Switched on Pop-logo

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

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

12/14/2020
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

Red Hot + Blue with Meshell Ndegeocello

12/1/2020
In 1990 John Carlin and Leigh Blake pioneered a new kind of charity album. Together they co-founded Red Hot, a non-profit music label that uses music to raise money and awareness to for the fight against AIDS. This year is the 30th anniversary of their record: Red Hot + Blue, a platinum tribute album to Cole Porter, featuring artists like U2, Jody Watley, David Byrne, k.d. lang and Annie Lennox. Having released 20 projects and raised over $15M for AIDS charities, Carlin reflects back on Red...

Duration:00:44:30

The Cyndi Lauper Conspiracy (with Sam Sanders)

11/24/2020
Every song Cyndi Lauper writes is pop perfection according to Sam Sanders, host of NPR’s “It’s Been A Minute.” Many fall for “Girls Just Want To Have Fun,” but Sanders's favorite song is the slow burner “All Through The Night,” save for one moment: the synthesizer solo. For Sanders, this solo never fit in. Charlie investigates the source of his musical malady and uncovers how the 80s got its groove. Songs Discussed Cyndi Lauper - Girls Just Want To Have Fun Cyndi Lauper - Time After Time...

Duration:00:36:33

ANTHEMS: Missy Elliott — Work It

11/17/2020
Cultural critic Ivie Ani breaks down how Missy Elliott broke into the pantheon of anthems, and how she changed the scope of who could belong. Songs Discussed Missy Elliott - Work It Blondie - Heart of Glass RUN-DMC - Peter Piper Rock Master Scott & the Dynamic Three - Request Line Snoop Dogg - Y'All Gone Miss Me Vanilla Ice - Ice Ice Baby Justin Timberlake - Sexy Back Trace Adkins - Honky Tonk Badonkadonk Missy Elliott - The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly) Lil Kim - Not Tonight (Remix) Missy Elliott -...

Duration:00:38:15

ANTHEMS: Smash Mouth — All Star

11/10/2020
When Smash Mouth wrote "All Star,” they knew that it was going to change their lives. But they never expected it would become an anthem played in sports arenas, soundtracked by Hollywood, and embedded into seemingly every internet meme. Darryn King joins the show to break down "The Never-ending Life of Smash Mouth's 'All Star.'" Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:33:56

ANTHEMS: Jock Jams — Get Ready For This

11/3/2020
In 1995, ESPN launched Jock Jams Volume 1, a compilation record that would define the sound of sports for the next quarter century. We listen to the album's biggest songs to define what makes a "Jock Jam," and tell the story of how this record came to define the sound of the stadium. MORE Read Emily VanDerWerff's article: “The Jock Jam” megamix inadvertently plays out ESPN’s inner tensions Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:37:03

ANTHEMS: Queen — We Are The Champions

10/27/2020
Freddie Mercury and team made one of the most unusual anthems of all time. “We Are The Champions” has a somber beginning, an uncertain ending and a sprinkling of operatic allusions. Yet more than 40 years after this slow burners debut, it continues to be a staple at sporting events. In the first episode in a four part series, ANTHEMS, Nate and Charlie break down the song’s fundamental elements that place this song in the anthemic pantheon. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit...

Duration:00:36:11

Cory Henry has Something to Say

10/20/2020
Cory Henry is a remarkably gifted multi-instrumentalist. Growing up in the church, he started playing the Hammond B3 organ at age 2 and played his first gig at Apollo theater in NYC at age 6. As a professional musician he’s played along side Bruce Springsteen, Boyz II Men, The Roots, Kirk Franklin and many others including the acclaimed group Snarky Puppy which earned 3 Grammys during his tenure playing keys. Now he leads his band Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles who are releasing an album on...

Duration:00:32:44