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.

Location:

United States

Networks:

Vox Media

Description:

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.

Language:

English


Episodes

The L.A. guitar shop that reinvented indie folk

2/7/2023
In 2010, a photographer named Reuben Cox moved to Los Angeles to start Old Style Guitar Shop. In the years since, the instruments that he continues to repair and sell have come to define the sound of the LA indie folk scene among artists like Blake Mills, Andrew Bird, Madison Cunningham, Ethan Gruska and Phoebe Bridgers. Reuben’s guitars are Frankenstein-esque creations, cobbled together from spare parts and neglected guitar bodies found in flea markets and estate sales. The sounds that...

Duration:00:36:06

A History of Whammies at the Grammys - Into It with Sam Sanders

2/2/2023
It's Grammys weekend and Sam Sanders, host of Vulture's Into It podcast, is ready for disappointment! Sam is joined by Switched on Pop's Charlie Harding and Reanna Cruz to break down the Grammys' history of tone deafness when it comes to the night's biggest awards. Will Beyoncé lose Album of the Year again... or will the voting body finally give her her due? Subscribe to Into It: https://link.chtbl.com/intoit?sid=stw Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Duration:00:24:45

Wonders: Bobby McFerrin

1/31/2023
In 1988, Bobby McFerrin recorded a song a cappella with a simple message: not to worry, and just enjoy life. That song, aptly titled “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” topped the charts and become one of the most well known one-hit wonders of all time. In doing so, it also propelled McFerrin into the spotlight, winning him three Grammy awards and an eternal place in pop culture. His career, though, is more than just the Big Mouth Billy Bass: a deep dive reveals an incredible career in jazz, folk, and...

Duration:00:34:49

The New Wave of Paramore

1/24/2023
Six years after their last record, Paramore is back with new music, and their upcoming record seems to have an uncanny connection to the era of new wave. But what is “new wave” anyway? Is it just a period of time in music or something more? In this episode of Switched on Pop, we explore some of the tracks from This is Why, out February 10th, and connect them to the works of everyone from Talking Heads to Joy Division. Songs Discussed Paramore – C’est Comme Ça Olivia Rodrigo – good 4 u...

Duration:00:34:23

Taylor Swift and the music industry's next $20

1/20/2023
Streaming feels like it's both at its height and on a precipice. Musicians are fed up at getting paid fractions of a penny, and the whole business model seems precarious. Switched On Pop co-host Charlie Harding was talking about the challenges for streaming future with my friend Nilay Patel, editor in chief of The Verge and host the podcast Decoder - a show about big ideas. And they taped a conversation about what’s next for streaming through the case study of Taylor Swift who has deftly...

Duration:01:22:24

SZA's Endless Melody

1/18/2023
Why does SZA's latest album SOS hit different? It's the way her melodies don't repeat where you expect them to, defying all the rules of pop songwriting. We break down how her endless melodies echo the intimate themes of her most recent release, and how they connect to genres ranging from gospel to Wagnerian opera. Songs Discussed SZA - Kill Bill, SOS, Shirt, Notice Me, Seek & Destroy, Gone Girl, Low, Smoking on My Ex Pack, Ghost in the Machine (ft Phoebe Bridgers), F2F Sam Smith & Kim...

Duration:00:29:37

Too Fast? We’re Curious: The sped-up remix phenomenon

1/10/2023
Over the past few months, you may have heard your favorite song pop up on the Internet – just slightly faster. You’re not alone: the phenomenon of the “sped-up” remix has taken over social media, with everyone from Lady Gaga to Thundercat getting the tempo treatment. The popularity of the craze has led to millions of TikTok videos, Billboard number ones, and songs becoming relevant again, decades after release. Ever since the proliferation of these “remixes,” the big questions remain: where...

Duration:00:28:19

ICYMI 90s Music Canon

1/3/2023
Matt Daniels, editor of the publication The Pudding, wanted to find out what songs from his youth would last into the future. So he designed a study that would test if Gen-Z had a grip on 90s culture. Hundreds of thousands of participants provided over 3 million data points. Daniels parsed through the data for insights. Sadly, the majority of his most beloved songs have not survived even one generation. Though most had been forgotten, he found that just a few songs had staying power across...

Duration:00:35:34

ICYMI: We *do* talk about Bruno

12/27/2022
The number one song on the charts is a bit of a mystery. “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” is the unlikely hit from Disney’s sleeper animated musical Encanto. Set in a mountainous village in Colombia, the film was a middling commercial success when it was released in Nov 2021. But in recent months it has become a pop culture phenomenon for a confluence of reasons: an expansive discourse on Colombian representation in media, fan videos on TikTok, and of course it's ear-wormy hits. The musical is...

Duration:00:28:52

Anitta & Rosalía on the borders of Latin pop

12/20/2022
When it comes to distinguishing what exactly Latin music is, what makes the cut? To some, it’s simply music from the Latin American region, and to others, it’s any music that is sung in Spanish – but much like the pop canon, the phrase encapsulates so many different eras, styles, and genres. Like any distinction, there’s also music on the periphery: specifically, the music of Brazil, where the sounds are similar but the main language is different, and Spain, where the history of colonization...

Duration:00:29:59

How Bad Bunny won 2022

12/13/2022
For Switched On Pop’s end of year coverage, we just have one superlative: who won 2022? The answer, of course, is Bad Bunny. This year alone, the prolific Puerto Rican artist has topped charts worldwide, became Spotify’s most streamed artist globally, and his record Un Verano Sin Ti has obtained many accolades including being the first Spanish-language album nominated for Album of the Year at the Grammys. The record itself serves as a textbook to the sounds of Latin America: over the course...

Duration:00:36:06

The soft sounds of Kali Uchis (live from Vulture Fest)

12/6/2022
Through crafting a unique, cross-cultural sound, Kali Uchis has emerged as one of indie music’s most promising talents. From playing in jazz band as a kid to collaborating with Bootsy Collins and Kaytranada, the Grammy Award-winning artist has managed to take her bilingual, one-of-a-kind music to the Billboard charts while still keeping her DIY ethos. At this year’s Vulture Fest live in Los Angeles, host Charlie Harding talked with Uchis about her career, her songcraft and her two upcoming...

Duration:00:33:47

Why do new Christmas songs fail?

11/29/2022
In case you missed it last year: why are there no new Christmas songs? One one hand, there's more holiday songs than we’ll ever need. Every year pop stars drop countless holiday-themed album. But despite the annual glut of Christmas releases, few of these new songs join the rotation of holiday classics. On Billboard's Holiday Hot 100 chart right now, there's only four songs from the past ten years that have made it to the top fifty. We listen to each of these holiday hits—from Kelly...

Duration:00:27:00

The Art of Flow

11/22/2022
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...

Duration:00:35:33

Willow Smith rocks harder

11/15/2022
Coping Mechanism, Willow's new album, is her heaviest music yet. Charlie and Willow chat about the making of the new record and the many multitudes of rock music. Music Discussed The Anxiety - Meet Me At Our Spot Willow - Maybe It's My Fault, UR Town, Human Leach, PrettyGirlz, Lipstick, Why, Breakout, Hover Like a Goddess, Curious/Furious, Ur A Stranger Yungblood - Memories (with Willow) Deftones - Sextape Radiohead - I Will Straight Line Stitch - What You Do To Me Killswitch Engage - My...

Duration:00:23:31

The Sound of Sapphism

11/8/2022
Tegan & Sara and King Princess have found themselves placed under the banner, "sapphic pop," a term recently coined referring to music by and/or for sapphics (a.k.a. women or femme folks attracted to other femme folks). Journalist Emma Madden defines the folk-inspired sound as having a “soft tactile approach” that’s “more sensual than it is sexual.” This umbrella folds in everyone from indie pop veterans Tegan & Sara to nonbinary artists like King Princess; even artists like Hozier and...

Duration:00:33:45

Scary Pockets funkify pop classics (with Lizzy McAlpine)

11/1/2022
Scary Pockets is the musical collective that has been transforming pop classics into funk anthems for over half a decade. Each week they release a new cover on YouTube featuring razor-sharp instrumentalists and a rotating cast of virtuosic lead singers. Amazingly, each of their 200-plus covers is arranged on the fly, in a span of about 90 minutes—capturing the talent and spontaneity of a group of musicians at the top of their game. We here at Switched on Pop were struck by the band's ability...

Duration:00:33:45

Up late with Taylor Swift’s ‘Midnights’

10/24/2022
A Taylor Swift album is just not a collection of new music, it’s an exploration of a theme. For the last eight years, each release has embodied a single idea. Reputation marked a turn to the dark side, Lover a return to the light, and her pair of albums Folklore and Evermore painted acoustic, fictional landscapes. Each album propels fans to find covert lyrical connections to her personal life, and easter eggs to past compositions. Whereas Swift's pop star contemporaries have focused their...

Duration:00:38:17

Steve Lacy brings bedroom pop to the Billboard top

10/18/2022
It’s the song that launched a thousand TikTok videos – or over 500,000 to be exact: Steve Lacy’s “Bad Habit.” The track is a smooth, psychedelia tinged ode to yearning, currently spending its third week on the top of the Billboard Hot 100. Lacy is an artist dedicated to shifting form and convention, from his records with alternative R&B band The Internet to his productions for artists like Mac Miller and Vampire Weekend. Even in his solo work, his songs are unpredictable, deftly moving...

Duration:00:34:51

Why it hurts to release a record (with Sylvan Esso)

10/11/2022
Earlier this year, the members of Sylvan Esso took a gamble, making their "most free and wild and strange" album yet: No Rules Sandy. And to add to the overall theme of lawlessness, Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn decided to do something equally as free and radical: they decided to forgo the typical multi-year album cycle as well as a standard promo campaign. While wrapped in what Amelia calls a “PR cocoon,” she began to think about the less tangible aspects of the album rollout process, and...

Duration:00:47:40