Panoply

Switched On Pop

Breaking down how popular music works
Switched On Pop

Description

Pop music surrounds us, but how often do we really listen to what we’re hearing? Switched on Pop is the podcast that pulls back the curtain on pop music. Each episode, join musicologist Nate Sloan and songwriter Charlie Harding as they reveal the secret formulas that make pop songs so infectious. By figuring out how pop hits work their magic, you’ll fall in love with songs you didn’t even know you liked.

Link: www.switchedonpop.com

Episodes

Unlocking the Rhythms of Rosalía

Nov 5, 2019 2979

Description:

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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Rihanna Party! (with Gina Delvac)

Oct 29, 2019 3315

Description:

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

Why U Love 2 Listen 2 Prince (with Anil Dash)

Oct 22, 2019 2069

Description:

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

A Brief History of Men Singing Really High

Oct 15, 2019 2816

Description:

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

Total Request Live! Taylor, Lana, Kim, and More (with Sam Sanders)

Oct 8, 2019 2577

Description:

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 Ray, 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 Ray, Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus - Don’t Call Me AngelLana Del Ray - 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

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Mastering Music (with Dallas Taylor of Twenty Thousand Hertz)

Oct 1, 2019 3398

Description:

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.

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Jazz 1959

Sep 24, 2019 2949

Description:

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 here:

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BONUS: Charli XCX and The Future of Music (with Dani Deahl)

Sep 22, 2019 2086

Description:

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

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The “Baby Shark” Phenomenon (with Andrea Silenzi)

Sep 17, 2019 2212

Description:

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.






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BONUS: Who are the Picassos of pop? (with Ross Golan)

Sep 13, 2019 2844

Description:

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

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Switched Off Book (with Jess McKenna and Zach Reino)

Sep 10, 2019 5501

Description:

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.

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ICYMI: How to 'Make Me Feel' with Lizzo

Sep 3, 2019 3136

Description:

"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

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ICYMI: Why is 90s Pop so Bizarre?

Aug 27, 2019 2910

Description:

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

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Songs of Summer Call-in Special

Aug 20, 2019 3239

Description:

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

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Chance The Rapper, Kehlani, & The Shifting Sound of R&B — with Oak Felder

Aug 13, 2019 3319

Description:

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 DiscussedChance The Rapper - Hot ShowerChance The Rapper - I Got YouSam Cooke - You Send MeElvis Presley - Crying In the ChapelThe Temptations - I Can’t Get Next To YouMtume - Juicy FruitBiggie - JuicyToni Braxton - Breath AgainJanet Jackson - That’s The Way Love GoesBoys II Men - I’ll Make Love To YouLauryn Hill - Doo Wop (That Thing)Diddy - I’ll Be Missing You (feat. Faith Evans & 112)Nelly - DilemmaKehlani - DistractionSWV - WeakAaron Hall - I Miss YouUsher - You Make Me WannaBrandy - Sittin' Up In My RoomDru Hill - In My BedSilk - Freak MeDemi Lovato - Sorry Not SorryJodeci - Cry For youMariah Carey - Vision of LoveKehlani - Everything Is YoursChance The Rapper - All Day LongQueen - Fat Bottom GirlsDiana Ross - I’m Coming Out
For an in depth history of R&B on Billboard, read Chris Molanphy's feature on Pitchfork.

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Beyoncé's Gift To Africa (with Ivie Ani)

Aug 6, 2019 2325

Description:

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






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LCD Soundsystem and the Unbearable Sameness of Restaurant Playlists

Jul 30, 2019 2154

Description:

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








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The $50M Beat Marketplace That Broke the Billboard

Jul 23, 2019 1838

Description:

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!

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Shawn Mendes and the Rhythm of Rhyme

Jul 16, 2019 2029

Description:

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?

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Space, The Final Frontier: Madonna, Stephen Puth and Street Studios

Jul 9, 2019 3568

Description:

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. 

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What BTS's "Boy With Love" ft. Halsey Can Teach Us About K-pop

Jul 2, 2019 2453

Description:

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

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"Prince Ali" and Why We're All Music Theorists

Jun 25, 2019 1815

Description:

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.

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Jamestown and the Quest to Build a Utopia in America (with Avery Trufelman)

Jun 23, 2019 1418

Description:

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.

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Why Does Every Intro Sound Like It's Underwater? (Live)

Jun 18, 2019 1595

Description:

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. 

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The Man Behind the Rocketman with Giles Martin

Jun 11, 2019 3171

Description:

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

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The Greatest Pop Stories Never Told (with Jessica Hopper)

Jun 4, 2019 2570

Description:

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







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Should You Care About Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber?

May 28, 2019 3209

Description:

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/












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The Smooth Sound of Morning News

May 21, 2019 2485

Description:

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

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Is There An Indie Rock Conspiracy? (Featuring Joywave)

May 15, 2019 1875

Description:

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



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Lizzo And The End of Genre (with Sam Harris of X Ambassadors)

May 7, 2019 3076

Description:

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.



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Taylor Swift Causes a PANIC!

Apr 30, 2019 2495

Description:

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. 

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Sounds Like Teen Spirit (with Elle Fanning)

Apr 23, 2019 3358

Description:

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.

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Country at the Crossroads

Apr 16, 2019 2559

Description:

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"




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Billie Eilish is a Different Kind of Pop Star (ft. FINNEAS)

Apr 9, 2019 2809

Description:

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

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BONUS: Bhi Bhiman's 'Peace of Mind' Episode 1

Apr 8, 2019 1762

Description:

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

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Bhi Bhiman Puts the Music Before the Message

Apr 2, 2019 2813

Description:

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

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Comeback Kids: The Jonas Brothers are Back

Mar 25, 2019 2087

Description:

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. 

Featuring:
Jonas Brothers - Sucker
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros - Home
Flo Rida - Whistle
Daya - Sit Still Look Pretty
Sharon Jones - How Long do I Have to Wait for you?
Bruno Mars - 24k Magic
Emily King - Remind Me
Jason Derulo - Want to Want Me
Rina Sawayama - Cherry
Post Malone and Swae Lee - Sunflower












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Lost & Found: The Drama of Pop Form with Emily King

Mar 19, 2019 1947

Description:

Live from SXSW: Grammy Award winning 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. 

Audience Survey:
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

Featured Songs:Emily King - Remind MeZedd, Maren Morris, Grey - The MiddleSam Smith, Normani - Dancing With A StrangerTaylor Swift - Delicate




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How Streaming Changed the Sound of Pop

Mar 12, 2019 2175

Description:

Streaming hasn't just changed the 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

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Top 40 Activism with Justin Tranter

Mar 5, 2019 2828

Description:

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.










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What Makes An Award Winning Song?

Feb 20, 2019 2503

Description:

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

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Valentines Day Special: What Makes a Song Sexy?

Feb 5, 2019 2084

Description:

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

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The Deep History of '7 Rings'

Jan 29, 2019 2343

Description:

"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.

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Do You Believe in Life After Autotune?

Jan 23, 2019 2930

Description:

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 

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Slay Bells, All Year Long

Dec 26, 2018 2418

Description:

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

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Look What You Made Us Do

Dec 11, 2018 3457

Description:

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" 

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Entering Beard Phase (with Mike Posner)

Nov 27, 2018 3179

Description:

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 

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How Dirty Projectors Make You Feel Energy (with David Longstreth)

Nov 13, 2018 3322

Description:

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








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Stairway To Hell: Greta Van Fleet’s Scorching Album Review That Went Viral

Oct 30, 2018 3562

Description:

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






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Charli XCX and Troye Sivan Love the 90s

Oct 16, 2018 2226

Description:

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. 

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Sicko Rap and Drunk Country

Oct 3, 2018 2173

Description:

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 

Sponsored by Roast Scout. Get $5 off at www.roastscout.com/onpop

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The Side Effects of Pop Music with Emily Warren

Sep 18, 2018 2725

Description:

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 ---
This episode is sponsored by Ultimate Music Theory. To start learning music theory now, visit www.UMTcourse.com and use the promo code ONPOP for a $100 discount off the $299 course ($1200 Course Value).










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Drake vs Drake

Sep 6, 2018 2600

Description:

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

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Summer Heat of the 2000s: Beyoncé and Black Eyed Peas (Pt. II)

Aug 23, 2018 1662

Description:

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 <a href="https://splice.com/">Splice</a> 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

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Summer Heat of the 2000s: Nelly + Katy Perry (Pt. 1)

Aug 9, 2018 1525

Description:

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.

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Why is 90s Pop so Bizarre?

Jul 27, 2018 2981

Description:

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
















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Summer is for Dancing in the Streets

Jul 13, 2018 1833

Description:

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








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Switched on Summer: Getting Around with the Beach Boys

Jun 29, 2018 1811

Description:

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. 

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Announcing Switched On Summer Throwback Series

Jun 22, 2018 83

Description:

This summer we’re going to be doing a Switched On Summer series, breaking down your favorite summer pop hits from the 60s to the present. We’re talking about Beach Boys to Beyonce. 


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The Pure Pop of Charlie Puth + Carly Rae (ft Hanif Abdurraqib)

Jun 14, 2018 2799

Description:

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.

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Afrofuturism in Kali Uchis & Clipping (with Daveed Diggs, William Hutson and Jonathan Snipes)

May 31, 2018 2991

Description:

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.  

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Finding Equanimity In 'No Tears Left To Cry'

May 17, 2018 2318

Description:

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 
 

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Can AI 'Algorhythms' Write Pop Songs? (With Taryn Southern)

May 3, 2018 3312

Description:

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. 




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Listening Differently to Lorde | with MARIAN HILL

Apr 19, 2018 2742

Description:

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

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Kacey Musgraves Gives Us Butterflies

Apr 5, 2018 1758

Description:

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

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Gucci Gang and the Neural Substrate of Subjective Time Dilation

Mar 22, 2018 1643

Description:

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.

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How to 'Make Me Feel' with Lizzo

Mar 8, 2018 3128

Description:

"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

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808s & Havana Heartbreak

Feb 23, 2018 3461

Description:

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

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My My My! Troye Sivan + Queer Pop (w Gina Delvac, Darryl Bullock)

Feb 8, 2018 3497

Description:

Gina Delvac of the Call Your Girlfriend podcast and Darryl W Bullock, author of David Bowie Made Me Gay, join Nate and Charlie to dig into the poetry of Troye Sivan's "My My My!", the history of LGBT pop music, and the songs we love to hate.

