Switched on Pop-logo

Switched on Pop

Vox Media

A podcast all about the making and meaning of popular music. Musicologist Nate Sloan & songwriter Charlie Harding pull back the curtain on how pop hits work magic on our ears & our culture. From Vulture and the Vox Media Podcast Network.


United States


Vox Media


A podcast all about the making and meaning of popular music. Musicologist Nate Sloan & songwriter Charlie Harding pull back the curtain on how pop hits work magic on our ears & our culture. From Vulture and the Vox Media Podcast Network.




Behind the Scenes of Switched on Pop on Harman Audio Talks

Nate and Charlie were recently featured on Harman Audio Talks. While our team takes the week off, we wanted to share that conversation with you as we pull back the curtain on how we make the show and select songs for the podcast. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices


Noah Kahan’s Folk Pop Revival

Noah Kahan is having a banner year. Between his Best New Artist nomination at the Grammys, his debut SNL performance, and collaborations with everyone from Post Malone to Hozier, the Vermont singer-songwriter has transcended the confines of New England to become one of the harbingers of the 2023 stomp-clap revival. This episode of Switched on Pop, host Charlie Harding sits down in person with Kahan to find some secret magic chords, opine on car commercial music, and talk about all things Stick Season. Songs Discussed Noah Kahan - Stick Season Noah Kahan - You’re A Mess Paul Simon - Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard James Taylor - Sweet Baby James Cat Stevens - Father & Son The Avett Brothers - Live and Die Lumineers - Hey Ho Olivia Rodrigo - Stick Season Olivia Rodrigo - drivers license Noah Kahan, Hozier - Northern Attitude Noah Kahan - Homesick Sam Fender - 17 Going Under Phoebe Bridgers - Moon Song Simpler Times - Roll in my Sweet Baby’s Arms Noah Kahan, Post Malone - Dial Drunk Taylor Swift - Mean Olivia Rodrigo - Logical Noah Kahan - Young Blood Noah Kahan - Catastrophize Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices


Why Country Music Dominated 2023's Charts

Country music's had a massive year. Seriously, not since 1958 have we seen so many country tunes topping the Hot 100 in a single year – and it's not been without its share of controversy. Leading this country music revival? Morgan Wallen, for starters. He bounced back from being shunned for dropping a racial slur with his number one single “Last Night.” Then there's Jason Aldean with “Try That in a Small Town,” a song and music video that which unsubtly lynching references. Next up, newcomer Oliver Anthony Music dropped “Richmond North of Richmond,” weaving in QAnon references and welfare shaming into a track largely about government distrust. On a lighter but still contentious note, Luke Combs covered the mega 90s hit “Fast Car,” turning Tracy Chapman into the first black woman with a number one country hit. And let's not forget Zach Bryan and Kacey Musgraves' beautiful duet “I Remember Everything” about a past romance, which also climbed to the top. Many of these songs have just been nominated for Grammys, including “Last Night,” “Fast Car,” and “I Remember Everything.” When all this started happening, we were scratching our heads. Country songs topping the Hot 100? Sure, but not this many in quick succession. Something felt different. And we think we've finally figured it out after diving into Chris Molanphy's new book: Old Town Road. Chris, a music and charts critic, author of Slate’s Why Is This Song No. 1 column, and host of the excellent music podcast Hit Parade, explores country music's chart history in his latest book “Old Town Road,” part of Duke's Single Series. He zeroes in on Lil Nas X's 2018 “Old Town Road” and its 2019 Billy Ray Cyrus-amped remix as a case study. So, to get the lowdown on 2023's country chart toppers, we've got to rewind to 2018 and re-examine “Old Town Road” with Chris Molanphy's insights. SONGS DISCUSSED Lil Nas X - Old Town Road Lil Nas X, Billy Ray Cyrus - Old Town Road remix Morgan Waller - Last Night Jason Aldean - Try That In A Small Town Oliver Anthony Music - Rich Men North of Richmond Luke Combs - Fast Car Zach Bryan, Kacey Musgraves - I Remember Everything Lil Nas X - Sonic Shit Nine Inch Nails - 34 Ghosts IV Billy Ray Cyrus - Achy Breaky Heart Luke Bryan - Light It Up Morgan Wallen - Thinking’ Bout Me Jason Aldean - Burnin’ It Down DeFord Bailey - Fox Chase Carter Family - Can The Circle Be Unbroken Bill Monroe - Mule Skinner Blues Hank Williams - Wealth Won’t Save Your Soul Ray Charles - You Are My Sunshine Pine Ridge Boys - You Are My Sunshine Patsy Cline - Crazy Lionel Richie - Stuck On You Blano Brown - The Git Up Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices


The Beatles: "Now and Then" and Forever

When Paul McCartney announced that he and Ringo Starr had produced a new Beatles song with the aid of AI, many music pundits were skeptical. Was this new song be another gimmick like the fake Drake hit "Heart on My Sleeve"? No. Instead, the Beatles simply used AI voice separation technology to repair a well-worn John Lennon demo tape. Back in the '90s, Yoko Ono gave shared a collection of unfinished John Lennon demos with Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison (who died in 2001) as part of a final recording session that resulted in the singles "Free As a Bird" and "Real Love." However, the third song, “Now And Then" was marred by hissing and humming, and the piano was overly loud. Harrison called it rubbish, and after a few hours of tracking a rough song they left it on the cutting room floor. But now in 2023, using film maker Peter Jackson’s latest restoration technology created for his "Get Back" documentary, the Beatles were able to create one last song together, though in three different eras. Lennon tracked his vocals in the '70s, Harrison's parts were lifted from the '90s sessions, and McCartney and Starr added their parts in 2022. The band is filled out by a string arrangement by Giles Martin (Beatles cataloger and son of the late Beatles producer George Martin) and Ben Foster, in addition to reused backing vocals from earlier Beatles tracks. So, did the Beatles successfully bring this worn-out recording back to life? Does this AI song sound like Beatles, let alone human? Find out on Switched On Pop. SONGS DISCUSSED The Beatles - Now And Then The Beatles - Free As A Bird The Beatles - Real Love The Beatles - Taxman The Beatles - While My Guitar Gently Weeps The Beatles - Two Of Us The Beatles - Eleanor Rigby The Beatles - Because The Beatles - Here, There And Everywhere The Beatles - The End The Beatles - Penny Lane The Beatles - Tomorrow Never Knows The Beatles - In My Life The Beatles - You Won't See Me The Beatles - When I'm Sixty Four The Beatles - Hello, Goodbye The Beatles - Blackbird The Beatles - I Want You (She's So Heavy) Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices


Rerecording Taylor Swift's 1989, Dark Side of the Moon, and Demi Lovato

Three big artists have rerecorded their most hallowed musical material. Taylor Swift, Roger Water and Demi Lovato each have different intentions in painstakingly putting their old songs onto new proverbial tape. On 1989 (Taylor's Version), Taylor Swift seeks control of her master recordings. On Dark Side of the Moon Redux Roger Waters explores his most vaunted work from his youth now with from perspective of an octogenarian. And Demi Lovato Revamped pivots their old pop hits into a hard rock aesthetic. Switched On Pop listens back to all three albums to see how they hold up to the original and to uncover new musical discoveries. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices


Chartbreakers: Mitski tops the TikTok chart

It’s time for another edition of our series Chartbreakers, where we take a look at the trends and shakeups happening on the Billboard Hot 100. This week, however, the chart has been dominated by Drake and his album For All the Dogs, which takes up a grand total of 23 spots on the Hot 100. So, rather than do a story on that, Charlie and Nate take a look at the brand new TikTok Billboard Top 50 chart, established only last month. This chart – which measures the most popular songs on the platform through each song’s number of videos, views, and user engagement – perhaps best shows the things that are popular and pervasive among a contingent of younger music listeners. Here, there’s room for everybody from Mitski to Sexyy Red to J. Dash, highlighting that the music that’s popular isn’t necessarily what hits the radio. SONGS DISCUSSED Drake - First Person Shooter (feat. J. Cole) Mitski - My Love Mine All Mine Elvis Presley - Blue Moon SUICIDAL-IDOL - ecstacy (slowed) SUICIDAL-IDOL - ecstacy SUICIDAL-IDOL - ecstacy (super slowed) J. Dash - Wop (Official Version) CeeLo Green - I'll Be Around (feat. Timbaland) - Club Mix Paul Russell - Lil Boo Thang The Emotions - Best of My Love Will Smith - Gettin' Jiggy Wit It Sister Sledge - He's the Greatest Dancer - 1995 Remaster Will Smith - Miami The Whispers - And the Beat Goes On Will Smith - Wild Wild West (feat. Dru Hill & Kool Mo Dee) - Album Version With Intro Stevie Wonder - I Wish Will Smith - Men In Black - From "Men In Black" Soundtrack Patrice Rushen - Forget Me Nots - Remastered Sexyy Red - SkeeYee BabyTron - Crocs & Wock' Ice Spice - In Ha Mood Tyla - Water Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices


How Talking Heads reinvented the concert film (with Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz)

Talking Head's concert film Stop Making Sense first came out forty years ago, and it’s just been rereleased in theaters in a 4k remaster by A24. The film finds the band — Tina Weymouth, Chris Frantz, David Byrne and Jerry Harrison — at the height of their powers over three successive nights at the the Hollywood Pantages Theater. As Chris and Tina remembered it when they spoke to producer Reanna Cruz, "We'd reached a state in our career and our lives when we felt, 'we've gotten pretty good at this now. We can show the world.'" Director Jonathan Demme spliced the band's performances into an eighty-eight minute odyssey beginning with Byrne solo on the stage and gradually bringing in the rest of the band and a cast of stellar guest musicians: vocalists Lynn Mabry and Ednah Holt, keyboardist Bernie Worrell, percussionist Steve Scales, and guitarist Alex Weir. The film introduced landmark moments like Byrne’s big suit, Demme’s cinematic approach to concert cinematography, Chris's and Tina’s Tom Tom Club performing the perennial sample flip "Genius of Love," and a theater-rocking version of "Burning Down the House." Stop Making Sense broke the mold of concert films and created a new paradigm for artists to follow ever since. Nate, Charlie, and Reanna take insights from Reanna's conversation with Tina and Chris on the legacy of Stop Making Sense as a guide to think through our own favorite concert movies — the Band's The Last Waltz, Madonna's Truth or Dare, and Beyonce's Homecoming — to identify the musical and visual choices that make them so indelible. Songs Discussed Talking Heads - This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody) - Live Talking Heads - Burning Down the House - Live Beyoncé - Diva - Homecoming Live Beyoncé - Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It) - Homecoming Live Madonna - Express Yourself Madonna - Live to Tell The Band - The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down - Live The Band - I Shall Be Released (Finale) - Live Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices


Feeling Fine with Faye Webster

The past two episodes of the show have been in Atlanta, and this week, we’re staying there with a look at singer-songwriter Faye Webster. Her music defies genre and convention: over the course of four albums, her sound has come to contain both pedal steel and indie rock as well as soft vocals and R&B sensibilities, all the while embodying the city of Atlanta. On this episode of Switched on Pop, we take a look at the work of Webster and how she builds her anomalous sound – even talking to the artist herself. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices


Metro Boomin Wants Some More

Few producers have had such a demonstrated impact on the the last decade of music as Metro Boomin. Described by GQ as the “architect of Atlanta rap,” Metro has netted collaborations as far-ranging from Coldplay to Gucci Mane, garnered three #1 projects on the Billboard 200, and is credited with bolstering trap music’s presence both in and out of the South. From “Jumpman” to “Bad & Boujee” to “Creepin’,” we’ve been hearing his productions for years – all of which manage to capture the ear due to his penchant for eerie soundscapes and light and dark dichotomy. This episode of Switched on Pop, we take a closer look at Metro Boomin’s career, highlighting what makes his production style so versatile. Songs Discussed: Metro Boomin, John Legend – On Time ILOVEMAKONNEN, Drake – Tuesday (feat. Drake) Future – Radical Drake, Future – Jumpman Kanye West – Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1 Big Sean – Bounce Back Migos, Lil Uzi Vert – Bad and Boujee (feat. Lil Uzi Vert) 21 Savage, Metro Boomin, Future – X (feat. Future) Future – Wicked Future – Mask Off Metro Boomin, 21 Savage – Don't Come Out The House (with 21 Savage) Metro Boomin, J Balvin, Wizkid, Offset – Only You (feat. Wizkid, Offset & J Balvin) Thompson Twins, Metro Boomin – Hold Me Now (Metro Boomin Remix) Solange – Stay Flo James Blake, Moses Sumney, Metro Boomin – Tell Them (feat. Moses Sumney & Metro Boomin) The Weeknd – Heartless Metro Boomin, The Weeknd, 21 Savage – Creepin' (with The Weeknd & 21 Savage) Mario Winans, Enya, Diddy – I Don't Wanna Know (feat. Enya & P. Diddy) Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices


In Defense of Crunk

Twenty years ago, the song "Get Low" by Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz and Ying Yang Twins was released; in the years since, the song has managed to stand the test of time, becoming the paragon of what we know as crunk music. In this episode of Switched on Pop, we take a look at crunk – from its roots in Memphis and Atlanta to its sonic successors, and give flowers to the man behind it all: Lil Jon himself. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices


Made In America: Jay-Z & Toby Keith ICYMI

In case you missed it rerun from 2016. 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? Music Discussed Toby Keith - Made In America Jay Z and Kanye West ft. Frank Ocean - Made in America Sisqo - Thong Song Usher - Yeah! Beyoncé - Daddy Lessons Jimmie Rodgers - Blue Yodel No. 9 Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys - Ida Red Likes to Boogie Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices


The Art of Flow (with DJ Jazzy Jeff) ICYMI

In hip-hop, what draws us to an artist is not just the content of their lyrics but how they deliver them. Along with tapping your foot to the rhythm, understanding something called “flow” is essential to understanding hip-hop as a whole. In this episode of Switched On Pop, we interview genre icon DJ Jazzy Jeff on the concept of flow: what it is, how it applies to all music – not just hip-hop – and how any rapper’s flow can be analyzed under his guidelines. Taking his word for it, we put our magnifying glasses on to look at the bars of our favorite rappers, from Megan thee Stallion to Babytron. Songs Discussed: The Notorious B.I.G. - Big Poppa Mary J. Blige - Family Affair A Tribe Called Quest - The Hop Danger Mouse, Black Thought - Aquamarine BabyTron - Crocs & Wock’ RXKNephew - Take Three JID - Better Days (feat. Johnta Austin) Megan Thee Stallion - Not Nice Megan Thee Stallion - Cocky Af Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices


Doja Cat’s Satanic Suite

For the first time in 2023, a rap song is at number one on Billboard's Hot 100: Doja Cat's “Paint the Town Red.” It’s her second number one single after the disco inspired “Say So.” But the ubiquitous and lighthearted bop didn’t accurately reflect Doja’s divisive persona, an extremely online meme lord, and sometimes troll, with a history of riling up internet controversy. Doja Cat recently called out her fans for their parasocial obsessiveness, losing 250k instagram followers in the process. Simultaneously, religious conservatives have accused her of Satanism for her playful use of illuminati imagery at her 27th birthday bash. But rather than recoil, Doja Cat is clapping back at criticism by embracing the devil. On “Paint the Town Red” she’s following the playbook of Lil Nas X’s “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” and Sam Smith and Kim Petras’ “Unholy,” all of which use demonic imagery to spark religious controversy while also commenting on artists’ indiscretions and the hellish nature of the attention economy. In her satanic suite — “Paint The Town Red,” “Demon,” and “Attention” — Doja Cat’s turns online flame wars into musical gold. More Listen to The Allusionist with Helen Zaltzman, the best and funniest podcast about language Read the history of the loon sample on Pitchfork by Philip Sherburne Songs Discussed: Doja Cat - Paint The Town Red Vanilla Ice - Ice Ice Baby Lil Nas X - MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) Sam Smith - Unholy (feat. Kim Petras) Doja Cat - Say So Doja Cat - Kiss Me More (feat. SZA) Doja Cat - Woman Doja Cat - Demons Daddy Yankee - Gasolina Kelis - Milkshake Kendrick Lamar - HUMBLE. Bernard Herrmann - A Narrative for String Orchestra (From "Psycho") [Arr. J. Mauceri] John Williams - Main Title/John Williams/Jaws - From The "Jaws" Soundtrack Lil Nas X - MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) Doja Cat - Attention 808 State - Pacific 202 Nicki Minaj - Anaconda Calvin Harris - Prayers Up (feat. Travis Scott & A-Trak) Dionne Warwick - Walk on By Doja Cat - Paint The Town Red - Slowed Down & Sped Up Doja Cat - Vegas (From the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack ELVIS) Beyoncé - Naughty Girl Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices


Jimmy Buffett: Next Year in Margaritaville

When Jimmy Buffett died on the first day of September, 2023, musicians from Paul McCartney to Pitbull mourned the death of the "Margaritaville" singer. This surprised Nate and Charlie, because frankly, they had never listened deeply to Buffett's work before, and viewed him more as a branding genius than a great musician. How wrong were your faithful podcast hosts. Jimmy Buffett was no novelty act or one-hit wonder. He found a precise combination of yearning lyrics, hip modulations, and singable melodies that produced a collection of songs that questioned the fantasy of Island Life as much as they celebrated it. Journey with us across the seas of Buffett's artistry as we listen for everything we might have missed about this unique musical icon. Songs Discussed Jimmy Buffett - Margaritaville, Cheeseburger in Paradise, Why Don't We Get Drunk, Come Monday, Fins, A Pirate Looks at 40, My Gummie Just Kicked In Harry Belafonte - Will His Love Be Like His Rum? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices


Beyoncé's 'Renaissance' Era ICYMI

In case you missed it, Beyoncé’s new album Renaissance is one of her most ambitious albums yet. On this week’s episode of Switched On Pop, we discuss Renaissance with beloved guest Sam Sanders, host of the new Vulture podcast Into It. In Sanders’ words: “it’s trying to do a lot” – but in the best way. The album incorporates seemingly every decade of contemporary popular dance music from Chic’s “Good Times” to Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy.” Much of the early discourse surrounding the album was marred by a confusing controversy over a small sample (we try to resolve the issue musicologically) – but the references on Renaissance are worth listening closely to, acting as a guide through essential dance music. The album is an homage to the black and queer innovators of dance; with samples and interpolations of songs both niche and mainstream flying by, like a DJ set curated by house music pioneers. On Renaissance, Beyoncé goes out of her way to cite, credit and compensate her influences, resulting in a triumph of musical curation. Just look at “Alien Superstar”: the song credits twenty-four people, largely due to Beyoncé’s musical nods, rather than an exercise in boardroom style songwriting. Sanders says “the liner notes themselves are showing you that this woman and her team have a PhD in music history.” Listen to Switched On Pop to hear how Renaissance honors dance music innovators and finds new modes of expression in the genre. Subscribe to Into It with Sam Sanders Listen on Apple Podcasts: https://bit.ly/3vE4jqf Listen on Spotify: https://bit.ly/3bB7Vmf Listen elsewhere: https://bit.ly/3BI0Nz0 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices


Olivia Rodrigo’s Good Ideas

Everyone seems to be getting Olivia Rodrigo wrong. She's one of the few pop stars who has made it big in the current era of fragmented music streaming, but so much of the narrative has been about whose songs she's stealing from, whether it be Taylor Swift, Elvis Costello or Paramore. Rodrigo's new album Guts arrives next Friday: while we wait patiently, we take a close listen to her new singles "vampire" and "bad idea right?" to subvert the narrative. These songs show that she isn't stealing from pop music, but rather uses a deep repertoire of musical predecessors to write very crafty music. Songs discussed: Olivia Rodrigo – vampire Olivia Rodrigo – bad idea right? Olivia Rodrigo – driver's license Olivia Rodrigo – brutal Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Pump It Up Olivia Rodrigo – good 4 u Paramore – Misery Business Olivia Rodrigo – deja vu Taylor Swift – Cruel Summer Radiohead – Creep Scala & Kolacny Brothers – Creep Lana del Rey – Get Free David Bowie – Space Oddity Elvis Presley – That's When Your Heartaches Begin Roy Orbison – Oh, Pretty Woman Talking Heads – And She Was The Breeders – Cannonball Liz Phair – Supernova Wet Leg – Chaise Longue The Beatles – Twist And Shout Rage Against The Machine – Killing In The Name Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices


Wonders: "Stacy's Mom" and Adam Schlesinger

In 2003, amidst a bunch of bleak alternative rock bangers like “Numb” by Linkin Park and “Bring Me To Life” by Evanescence, a rock song stood out on the charts for its fantastic hooks and juvenile sense of humor. “Stacy’s Mom” turned the New Jersey band Fountains of Wayne into MTV mainstays and Grammy nominees. But while they continued to release music, tour the country, and maintain a devoted fanbase, they never reached the same level of fame again. Most people never looked further than the raunchy music video, but Fountains of Wayne released six albums across two decades, each filled with tracks of quirky, clever, and undeniably catchy power pop. And the writer of that song, FOW bassist Adam Schlesinger, had a rich and fascinating career behind the scenes in film, TV, and more. In this episode of Switched on Pop, we explore the history of “Stacy’s Mom”, a perfectly crafted pop song that stands as a testament to the brilliance of a musician whose career was cut tragically short. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices


The mid-career crises of Travis Scott and Post Malone

Right now, the two biggest records in the country come to us from two of hip-hop’s biggest superstars: Travis Scott and Post Malone. Both artists have been releasing mainstream records for nearly a decade; their records UTOPIA and AUSTIN, respectfully, sit at number one and two on the Billboard 200. But going further than the numbers, these albums signify a shift in these artists’ sounds, moving them out of their usual genres into previously uncharted territory in both of their careers. And as this is Post Malone’s fifth record and Travis Scott’s fourth, we also must ask: what does it mean to be a mid-career artist? Songs discussed: Travis Scott – HYAENA Post Malone – Mourning Travis Scott, Teezo Touchdown – MODERN JAM Post Malone – Chemical Madonna – Borderline Madonna – Ray of Light Madonna – Don’t Tell Me Kendrick Lamar – m.a.a.d. city Kendrick Lamar – For Free? – interlude Travis Scott, Swae Lee, Chief Keef – Nightcrawler Travis Scott, Yung Lean – PARASAIL Travis Scott, Kid Cudi – LOOOVE Kanye West – I Am A God Gentle Giant – Proclamation Travis Scott, Beyoncé – DELRESTO (ECHOES) Post Malone – White Iverson Post Malone, 21 Savage – rockstar Post Malone – Overdrive Pixies – Where Is My Mind? Semisonic – Closing Time Post Malone – Something Real Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices


Song Camp 2: Electric Boogaloo! (with Alex Tumay, Wolftyla, Nicholas Petricca, Grace VanderWaal)

Part two of the secret world of song camps looks at the different roles in a songwriting session. There are producers who sit behind a console desk or computer and record, arrange and craft the instrumental and track the vocal. Often they double as engineers who use their technical knowledge to select mics, set up signal chains, and ensure the best recording. Then there is the topliner, a singer who generates melodies on the fly, throwing ideas at the instrumental, looking for the best hooks. Often the top liner is also a songwriter who crafts chords and lyrics to fit the topline melody. And then there is of course the artist who performs the piece. These roles aren’t always clearly divided - most musicians have multiple skills. But for the sake of understanding how each role is essential to creating a song, we asked four musical luminaries to embody one of these roles and break it down: producer/engineer Alex Tumay, topliner Wolftyla, Songwriter and Walk the Moon frontman Nicholas Petricca and Artist Grace VanderWall. This conversation happened live at the College of Performing Arts at The New School as part of Anti Social Camp 2023, the largest song camp in the world that is working to revive to the NYC songwriting scene. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices


The secret world of songwriting camps

Beginning in the nineties, pop songwriters have traveled to a 13th-century castle in the south of France for what’s come to be known as a “song camp” – a place where songwriters and collaborators can hunker down and spend a week together writing the next big hits. The castle’s owner Miles Copeland, former manager of The Police, brought songwriters to this far-flung location for a dose of creativity, and yielded massive success through the process: artists like Celine Dion, Britney Spears and Miranda Lambert have all benefited from songs stemming from these retreats. Over the last fifteen years, song camps have exploded in popularity from Peter Coquillard’s Bali Invitational, to Rihanna’s $200k LA camp, to the Anti Social Camp: a NYC-based event and the world’s largest songwriting retreat. This episode of Switched On Pop, we take a look at the secret world of song camps, and even manage to be a fly-on-the-wall in a camp with songwriter Nicholas Petricca of Walk The Moon, Julia Cumming of Sunflower Bean, engineer Will Campbell and producer Andrew Maury. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices