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Pop Pantheon

Author: DJ Louie XIV

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The podcast where DJ Louie XIV and guests completely overanalyze all your favorite pop stars, then rank them in the official Pop Pantheon.
202 Episodes
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It seems like every single Main Pop Girl has dropped an album this year: Ariana, Kacey, Beyoncé, Taylor, Dua, Billie and Charli. And we're only six months in! It's been a whole lot of new music to process but now that we've had a minute to sit with these records, Keep It's Ira Madison III joins DJ Louie to reflect on all of these records, what they have common, what makes each stand out, and debate which they liked and disliked. Ira and Louie give each of the girlie's albums a "Pitchfork rating" and end the show with a final ranking of all the Main Pop Girl Albums of 2024... so far. Subscribe to Ira's new Substack FrankJoin Pop Pantheon: All Access, Our Patreon Channel, for Exclusive Content and MoreShop Merch in Pop Pantheon's StoreCome to Gorgeous Gorgeous LA 7/26 at Los GlobosCome to Gorgeous Gorgeous: PRIDE! on 6/28 at The Sultan Room in BrooklynFollow Ira Madison III on TwitterFollow DJ Louie XIV on InstagramFollow DJ Louie XIV on TwitterFollow Pop Pantheon on InstagramFollow Pop Pantheon on Twitter
In a preview of this week's Pop Pantheon: All Access episode, Normani's debut solo album has been over five years in the making. Now that Dopamine is finally here, was it worth the wait? And with the heat having died down on her career, does it matter? Rolling Stone's Larisha Paul joins the show to help break it all down.  To hear the rest of the this episode plus receive weekly bonus episodes of Pop Pantheon, gain access to our Discord channel and so much more, subscribe to Pop Pantheon: All Access at the Icon Tier. You can also subscribe for the audio only directly in the Apple Podcasts app. 
Tre Johnson returns to Pop Pantheon for a special Pride episode about one of pop's greatest disruptors, Frank Ocean. Louie and Tre discuss Frank’s first foray into the industry, writing for artists like Brandy and Justin Bieber and his rapturous breakthrough mixtape, 2011’s Nostalgia Ultra, which instantly turned Frank into a critical darling and rewrote the aesthetic and commercial rules of pop. Then they tackle his major label debut, 2012’s Channel Orange, which was accompanied by his version of a coming out, his sparse and meandering 2016 visual album, Endless, and his first independent release, the esoteric, beautiful Blonde. Finally, they discuss his output since 2016 and rank Frank Ocean in the official Pop Pantheon.Listen to Pop Pantheon's Frank Ocean Essentials PlaylistJoin Pop Pantheon: All Access, Our Patreon Channel, for Exclusive Content and MoreShop Merch in Pop Pantheon's StoreCome to Gorgeous Gorgeous: PRIDE! on 6/15 at Los Globos in Los AngelesCome to Gorgeous Gorgeous: PRIDE! on 6/28 at The Sultan Room in BrooklynFollow Tre Johnson on TwitterFollow DJ Louie XIV on InstagramFollow DJ Louie XIV on TwitterFollow Pop Pantheon on InstagramFollow Pop Pantheon on Twitter
In a preview of this week's Pop Pantheon: All Access episode, Charli XCX's sixth studio album Brat, which dropped Friday, was posited as a dance album. What we actually got was something quite a bit more complicated. On this week's episode, Louie and Russ break the whole thing down. To hear the rest of the this episode plus receive weekly bonus episodes of Pop Pantheon, gain access to our Discord channel and so much more, subscribe to Pop Pantheon: All Access at the Icon Tier. You can also subscribe for the audio only directly in the Apple Podcasts app. 