And also be sure to check out:
Darryl Bullock's playlist of LGBT pop, from his book David Bowie Made Me Gay
and the brilliant Call Your Girlfriend podcast, produced by Gina. 

Featuring:
•Troye Sivan - My My My!
•Taylor Swift - Style
•West Side Story - Cool
•Billy Murray - Pretty Baby
•Ma Rainey - Prove it on Me
•Irving Kaufman - Masculine Women, Feminine Men
•Lesley Gore - You Don't Own Me
•Jackie Shane - Any Other Way
•Lavender Country - Back in the Closet Again
•John Grant - Glacier
•Alex Clare - Too Close



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90s Nostalgia in Bruno Mars and Charlie Puth

Jan 26, 2018 2147

Description:

The 90s are back. It is as if pop music entered a black hole and came out 25 years in the past. Today's artists are reviving the new jack swing and vocal R&B, creating a wave of 90s nostalgia. Uncover how they trick us into somehow loving those days when we got beat up in the middle school parking lot.

Spotify 90s Nostalgia playlist: https://open.spotify.com/user/switchedonpop/playlist/3beUwxOxzbTZ8M3aymZlg5

Featuring:Bruno Mars ft. Cardi B - FinesseCharlie Puth ft. Boyz II Men - If You Leave me NowGuy - Groove MeEternal - StayBell Biv Devoe - PoisonCardi B - Bodack YellowChristopher Williams - I'm DreaminBoyz II Men - MotownphillyBoyz II Men - On Bended KneeHamilton - The Room Where It Happened

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Justin Timberlake's Identity Crisis

Jan 11, 2018 2228

Description:

What's up with Justin Timberlake? Two years ago he gifted us the ebullient family-friendly jam "Can't Stop the Feeling," now he's on the cusp of a deeply serious new record called "Man of the Woods," whose first single, strangely, is a bit of electro-funk snarl expertly produced by long-time collaborators Timbaland and Danja. What's going on here—who is JT trying to be? We listen deep to his latest, "Filthy," to try and understand its creator's conflicting musical worlds. 

Featuring:

Justin Timberlake - Filthy
Justin Timberlake - Cry Me A River
Bernard Hermann - Psycho
Ken Nordine - My Baby






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Dua Lipa's Minor Mantra (w Emily Bootle)

Dec 28, 2017 1139

Description:

Charlie talks laments, Baroque opera, and gender politics in Dua Lipa's sleeper hit "New Rules" with writer Emily Bootle.

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All I Want for Xmas is a Year in Review Episode

Dec 14, 2017 2515

Description:

Charlie and Nate breakdown Mariah Carey's classic "All I Want for Christmas is You" and revisit their favorite tracks of 2017. Sleigh bells abound.

Featuring

• Mariah Carey - All I Want For Christmas
• Laura Marling - Semper Femina
• Lorde - Melodrama
• Khalid - Location
• Dua Lipa - New Rules
• Logic - Everybody / 1-800-273-8255
• Childish Gambino - Redbone
• Sampha - (No One Knows Me) Like the piano in my mothers house
• Father John Misty - Pure Comedy
• Jay-Z: 4:44
• Perfume Genius - No Shape
• Aimee Mann - Mental Illness

And more...



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Björk's Emotional Landscapes

Nov 30, 2017 2367

Description:

Björk is uniquely both a pop star and avant-garde composer. Though her music often challenges our ears, underneath her records you'll find more in common with today's pop music than you'd expect. Pieced together, you'll hear that she paints emotional landscapes composed of all the complexities of human experience. We give you a way to enjoy listening to her music. Using this hybrid pop/modernist method, we deconstruct her latest album Utopia. Plus Nate & Charlie fall in love all over again.

Featured Clips
Björk - Losss
Björk - Human Behaviour
Björk - It's Oh So Quiet
Björk - Hyperballad
Björk - Joga
Björk - Thunderbolt
Björk - Lionsong
Björk - Arisen My Senses
Björk - Stonemilker
Björk - Quicksand
Björk - Notget
Björk - Utopia
Björk - Blissing Me
Björk - The Gate 

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Taylor Constructs A Darker Reputation

Nov 16, 2017 2347

Description:

Taylor Swift unveils a new, darker identity on her latest album "Reputation," and many have read the lyrics on her latest as not-so-subtle volleys in an ongoing celebrity feud. Still, a question remains: how does Swift cast this dark personality in music? Two songs offer evidence. Melodic drops and temporal gaps in "I Did Something Bad" signal the album's themes of descent and decay. On "Getaway Car," however, some of Swift's old songwriting tricks may betray her new persona.

We also dug into Reputation and other great listener questions in our Reddit AMA.

Featuring:

Taylor Swift:
• I Did Something Bad
• Getaway Car
• Trouble
• Love Story
• You Belong With Me
• Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys - Away Out There
• Imogen Heap - Hide and Seek
• The Weeknd - Can't Feel My Face

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Unlikely Mashups: Taylor + Cardi B | Clean Bandit + Berlioz

Nov 3, 2017 2830

Description:

[AUDIO FIXED] At the top of the pop charts, Taylor Swift and Cardi B, two artists with seemingly little in common, exploit the same compositional technique to hook listeners in. Meanwhile, across time and space, electro producers Clean Bandit ft. Julia Michaels, channel the thematic tricks of French Romantic composer Hector Berlioz in his 1830 Symphonie Fantastique.

FeaturingTaylor Swift - Look What You Made Me Do Cardi B - Bodak YellowRight Said Fred - I'm Too SexyClean Bandit ft. Julia Michaels - I Miss YouBerlioz - Symphonie Fantastique performed by Berliner PhilharmonikerBerlioz - Symphonie Fantastique performed by DuPage Symphony Orchestra

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Kendrick Lamar's HUMBLE deconstructed w. guest Amber Mark

Oct 20, 2017 1918

Description:

With Charlie off the grid, Nate sits down with singer/producer Amber Mark to explore the different levels of Kendrick's hit HUMBLE.. Then, they turn to the diverse influences (including house music, Carnatic samples, and autodidactic piano chords) behind Mark's own track "Lose My Cool."

Featuring:

Kendrick Lamar - HUMBLE.
Amber Mark - Lose My Cool
Amber Mark - SPACE

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Demi Lovato is Not Sorry

Oct 6, 2017 2278

Description:

Demi Lovato's latest, "Sorry Not Sorry" is at once an unapologetic anthem of defiance and a super catchy mashup of multiple genres. As we'll see, every small musical choice is here for a reason, together fostering Lovato's message of ascension—or even, transcendence. And as we pick apart "Sorry Not Sorry," we'll go to some surprising places ourselves including: Klezmer melodies, spiritual pretzels and musical dementors. 

Featuring:

•Demi Lovato - Sorry Not Sorry
•Cardi B - Bodak Yellow
•Dave Tarras - Freilach Yidelach













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How to 'Feels' the Groove

Sep 22, 2017 1996

Description:

How does a song with nonsense lyrics capture our attention, making us want to move? It is called the groove. Enter Calvin Harris' "Feels" (ft. Katy Perry, Pharrell Williams and Big Sean). Known for mainstreaming EDM, Harris throws out the software and picks up hardware instruments on this track. Upon first listen, this might seem like a sleeper hit, but as the loop repeats, you're going to want to move your feet. With intricate rhythmic interplay, the bass, drums, keys and guitar seem to talk to each other. Listen closely to hear how he does it. Also, we'll reveal why Katy Perry is so into going fishing.

FeaturingCalvin Harris - Feels (ft. Katy Perry, Pharrell Williams and Big Sean)James Brown - I Got The FeelingJames Brown - Get Up Offa That ThingDNCE - Cake By The OceanGeorge & Ira Gershwin - Blah Blah Blah (performed by 2012 Original Broadway Cast)



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Anthems of Resilience - Kesha and Imagine Dragons [LIVE]

Sep 7, 2017 2618

Description:

This episode of Switched on Pop comes at you live from Block Island, RI, recoded in front of an audience of friends and family following a solar eclipse. Fittingly, the two songs discussed that day formed their own kind of syzygy. Kesha's "Praying" and Imagine Dragon's "Believer" are inverse anthems of resilience. Both tracks seek catharsis - one through prayer, the other through pain.

FeaturingKesha - Tik TokKesha - PrayingMozart -  The Queen of the Night AriaWhitney Houston - I Will Always Love YouMariah Carey - EmotionsLalah Hathaway - SomethingImagine Dragons - RadioactiveImagine Dragons - Believer










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The Many Worlds of "Despacito"

Aug 11, 2017 1899

Description:

What has catapulted Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee's "Despacito" to the top spot on the Billboard charts? Sorry, typo—to its status as the biggest song in the world? Your hosts explore the many worlds of "Despacito" in search of an answer.

Featuring:

Lusi Fonsi ft Daddy Yankee - Despacito
Luis Fonsi ft Daddy Yankee y Justin Bieber - Despacito (Remix)
Luis Fonsi y Juan Luis Guerra - Llegaste Tú
Major Lazer ft Justin Bieber - Cold Water
Los Del Rio - Macarena
Daddy Yankee - Gasolina
Avril Lavigne - Complicated
Toto - Africa

Further reading:

Petra River-Rideau Interview in The Atlantic
Remezcla  Roundtable on Despacito w Isabel Herrera and Julianne Escobedo Shepherd














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Selena Gomez: Bad Liar, Psycho Songwriter

Jul 14, 2017 2649

Description:

Selena Gomez's "Bad Liar" stands out on the charts by doing things a little differently: it's a subtle, at times even awkward, summer surprise. Breaking down this pop morsel reveals it has teeth, though—and not just because it borrows a bass line from the Talking Heads' macabre "Psycho Killer." This is a fun one. Come along for the ride. 

Featuring:

• Selena Gomez - Bad Liar
• Julia Michaels - Issues
• Selena Gomez - Same Old Love
• Talking Heads - Psycho Killer

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Breaking Down Alanis Morissette (and our own Preconceptions) with guest Andrea Warner

Jun 29, 2017 1980

Description:

Author, critic and podcaster Andrea Warner joins for a throwback episode exploring politics in Lilith Fair, harmonic anger in Alanis Morissette's iconic "You Oughta Know," and the blind spots in your host's assessment of women in rock. 

