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Switched on Pop

Vox Media

Best Arts & Culture podcast Webby 2020 winner about the making and meaning of popular music. Musicologist Nate Sloan & songwriter Charlie Harding pull back the curtain on how pop hits work magic on our ears & our culture. From Vulture and the Vox Media Podcast Network.

Best Arts & Culture podcast Webby 2020 winner about the making and meaning of popular music. Musicologist Nate Sloan & songwriter Charlie Harding pull back the curtain on how pop hits work magic on our ears & our culture. From Vulture and the Vox Media Podcast Network.

Location:

United States

Networks:

Vox Media

Description:

Best Arts & Culture podcast Webby 2020 winner about the making and meaning of popular music. Musicologist Nate Sloan & songwriter Charlie Harding pull back the curtain on how pop hits work magic on our ears & our culture. From Vulture and the Vox Media Podcast Network.

Language:

English


Episodes

Pop On A Perilous Planet (w Kyle Devine)

4/20/2021
Earth Day 2021 gives us the chance to pause our usual programming and consider the role pop music plays in our deepening climate emergency. On Side A, we listen to artists who have confronted the climate crisis head-on. Side B considers the environmental cost of streaming music with Kyle Devine, author of Decomposed: The Political Ecology of Music. Songs Discussed: George Pope Morris - Woodman, Spare That Tree! Joni Mitchell - Big Yellow Taxi Marvin Gaye - Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) Tower...

Duration:00:35:26

5 Rules of Great Songwriting Collabs, According to Teddy Geiger and Dan Wilson (On Air Fest 2021)

4/13/2021
On Switched on Pop we talk to songwriters and artists about how they make great songs. Most songs are written with two or more people in the room. Something we've never done before is pair two of the best songwriters in the business to explain how they create a successful collaboration. Teddy Geiger is a Grammy nominated songwriter who's written countless number ones. You've likely heard her work with Sean Mendes, Leon Bridges, and Christina Aguilera, among many others. She’s also a...

Duration:00:31:34

Silk Sonic's Retro Soul (with Tayla Parx)

4/6/2021
Anderson Paak and Bruno Mars have joined forces as the duo Silk Sonic, and their first release “Leave the Door Open” suggests that their collab is as natural as peanut butter and jelly. The song exudes throwback vibes through its lush harmonies and sensuous lyrics. But this isn’t any run-of-the-mill exercise in empty nostalgia. Silk Sonic have a very specific sound in mind that they’re reviving for 21st century audiences: Philly Soul, the sophisticated 70s sound that “put a bow tie on funk.”...

Duration:00:54:42

AJR Conjure Broadway on 'OK Orchestra'

3/30/2021
Adam, Jack and Ryan Met, better known as AJR, started playing gigs on the streets of New York City. The sidewalk hustle taught them how to grab the attention of the least forgiving audience. Now on their fourth studio album, OK Orchestra, they’ve honed an ear-stopping sound that combines modern pop with broadway bombast. Their platinum-certified single “Bang” pairs a carnival-like horns section with skittering trap style hi-hats. This strange pairing worked. Peaking at No. 8 on the Hot 100,...

Duration:00:43:11

Return of the Funk Guitar: Cory Wong Breaks Down Dua Lipa, Jessie Ware and Nile Rodgers

3/23/2021
Cory Wong is a Minneapolis native and Vulfpeck collaborator known for pushing rhythm guitar from a background instrument to the star of the show. Wong’s a walking encyclopedia of funk guitar, and he takes us through the riffs and styles—from Nile Rodgers to Quincy Jones—that power modern bops such as Dua Lipa’s “Levitating” and Jessie Ware’s “Step Into My Life.” For Cory, rhythm guitar isn’t just a source of propulsive joy, but a sound that’s intimately connected to different regional...

Duration:00:33:53

What the 63rd Grammys say about the state of pop

3/15/2021
The 63rd Grammys was as unprecedented and unusual as last year. Backdropped by the pandemic, the show was delayed and had to be taped in multiple locations in front of a bare bones audience. Echoing the public cries against injustice, standout performances by Mickey Guyton, DaBaby, and Lil Baby decried racism to the nation and to the Grammys—the academy made multiple public statements throughout the night promising to do better. The more light hearted performers played best against highly...

Duration:00:45:01

Kimbra reflects on a song that we used to know

3/9/2021
Ten years ago the Australian artist Gotye asked New Zealand musician Kimbra to feature on his song “Somebody I Used To Know.” At the time Kimbra had no idea it was going to be a hit. No wonder—the song lacks the trappings of a conventional pop song. The chorus shows up late and it only repeats once in a track composed of an obscure Brazilian guitar sample and nursery rhyme xylophones. But this slow burner about opposing sides in a relationship's bitter end found a global audience, ascending...

Duration:00:48:51

Kaytranada's journey from basement beat-making to the Grammys

3/2/2021
Kaytranada has what every producer strives for: an in-demand signature sound. His records glide fluidly between four-to-the-floor house beats, hip-hop sample-flipping, and P-Funk style 808 bass lines. He honed the technique as a teenager, and it has since grabbed the attention of some all-star collaborators: Pharrell Williams, Mary J. Blige, Alicia Keys, Anderson .Paak, and Kendrick Lamar. This year, he’s nominated for three Grammys, including Best Dance/Electronica Album for his 2019...

