discussed • Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber - I Don't Care • Ed Sheeran – Shape of You • Justin Bieber – Love Yourself • Kygo ft. Ella Henderson – Here For You • Maroon 5 – Don’t Wanna Know Check out And The Writer Is… With Ross Golan: https://www.andthewriteris.com/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 21, 2019
What do Bach and smooth jazz have in common? Both score the unmistakable theme song for NPR's flagship show Morning Edition, listened to by millions across the country every day since 1979. This is undeniably pop music, a daily soundtrack to the lives of many. So why does it sound the way it does? And why, after forty years, why does NPR want to change it? Featuring: BJ Leiderman - Morning Edition  Chuck Mangione - Feels So Good Herbie Hancock - Chameleon George Benson - Breezin' Kenny G - Songbird  Don Voegeli/Wycliffe Gordon - All Things Considered Take 6 - All Things Considered Phish - All Things Reconsidered Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 15, 2019
Many people write us with musical maladies and conspiracies. A recent one caught our attention. Daniel Armbruster, lead vocalist of indie band Joywave, has been hearing the same melody in tracks across the Alternative Songs charts. He believes that this hook could be the secret to securing a spot on the Billboard 100. Nate and Charlie investigate this issue, traveling from the contemporary charts all the way back to a fundamental musical scale. The stakes are high: is it possible to hack your way into a hit alt-rock song? Songs Discussed Young The Giant - SuperpositionCold War Kids - FirstSir Sly - &RunJoywave, KOPPS - TonguesMaroon 5 - Moves Like JaggerLady Gaga - Bad Romance AJR - Burn the House DownTwenty One Pilots - ChlorineThe Black Keys - Lo/HiBillie Eilish - Bury A FriendCatfish and the Bottlemen - LongshotCage The Elephant - Ready To Let GoPanic! At The Disco - High HopesSHAED - TrampolineOliver Tree - HurtThe Lumineers - Ho Hey Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 7, 2019
On her new album, Cuz I Love You, Lizzo shows off her genre bending musicality. We speak with X Ambassadors lead singer, Sam Harris, who helped co-write three songs on the album, including its eponymous track. We discuss how Lizzo's songs glide across sixties soul, seventies rock rock, eighties new wave, and nineties hip-hop. But we find that her music is much more than a history lesson in genre. Lizzo's writes vulnerable and courageous lyrics about self love, body positivity, female empowerment, and black identity. Rather than craft a singular sound for her album, Lizzo utilizes the genre that best fits the message of any given song. Her subversion of genre to the mood of her lyric matches changes in music consumption. According to Chartmetric, more people than ever are listening across genres to context based playlists. Does this mean genre no longer matters? Nate and Charlie try to find out with the help of Lizzo's genre busting music. Songs DiscussedLizzo - Better In ColorLizzo - Cuz I Love YouLizzo - JuiceLizzo - TempoMissy Elliott - Get Ur Freak OnLizzo - JeromeRadiohead - CreepLed Zeppelin - Royal OrleansPrince - When Doves CryLizzo - Exactly How I Feel (ft. Gucci Mane)Aretha Franklin - RespectAretha Franklin - Say A Little PrayerAretha Franklin - Chain Of FoolsAretha Franklin - I Knew You Were WaitingEurythmics ft. Aretha Franklin - Sisters Are Doin' It For ThemselvesListen to our Lizzo playlist that pairs each song on her new album with a song from the past. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
April 30, 2019
When a listener asked us about the "sorcery" behind Taylor Swift's new song "ME!" we knew we had to investigate. And because the track features Brendon Urie of Panic! At the Disco, we couldn't resist digging into their concurrent hit "High Hopes." Along the way we cover baby talk, dreamy augmented chords, drumlines, and songs with exclamation points in their titles — all to explain why you can't get these two out of your head. Featuring: Taylor Swift featuring Brendon Urie - ME! Swift - Shake it Off Swift - The Way I Loved You Gustav Mahler - Blicke mir nicht in die Lieder! Shania Twain - Up! Panic! At the Disco - High Hopes Western Carolina University Drumline - High Hopes Check out two great pieces on "High Hopes," one by Top 40 Theory and the other by Rolling Stone article citing Flypaper's Dean Olivet.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
April 23, 2019
Pop is inseparable from reality TV singing competitions. From Eurovision to American Idol, scores of stars got their start in singing competitions. We’ve long overlooked this influence on pop, but were inspired to look into the phenomenon by the release of Teen Spirit, a pop-musical film about a fictional singing competition . What is the history of these shows? Who got their big break on one? Is there a singing show musical aesthetic? We hit the books and records to find out, and the answers might surprise. Finally we speak with Elle Fanning, who plays contestant Violet in the film, about what it takes to train to be a singer primed for national fame. Songs DiscussedElle Fanning - Dancing On My OwnFrank Sinatra with The Hoboken Four on the Major Bowes Amateur HourGladys Knight on the Original Amateur HourAbba - WaterlooCeline Dion - Ne Partez Pas Moi Alanis Morisette on Star Search Girls Tyme with Beyoncé on Star SearchKelly Clarkson - A Moment Like ThisWhitney Houston - I Have NothingNina Simone - Feeling GoodJanis Joplin - Piece of My HeartSusan Boyle - I Dreamed A DreamElle Fanning - Don't Kill My Vibe (originally by Sigrid)Recommended listeningMavis Staples - AnytimeAnderson Paak - VenturaThe Beths - Future Me Hates MeMax, Quinn XCII - Love Me LessKhalid, John Mayer - Outta My Head* Correction: Though non-European countries do compete in Eurovision, Canada has not competed in the contest. Celine Dion represented Switzerland in her performance of "Ne Partez Pas Moi Celine" in 1988. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
April 16, 2019
Lil Nas X currently holds the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with his surprise hit “Old Town Road.” But though the song is dripping with country twang, you won’t find it anywhere on the country charts. That’s because Billboard removed it, on the grounds of not having enough “musical elements” of country—a move that in turn left many wondering if the vanishing had something to do with Lil Nas X, a black artist, venturing into a field dominated by white musicians. We dig deep into the history and musical matter of “Old Town Road,” then pit it against other country hits to test its deep fried bonafides. Songs DiscussedLil Nas X - Old Town RoadNine Inch Nails - 34 Ghosts IVBeba Rexa - Mean to Be (feat. Florida Georgia Line)Kelsea Ballerini - Miss You MoreSam Hunt - Speakers / Ghetto Cowboy - Bone Thugz N' HarmonyFilmore - Love That About You Lil Nas X - Old Town Road (feat. Billy Ray Cyrus) Mason Ramsey - Walmart Yodeling KidHank Williams - Love Sick BluesEmmett Miller & His Georgia Crackers - Lock Sick Blues  Other LinksTanya Texas Tucker's list of Black artists and their collaborations with country starsJezebel interview with Bri Malandro, originator of the "Yee Haw Agenda" Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
April 9, 2019
On a trajectory to be one of the biggest pop stars for this generation, seventeen year old Billie Eilish is not, however, your typical pop star. Her music speaks to the real anxieties of young people without any veneer. She sings from the perspective of monsters and villains. Her hushed voice, baggy style, and direct demeanor subvert the norms of the pop princess. And her music is dark, but still catchy. Billie co-writes and produces her sound with her older brother Finneas O’Connell. Together this family duo have crafted the second biggest selling album of 2019, “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?”  On this episode, we examine how Billie and Finneas crafted a cultural phenomenon, why their message speaks to this generation, and we speak with Finneas about the creation of their hit song “Bad Guy.” Songs Featured: Billie Eilish - Ocean EyesBillie Eilish - BoredBillie Eilish - You Should See Me In A CrownBillie Eilish - Bad GuyBillie Eilish - Bury A FriendMarilyn Manson - The Beautiful PeopleThe Doors - People Are StrangeNine Inch Nails - CloserBillie Eilish - ilomiloBillie Eilish - All Good Girls Go To HellBillie Eilish - XannyFrank Sinatra - Dream A DreamBillie Eilish - I love youJohn Carpenter - Halloween ThemeBillie Eilish - Bellyache Watch Billie Eilish and Finneas break down “Bury A Friend” on The New York Times Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
April 8, 2019
Switched on Pop is pleased to present Episode 1 of Peace of Mind -- the new album (released as a podcast) by singer/songwriter Bhi Bhiman. In this episode Bhi digs into the fear and madness that characterizes so much of this crazy time in America. Guests include author Dave Eggers, Snap Judgement's Glynn Washington and renowned social psychologist, Lee Ross. The song for this episode is “Brother Can You Spare Some Peace of Mind?” Subscribe to Peace of Mind here: https://fanlink.to/PeaceofMind Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
April 2, 2019
Bhi Bhiman joins to explain the "nerd punk rock" behind releasing his new album Peace of Mind with an accompanying podcast. Since Bhiman explores issues like deportation on the track "Beyond the Border," there's a lot to say about each song. Even though he tackles tough topics, Bhiman make sure he puts music before the message. "Beyond the Border" summons a vast range of funky influences, from Van Halen to the Allman Brothers, to ask what America really means. Featuring •Bhi Bhiman: Beyond the Border, Moving to Brussels, Bread and Butter, There Goes the Neighborhood, Guttersnipe •Van Halen - Jump •Allman Brothers - Ramblin' Man Listen to our Spotify playlist of contemporary politically motivated music. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
March 25, 2019
After a six year hiatus, Nick, Joe, and Kevin Jonas are back with a new single and the stakes couldn't be higher. With each brother attaining a higher plane of celebrity during their time off, the three must achieve pop success or face public humiliation.  How do they do it? With three ingredients that ensure a hit song in 2019: 1) whistle while you work, 2) Homer the funky drummer, and 3) tune in, turn in, drop out.  Songs Featured: Jonas Brothers – SuckerEdward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – HomeFlo Rida – WhistleDaya – Sit Still Look PrettySharon Jones – How Long do I Have to Wait for you?Bruno Mars – 24k MagicEmily King – Remind MeJason Derulo – Want to Want MeRina Sawayama – CherryPost Malone and Swae Lee – SunflowerSurvey We are conducting an audience survey to better serve you. It takes no more than three minutes, and it really helps out the show. Please take our survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/3X6WMNF Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
March 19, 2019
Live from SXSW: Grammy nominee songwriter Emily King didn’t set out to write a perfect pop song with “Remind Me.” Instead, she bent the rules of song structure to fit her message: the magical feeling when you find something you’ve been long missing. Mirroring this theme, the chorus doesn’t come when you expect it. The climax arrives late, after an “aha” moment that fills in the forgotten details. Each instrument fits perfectly together like a lost memory coming into focus. Even after she finds what she’s been missing in her life, she deceived us once again with a diminutive ‘down chorus.’ At every turn, King shows how songwriting mastery opens up immense creative freedom, even within the constraints of a prototypical pop song. Featured Songs:Emily King - Remind MeZedd, Maren Morris, Grey - The MiddleSam Smith, Normani - Dancing With A StrangerTaylor Swift - DelicateSurvey We are conducting an audience survey to better serve you. It takes no more than three minutes, and it really helps out the show. Please take our survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/3X6WMNF Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
March 12, 2019
Streaming hasn't just changed the way we listen to music, it's changed the way that pop music sounds. After years of losses due to the death of the CD and the rise of file sharing, the music industry has finally found a profitable business in streaming services. Streaming has overtaken all other music sales. Digital music platforms are the new Virgin megastore. But these services are more than just a distribution mechanism, they have created a whole new music economy. Album sales have been replaced by "album equivalent units," a business fiction that equates 1,500 streams to one physical sale. Artists are now effectively paid by the song. With ad-supported and subscription based business models, these platforms have upended incentives so significantly that it can be heard in the songwriting. Songs are getting shorter, albums are getting longer, and there is an entirely new section of the song that draws from the classical past: the "pop overture." In this episode, Nate and Charlie are joined by Aisha Hassan and Dan Kopf to unpack the sound of pop in the streaming era.  Be sure to check out their article on Quartz: "The Reason Why Your Favorite Pop Songs Are Getting Shorter." Songs FeaturedLil Pump - I Love ItBenny Blanco - Eastside ft. Khalid & HalseyKodak Black - Calling My SpiritPost Malone - Better NowLeonard Bernstein - West Side Story OvertureDua Lipa - One KissDrake - God’s PlanPost Malone - I Fall ApartAriana Grande - NasaTommy Dorsey - All The Things You Are Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
March 5, 2019
Can political protest exist within the confines of commercial popular music? Songwriter Justin Tranter is equal parts songwriter and activist. You've likely heard his contributions to songs by Britney Spears, Julia Michaels, Selena Gomez, Janelle Monae and Ariana Grande, but unless you were paying close attention, you may have missed the essential subtext in his work. As an LGBTQ activist and board member of GLAAD, Justin brings his activism into Top 40 pop music lyrically and otherwise. On this episode, he breaks down his newest hit "Swan Song" which was co-written with Dua Lipa. This song is a triple threat serving as the end credits for the film Alita: Battle Angel, a Billboard hit, and a protest against the silencing of marginalized people. Justin shows us how representation in songwriting is inseparable from politics. And he's creating an open mic for new voices and stories that have been historically ignored by the pop industry. Songs Discussed: Dua Lipa - "Swan Song"Charlie Puth - "Attention"Selena Gomez - "Good For You"Imagine Dragons - "Believer"Taylor Swift - "Love Story"Halsey - "Bad At Love"Haydn - "Farewell" Symphony No. 45Shea Diamond - "Seen It All" Listen to D. Orxata's Queering Pop Music playlist. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
February 20, 2019
What if music awards were given out for only musical qualities? It may seem like celebrity and spectacle are more important than ever at the 61st Grammy Awards, but we believe many of this years winners earned their accolades with noteworthy music. Still, we thought the winners should be heralded by new, more musical categories. Find out how And The Awards Go To: Best Chord Progression: H.E.R. - "Hard Place" & "Focus" Best Throwback: Silk City & Dua Lipa ft. Diplo & Mark Ronson - "Electricity" Worst Metaphor: Lady Gaga ft. Bradley Cooper "Shallow" Best Conceptual Song: Childish Gambino - "This Is America" Best Bridge: Kacey Musgraves - "Rainbow" Also Featured The Weeknd - "Often" Khalid - "Location" Alison Limerick - "Where Love Lives" Cher - "Strong Enough" Elton John - "Mellow" Bonus Listen to Ezra Klein's discussion with Jill Lepore on America's two revolutions Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
February 5, 2019
Author Courtney Smith joins to offer her expertise on an urgent topic in advance of Valentine's Day: Can we abstract the sexiest songs of all time into a universal list of arousing musical qualities? We try our best by examining five decades of pop sexiness, discovering lyrical lingerie, and consider the most (and least) seductive instruments. Featuring: Nina Simone - I Want Some Sugar in My Bowl Donna Summer - Love to Love You Baby INXS - Need You Tonight Portishead - Glory Box Kings of Leon - Sex on Fire The Weeknd - Often Check out Courtney's article Let's Talk About Sex, Baby: Every Trick You Need to Seduce Someone with a Playlist on Refinery29 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
January 29, 2019
"7 Rings" is Ariana Grande's latest smash, a glittering banger that owes much to Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1959 classic "My Favorite Things." 60 years later, Grande updates the track for a modern audience, making her the latest artist to repurpose this anthem from the "Sound of Music." When it comes to Ari's flow, however, questions of appropriation arise. Author Lauren Michele Jackson joins to break down who has the right to repurpose sonic history. Featuring: • Ariana Grande - 7 Rings • Julie Andrews - My Favorite Things • John Coltrane - My Favorite Things • The Doors - Light My Fire • Lauryn Hill - Black Rage • Migos - Bad and Boujee • Princess Nokia - Mine • Two Chainz - Spend It • Soulja Boy - Pretty Boy Swag Check out Lauren Michele Jackson's article, "To Whom Does '7 Rings' Owe its Sound?," hear more connections between Coltrane and the Doors in this NPR story, and discover the triplet Migos flow on Vox's Earworm. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
January 23, 2019
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 - BelieveKaty Perry - FireworkRihanna - DiamondsFuture - F*ck Up Some CommasEmma 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-TuneElvis - Mystery TrainThe Beatles - Tomorrow Never KnowsWhispering Jack Smith - Baby FaceKesha - Tik Tok Bon Iver - WoodsFuture & Juice WRLD - Jet Lag ft. Young Scooter Shek Wes - Mo BambaThe 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
December 26, 2018
This winter season unwrap a deep dive through a pop subgenre of monumental importance: non-holiday songs that feature sleigh bells, from Bonnie Tyler to Nas, On Side B, we rebroadcast our episode on Mariah Carey's classic "All I Want for Christmas Is You"...and more sleigh bells.  Featuring: •The Beach Boys - God Only Knows •Gustav Mahler - 4th Symphony, I •Michael Jackson - Jam •Bonnie Tyler - Total Eclipse of the Heart  •Miles Davis - On the Corner •Nas - Halftime •Kygo ft. Conrad Sewell - Firestone •Mariah Carey - All I Want for Christmas Is You Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
December 11, 2018
Four years into Switched On Pop, Charlie and Nate finally reveal what was behind the entire series. We may have not been totally honest with you from the beginning. Back in 2014 we were more pop skeptics than fanatics. The genre was, to some degree, the sugar that made the musical analysis medicine go down. And then something happened. Just as people started to listen to the show, we too began to open our ears. Now, in our 100th episode, Charlie interviews Nate about how transforming the way you listen to pop can truly make life better. And we get raw about the constraints of pop and where we plan to go in our next 100 episodes. Songs discussed: Beethoven's 7 & 9Santana - "Smooth" Martha and the Vandellas - "Heat Wave" Zedd - "Stay" Pink Floyd - "The Great Gig in the Sky" Adelle - "Hello"  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
November 27, 2018