Featuring:
•Alanis Morissette - You Oughta Know

Artists mentioned by Andrea Warner:
SZA
Ibeyi
The Overcoats
Lizzo

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Morgan Page Reveals the Rule of 3 in Julia Michaels and Maroon 5

Jun 16, 2017 2776

Description:

Your brain can only hear three things at the same time. What you may not know is that musicians use this cognitive limitation to guide your listening all the time. Charlie and Nate are joined by Grammy Nominee music producer Morgan Page to reveal the secrets of this ubiquitous technique. Listening to Julia Michaels' hit "Issues," we unveil how the rule of three is used to draw our attention and keep us free from sonic distraction. And we look at how Maroon 5's "Cold" uses the same technique but creates an exceptionally different sound. Of course, it wouldn't be Switched On Pop if we didn't dig into the classical past to find out if this rule really holds up in the history of music. 

Featuring: Morgan Page - Fight My WayJulia Michaels - Issues Julia Michaels - Issues (Acoustic)Maroon 5 - Cold ft. FutureSkrillex - First Of The Year (Equinox)Ed Sheeran - Shape Of YouDJ Khaled - I'm The OneSelena Gomez - Bad LiarThe Beatles - When I'm Sixty FourArnold Schoenberg - Pierrot Lunaire - III - Der MondfleckDead & Company - Live at the Hollywood Bowl 6-1-17The Beatles - A Day In The LifeIke & Tina Turner: Deep River Mountain HighSwedish House Mafia - One








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DJ Khaled - I'm The One... six... four... five

Jun 1, 2017 2291

Description:

DJ Khaled, Justin Bieber, Chance the Rapper, Quavo from Migos and Lil Wayne have allied for a new smash hit: "I'm The One." Despite the star power present, the resulting track is less than the sum of its parts—repetitive, derivative, uninventive. And yet, the lackluster "I'm The One" sits comfortably at the top of the charts, which raises the question: why?? Our answer: because Khaled and company understand the bewitching power of tonal harmony, and they've utilized the most surefire chord progression in pop history to ensure their success, a simple sequence of chords that has captivated listeners for almost a century: I - vi - IV - V.

Check out our playlist of songs using this progression — and please send us any others that you identify!

Featuring:
• DJ Khaled - I'm The One
• Dean Martin - Blue Moon
• Ben E. King - Stand By Me
• Hoagy Carmichael - Heart & Soul
• The Police - Every Breath You Take 
• Whitney Houston - I Will Always Love You
• fun. -  We Are Young
• Justin Bieber - Baby
• Jean-Philippe Rameau - Les Sauvages








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Musical Architecture in Charlie Puth + HAIM

May 18, 2017 2494

Description:

Two new songs have captured the attention of your hosts—Charlie Puth's "Attention" and HAIM's "Want You Back." On the surface, these two songs appear to have little in common. A closer look, though, reveals the subtle musical architecture undergirding each track, a perfect balance of symmetry and asymmetry that keeps reeling us in for more. 

Featuring:
• Charlie Puth ft. Meghan Trainor - Marvin Gaye
• Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth - See You Again
• Charlie Puth ft. Selene Gomez - We Don't Talk Anymore
• Charlie Puth - Attention
• Haim - Want You Back
Dvorak - Carnival Overture (United States Marine Band)










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The End Of Pop Music As We Know It: Fall Out Boy & Charli XCX

May 4, 2017 2911

Description:

Is it true that all pop music sounds the same today? For the past year the “pop-drop” has dominated the airwaves. This new form of EDM infused pop came out of DJ culture and has infused its sound with every mainstream act like Lady Gaga and Coldplay. Tiring of this sound, some artists are finding creative ways to parody this pop trope. The rock outfit Fall Out Boy’s “Young And Menace” demonstrates equal parts mastery and mockery of the pop-drop. And PC Music, a rising art-music label out of London, skewers the whole of pop cliché on their mixtape collaboration with Charli XCX. After this episode, we promise you’ll be ready to move on to new sounds. Luckily, listeners have collaborated to create a new favorites playlist to help you cleanse your palette.

Featuring:The Chainsmokers - CloserKygo & Selena Gomez - It Ain’t MeLady Gaga - The CureFall Out Boy - Sugar We’re Going DownFall Out Boy - Young And MenaceJay Z - D.O.A. (Death Of Auto-Tune)Ariana Grande - Into YouKaty Perry feat. Skip Marley - Chained To The RhythmDrake - PassionfruitPostmodern Jukebox - Sugar We’re Going Down SwingingBritney Spears - Oops! I Did It AgainSkrillex - BangarangDJ Snake - MiddleBeyoncé - Love On TopIcona Pop - I Love It (feat. Charlie XCX)Iggy Azalea - Fancy ft. Charli XCXSelena Gomez - Same Old LoveCharli XCX - 3AM (Pull Up) (feat. MØ)Hannah Diamond - Every NightBronze - Thy SlaughterDanny L Harle - Super Natural (ft. Carly Rae Jepsen)SOPHIE - JUST LIKE WE NEVER SAID GOODBYEA.G. Cook - SuperstarAriana Grande - Side To SideCoon Sanders Original Nighthawk Orchestra - I'm Gonna Charleston Back To CharlestonSpotify Playlist: https://open.spotify.com/user/switchedonpop/playlist/1LeUhwRJfMGdlPkSMR9Uxu














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Harry Styles, Eschatology and Teen Girl Fandom

Apr 20, 2017 2687

Description:

One Direction wunderkind Harry Styles has just released his first ever single, "Sign of the Times," and it's a doozy. Strap in for a discussion of the apocalypse, late Beatles, teen wisdom, and the amen cadence—among other demons exorcised in this most peculiar pop tune. 

Featuring:
•Beethoven 5th Symphony - Scherzo
•Harry Styles - Sign of the Times
•Prince - Sign o' the Times
•David Bowie - Space Oddity
•Zayn Malik - Pillowtalk
•Steve Aoki + Louis Tomlinson - Just Hold On
•John Lennon - #9 Dream
•George Harrison - All Things Must Pass
•The Beatles - The End
•British Pathe Broadcast
•Meg Says YouTube Channel
•Megan Elizabeth YouTube Channel

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What's to Love About Ed Sheeran? (guest Ross Golan)

Apr 6, 2017 2552

Description:

Songwriter Ross Golan comes over to start up a conversation, encouraging us to follow his lead and give Ed Sheeran's chart-annihilating record "Shape of You" a chance. Ross, a studio vet with multiple #1 hits (including  numbers discussed on this very podcast, such as Ariana Grande's "Dangerous Woman" and Selena Gomez's "Same Old Love") is the ideal guest to convince a skeptical Charlie and Nate that Sheeran might have a song handmade for somebodies like them. Plus, Ross takes us behind the scenes of his own podcast, "And the Writer Is...", in which the industry's best writers break down their trials and triumphs on the way to the top.

Featuring:
• 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: http://www.andthewriteris.com/

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Zedd + Alessia Cara - Stay (w special guest Grey)

Mar 23, 2017 2746

Description:

Charlie and Nate sit down with up-and-coming producer duo Grey—fresh off their hit "Starving" with Zedd and Hailee Steinfeld—to uncover the secrets behind Alessia Cara and Zedd's dramatic dance track "Stay" and Grey's own deep cut "I Miss You" (ft Bahari). Snare drums as currency, Game of Thrones samples and screaming into the void are all discussed in this deep dive into the world of pop orchestration and 21st century songwriting.   

Featuring:

Zedd + Alessia Cara - Stay
Hailee Steinfeld + Grey ft. Zedd - Starving
Grey ft. Bahari - I Miss You
Earth, Wind and Fire - Kalimba Story
Maroon 5 - Don't Wanna Know
Mussorgsky - Pictures at an Exhibition
Ravel - Pictures at an Exhibition
Emerson, Lake and Palmer - Pictures at an Exhibition
Grey - Do You Remember (Remix)
Grey - You're Not There (Remix)

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Chained to the Green Light: Katy Perry + Lorde

Mar 10, 2017 2428

Description:

Two artists who haven't released new music since 2013 recently remerged into the limelight: Katy Perry, with her dystopian disco banger "Chained to the Rhythm" and Lorde, with the melodramatic-yet-uplifting anthem "Green Light." 

Listening carefully, a fact becomes apparent, despite Lorde's insistence that she "hears new sounds" in her mind: there's something familiar lurking beneath both these tracks. And indeed, both were co-written and produced by key figures of the modern pop music firmament. Who are they, and how do we detect their fingerprints on the latest from these two low-voiced chanteuses? Tune in and test your acumen in a high-stakes game of musical forensics. 

Featuring:
Katy Perry - Chained to the Rhythm
Lorde - Green Light
...and some secret songs

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Oscar Week!: La La Land ft. Genevieve Koski

Feb 24, 2017 3158

Description:

With the Academy Awards around the corner, Charlie and Nate try something new: a break down of the movie musical La La Land through two of its key songs, "City of Stars" and "Start a Fire." These numbers, one by composer Justin Hurwitz, the other by Hurwitz and John Legend, might represent the two poles of the film's dramatic structure. But a deep dive into their musical construction reveals leitmotifs and left turns that leave us staggered at the different levels to La La Land's score. Special guest Genevieve Koski, deputy culture editor for Vox and co-host of the film podcast The Next Picture Show, joins to help our hosts journey through the uncharted terrain of cinema.

Featuring:

• Start a Fire - John Legend
• City of Stars - Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone
• John Legend - Ordinary People
• Backstreet Boys - Everybody
• Ariana Grande - Side To Side
• Die Walkure, The Ring Cycle - Richard Wagner
• Engagement, Planetarium, Epilogue, Mia + Sebastian's Theme - Justin Hurwitz
• Générique, Dans le magasin de parapluies, Final  - The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
• Tie Fighter Theme - John Williams


Check out Genevieve Koski's writing on Vox and her great podcast on La La Land here.