To kick off Pride Month, Freelance Music Writer Trish Bendix and Senior Editor at Xtra Magazine Mel Woods join Louie to track the conspicuous rise of sapphic-ness in mainstream pop. From BoyGenius to Chappell Roan to Billie Eilish, girls who like girls and make that a huge feature in the music are crossing over onto the top of the Billboard charts. How did we get here? When did this story begin to happen?  And what does it say about our culture that this is finally allowed to happen? Read Trish's Piece "Long cast aside, queer women are starting to get their due from the music industry" in NBC NewsJoin Pop Pantheon: All Access, Our Patreon Channel, for Exclusive Content and MoreShop Merch in Pop Pantheon's StoreCome to Gorgeous Gorgeous: PRIDE! on 6/15 at Los Globos in Los AngelesCome to Gorgeous Gorgeous: PRIDE! on 6/28 at The Sultan Room in BrooklynFollow Trish Bendix on TwitterFollow Mel Woods on TwitterFollow DJ Louie XIV on InstagramFollow DJ Louie XIV on TwitterFollow Pop Pantheon on InstagramFollow Pop Pantheon on Twitter
Molly Mary O’Brien returns to Pop Pantheon to unpack the unlikely longevity of Pink. Louie and Molly chart Pink’s emergence in Philadelphia clubs as a teenager through to her brief girl group career and her pop debut as a blue-eyed R&B product at the turn of the millennium with 2000’s Can’t Take Me Home. From there they discuss “Lady Marmalade,” Pink’s rocker image overhaul with 2001’s Linda Perry-assisted juggernaut Missundaztood, 2006’s hit-filled I’m Not Dead and 2008’s Funhouse, which brought her reincarnation as pop’s greatest circus performer. Then they unpack her mid-career hits, from “Raise Your Glass” to 2012’s The Truth About Love and her long-lasting career as a stadium-filling live act. Finally, they rank Pink in the Official Pop Pantheon.  Listen to Pop Pantheon's Pink EssentialsJoin Pop Pantheon: All Access, Our Patreon Channel, for Exclusive Content and MoreShop Merch in Pop Pantheon's StoreCome to Gorgeous Gorgeous: PRIDE! on 6/15 at Los Globos in Los AngelesCome to Gorgeous Gorgeous: PRIDE! on 6/28 at The Sultan Room in BrooklynFollow Mary Mary O'Brien on TwitterFollow DJ Louie XIV on InstagramFollow DJ Louie XIV on TwitterFollow Pop Pantheon on InstagramFollow Pop Pantheon on Twitter
The most recent in a long lineage of music biopics, Back to Black, which purports to chronicle the life of the late great Amy Winehouse came out in the US last week. The film received mostly negative reviews and underperformed at the box office. So why are these movies, generally speaking, so unsuccessful and why do we keep making then? Movie Critic Keith Phipps join DJ Louie to discuss Back to Black, the history of music biopics, why the good ones are good and why most of them are so bad. Join Pop Pantheon: All Access, Our Patreon Channel, for Exclusive Content and MoreShop Merch in Pop Pantheon's StoreCome to Gorgeous Gorgeous: PRIDE! on 6/15 at Los Globos in Los AngelesCome to Gorgeous Gorgeous: PRIDE! on 6/28 at The Sultan Room in BrooklynFollow Keith Phipps on TwitterFollow DJ Louie XIV on InstagramFollow DJ Louie XIV on TwitterFollow Pop Pantheon on InstagramFollow Pop Pantheon on Twitter
In a preview of this week's Pop Pantheon: All Access episode, Billie Eilish released her third album, Hit Me Hard and Soft, last Friday. The LA Times' Mikael Wood joins DJ Louie to chronicle the latest evolution in Billie and Finneas' ongoing collaboration and how it fits into the broader glut of Main Pop Girl releases in 2024. To hear the rest of the this episode plus receive weekly bonus episodes of Pop Pantheon, gain access to our Discord channel and so much more, subscribe to Pop Pantheon: All Access at the Icon Tier. You can also subscribe for the audio only directly in the Apple Podcasts app. 