Mike Posner has written hits for himself like "I Took a Pill in Ibiza," and for stars from Justin Bieber ("Boyfriend") to Maroon 5 ("Sugar"), so he has insights for days on what makes a pop song work. We dig into Mike's excellent new track "Song About You," which leads to an exploration of songs that reuse the same melody for verse and chorus—from Prince to The Boss to Post Malone. Last, we consider "beard phase": a moment of artistic reinvention that every artist has in their career, whether you're Mike Posner, Ludwig van Beethoven, or Taylor Swift. Featuring: Mike Posner - Song About You Jean Ritchie - Barbary Allen Original Sacred Harp Singers - New Britain (Amazing Grace) Prince - I Wanna Be Your Lover Prince - Let's Go Crazy Bruce Springsteen - Born in the U.S.A. Post Malone - Rockstar Beethoven - String Quartet No 1 Op. 18/1 Beethoven - String Quartet No 10 Op. 74/III Beethoven - String Quartet "Grosse Fuge" Taylor Swift - Teardrops on My Guitar Taylor Swift - We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together Taylor Swift - ...Ready For It? Beatles - Strawberry Fields Forever Dennis Wilson - River Song Peaches ft. Iggy Pop - Kick It  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
November 13, 2018
Dirty Projectors are known for their kaleidoscopic soundscapes. They make strange bedfellows of  music techniques like 14th vocal harmonies and African guitar rhythms. But in the backdrop of their obscure orchestrations you will hear the indelible marks of pop music. Longstreth has recently collaborated on songs with Solange, Rihanna, Kanye and Paul McCartney. On his new track "I Feel Energy" we can hear that pop influence shine through. Together we break down his unpredictable 808s to see what gives you energy. We also build connections between Dirty Projectors and other artists in the top 100 including Marshmello, Ella Mai and Khalid. Songs Featured:Dirty Projectors - I Feel EnergyDirty Projectors - Up In HudsonMarshmello ft. Bastille - HappierElla Mai - TripKhalid - Better Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
October 30, 2018
Classic rock climaxed a half century ago, yet it still survives in two places: FM radio & Greta Van Fleet. The later are an upstart of four boys from Michigan who have found stardom by dusting off the mantle of guitar driven rock. Their latest album, Anthem Of The Peaceful Army, bares an uncanny sonic resemblance to Led Zeppelin. Jeremy D. Larson, senior editor of Pitchfork, gave the album a 1.6 out of 10 calling it "stiff, hackneyed, overly precious retro-fetishism." His vicious and hilarious takedown went viral and caused a rift amongst music fans on the internet. We ask Jeremy to join us to reveal what it means to earn such a bad review. After, we do something we've never done before: a track-by-track album breakdown. In a game of musical Pictionary, Charlie challenges Nate to find every Led Zeppelin reference on the album to answer the question: is it a copy or an homage? We have a feeling this will be a divisive episode... Songs Discussed: Greta Van Fleet - Age of Man Led Zeppelin - Rain Song Led Zeppelin - In The Light Led Zeppelin - What Is And What Should Never Be Led Zeppelin - Your Time Is Gonna Come Led Zeppelin - Immigrant Song Led Zeppelin - Kashmir Greta Van Fleet - The Cold Wind Led Zeppelin - Custard Pie Greta Van Fleet - When the Curtain Falls Led Zeppelin - Wanton Song Greta Van Fleet - Watching Over Led Zeppelin - Since I've Been Loving You Greta Van Fleet - Lover, Leaver Led Zeppelin - Whole Lotta Love Spirit - Taurus Muddy Waters - You Need Love Small Faces - You Need Love Willie Dixon - I Can't Quit You Babe Greta Van Fleet - You're the One Led Zeppelin - What Is And What Should Never Be Greta Van Fleet - The New Day Led Zeppelin - Over The Hills And Far Away Greta Van Fleet - Mountain of the Sun Led Zeppelin - Celebration Day Greta Van Fleet - Brave New World Led Zeppelin - Achilles Last Stand Greta Van Fleet - Anthem Led Zeppelin - Tangerine Lover Leaver (Taker, Believer) Read the Pitchfork review of Greta Van Fleet's Anthem Of A Peaceful Army Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
October 16, 2018
Charli XCX and Troye Sivan conjure late 90s nostalgia in their latest banger. "1999" drips with lyrical nostalgia for the last decade of the millennium — but does the music follow suit? We think the pair are missing prime opportunities to bring back some neglected musical tricks from the early oeuvre of Britney Spears. The 90s bug goes beyond Charli and Troye. Anne-Marie and Lauren Alaina also pine for the Clinton era in their millennial bops. Which makes one ask: is the present so bad that we miss the paranoia of Y2K? As usual, Prince has the answer. Featuring: Charli XCX ft Troye Sivan - 1999 DJ Bobo - Somebody Dance with Me Real McCoy - Another Night Paradisio - Bailando Britney Spears - ...Baby One More Time Britney Spears - Oops! I Did it Again Anne-Marie - 2002 Lauren Alaina - Ladies in the 90s Prince - 1999 Check out Megan Lavengood's examples of the complementary chorus. Marshall Jefferson's "Move Your Body" from 1986 might be the ur-source of the ubiquitous 90s house piano. Jefferson recorded the original in his Chicago prophet on a Prophet 2000, but never got the rights to the song and saw little proceeds from its success.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
October 3, 2018
Four songs on the Hot 100 pop chart reveal the new directions in which music is headed. Travis Scott's "Sicko Mode" boasts an unprecedented formal structure that points to the future of hip hop. Meanwhile, in the world of country, Jason Aldean, Mitchell Tenpenny, and Dan + Shay are putting a modern spin on one of the style's oldest tropes: drinking bourbon. Together these tracks make up the vanguard of their respective genres, but are fans willing to take the plunge? Featuring: Travis Scott - Sicko Mode Skrillex - Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites John Zorn - Cat o Nine Tails Jason Aldean ft Miranda Lambert - Drowns the Whiskey Mitchell Tenpenny - Drunk Me Adele - Hello Justin Bieber - Sorry Dan + Shay - Tequila Recommend Reading: Kathryn Schulz on Chris Janson's "Drunk Girl" Recommended Viewing: Rich Redmond's studio drumming Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
September 18, 2018
Emily Warren is one of the great rising stars of contemporary songwriting. Her song "Side Effects" with The Chainsmokers is currently rising up the charts. You’ve also heard her writing on Dua Lipa’s "New Rules." She’s collaborated with many of the best performers in music earning her a Grammy and multi-platinum success with “Don’t Let Me Down.” She's also recently released her single "Paranoid." Emily is a real songwriters songwriter. Her process is as much therapy as art. Together we break down her latest work and uncover her creative process. Her album "Quiet Your Mind" is out on October 5th. Songs discussedThe Chainsmokers - Side EffectsBach - Prelude in F# Minor from the Well Tempered ClavierEmily Warren - Paranoidbülow - You & JenniferTeyana Taylor - Gonna Love MeNick Jonas - Touch Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
September 6, 2018
Drake, per usual, has been inescapable this summer. "In My Feelings" and "Nice For What" top the charts, but there's depth to these bangers. We argue for hearing one as a meditation on fragile masculinity, the other as a paean to NOLA Bounce. Continue the conversation with us on Instagram and Twitter: @SwitchedOnPop Songs discussed:Drake - In My FeelingsDrake - Nice For WhatLauryn Hill - Ex FactorThe Showboys - Drag Rap (Triggaman)Cameron Paul - Brown BeatCheeky Blakk - Let Me Get That OutchaBeyonce ft. Big Freedia - FormationBig Freedia - Karaoke ft Lizzo Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
August 23, 2018
The final episode of our Switched on Summer throwback series finds us deconstructing more early aughts bangers. Under consideration: two of the biggest hits since Y2K, Beyoncé's "Crazy in Love" and the Black Eyed Peas' "I Got a Feeling." Tune in to dig how these tracks keeps the temperature rising through harmonic suspension, and to ask if will.i.am cribbed "Chopsticks." Switched On Summer Winner: Slow Dance Congrats to Slow Dance for winning our Switched On Summer contest with their song "I'm Your Guy Tonight." Listen to the whole track here: https://soundcloud.com/slowdancemusic/im-your-guy-tonight You can get all of our song of summer chord loops, song packs and listen to the awesome entires to our Splice Firestarter competition on Splice here: http://splice.com/onpop Songs Discussed: • Beyoncé - Crazy in Love • The Chi-lites - Are You My Woman • Jay Z - 99 Problems  • Black Eyed Peas - I Got a Feeling Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
August 9, 2018
What made summer jams of the aughties like Nelly's "Hot in Herre" and Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl" so hot? The answer: big, sweaty, doses of harmonic tension. Specifically, each track relies on the Baroque technique of the ground bass. Wait, we mean: the Baroque technique of PEDAL POINT!  When the chords in these songs don't match up with their bass notes, the ratcheting tension adds heat—fueling both dance moves, and controversy. Featuring: Nelly - Hot in Herre Katy Perry - I Kissed a Girl Katy Perry - Teenage Dream All summer Switched On Pop & Splice have been diving into the DNA of summer hits, and now we want you to show us what you’ve learned. Get inspired by sound packs and chord progressions created by Switched on Pop and share your best song of summer with us and the world. Hosts Nate & Charlie will be listening and will choose their favorite submission to win a year of Splice Sounds and have their track played on the podcast. Check out all the details at http://splice.com/onpop-fire And, read Owen Pallett's excellent article on the use of harmonic tension in Teenage Dream. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
July 27, 2018
The Switched on Pop Summer Throwback Series continues! This time, with a deep dive into the musical detritus of the 1990s. In true 90s fashion, our episode is inspired by a pair of classic VH1 shows; "Behind the Music" and "Where Are They Now?" Our subjects are two songs representing the lunatic fringe of 90s culture, "Cotton Eyed Joe" and "How Bizarre." In the course of our musicological investigation, we uncover dark truths about these seemingly anodyne hits that will make you question everything you know about pop music. And in the end, we reach a definitive answer to a perennially vexing question: "WTF was 90s music so weird?" Songs Discussed Rednex: Cotton Eye Joe Pop in an Oak The Way I Mate Cotton Eyed Joe: Fiddlin John Carson Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys Karen Dalton Chieftains Nina Simone  OMC: How Bizarre Right ON Start making your summer hit track on Splice and check out our chord pack at splice.com/onpop-chords Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
July 12, 2018
Our Switched on Summer Throwback Series continues with "Dancing in the Street," the 1964 Motown hit by Martha and the Vandellas that was co-written by none other than Marvin Gaye. Over 50 years and countless covers later, we explore how this song still manages to get people off their feet and onto the streets—not just to dance, but also to raise their voices in joy, catharsis, and protest. Also, start making your own summer hits with our Switched On Summer repack on Splice at www.splice.com/onpop-pack and use promo code ONPOP for a 1 month free trial. Featuring:Martha and the Vandellas - Dancing in the StreetMarvin Gaye - Stubborn Kind of FellowThe Mamas and the Papas - Dancing in the StreetThe Grateful Dead - Dancing in the StreetVan Halen - Dancing in the StreetMick Jagger and David Bowie - Dancing in the StreetKendrick Lamar - AlrightPharrell Williams - Happy Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
June 28, 2018
Our Switched on Summer throwback mini-series begins in the heart of the 1960s, with the Beach Boys' perennial school's-out jam "I Get Around." We explore how every aspect of Brian Wilson's two-minute-long masterpiece is perfectly calculated to literally "get around"—harmonically, melodically, and lyrically—creating that unbeatable feeling of cruising all over town with the top down on a hot summer's night.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
June 14, 2018
Part I: The Doctors Are In! We diagnose a listener's musical malady, namely: "why does Charlie Puth's new jam 'BOY' make us feel so weird?!" Part II: Guest Hanif Adburraqib, author of They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us, helps break down Carly Rae Jepsen's epic "Cut to the Feeling" to understand why CRJ is a different kind of pop star. Featuring: •Charlie Puth - BOY •Ismael Miranda - Recordando •Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings - Nobody's Baby •The Beatles - She's a Woman •The Cars - Since You're Gone •Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony No 5 in C Minor, I •Carly Rae Jepsen - Cut to the Feeling Check out more of Hanif's work at his website. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 31, 2018
Parliament Funkadelic has had waves of influence on popular music. Their Afrofuturist message and infectious grooves built the backbone of 70s funk, was revived in the 90s with Dr. Dre's G-Funk, and is once again in vogue with in the music of Kendrick Lamar, Childish Gambino and Kali Uchis. Bootsy Collins, bass player of Parliament Funkadelic, collaborated with Kali Uchis and Tyler the Creator on the track "After The Storm," which draws on the P-Funk sound. Similarly, Clipping pay homage to the P-Funk lineage through their Hugo nominated song "The Deep," which was produced in collaboration with This American Life. The story explores a mythology created by the band Drexciya. In the story, an underwater civilization birthed from African slaves crossing the Atlantic battles their makers to save their habitat. Listen to hear what makes both infectious tracks so effective.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 17, 2018
Ariana Grande has returned with a track that is jarring yet simultaneously catchy. She uses sophisticated musical techniques to tell a story of healing, resiliency, and hope after the attack at her concert in Manchester. Listeners will learn techniques like tempo rubato, modal interchange and amen breaks, which weave together this equanimous narrative. Songs featured:Ariana Grande - No Tears Left To CryAriana Grande - Into YouAriana Grande - Break Free ft. ZeddThe Winstons - Amen BrotherThe Prodigy - MinefieldN.W.A. - Straight Outta ComptonOasis - Do You Know What I meanFuturama Theme Song    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 3, 2018
There is a lot of scare about the impending future of artificial intelligence making humans irrelevant. Musician Taryn Southern examines this narrative through her song “Life Support,” written with the aid of AI composition tools. We dispel current myths about AI music and discuss its future opportunities. In the second half of the show we run a musical 'Turing test' to see if you can identify music made by a bot from that composed by the hand of a human.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
April 19, 2018
Samantha Gongol and Jeremy Lloyd are songwriting duo Marian Hill and they are here to share their annoyingly sharp insights on music. They come bearing the wistful pop of Lorde's "Ribs," and we deconstruct its primordial roots in classical composers like Scelsi, Beethoven and Haydn. Then, we turn to Marian Hill's new single "Differently" to uncover the subtle musical shifts that outline a complex dialogue lurking among the track's sparse, funky textures. Songs Discussed: Lorde - Ribs Broken Social Scene - Lover's Spit Giacinto Scelsi - Memories Ludwig van Beethoven - 9th Symphony Franz Josef Haydn - Creation Kid Rock - All Summer Long Miley Cyrus - Party in the USA Marian Hill - Mistaken Marian Hill - Differently Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
April 5, 2018
On her single 'Butterflies,' Kacey Musgraves demonstrates a tour de force of songwriting. This song is a wild success because it incessantly reinforces one core emotional concept: that queasy anxious feeling in your stomach. No we're not talking about your leftover lunch, we're talking about love. But this is not just a simple little love song. It is a masterclass of creativity. Musgraves uses every element of music to reinforce her core idea. The lyrics fold back onto themselves with dual meanings as the harmony, melody, orchestration and rhythm all interweave to literally give the listener butterflies. Caution: this song may induce feeling of tender sorrow and longing for mutual crushes and anxious kisses. Songs Discussed:Kacey Musgraves - Merry Go RoundKacey Musgraves - Butterflies Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
March 22, 2018
In which Nate tries to convince Charlie that Lil Pump's SoundCloud Rap hit "Gucci Gang" warps the perceptual present. Featuring: Lil Pump - Gucci Gang Gustav Mahler - Der Abschied / Das Lied von der Erde Franz Schubert - String Quintet / Adagio Conlon Nancarrow - Study for Prepared Piano 21 Check out Jonathan Berger's article on musical time in Nautilus. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
March 8, 2018
"Make Me Feel," is the first hit from Janelle Monáe's upcoming album Dirty Computer. It is a sensual song about the fluidity of desire. In the pre-chorus, the singer proudly expresses that she is a "sexual bender." Fans have embraced the song for breaking free of normative sexual expectations. But these non-binary statements aren't limited to the lyrics. The message is reinforced with musical concepts drawn from the blues, Prince and Michael Jackson. To help break down this track, Nate and Charlie are joined by singer/rapper Lizzo. She and Monáe both collaborated with Prince, making Lizzo uniquely qualified to unwind his influence on the song (Prince was recently named as a collaborator on the track). We also discuss Lizzo's song "Truth Hurts" and her podcast "Good As Hell" where she talks to the queens of hip hop. Hands down, Lizzo is one of the most talented, knowledgable and fun guests. You don't want to miss this episode. Songs DiscussedJanelle Monáe - Make Me FeelMichael Jackson - The Way You Make Me FeelMichael Jackson - Beat ItFats Domino - Blueberry HillPrince - KissYing Yang Twins - Wait (The Whisper Song)Lizzo - Truth HurtsSister Nancy - BamBonus MaterialGet tickets for Lizzo's Sister Sister Sister tour with Haim: www.lizzomusic.comDon't miss Lizzo's podcast "Good As Hell" on SpotifyAlso if you haven't read it, Quincy Jones Vulture interview is utterly mad Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
February 22, 2018
In Camila Cabello's "Havana" we hear both her Cuban roots and the modern sounds of Atlanta. Though the singer and featured guest Young Thug reference these two geographic identities, the song says so much more through its core musical elements. A Roland TR-808 kick drum evokes an entire repertoire of Atlanta Hip Hop, while the track's supporting piano montuno descends from a Cuban style lamenting the loss of one's traditional home.  Also in this episode, we discuss Camila's unlikely path to number one with writer Hannah Steinkopf-Frank — and the musical glass ceiling that holds so many young women artists back. RecommendationsSwitched On Pop recommends the podcast about sound: Twenty Thousand Hertz Hannah recommends the book: Girl Groups Girl Culture by Jacqueline WarwickCheck out more music and writing from Kwami Coleman at his websiteYou can listen to you playlist of 808s and Montunos on Spotify Featured SongsCamila Cabello - HavanaTI - Whatever You Like2NE1 - I Am The BestMarvin Gaye - Sexual HealingMariah Carey, Jermaine Dupri - Always Be My BabyOutkast - So Fresh, So CleanLil Jon - Get LowGucci Mane ft. Migos - I Get The BagCompay Segundo - Guajira GuantanameraCuarteto Caney - Guajira GuantanameraBig Mama Thorton - Hound DogElvis - Hound DogLittle Mix & Missy Elliott- How Ya Doin?The Shangri Las - Leader Of The PackSleater-Kinney - I Wanna Be Your Joey RamoneSpice Girls - WannabeSpice Girls - Spice Up Your LifeThe Ronettes - Be My BabyThe Shirelles - Will You Love Me TomorrowTLC - No Scrubs Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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