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Zayn, Taylor Swift & The Grammys

Feb 10, 2017 2001

Description:

"I Don't Wanna Live Forever," the new track from Zayn and Taylor Swift, finds two members of the pop pantheon joining forces with producer Jack Antonoff to craft an inexorable hit song. But this duet—between a former One Direction heartthrob aiming to avert the sophomore slump and a megastar returning to the limelight—is far from triumphant. Instead, "Forever" delves into themes of loss and separation—emotions in turn embedded in the very structure and melody of this most unusual duet. Also, Charlie and Nate discuss what upcoming Grammy nominations have them most excited, From Chance the Rapper to Radiohead, Bowie to Solange, there's much to celebrate from 2016. Musically speaking, that is. 

Featuring:
• Zayn & Taylor Swift - I Don't Wanna Live Forever
• Giovanni Gabrieli - Symphoniae Sacrae II
• Solange - Cranes in the Sky
• Chance the Rapper - All We Got
• David Bowie - Lazarus
• Radiohead - Burn the Witch
• Tycho - Glider

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The Puzzle of Ariana Grande's "Into You" (with K. Flay)

Jan 27, 2017 2990

Description:

"Into You" was one of the biggest hits of 2016, the stellar production of reclusive legend Max Martin combining with the acrobatic vocals of Ariana Grande to create an undeniable, ubiquitous earworm. With "Into You" still burning up the charts, we dive deep to uncover the insane puzzles, Trompe-l'oiel tricks and Baroque games that lie under the surface of this morsel of pop perfection.

PLUS, brilliant rocker and rapper K. Flay joins to discuss the mysteries of Ariana Grande and takes us through the composition of her own, bass-heavy anthem of catharsis, "Blood in the Cut."

Featuring
• Ariana Grande - Into You 
• K Flay - Blood in the Cut
• Bee Gees - Stayin' Alive
• J.S. Bach - A little hocket example
• Ariana Grande - Dangerous Woman
• The Chainsmokers - Closer
• The Rolling Stones - Can't Get No Satisfaction
• The Rolling Stones - Paint It Black








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Seduced by the Sound: The Weeknd + Daft Punk

Jan 12, 2017 1508

Description:

"I Feel it Coming" might be the slowest burning jam to hit the charts in ages, in which the Weeknd enlists the robotic hum of Daft Punk to help craft a perfectly calibrated climate of desire. Brilliant, sexy songs don't just appear out of thin air, though, so we reveal how this song's perpetual excitement is hard-won through references to past stars of sultriness like Michael and Marvin while employing its own bag of tricks to turn up the heat. 

Featuring:
•The Weeknd + Daft Punk - I Feel it Coming
•Marvin Gaye - Let's Get it On
•Michael Jackson - Rock With You
•Chic - Good Times
•Ike and Tina Turner - Doin' It

For an excellent playlist of listener-submitted sexy songs, direct your dirty self here:
http://spoti.fi/2ieEeul





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Dreaming Of A White Christmas

Dec 16, 2016 2475

Description:

White Christmas holds the Guinness World Record for most singles sold and has been covered over 500 times. Pop stars from Elvis to Ella have recorded it, with interpretations from doo-wop to country to punk rock. With new covers each year, it seems listeners have not grown tired of this Tin Pan Alley chestnut. We use our scientific formula for holiday hit success to break down what makes this song so timeless.

FeaturingBing Crosby - White ChristmasThe Beatles - Christmas Time Is HereWhitney Houston - Have Yourself a Merry Little ChristmasJackson 5 - Santa Clause Is Coming to TownThe Beatles - In My LifeFrank Sinatra - White ChristmasKenny G - White ChristmasNashville Cast - White ChristmasLady Gaga - White ChristmasThe Drifters - White ChristmasElvis - White ChristmasElla Fitzgerald - White ChristmasBeach Boys - White ChristmasDean Martin - White ChristmasKaty Perry - White ChristmasKelly Clarkson - White ChristmasRascal Flatts - White ChristmasMichael Bolton - White ChristmasMichael Bublé and Shania Twain - White ChristmasCarol Of The Bells by Audionautix is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)Artist: http://audionautix.com/

Deck the Hall, Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy and Angels We Have Heard by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?collection=004&page=1Artist: http://incompetech.com/









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How to Listen to Music in 4 Easy Steps

Dec 2, 2016 2845

Description:

50 episodes in, hosts Charlie and Nate take a step back to think about how they listen to music and try to define what might be called The Switched on Method™. "Hallelujah," by the late, great Leonard Cohen, acts as a perfect test case for breaking down listening into four key layers: 1) The Liner Notes, 2) The Needle Drop, 3) The Scratch, and 4) The Remix. Through this patented process, artistic revelations are all but guaranteed, with Cohen's opus no exception — his modern classic is not all it appears to be. 

Featuring:
•Leonard Cohen - "Hallelujah"

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Playing it Cool: How Tove Lo Aims High

Nov 18, 2016 1856

Description:

On the surface, Tove Lo's new hit "Cool Girl" boasts a snappy, earworm chorus and an empowering message of self-reliance. Beneath its chill exterior, though, Lo's song burns with a passion bordering on rage, and sinister sonic undertones suggest an unreliable narrator who doesn't always mean what she says. The more layers one pulls back from this song, the more Lo's source material—the novel and film "Gone Girl"—comes to the fore, turning "Cool Girl" into the kind of pop smash that sticks in your head in more ways than one. 

Featuring:
Tove Lo - Cool Girl
Daft Punk - Harder, Better, Faster
Alessia Cara - Scars To Your Beautiful

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Made In America: Toby Keith & Jay-Z

Nov 3, 2016 2895

Description:

Back in 2011, two pop songs dropped with the same patriotic title: "Made in America." But the similarities pretty much end there. Toby Keith's country smash and Jay Z, Kanye West and Frank Ocean's soulful hip hop anthem have little in common except a firm conviction that each song knows what it really means to be American. Five years later, these tracks have a lot to tell us about the role music plays in shaping our national identity, and begs the question: does music truly bring us together?

FeaturingToby Keith - Made In AmericaJay Z and Kanye West ft. Frank Ocean - Made in AmericaSisqo - Thong SongUsher - Yeah!Beyoncé - Daddy LessonsJimmie Rodgers - Blue Yodel No. 9Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys - Ida Red Likes to Boogie

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Good Artists Borrow, Great Artists Steal - The Chainsmokers, 'Closer'

Oct 20, 2016 2750

Description:

Host Charlie spent the last two weeks listening to every song on the Billboard Hot 100. What did he discover? That the sonic similarities of most chart-toppers sound closer than ever. Except for the #1 song in America, as of this episode's release - "Closer" by The Chainsmokers, ft. Halsey. This one is different than the rest...or is it? We dive into the styles of the moment to re-learn the old maxim that "great artists steal" - whether that artist is a 2016 DJ duo or an 18th century Classical master. 

Featuring:

•Tory Lanez - LUV
•Shawn Mendes - Treat You Better
•Frenship - Capsize
•Maroon 5 - Don't Wanna Know
•Cheat Codes - Sex
•The Chainsmokers ft. Halsey - Closer
•Charlie Puth ft. Selena Gomez - We Don't Talk Anymore
•Jack U ft. Justin Bieber - Where Are U Now
•Drake - Know Yourself
•Amine - Caroline
•MO - Final Song
•Mike Posner - I Took a Pill in Ibiza (Seeb remix)
•The Weeknd - I Can't Feel My Face
•The Chainsmokers ft. Phoebe Ryan - All We Know
•Antonio Vivaldi - "La Primavera" Concerto
•Vivaldi - Giustino
•Vivaldi - Dorilla in Tempe
•Vivaldi - Orlando Furioso

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The Most Popular Song In The World

Oct 6, 2016 2446

Description:

The Nokia ringtone used to be heard more than a billion times per 
day, making it one of the most popular songs in the world. We tend to 
consider cellphone rings as somewhat antithetical to 
music. There is a whole subset of YouTube videos dedicated to the perverse thrill of 
watching a delicately beautiful musical moment ruined by the harsh cry 
of a default ringtone. In this episode, we zoom in on one of these 
annoying melodies to see if there's not some hidden musical craft 
present in the ubiquitous bleeps and bloops that envelop us. Later, 
Charlie shares a piece made solely of this sonic detritus, and a data 
scientist locates surprising musical patterns in a most unexpected 
source.

Featuring:


The Nokia TuneThe Beatles - She's So HeavyOne Direction - Live While We're YoungFrancisco Tarrega - Gran ValsCharlie Harding - Bowl ArrowLinks:


Jonathan Berger's Article in Nautlius: How Music Hijacks our Perception of TimeFamous Cell Phone Rings Played on the Piano by Tony AnnGreg Hochmuth's workRedaction:
 an earlier edit of this show made in insensitive and inappropriate quip
 about an act of war, which we have removed. We apologize to our 
listeners. 

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Lady Gaga Is A Perfect Illusion

Sep 22, 2016 3833

Description:

Lady Gaga's new single "Perfect Illusion" is the apotheosis of her artistic statement. She is well known for her visual style that too often overshadows her music. But when taken together, it is evident that Lady Gaga is playing all of us because the non-conformity of her outward appearance is reflected back in her compositions. On first listen, her songs may sound like just another catchy pop tune and this is intentional. Gaga lures us close with the sound of pop fame and then hooks us and reels us into into her dungeon of monstrous sounds.
FeaturingLady Gaga - Perfect IllusionLady Gaga - Just DanceLady Gaga - Government HookerQueen - Radio GagaLady Gaga - Love GameLady Gage - ScheisseMichael Jackson - ThrillerPhantom Of The Opera - OvertureJohn Carpenter - Halloween Theme (Main Title)Lady Gaga - Bad RomanceLady Gaga - AlejandroAce Of Bass - I Saw The SignLady Gaga - SpeechlessQueen - Don’t Stop Me NowLady Gaga - So Happy I Could DieNatasha Bedingfield - Pocket Full of SunshineLady Gaga - Born This WayMadonna - Express YourselfLady Gaga - TeethLady Gaga - Bloody MaryLady Gaga - Dance In The DarkTony Bennett and Lady Gaga - Anything GoesTony Bennett - I Wish I Were In Love Again

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How Beyoncé to The Beatles Modulate Your Emotions

Sep 9, 2016 2287

Description:

Certain pop songs have that moment, when everything seems to change but still remain the same, when the drama gets ratcheted up, when the tension increases and our emotions take an elevator ride to the heavens. From Beyoncé to Johnny Cash, savvy pop songwriters know a well-placed harmonic modulation can leave listeners reeling. But what is this mysterious musical trick, and how does it work? Tune in and let us take you higher, and higher, and higher, as we explore the wild world of modulation.
FeaturingOne Direction - Night ChangesTaylor Swift - Love StoryBackstreet Boys - I Want it That WayStevie Wonder - Knocks Me Off my FeetBeyonce - Love On TopWhitney Houston - I Will Always Love YouMozart - Queen of the Night AriaMichael Jackson - Man in the MirrorThe Beatles - Penny LaneJohnny Cash - Walk the Line
Hear more of Dru Cutler's work at www.drucutler.com




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Pop Drops and Chipmunk Soul

Aug 25, 2016 2499

Description:

A strange syndrome is wreaking havoc on the voices of our biggest pop stars. From Rihanna to Justin Bieber, no one is safe from having their beautiful vocals chopped up, screwed down, repitched and repurposed. As dance music takes over the charts and new software grants vocal manipulation at the click of a button, this uncanny production technique has become nearly ubiquitous. But is this ultramodern sound really that new? We dig deep into the roots of the sound of the moment.