Yale University’s Dr. Daphne Brooks returns to Pop Pantheon to unpack one of the foundational blueprints for pop stardom as we know it, Tina Turner. Dr. Brooks and Louie trace Tina’s roots in Tennessee, her debut as a nightclub act in St. Louis and her early work with Ike Turner, from their hit single “A Fool in Love” to their string of R&B hits, fiery live revue and work with Phil Spector. They recount Tina’s influence on the major white rock acts of the period, Ike and Tina’s 1971 hit “Proud Mary” and her first solo album, Tina Turns the Country On. Then they recount her split from Ike and 1984’s blockbuster Private Dancer – one of the greatest comebacks in pop history. Finally, they discuss her continued global success through to her passing, her seismic influence and legacy and rank Tina Turner in the Official Pop Pantheon. Listen to Pop Pantheon's Tina Turner Essentials on SpotifyJoin Pop Pantheon: All Access, Our Patreon Channel, for Exclusive Content and MoreShop Merch in Pop Pantheon's StoreCome to Gorgeous Gorgeous LA on 5/18 at Los GlobosCome to Gorgeous Gorgeous: PRIDE! on 6/28 at The Sultan Room in BrooklynFollow DJ Louie XIV on InstagramFollow DJ Louie XIV on TwitterFollow Pop Pantheon on InstagramFollow Pop Pantheon on Twitter
In a preview of this week's Pop Pantheon: All Access episode, Brazilian pop sensation Anitta's most recent recored, Funk Generation, dropped a few weeks ago. Julianne Escobedo Shepherd joins Louie and Russ to break down her rise to global stardom, this record's celebration of Brazilian Baile Funk and put us all on to a couple more rising Brazilian superstars we should all be paying attention to. To hear the rest of the this episode plus receive weekly bonus episodes of Pop Pantheon, gain access to our Discord channel and so much more, subscribe to Pop Pantheon: All Access at the Icon Tier. You can also subscribe for the audio only directly in the Apple Podcasts app. 
After recent episodes on Mariah and Nirvana, two artists who had massive career-defining moments on MTV's iconic live showcase Unplugged, Louie invited authors of the book I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution, Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum to chronicle the history of the series: how it started, why it was important, and which pop stars gave the most indelible performances. Listen to our other MTV-centric episodes on the history of Total Request Live and the VMAs.  Join Pop Pantheon: All Access, Our Patreon Channel, for Exclusive Content and MoreShop Merch in Pop Pantheon's StoreCome to Gorgeous Gorgeous NYC on 5/10 at Sultan RoomCome to Gorgeous Gorgeous LA on 5/18 at Los GlobosFollow Rob Tannenbaum on TwitterFollow Craig Marks on TwitterFollow DJ Louie XIV on InstagramFollow DJ Louie XIV on TwitterFollow Pop Pantheon on InstagramFollow Pop Pantheon on Twitter
In a preview of this week's Pop Pantheon: All Access episode, Dua Lipa returned with her much anticipated third album Radical Optimism on Friday. Music writer Owen Myers joins Louie and Russ to parse out the messy rollout and framing, underperforming singles and, after so much hype, how this music actually sounds and who exactly Dua Lipa is on it. To hear the rest of the this episode plus receive weekly bonus episodes of Pop Pantheon, gain access to our Discord channel and so much more, subscribe to Pop Pantheon: All Access at the Icon Tier. You can also subscribe for the audio only directly in the Apple Podcasts app. 
Legends Only co-host T. Kyle makes his Pop Pantheon debut to discuss Hilary Duff’s brief ascension from Disney starlet to massive pop diva. Louie and T. Kyle discuss Hilary’s origins via the Disney assembly line with the early 2000s juggernaut The Lizzie McGuire Show and how it helped launch her pop career, from her debut album of holiday songs to 2003’s The Matrix-crafted Metamorphosis, which includes her most indelible hit, “Come Clean.” Then they unpack Hilary’s 2004 self-titled album, her hilariously early career greatest hits record, Most Wanted, and her 2007 dance pop breakup album Dignity. To conclude, they tackle Hilary’s final studio album, 2015’s Breathe In. Breathe Out. and rank Hilary Duff in the Official Pop Pantheon.Listen to Pop Pantheon's Hilary Duff Essentials Playlist on SpotifyJoin Pop Pantheon: All Access, Our Patreon Channel, for Exclusive Content and MoreShop Merch in Pop Pantheon's StoreCome to Gorgeous Gorgeous NYC on 5/10 at Sultan RoomCome to Gorgeous Gorgeous LA on 5/18 at Los GlobosFollow T. Kyle Mac on TwitterFollow DJ Louie XIV on InstagramFollow DJ Louie XIV on TwitterFollow Pop Pantheon on InstagramFollow Pop Pantheon on Twitter
In the past few years, we've seen a serious decline in the centrality of and views for music videos across the board, even for the biggest pop stars. Journalist Michael Cragg recently chronicled this phenomenon in his piece for The Guardian, "'This is an Art Form— and We're Losing it': Is the Music Video Dying?" and today, he joins DJ Louie to discuss the piece and the general state of the music video in 2024. Is the music video format still vital? Why has viewership declined? What do we lose if we allow music videos to slip away entirely and is there a way to save them? Join Pop Pantheon: All Access, Our Patreon Channel, for Exclusive Content and MoreShop Merch in Pop Pantheon's StoreCome to Gorgeous Gorgeous NYC on 5/10 at Sultan RoomCome to Gorgeous Gorgeous LA on 5/18 at Los GlobosFollow Michael Cragg on TwitterFollow DJ Louie XIV on InstagramFollow DJ Louie XIV on TwitterFollow Pop Pantheon on InstagramFollow Pop Pantheon on Twitter
In a preview of this week's Pop Pantheon: All Access episode, last night in front of a live audience at The Bell House in Brooklyn, Pop Pantheon gathered Rolling Stone's Brittany Spanos, Every Single Album's Nora Princiotti and Hung Up's Hunter Harris to discuss Taylor Swift's 11th studio album(s?) The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology. Louie and the crew dissect the new music from every angle: major themes, aesthetics, writing styles, the Jack Antonoff of it all and more. Next, they dig into Taylor's current Imperial Phase: how it happened, how long it can last and whether there's a backlash brewing before discussing Taylor's Pantheon ranking and sharing their updated Taylor album rankings. To hear the rest of the this episode plus receive weekly bonus episodes of Pop Pantheon, gain access to our Discord channel and so much more, subscribe to Pop Pantheon: All Access at the Icon Tier. You can also subscribe for the audio only directly in the Apple Podcasts app. 
Bandsplain’s Yasi Salek joins DJ Louie to trace Nirvana's brief, iconoclastic trail through pop's mainstream in the early 1990s. Louie and Yasi unpack the group's origins in Aberdeen, Washington, their time on famed indie label Sub Pop, known for popularizing the "grunge" sound, and their bleak, sparse debut in 1989, Bleach, which garnered them a cult following. Next, they tackle Nirvana's breakthrough smash, the generational anthem “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, and 1991’s unexpected blockbuster Nevermind, which briefly remolded the pop charts in their image and became one of the biggest albums of all time. They then discuss Kurt’s infamous marriage to Hole front woman Courtney Love, prickly relationship to his own fame and success and how his heroin addiction spun out of control during the promo cycle for 1993’s darker and grittier In Utero. Finally, Louie and Yasi detail Kurt’s tragic death by suicide in 1994, encasing the group in amber and forever giving their legacy a grand tragic air, before ranking Nirvana in the official Pop Pantheon. Listen to Pop Pantheon's Nirvana Essentials Playlist on SpotifyJoin Pop Pantheon: All Access, Our Patreon Channel, for Exclusive Content and MoreShop Merch in Pop Pantheon's StoreCome to Pop Pantheon Live: Tortured Poets & The State of Taylor Mania on 4/22 at the Bellhouse in BrooklynBuy Tickets to Pop Pantheon Presents: Taylor Mania at Parkside Lounge on 4/19Come to Gorgeous Gorgeous LA on 4/20 at Los GlobosCome to Gorgeous Gorgeous NYC on 5/10 at Sultan RoomFollow Yasi Salek on TwitterFollow DJ Louie XIV on InstagramFollow DJ Louie XIV on TwitterFollow Pop Pantheon on InstagramFollow Pop Pantheon on Twitter
It's listener mailbag time!Louie and Russ are answering all your questions about their expectations for Taylor's The Tortured Poets Department, their personal pop pet peeves, the formula for following up a blockbuster album, why there are no more male pop stars and so much more. Plus, stay tuned until the end of the episode for a very special surprise guest appearance :-). Join Pop Pantheon: All Access, Our Patreon Channel, for Exclusive Content and MoreShop Merch in Pop Pantheon's StoreCome to Pop Pantheon Live: Tortured Poets & The State of Taylor Mania on 4/22 at the Bellhouse in BrooklynBuy Tickets to Pop Pantheon Presents: Taylor Mania at Parkside Lounge on 4/19Come to Gorgeous Gorgeous LA on 4/20 at Los GlobosCome to Gorgeous Gorgeous NYC on 5/10 at Sultan RoomFollow DJ Louie XIV on InstagramFollow DJ Louie XIV on TwitterFollow Pop Pantheon on InstagramFollow Pop Pantheon on Twitter
Critic and writer Naomi Zeichner joins Pop Pantheon to explore the career of the “vocal bible,” Brandy. Louie and Naomi unpacked Brandy’s self-titled 1994 debut, released when she was just 15, her landmark acting roles as Moesha and Cinderella, and 1998’s Darkchild-assisted Never Say Never, which reimagined her at the vanguard of R&B futurism and became one of the signature blockbusters of the decade. They then discuss 2002 adventurous electropop-R&B fantasia Full Moon, 2004’s deeply personal Afrodisiac and her later period output, like 2012’s Two Eleven, which kicked off a cultural and critical reappraisal of her work. Finally, Louie and Naomi rank Brandy in the Official Pop Pantheon. Listen to Pop Pantheon's Brandy Essentials Playlist on SpotifyJoin Pop Pantheon: All Access, Our Patreon Channel, for Exclusive Content and MoreShop Merch in Pop Pantheon's StoreCome to Pop Pantheon Live: Tortured Poets & The State of Taylor Mania on 4/22 at the Bellhouse in BrooklynBuy Tickets to Pop Pantheon Presents: Taylor Mania at Parkside Lounge on 4/19Come to Gorgeous Gorgeous LA on 4/20 at Los GlobosCome to Gorgeous Gorgeous NYC on 5/10 at Sultan RoomFollow Naomi Zeichner on TwitterFollow DJ Louie XIV on InstagramFollow DJ Louie XIV on TwitterFollow Pop Pantheon on InstagramFollow Pop Pantheon on Twitter
In a preview of this week's Pop Pantheon: All Access episode, Beyoncé eighth studio album, Cowboy Carter, dropped last Friday. Once perceived as a foray into country music, this sprawling 80 (!!) minute epic turned out to be so much more than that and, as with any Bey project, begs for some serious unpacking. DJ Louie, Russ and Oxford American's Danielle Amir Jackson are here to do just that, breaking down the music, themes, references, history and breadth of the expansive second installment in Beyoncé's unfurling new trilogy. To hear the rest of the this episode plus receive weekly bonus episodes of Pop Pantheon, gain access to our Discord channel and so much more, subscribe to Pop Pantheon: All Access at the Icon Tier. You can also subscribe for the audio only directly in the Apple Podcasts app. 
Tonight, Beyoncé will drop her eighth studio album, Cowboy Carter, her first explicit full-length foray into country music. As with every Bey project, there's a ton of meaning and history to unpack. DePaul University professor and author of Black Country Music: Listening for Revolutions, Dr. Francesca Royster, and writer and editor Taylor Crumpton, author of TIME piece Beyoncé Has Always Been Country, join the show to explain the long and often under-sung history of Black women in country: from the birth of many of the genre's core aesthetics and tenants during slavery, to 20th century recording artists who have attempted to break Nashville's white and male mass co-option, to recent breakthroughs from stars like Mickey Guyton. Dr. Royster, Taylor & DJ Louie attempt to position Cowboy Carter in this long and arduous lineage, unpack the details and gestures of singles "Texas Hold 'Em" and "16 Carriages", and parse how Beyoncé's country pivot is tapping into a much larger story than may appear at first blush. Join Pop Pantheon: All Access, Our Patreon Channel, for Exclusive Content and MoreShop Merch in Pop Pantheon's StoreCome to Pop Pantheon Live: Tortured Poets & The State of Taylor Mania on 4/22 at the Bellhouse in BrooklynBuy Tickets to Pop Pantheon Presents: Taylor Mania at Parkside Lounge on 4/19Come to Gorgeous Gorgeous LA on 4/20 at Los GlobosFollow Taylor Crumpton on TwitterFollow DJ Louie XIV on InstagramFollow DJ Louie XIV on TwitterFollow Pop Pantheon on InstagramFollow Pop Pantheon on Twitter
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