Duration:00:38:27

JP Saxe Didn’t Mean for His Grammy Hit ‘If the World Was Ending’ to Be So Literal

2/23/2021
JP Saxe wrote the song “If the World was Ending” with acclaimed songwriter Julia Michaels in 2019 about a fictional cataclysm. The record was released in the before times in a way that seemed to presage lockdown. In the early months of the actual pandemic the song resonated so widely that it catapulted up the charts. It’s now been nominated for a Grammy for song of the year — an award JP Saxe could share with his grandfather János Starker who was awarded a Grammy in 1997 for a recording of...

Duration:00:37:08

Adrian Younge's new project sounds like James Baldwin meets Marvin Gaye

2/16/2021
Adrian Younge is a producer for entertainment greats ranging from Jay Z and Kendrick Lamar to the Wu Tang clan, a composer for television shows such as Marvel's Luke Cage (with A Tribe Called Quest’s Ali Shaheed Mohammad), and owner of the Linear Labs record label and analog studio. Younge has a new mixed media project that breaks down the evolution of racism in America that he calls his “most important creative accomplishment.” A short film, T.A.N., and podcast, Invisible Blackness,...

Duration:00:35:14

The Scandalous Sounds of Bridgerton (w Kris Bowers)

2/9/2021
The Netflix series Bridgerton has hooked audiences with its bodice-ripping sex scenes, a colorblind approach period drama casting, and a soundtrack featuring recreations of modern bangers from pop stars like Ariana Grande and Billie Eilish arranged in the style of a classical string quartet. By bringing modern melodies into the proper world of Regency England, the show reminds us that classical music wasn’t always so stuffy and solemn. In its time, it trafficked in the same scandal as modern...

Duration:00:42:33

How The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights” used retro sounds and modern bass to break every record

2/2/2021
This Sunday, The Weeknd will perform his distinctly dark brand of pop at the Super Bowl halftime show. On the surface, the alter-ego of Abel Tesfaye is a strange pick for the ostensibly family-friendly main-stage — for more than a decade, The Weeknd has fused the sounds of pop, R&B, and trap into a cinematic horror-thriller about drugs, sex and the excess of fame. While his sheer volume of Hot 100 hits have rightly earned him mainstream status, even his most commercial material is hardly PG...

Duration:00:38:42

Epik High is our gateway into Korean hip hop (with Tablo)

1/26/2021
Epik High are elemental to Korean hip hop. DJ Tukutz, Mithra Jin and Tablo’s underground style boom bap beats with dexterous rapping helped bring this music from its underground roots to a global scale. On their latest release, Epik High Is Here Part I, the textures are subdued but paired with heavy drums and aggressive vocals, a contrast that matches our collective anxiety arising from the pandemic. Charlie speaks with Tablo about the creation of the album, but first first ethnomusicologist...

Duration:00:53:46

Olivia Rodrigo’s “Drivers License” is a full throttle power ballad

1/19/2021
Power ballads used to top the charts regularly, from 80s rock to 90s R&B. But then in the 2000s, the formula of constant escalation gradually fell off the Billboard. Now, seemingly out of nowhere, Olivia Rodrigo’s single “Drivers License” is breaking streaming records as listeners yearn for the emotional catharsis from this contemporary power ballad. With the help of David Metzer, professor of music history at the University of British Columbia, we break down how “Drivers License” sticks to...

Duration:00:39:02

D.O.C. (Death of the Chorus) with Emily Warren

1/12/2021
Listen to Top 40 pop over the last decade and you’ll notice something weird is happening. The chorus—the emotional apotheosis of a pop song, its dizzying high, its cathartic sing-along center—is disappearing. In its place, artists from Bad Bunny to Taylor Swift are toying with new, chorus-lite song forms that introduce a new musical grammar to the sound of contemporary pop. We may not think much about pop structure when listening to our favorite songs, but this is a big deal—the last time...

Duration:00:40:00

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

1/5/2021
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...

Duration:00:48:46

ICYMI: Do You Believe in Life After Autotune?

12/29/2020
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...

Duration:00:46:04

Wham! Op. 84 “Last Christmas” with Chilly Gonzales

12/21/2020
Wham’s 1984 contribution to the holiday cannon, “Last Christmas,” has surprising staying power. When Grammy-winning pianist Chilly Gonzales set out to record a holiday album, “A Very Chilly Christmas,” most of the selections were over a half century old. That’s because most of our favorite seasonal songs come from the 1960s and earlier. But in addition to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas,” Wham’s “Last Christmas” reliably returns each winter. Despite the cheesy 80s synths and drum...

Duration:00:53:22

Taylor Swift has "evermore" of a good thing

12/15/2020
Just five months after releasing her Grammy-nominated album “folklore,” Taylor Swift surprised fans with a continuation of sorts — her ninth studio album “evermore.” Working with many of her “folklore” collaborators, Swift says that the team “couldn’t stop writing songs.” Like its sister album, “evermore” shies away from over-the-top pop production, and leans into Swift’s craft. Stripped of the highly produced synth layers from her “Lover” and “Reputation” era, Swift’s lyrics and vocal...

Duration:00:44:37

Women's Rap Renaissance

12/8/2020
Producer Bridget Armstrong shares her top tracks from women who are running hip-hop in 2020: Megan Thee Stallion, Tierra Whack, Rico Nasty, Flo Milli, and CHIKA More Listen to the Drake episode on In My Feelings: https://switchedonpop.com/episodes/93-drake-vs-drake Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:39:18