Featuring:

• Kiaara - Gold
• Coldplay - Hymn for the Weekend (Seeb remix)
• Hailee Steinfeld ft. Grey & Zedd - Starving
• Calvin Harris ft. Rihanna - This is What You Came For
• Mike Posner -I Took a Pill in Ibiza (Seeb remix)
• DJ Snake ft. Justin Bieber - Let Me Love You
• Cold Crush Brothers - MC Battle (Live)
• Cerrone - Rocket in the Pocket
• Wu Tang Clan - Tearz
• Wendy Rene - After Laughter
• Kanye West - School Spirit
• Whistle - Just Buggin
• Nu Shooz - I Can't Wait

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The Gideon and Hubcap Show

Aug 16, 2016 1625

Description:

This episode marks something of a departure from the norm. With Charlie away, host Nate, aka "Hubcap," takes us on a home-show tour of the Scottish Highlands with his traveling minstrel act, The Gideon and Hubcap Show. It's an entirely different kind of summer music spectacle. 

Featuring:

•13,000 Miles - Gideon Irving
•Oh Wow - Gideon Irving
•Ida Done - Gideon and Hubcap
•Safe Word - Gideon and Hubcap
•Hebrides Overture – Felix Mendelssohn
•Mouth Music - From the Smithsonian Folkways Collection, Scottish Drinking and Pipe Songs
•Breabach - Gig Face
•Cuyahoga - Gideon and Hubcap

Check out www.mynameisgideon.com and www.gideonandhubcap.com for more.




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Breaking Down The House

Aug 2, 2016 2435

Description:

The fingerprints of house music are all over mainstream pop, but much of its sound has been whitewashed. That ubiquitous four-to-the-floor kick and synth bass sound draws from Chicago's queer, black and latinx warehouse club culture. Micah Salkind is working on a book on the history of these communities. Together we break down the sonic origins of this music through a modern track that fully embraces its cultural nexus: "Hideaway" by Kiesza. Micah takes us back to Chicago in the 1980s, and we explore how this sound came to be and where it is going today. 


FEATURINGKiesza - HideawayLoleeta Holloway - Love SensationBlack box - Ride On TimeMadonna - VogueMr. Finder - The JuiceKanye West - FadeRythim Is Rythim - Strings Of LifePaul Oakenfold - You Could Be HappyFrankie Knuckles - Your LoveMFSB ft The Three Degrees - T.S.O.P. (The Sound of Philadelphia)Jesse Saunders - On and OnDiplo - Be Right There Justin Bieber - SorryCalvin Harris - This Is What You Came ForShaun J. Wright & Alinka - Love Inspired 
MORE STUFFFind more of Micah's work at micah-salkind.squarespace.com/about/ and his DJ sets at www.mixcloud.com/micahjacksonListen to Shaun J. Wright & Alinka on SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/aalinkaa/shaun-j-wright-alinka-love

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Around The World With Drake

Jul 15, 2016 2626

Description:

How do you create a hit that both breaks sound barriers and chart records? Drake has done this with a unique mix of international sounds from Africa, the Caribbean, the U.K. and Canada. But is his chart topping success musical appropriation or celebration? A deep listening reveals diverse influences and musical rhythms that have crossed oceans centuries before "One Dance" was even conceived. Plus, we debut Blinky Bill's "So Strong," his first single off his upcoming solo album.

FEATURING
- Drake - One Dance (feat. Whizkid & Kyla)
- Ojuelegba Remix - Wizkid ft. Drake & Septa
- 2Baba - Coded Tinz ft. Phyno, Chief Obi
- DJ Maphorisa - Soweto Baby feat Wizkid & Dj Buckz
- Crazy Cousinz - Do You Mind ft. Kyla
- The Revolutionaries - General For General
- Barrington Levy - Dance Are Changing 
- Joh Thomas - Ghetto Dance
- Papa Biggie - Youth Them Have To Grow
- Yellowman - Adam & Eve
- Mighty Diamonds - Love Me Girl
- Drake - Hotline Bling
- Timmy Thomas - Why Can’t We Live Together
- D.R.A.M. - Cha Cha
- Gil Scott-Heron and Jamie XX - Take Care Of You
- Drake - Take Care ft. Rihanna
- Drake - JunglePaul Simon - Graceland
- Paul Simon - I Know What I Know
- Moby - Natural Blues
- Vera Hall - Trouble So Hard
- David Guetta - Hey Mama (ft. Nicki Minaj)
- Sangkala - Gamelan Degung
- Joel Francisco Perri - Las llamas de Potosi
- Habib Koité - Africa
- Kwaa Mensah - Odo Me, Me Sum No DoChico O’farrell - Sin Titulo
- Trio Matamoros - El Que Siembra Su Maíz 
- Joseph Kabasele - Africa Bola Ngombi
- E.T. Mensa & The Tempos - Fom Fom
- Fela Kuti - Lagos Baby
- Fela Kuti - Elbe Moi (Carry Me)
- Fela Kuti - LadyWizkid - Show You The Money
- Blinky Bill - So Strong

Check out Blinky's music at www.soundcloud.com/blinkyb
Supported by Casper and Amazon Prime Music's Song of Summer Playlist Amazon www.amazonsongsofsummer.com/pop

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When Good Music Happens To Bad People

Jun 30, 2016 2366

Description:

We have more information about pop stars lives than ever before, but this transparency is not always uplifting for music lovers. Just as we may enjoy following the intimate lives of celebrities on Instagram, we simultaneously uncover how stars abuse their power to marginalize others, commit heinous crimes and inspire mass atrocity. Sometimes skeletons in the closet turn our to be literal skeletons. As listeners, this undoubtedly colors the way we hear our old favorite songs. Join us as we explore how to listen to good music that happens to bad people.

FEATURING
Jerry Lee Lewis - Great Balls Of Fire
The Righteous Brothers - You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling
Garry Glitter - Hey
R. Kelly - Ignition (Remix)
Wagner - Ride Of The Valkyries
The Ronettes - Be My Baby  
Queen - You’re My Best Friend
Drake - Keep The Family Close
Wagner - Tristan Und Isolade: Prelude
Wagner - Tristan Und Isolade: Liebestod 
Wagner - Lohengrin: Bridal Chorus

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Justin Timberlake Goes Medieval

Jun 16, 2016 2167

Description:

Summer heat is upon us and so are the jams. Our ears are hooked on Justin Timberlake's "Can't Stop The Feeling." What you may not know is that this song leans on the success of mononymous giants: Pharrell, Michael and Handel. If you think that pop is a modern phenomenon, you may be surprised by medieval references and techniques comped by JT. Join us as we break down the hidden hooks and musical tricks that make this song an ear worm.

Featuring
Justin Timberlake - Can't Stop The Feeling!
Pharrell Williams - Happy
Michael Jackson - Thriller
Michael Jackson - Rock With You
Elvis Costello - Allison
M.C. Hammer - U Can't Touch This
Electric Six - Improper Dancing
Nicki Minaj - Feeling Myself ft. Beyonce
Justin Timberlake - What Goes Around
Justin Timberlake - Cry Me A River
Bernart De Ventadorn - Can Vei La Lauzeta

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All About Those Baseline Assumptions About Feminism in Pop

Jun 7, 2016 2218

Description:

With Meghan Trainor's new singles "No" and "Me Too" ubiquitous on the radio dial, a larger discussion about the uneasy relationship between social movements and selling records takes a feminist bent. Memories of the polarizing 2014 hit "All About that Bass" come to the surface, reigniting debates over whether Trainor's songs express radical thought or package it for mass consumption. Or is that distinction a distraction, forgetting that manufactured pop can still pack a political punch? That might depend on how you listen. Andi Zeisler, author of "We Were Feminists Once," professor Robin James, blogger Jenny Trout and writer Andrea Warner join for a dive into the complexities of feminist pop politics. FEATURING Meghan Trainor - Me Too Meghan Trainor - No Meghan Trainor - All About That Bass Spice Girls - Wannabe Big Sean - Dance (A$$) Taylor Swift - Shake It off Demi Lovato - Confident Grimes - Flesh Without Blood The Slits - Typical Girls Sleater-Kinney - #1 Must Have Jonathan Hoyle - Never Ending Road Lizzo - Good As Hell 

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Jonas vs. Jonas: Or How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love a Boy Band

May 19, 2016 2274

Description:

A battle between brothers is playing out on the pop charts, a sibling rivalry the likes of which the music industry hasn't seen since 1987, when Michael and Janet Jackson's 1987 "Bad" and "Let's Wait Awhile" jockeyed for peak position on the Hot 100. Today, Nick, the youngest of the Jonas Brothers, looks for redemption from their boy band past in the moody, adult love song "Close" ft. Tove Lo, while middle brother Joe and his band DNCE use the explosive, retro "Cake By the Ocean" to replace a squeaky-clean look with a profane party anthem. Tune in to learn how these two songs, sounding so different on the surface, have something very surprising in common. Then, stick around for a deep dive through the wonders of the Jonas back catalog, along with a detour to the life and music of another troubled child prodigy named Wolfgang, that will leave you thinking of the frère Jonas in a whole new light. FEATURING - Nick Jonas - Close - DNCE - Cake By The Ocean - Beach Boys - Misirlou - Jonas Brothers - Mandy - Jonas Brothers - Burnin’ Up - Demi Lovato - La La Land - Mozart - Laureate Dominum - Mozart - Eine Kleine Nachtmusik - Mozart - Batiene Und Bastienne - Mozart - Bona Nox! bist a rechts Ox, K. 561 - Jonas Brothers - Bounce - Mozart - Requiem in D minor K626: I Requiem - Nikolaus Harnoncourt - Mozart - Le nozze di Figaro, K. 492: Overture: Wiener Philharmoniker 

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Purple Lemonade: Prince & Beyoncé

May 5, 2016 2722

Description:

It has been a period of musical loss and celebration. On the same week we lost Prince, the world was gifted Beyoncé’s Lemonade. Both artists contain multitudes of musical traditions, collaborators and themes that weave throughout their song. In the first half of the show, we break down Beyoncé's “Hold Up,” an exemplary piece about Lemonade's main theme of marital distress. But the song is not as simple as it may seem. Its compositional restraint suggests more complex ideas about love. Speaking of love, Prince may have published more songs on the subject than any other recording musician. In the second half of the show, we speak with scholar and Musiqology contributor Matthew Valnes about Prince’s musical legacy. Featuring - Beyoncé - Pray You Catch Me - Beyoncé - Freedom - Beyoncé - Formation - Beyoncé - Love Drought - Beyoncé - Sorry - Beyoncé - All Night - Beyoncé - Daddy Lessons - Beyoncé - Hold Up - Major Lazer & DJ Snake - Lean On - Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Maps - Vampire Weekend - Obvious Bicycle - Beyoncé - Don’t Hurt Yourself - Prince - Musicology - Joshua Redman - How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore - Prince - How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore - Prince - When Doves Cry - Sly & The Family Stone - Thank You - Prince - Super Bowl Press Conference Performance - Marcus Miller - Jean Pierre (live at North Sea Jazz Festival) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7Q8Ual3coM You can read Matthew Valnes' article "When Doves Cry" over at Musiqology: http://musiqology.com/blog/2016/04/25/when-doves-cry-prince-and-black-popular-music-history/ Also check out Behind The Linear Notes’s latest episode on the history of the Castrati featuring a clip from our episode on One Direction: http://www.betweenthelinernotes.com/episodes-1/castrato 

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Pablo And The Wolves

Apr 22, 2016 2341

Description:

The Life Of Pablo is Kanye West’s latest album. Despite its lack of hits, it has been at the fulcrum of pop music for months. With its gradual online release and its changing track lists, this shapeshifting album is difficult to grasp. We recruit Andrew Marantz from The New Yorker Magazine to break down Pablo and the “Wolves,” a song that embodies the multiplicities of West’s larger project and connects his work to the classical past of Bach and Prokofiev. Featuring: - Kanye West: Wolves - Jay Z: Where's Th e Love - Kanye West: All Falls Down - Kanye West: Gold Digger - Kanye West: Heartless - Kanye West: All Of The Lights - Kanye West: Black Skinhead - Gary Glitter: Rock N Roll Part 2 (Hey!) - Kanye West: I Love Kanye - Bach: Canon Perpetuus - Prokofiev: Peter And The Wolf (narrated by David Bowie) - Paul McCartney: Driving Rain - Drake: Jumpman (featuring Future) - Missy Elliot: Work It - R. Kelly: The Zoo - Justin Timberlake: Give Me What I Don't Know - DJ Snake: Birdsong - Pink Floyd: Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict 

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The Populist Pop of Twenty One Pilots

Apr 6, 2016 2104

Description:

Out of nowhere, Twenty One Pilots has rocketed to the top of the charts with their surprise hit "Stressed Out." Charlie and Nate pull this millennial anthem apart to discover a deep political resonance, the kind that rarely hits the Hot 100. Tracing this sound back in time reveals further connections, to Compton, Motown, and the alternate universe of Parliament/Funkadelic. And, a trip further down the chart suggests that political pop still has no party affiliation. Featuring: •Twenty One Pilots—Stressed Out •NWA—Alwayz Into Somethin' •Dr. Dre ft. Snoop Dogg—Nuthin' but a G Thang •Parliament/Funkadelic—Aquaboogie •Stevie Wonder—Livin' for the City •G-Eazy x Bebe Rexha—My Myself and I •Iggy Azalea—Team 

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American Oxygen

Mar 23, 2016 1478

Description:

How do you collaborate with five people to write a song that captures that national temperature? The stakes may seem high with stars like Alex Da Kid, Candice Pillay, Kanye West and Rihanna, but Sam Harris from X Ambassadors has unlocked the secret. Having penned much of Rihanna's hit American Oxygen, Sam gives an honest account of his process to create a hit and capture the American Dream. And we also get an exclusive peak at X Ambassador's version of the song. Featuring X Ambassadors - Renegades Rihanna - American Oxygen Bruce Springsteen - Born In The U.S.A. Radiohead - Pyramid Song X Ambassadors - American Oxygen You can download X Ambassador's newly released version of American Oxygen from Interscope Records and KIDinaKORNER on iTunes: http://smarturl.it/AmericanOxygenXA 

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Say Hey

Mar 11, 2016 2607

Description:

Listen carefully to almost any hit song these days and you’ll hear musicians screaming “Hey!” What’s the matter with them? Do they really need our attention? We uncover the reason and history behind this phenomenon with guest host Alex Kapelman, producer of the narrative music podcast Pitch. We also listen to new music by Aoife O’Donovan in a new segment called Off The Charts. And we have the fourth and final installment of Nate’s journey back into the popular music of the 20s and 30s. Featuring Katy Perry - Roar Carly Rae Jepsen - I Really Like You Grimes - Venus Fly (ft. Janelle Monáe) Arian Grande - Break Free (ft. Zed) One Direction - Steal My Girl Scenes from the film Get On Up James Brown - Cold Sweat James Brown - Get Up Off That Thing Little Richard - Hey Hey Hey Hey The Lumineers - Hey Ho Of Monsters and Men - Little Talks Edward Sharpe and the Magnetics - Home One Direction - Perfect Kanye West - Black Skinhead Justin Bieber - Sorry Duke Ellington and Ivie Anderson - Raisin’ The Rent Harold Arlen - We’re Off To See The Wizard Ethel Waters - Stormy Weather Frank Sinatra - I’ve Got The World On A String Maxine Sullivan - Primitive Premadonna Check out Pitch at www.pitchpodcast.org Listen to the Say Hey playlist on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/user/switchedonpop/playlist/2w4BPUPQBMWhMeVefSMDvr 

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Now I Sia, Now I Don't

Feb 26, 2016 2262

Description:

One of the biggest voices in pop music has no face: Sia. She started her career as a ghostwriter for stars like Rihanna and Beyoncé. Recently she found pop star success with her hit "Chandelier." So with her new album, "This Is Acting," you'd expect to see her front and center. Instead, she hides her face from the media spotlight, covered by wigs, hats and other foreign objects. Lindsay Zoladz from NYMag joins us to discuss Sia's the musician and Sia the media spectacle. Featuring: Sia - Chandelier Rihanna - Diamonds Sia - Alive Sia - Reaper Rihanna - Work (ft. Drake) Sia - Bird Set Free Duke Ellington - Cotton Club Stomp Duke Ellington - East St. Louis Toodle-O Duke Ellington - Ko-Ko JC Burnett - Amazing Grace Charlie Johnson - The Boy In The Boat 

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B Side: Singing With Mama Jan

Feb 19, 2016 460

Description:

What do Usher, The Band Perry and Bieber have in common? They all sing with Mama Jan, one of the best vocal coaches and producers in the music business. On this mini episode, Mama Jan talks about what happens backstage before the biggest performance of a lifetime. 

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Call Your Girlfriend

Feb 12, 2016 2279

Description:

Is it a love song or is it a breakup song? Charlie joins the women of the Call Your Girlfriend podcast to break down their namesake song by Robyn. Also, advice on how to build the perfect wedding playlist. And we check back in with Nate to listen to Cab Calloway on a time traveling adventure back to the 1930s. Featuring Robyn - Call Your Girlfriend Whitney Houston - Dance With Somebody (cappella) Eddie Johns - More Spell On You TLC - Waterfall (Bixel Boy's Remix) Village People - YMCA The O’Jays - Love Train David Bowie - Lets Dance Daft Punk - Get Lucky R. Kelly - Ignition (remix) Beyoncé - Love On Top Elvis Presley - Hound Dog Don Redman - Gee Ain’t I good to you Don Redman - Gotcha Cab Calloway - Minnie The Moocher Cab Calloway - Kicking The Gong Around Cab Calloway - Reefer Madness Louis Armstrong - St. James Infirmary Frankie “Half-Pint” Jackson - Willie The Weeper Naughty By Nature - Hip Hop Hooray Check out more Call Your Girlfriend at www.callyourgirlfriend.com Listen to Zach’s DJ sets at soundcloud.com/zachseely 

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Click With Dick And Other Campaign Anthems

Jan 29, 2016 3483

Description:

What do presidential candidates, professional wrestlers and improv comics have in common? Walk on theme music. As the primary season heats up we dig into the history, meaning and controversies of campaign anthems. Also, comedian and guest co-host Chris Duffy shares some of his favorite lyrics with hidden humor. And we time travel with Nate to 1931 to visit late night Harlem jazz clubs. FEATURING Baha Men - Who Let The Dogs Out? String Quartet No. 19 in C Major K 465 IV Ride Of The Valkyries - Wagner Conducted by George Szell John Williams - The Imperial March Howard Da Silva - Tippacanoe and Tyler Too Oscar Brand - Rockabye Baby Peter Janovsky - Get On The Raft With Taft Woodie Gutherie - This Land is Your Land The Police - Every Breath You Take Tom Petty - Won’t Back Down Bruce Springsteen - Born To Run Metallica - Enter Sandman Mozart String Quartet No15 D Minor K. 421 I. Allegro Moderato Metallica - Master Of Puppets Kelly Clarkson - Stronger Zac Brown Band - Homegrown REM - End of the world Phantom of the Opera (Single Album Version) Carly Simon - You’re So Vain Beck - Devil’s Haircut Brad Paisley - Working On A Tan Quindon Tarver - Free To Wear Sunscreen Neil Young - Rockin’ In The Free World Edgar Winter Group - Frankenstein Lil’ Jon - Get Low Lil’ Jon - Snap Your Fingers Rihanna - What’s My Name (ft. Drake) Van Halen - Why Can’t This Be Love Pitbull - Give Me Everything David Guetta - Sexy Bitch (ft. Akon) Don Redman - Song Of The Weeds Don Redman - Shacking the African Sir Mix Alot - Big Butts Nikki Minaj - Anaconda Flo Rida - Low Project Pat - Twerk It Don Redman - Nagasaki Don Redman - Song Of The Weeds Don Redman - The Man From Harlem Don Redman - Gee, Ain’t I Good To You 

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The Life Changing Magic of Music in 2015

Jan 18, 2016 1875

Description:

Charlie and Nate reveal the life changing magic of how to tidy up the music you missed from last year. Annually, hundreds of publications release best of lists. These lists are supposed to make it easier to discover and celebrate the year in music. But with so many lists how can we know what is truly the best? Well we’ve found the definite source what’s great: Rob Mitchum’s Top Albums in 2015. Also, the major trends you might have missed and Jake Birch’s Mixed On Pop about The Weeknd’s “I Can’t Feel My Face.” Featuring: Wiz Khalifa – See You Again Taylor Swift – Blank Space Mark Ronson – Uptown Funk Adele – Hello Carly Rae Jepsen – I Really Like You The Weeknd – Can’t Feel My Face Duke Ellington – Prelude To A Kiss 

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Linus and Lucy

Dec 17, 2015 1979

Description:

Celebrate 50 years of A Charlie Brown Christmas and his eponymous holiday album. If you’re feeling worn out on holiday music, this one never wears old. Its gone triple platinum and charts almost every year on the holiday Billboard. Join us as we dive deep into the brilliance of Vince Guaraldi, the pianist and composer behind Linus and Lucy. We bet you might be hearing the song all wrong. Featuring Vince Guaraldi – What Child Is This, Christmas Is Coming, Linus and Lucy, O Tannenbaum, Christmas Time Is Here, El Matador, Cast Your Fate To The Wind The Supremes – Oh Holy Night Leonard Bernstein – Carol Of The Bells Bobby Timmons – This Here Lee Morgan – The Rumproller Julian “Cannonball” Adderley – One For Daddy-O (featuring Miles Davis) Jack Gleason – Unforgettable This episode was sponsored by VNYL. Subscribe at my.vnyl.org. 

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Same Here

Dec 2, 2015 1873

Description:

Two unlikely anthems of individuality are rocketing up the charts: Selena Gomez’s “Same Old Love” and Alessia Cara’s “Here.” One is from an established star, the other from a total unknown, but both use similar musical techniques to make their voices heard against the madding crowd. Tune in to hear how the radio dial is richer for the presence of such non-conformist and anti-social jams. Featuring: Lady Gaga – Just Dance Selena Gomez – Same Old Love Alessia Cara – Here Michael Jackson – Billie Jean Kesha – Tik Tok Katy Perry – Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.) George Bizet – Carmen Suite No. 2. Habanera Purcell – Dido’s Lament L’Arpeggiata – Amor 

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Searching for Max Martin

Nov 20, 2015 2594

Description:

The most omnipresent figure in pop music is also the most elusive: Karl Sandberg, AKA Max Martin, the mad Swedish genius who’s ruled the charts for 20 years. With the help of New Yorker writer John Seabrook, author of The Song Machine, and comedian Chris Duffy, host of You’re The Expert, we go deep into a 21st century pop classic to try and locate the secret formula behind Max Martin’s success. FEATURING Taylor Swift – Blank Space The Weeknd – Can’t Feel My Face Backstreet Boys – I Want It That Way Kelly Clarkson – Since You Been Gone Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Maps Kelly Clarkson – My Life Would Suck Without You Katy Perry – California Girls Taylor Swift – We Are Never Getting Back Together Ariana Grande – Problem N’Sync – It’s Gonna Be Me Britney Spears – Oops I Did It Again Taylor Swift – Bad Blood Icona Pop (ft. Charlie XCX) – I Love It Tove Lo – Talking Body Backstreet Boys – We’ve Got It Going On 

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Hotline Hello: Drake and Adele

Nov 5, 2015 1955

Description:

Drake and Adele are two megastars who may not seem to share much in common on the surface, but their recent hits exhibit some surprising parallels. Both revisit past relationships over the phone and both conceal inner anguish beneath subtle musical shifts. Featuring special appearances by the game Snake, Lord Byron and Drake and Adele themselves*, you don’t want to miss this episode. Plus, we check in with Justin Bieber as he completes his epic existential pop suite. For more songs about love on hold, check out our Spotify playlist. And check out Sean Rameswaram’s final episode of Sideshow on Studio 360. Featuring Drake – Hotline Bling Adele – Hello Timmy Thomas – Why Can’t We Live Together Justin Bieber – Sorry Jack Ü – Where Are Ü Now? Justin Bieber – What Do You Mean? Breakmaster Cylinder & Charlie Harding – Why Am I Here? *not really 

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Can’t Get You Out Of My Head

Oct 23, 2015 2117

Description:

As much as we might have crazy love for pop music, pop music also loves to drive us crazy. Earworms that grab you and won’t let go; cookie-cutter compositions that bedevil in their unoriginality; strange new sounds that vex, rankle, confound. How does pop music possess the unique ability to get under our skin? We pull apart some of the stickiest songs to try and find out. And listen to our playlist of songs that drive you mad on Spotify. FEATURING The Fine Young Cannibals – She Drives Me Crazy The Backstreet Boys – I Want It That Way Katy Perry – California Girls Kesha – Tik Tok Mozart – Piano Concerto No.20 in D minor, K.466 Grady Smith – Why Country Music Was Awful in 2013 Grady Smith – Country Stars Who Don’t Like Their Own Records Fletcher Hederson – The Stampede Skrillex – Bangarang Elvis Presley – Jailhouse Rock Kylie Minogue – Can’t Get You Out Of My Head 

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Justin Bieber’s Existential Suite

Oct 7, 2015 1887

Description:

Bieber’s two new hits, “Where Are Ü Now” and “What Do You Mean,” showcase the prodigal pop star’s soberer side. In each, his realization of the fictive nature of relationships is musicalized through slippery piano chords and disembodied voices. But just two songs does not make a true existential suite, so we collaborated with the mysterious Breakmaster Cylinder to propose a third stanza for Bieber’s epic poem of love and loss. FEATURING Jack Ü – Where Are Ü Now (ft. Justin Bieber) Justin Bieber – What Do You Mean Justin Bieber – Boyfriend Mark Ronson – Uptown Funk Want to finish Justin Bieber’s trilogy? Listen to “Why Am I Here?” and download the track on Breakmaster Cylinder’s Soundcloud. Then, record your vocal and send it to submissions@switchedonpop.com. We’re looking at you Justin. 

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The Weeknd: Dance of Deception

Sep 24, 2015 1520

Description:

The Weeknd’s deliriously funky chart topper “Can’t Feel My Face” has sparked sweat-soaked dance sessions across the country, but dark notes lurk at the outskirts of this ebullient jam. Chromatic intrusions and Classical laments crowd the scene and invite more clandestine interpretations. What’s this song really about? The secret lies in the scale. FEATURING The Weeknd – Wicked Games The Weeknd – Earned It The Weeknd – Can’t Feel My Face L’Arpeggiata – Monteverdi ‘s Amor (Lamento Della Ninfa, Rappresentativo) Skrillex & Diplo – Where Are Ü Now (with Justin Bieber) * You can find more deceptively addictive songs in our Spotify playlist. **Alex Ross’s great chapter on the long lineage of the Lament is indispensable. Find it in his book Listen to This and a précis of it at his blog The Rest is Noise. 

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Let’s Talk About Sax

Sep 9, 2015 2086

Description:

The sax is back. This surprisingly funky reed keeps popping up in pop hits from Derulo to Grande. But where did the sax come from? And where did it go? Tighten your embouchure, because we journey to the center of sax in this week’s episode. Also, songs featured in this episode and other great sax tracks are in our Spotify Playlist. *In this episode we incorrectly identified Mr. Sax’s home country as Germany (face palm). He was a native of Belgium. Our apologies to the Sax family. FEATURING Katie Perry – Last Friday Night John Coltrane – Giant Steps M83 – Midnight City Bill Clinton on Arsenio Hall Ariana Grande – Problem Flo Rida – GDFR WAR – Low Rider Bruce Springsteen – Born To Run Gerry Rafferty – Baker Street George Michael – Careless Whisper George Gershwin – Rhapsody In Blue conducted by Leonard Bernstein Jules Demersseman – Fantasie Sur On Theme Original Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five – Muskrat Rumble Fletcher Henderson – Stampede Duke Ellington – Prélude To A Kiss King Curtis – Sister Sadie Sonny Rollings – St. Thomas Jason Derulo – Talk Dirty The Klezmer Lounge Band – Hava Nag ila Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna – Bhajare Sriramam – Vakulabharanam Sami Shawa – Jordan – Mawam Bayati Selim Sesler & Orchester – Saniye’m Spanish Tapas Bar, Vol. 2 – Malaguena Balkan Beat Box – Hermetico Fifth Harmony – Worth It Too Many Zooz – To The Top The Weeknd – Can’t Feel My Face 

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Kacey Musgraves: Transgressing Country

Aug 14, 2015 1540

Description:

Can you be a country star and critical of the country at the same time? Grammy Award Winner, Kacey Musgraves, has two hit albums that challenge the small-town clichés of modern country music. Is she bucking the trend of big trucks and dirt roads, or embracing an old tradition of transgressing social norms? To answer […] 

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Song of Summer: LIVE!

Jul 31, 2015 1747

Description:

In the first-ever LIVE edition of Switched on Pop, Charlie and Nate enter an epic debate over what track should be crowned 2015’s definitive Song of Summer. Charlie’s candidate is the retro anthem “Shut Up and Dance” by Walk the Moon, while Nate argues for Jason Derulo’s hot and heavy “Want to Want Me.” Meanwhile, the studio audience on Block Island has their own ideas about what makes a true Song of Summer, raising the stakes even higher. Who will emerge victorious? Only one song can beat the heat and rule the dog days of August. You don’t want to miss this epic Summer Jam Showdown. 

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The Dual Meaning of Fetty Wap’s Trap Queen

Jul 16, 2015 1218

Description:

Fetty Wap’s Trap Queen is an unlikely contender for the top 10. It straddles genres between hip-hop and pop in subtle yet mesmerizing ways. Is it a drug song? Is it a love song? Or is it both at the same time? Join us to find out why you can’t get this ear worm out of your head. FEATURING Fetty Wap – Trap Queen Dr. Dre – Still Dre Peter Gabriel – In Your Eyes 

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One Direction: Our Modern Day Castrati

May 29, 2015 1381

Description:

One Direction is one of the biggest bands in pop, but unless you’re a preteen or the parent of one, like us you’ve probably never heard a second of their music. Until now. Let’s see if we’ve been missing out, on the latest from Switched on Pop. FEATURING One Direction – Story Of My Life One Direction – What Makes You Beautiful One Direction – Live While We’re Young One Direction – You And I One Direction – Night Changes The Wanted – Glad You Came Alessandro Moreschi (The Last Castrato) – Ave Maria 

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The Final Dropout

May 16, 2015 447

Description:

How does a good pop song end? With a bang, right? As it turns out, explosive endings are kinda over. Songwriters are instead opting to end with a final dropout. Even the biggest pop anthems close with a quiet final moment. In this musical short, Nate, our resident musicologist, offers some theories as to why. FEATURING Taylor Swift – Blank Space One Republic – Counting Stars One Direction – Kiss You Rihanna – Don’t Stop the Music Mozart – Symphony No.41 in C K.551 “Jupiter” 4. Motto Allegro Taylor Swift – Trouble Lady Gaga – Alejandro 

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Hidden Sounds in FourFiveSeconds

May 6, 2015 1238

Description:

FourFiveSeconds is one of the more surprising collaborations in recent pop history. Rhianna, Kanye, Sir Paul McCartney. The motley lineup doesn’t dissapoint, serving up one of the most unexpected songs of the year—though not for the reason you’d think. Tune in and wile out while we wax on this whale of a power ballad. FEATURING Rihanna, Kanye West & Paul McCartney – FourFiveSeconds Kanye West – Gone Rihanna – We Found Love Rihanna – Don’t Stop the Music The Beatles – Revolution 9 & I’m So Tired (in reverse) 

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Carly Rae Jepsen – I Really Like You

Apr 15, 2015 1286

Description:

Carly Rae Jepsen might be the patron saint of Switched on Pop, the show first hatched by Charlie and Nate on a trip down CA-1 while the stereo blasted “Call Me Maybe.” So when we heard she had a new single out we knew we had to stop everything, put off our taxes for one more day, and dig into “I Really Like You” to see if Saint Jepsen could ward off the beguiling sophomore slump. You’ll really really really really really really like this one. Special thanks to the high school students from Nate’s “Why Music Matters” course at Stanford University Summer Institutes, who helped develop the analysis of “Call Me Maybe.” FEATURING Carly Rae Jepsen – I Really Like You Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe The Cardigans – Lovefool Don Henley – The Boys of Summer 

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Hozier’s Waffling of Faith in Take Me To Church

Apr 3, 2015 1013

Description:

Written in the Hozier family basement, Take Me To Church has risen up to be one of the biggest pop hits of the year. But this is not a typical pop song. The unsettling music and provocative lyrics about faith and relationships irk many listeners. But this marriage of form and content also strikes a chord with our own foibles of faith. FEATURING Hozier – Take Me to Church Wintley Phipps – Amen 

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Taylor Swift’s Beethovian Blank Space

Mar 27, 2015 909

Description:

Taylor Swift’s Blank Space is about emptiness of the heart. This motif of Blank Space is contained through the entire piece: from the drums, to the melody, to the lyrics. We pull away the sonic structures to show how Taylor recreates that empty feeling and explores the predictable devolution of fiery romance.

FEATURING

Taylor Swift – Blank Space
NY Magazine – Why You Keep Mishearing That Taylor Swift Lyric

This episode first broadcast on the Very Loose Women podcast on Resonance 104.4FM
      
      

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A Cappella Dreams

Mar 16, 2015 2817

Description:

A cappella, Italian for in the style of the church, refers to music for unaccompanied voices. Just a decade ago it was nowhere near the radio dial. Now it’s everywhere: college campuses, Hollywood blockbusters, prime time reality television, and the Grammys. A cappella hasn’t been this big since Gregorian chant. Why has a cappella returned with such a vengeance? We try to find out why in this four part episode. [Introduction] The Tallis Scholars – Missa Brevis: Kyrie Middlesex A Cappella – Sound of Silence Pentatonix – Daft Punk [Act 1: Undercover Barbershop, featuring journalist Kevin Roose] Buffalo Bills Barbershop Quartet – The Only Girl In The World Dion & The Belmonts – I Wonder Why Barbershoptags.com – I Love to Sing ‘Em The Barbershop Singers – My Wild Irish Rose Buffalo Bills – As Time Goes By Vocal Spectrum – When I See An Elephant Fly OC Times – Come Fly With Me [Act 2: How To Become A Youtube Star In 3 Easy Steps, featuring musician Matthias Harris] Halestorm – Bad Romance (Lady Gaga cover) Matthias Harris – Somebody That I Used To Know (Gotye a cappella arrangement) The Stiff Dylands – Ultraviolet Gotye – Somebody That I Used To Know (feat. Kimbra) Mike Tompkins – Teenage Dream & Just The Way You Are (Katy Perry a cappella arrangement) Matthias Harris – Boyfriend (Justin Bieber arrangement) Matthias Harris – Home [Act 3: Sing On / Sing Off featuring Manjula Raman from Element] Element – Royals (Lorde a cappella arrangement) Element – Raise Your Glass (Pink a cappella arrangement) [Act 4: A New Golden Era] Pentatonix – Daft Punk 

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Radio Africa

Feb 20, 2015 1775

Description:

Reporting live from Kenya, we search for African pop that is making its way into global dance music. The barriers to producing high quality audio are reduced to merely owning a laptop. Now, regional artists are reaching a global audience. We speak to Blinky Bill, leader of the dance/pop/hip-hop group Just A Band, about their unique sound that attracts fans from Tokyo to Nairobi. And we also speak to Jeff Maina, lead designer at Waabeh, the Spotify for African content. FEATURING Fuse ODG – Azonto (learn the dance!) Sauti Sol – Sura Yako Diplo – Crown Just A Band – Looking for Home Just A Band – Life of the Party Just A Band – Probably for Lovers Just A Band – Huff + Puff Just A Band – Dunia Ina Mambo Charlie’s high school a cappella group – Give Up the Funk 

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Star Spangled

Jan 29, 2015 1634

Description:

Did you know the melody to the Star Spangled Banner was once a British drinking song? In preparation for the Super Bowl, we uncover how the national anthem has been co-opted and reinterpreted by mega pop-stars. Our understanding of how this song sounds has been shaped by sporting events and the spin pop artists put on it has altered our conception of the national song. FEATURING Beyoncé, Jose Feliciano, Marvin Gaye, Jimi Hendrix, Whitney Houston – The Star Spangled Banner Iceland Symphony Orchestra – Finlandia, Op. 26 Ensemble Almageste – La Mantovana Songs from the the Star Spangled Music Foundation Sura Yako – Sauti Sol 

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Mark Ronson: Funk Politics

Jan 15, 2015 1986

Description:

Did you know the melody to the Star Spangled Banner was once a British drinking song? In preparation for the Super Bowl, we uncover how the national anthem has been co-opted and reinterpreted by mega pop-stars. Our understanding of how this song sounds has been shaped by sporting events and the spin pop artists put on it has altered our conception of the national song. FEATURING Beyoncé, Jose Feliciano, Marvin Gaye, Jimi Hendrix, Whitney Houston – The Star Spangled Banner Iceland Symphony Orchestra – Finlandia, Op. 26 Ensemble Almageste – La Mantovana Songs from the the Star Spangled Music Foundation Sura Yako – Sauti Sol 

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The Imperative Jingle Bells

Dec 21, 2014 1834

Description:

You’ve heard it a million times, you know how to sing it, its ubiquitous during the holiday season, but you’ve never heard a definitive recording. Where does it come from, why is it so catchy, and why of all holiday songs is Jingle Bells the most widely played song? FEATURING She & Him The Cast of Glee Nate Sloan’s Madrigal Singers 

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To Be Young

Dec 12, 2014 1879

Description:

Pop music and youth go together like peanut butter and pickles. The music we hear when we’re young shapes our identities forevermore. In this episode we take three songs that promise an eternal adolescence and put them under microscope to see what makes them tick. Featuring Kesha – Die Young Fun – We Are Young Wiz Khalifa – Young, Wild and Free 

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Boom Bang Pow

Nov 15, 2014 1701

Description:

We look at the Rhythms that make us dance, those primal beats, the “Boom Bang Pow” that make us want to move. We’ll ask what makes them work and why is that we’re hearing that untz untz everywhere we go from the dance floor, to the coffee shop, to the insides of our minds? FEATURING Charli XCX – Boom Clap Vengaboys – Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom!! Jessie J – Bang Bang The Blacked Eyed Peas – Boom Boom Pow Little Richard – Tutti Frutti John Lee Hooker – Boom Boom Cher – Bang Bang Richard Savino & El Mundo: Il primo libro di canzone: Ciaconna The King’s Singers – La Guerre 

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The Oeuvre of Taylor Swift

Oct 28, 2014 2364

Description:

We uncover the common songwriting techniques and chart the musical evolution of Taylor Swift. Featuring songs from her early country period, transitional indie period and her latest pop album, 1989. 

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Heartbreak

Oct 28, 2014 1582

Description:

Why do we love listening to heartbreak songs? What do songwriters do to emote such strong feelings?

FEATURING
Adele – Someone Like You
Kacey Musgraves – I Miss You
CeeLo Green – F*** You!




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Trailer

Oct 2, 2014 143

Description:

Welcome to Switched on Pop, a show about how popular music works and why it matters hosted by musicologist Nate Sloan and songwriter Charlie Harding. We break down the music in pop hits to help you find those "a-ha" moments. Whether you’re a pop fanatic or skeptic, teenager or octogenarian, non-musicians or professional composer, every music lover will discover something ear-opening in Switched on Pop 











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