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Song Exploder

Author: Song Exploder

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Song Exploder is a podcast where musicians take apart their songs, and piece by piece, tell the story of how they were made. Each episode features an artist discussing a song of theirs, breaking down the sounds and ideas that went into the writing and recording. Hosted and produced by Hrishikesh Hirway.
174 Episodes
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Brittany Howard - Stay High

Brittany Howard - Stay High

2019-09-1800:19:432

Brittany Howard is the guitarist and lead singer of the four-time Grammy-winning band Alabama Shakes. This month, she’s releasing her first solo album, called Jaime. In this episode, Brittany breaks down the song “Stay High,” which was the album’s first single. She started working on it while staying at a house in Topanga Canyon, near LA.songexploder.net/brittany-howard
Robyn - Honey

Robyn - Honey

2019-09-0400:25:015

Robyn is a Swedish singer and songwriter. Her first album came out in 1995, when she was 16 years old. It went platinum in the US, double-platinum in Sweden. Since then, she’s been nominated for five Grammys and started her own record label. But there was an eight-year gap between Robyn’s album Body Talk, which came out in 2010, and her most recent album, Honey, which came out last October. Time, Rolling Stone, and Pitchfork all named it one of the best albums of the year.For Song Exploder, Robyn breaks down the song “Honey,” the title track from that album. The first time the public heard the song was in a 2017 episode of the HBO show Girls, but that’s not the final version that was released on the album. In this episode, Robyn traces the long history of how she made “Honey,” a song that The New York Times called “her masterpiece.”songexploder.net/robyn
Bon Iver - Holyfields,

Bon Iver - Holyfields,

2019-08-2100:19:2513

Justin Vernon founded the band Bon Iver in 2006. Bon Iver’s released four albums, and won two Grammys, including Best New Artist.The most recent album, i,i, came out in August 2019, and in this episode, Justin breaks down a song from it called “Holyfields,.” He’s joined by producers Chris Messina and Brad Cook. We spoke to him in July, from his studio in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where the song started. They finished it at Sonic Ranch studio, in Tornillo, Texas, on the border of the US and Mexico.songexploder.net/bon-iver
Sleater-Kinney was formed in 1994 by Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein. Drummer Janet Weiss was a member of the band from 1997 until 2019. In Time Magazine in 2001, author and critic Greil Marcus named Sleater-Kinney “America’s Best Band.” Over the years, they’ve made nine albums, including this year’s The Center Won’t Hold, which was produced by Annie Clark of St. Vincent. In this episode, Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein break down how the song “The Future Is Here” was made.songexploder.net/sleater-kinney
Denzel Curry - RICKY

Denzel Curry - RICKY

2019-07-2400:17:546

Denzel Curry is a rapper from Miami. He started his career at age 16 as part of the hip hop collective Raider Klan. He released his first solo album while still in high school.In May 2019 Denzel released his fourth album, ZUU. He made it with the Australian production duo FnZ, who have been collaborating with him since 2016. The album was named Best New Music by Pitchfork, and Denzel made his TV debut on The Tonight Show.songexploder.net/denzel-curry
Jamila Woods - BALDWIN

Jamila Woods - BALDWIN

2019-07-1000:22:458

Jamila Woods is a singer, songwriter, and poet from Chicago. She’s released two albums, and she’s collaborated with artists like Chance the Rapper, Noname, and Macklemore.In May 2019, she put out her second album, LEGACY! LEGACY!, to critical acclaim. NME called it one of the albums of the year, Rolling Stone called it a “revelation,” and Pitchfork named it “Best New Music.”In this episode, Jamila and her producer Slot-A break down a song from that album, called “BALDWIN,” named after the late author and civil rights activist James Baldwin.songexploder.net/jamila-woods
Big Thief - Cattails

Big Thief - Cattails

2019-06-2600:18:188

Big Thief is a four piece folk-rock band from Brooklyn, New York. In May 2019, they released their third album, U.F.O.F., to critical acclaim. Pitchfork named it “Best New Music.”In this episode, singer Adrianne Lenker and drummer James Krivchenia break down a song from that album called “Cattails.”songexploder.net/big-thief
Sheryl Crow is a singer-songwriter from Missouri. She’s released ten studio albums, sold over 50 million records, and has won nine Grammys.In April 2019, Sheryl Crow released a new version of her song “Redemption Day,” which was first released on her self-titled album in 1996. This new version features vocals from Johnny Cash, who recorded a cover of the song that was released posthumously in 2010. And in this episode, Sheryl Crow breaks down how it all came together.songexploder.net/sheryl-crow
Raleigh Ritchie is the musical alias of Jacob Anderson, a musician and actor who’s probably best known for playing the character Grey Worm on Game of Thrones.Raleigh Ritchie released his first album in 2016, and he’s put out a handful of EPs. In September 2018, he put out the single, “Time in a Tree.” He made the song with Grammy-nominated producer Daniel Traynor, aka Grades. In this episode, the two of them take apart “Time in a Tree” to explain how it came together, and how it was influenced by classic Hollywood movies, Billy Joel, and overwhelming anxiety.songexploder.net/raleigh-ritchie
John Darnielle has been writing and recording songs as the Mountain Goats since 1991. He’s released 17 studio albums, and also written two books of fiction.In April 2019, the Mountain Goats released the album In League with Dragons, and in this episode, John Darnielle breaks down a song from it, called Cadaver-Sniffing Dog. We’ll hear his original demo, and then, hear how the song evolved at Blackbird Studios in Nashville, with the help of John’s band, some incredible session musicians, and producer Owen Pallett.songexploder.net/the-mountain-goats
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Comments (153)

Michael Glaun

Great episode! So much emotion shared by Robyn. Aweome song. 😁

Sep 6th
Reply

Ja'Kayla Hill

so many life lessons and gems dropped in this segment, very beautiful. i'm inspired 🙏🏾💗

Aug 12th
Reply

Kristin Chong

Ja'Kayla Hill This looks good.

Aug 12th
Reply

John Hollowell

this song itself is beautiful, and then you add the try story of the song and it adds a depth that you can get only from the lyrics themselves.

Jun 15th
Reply

Byron Drake

I love the song and the musicality of it, it's just so good.

Jun 4th
Reply

Andrew Mark

Byron Drake We'll said brother!

Jun 12th
Reply

Byron Drake

Amazing, I didn't realize what this song had to tell as a story.

Jun 4th
Reply

Isabelle Tailhades

Ta chanson est super

May 11th
Reply

Shashank Bhargava

I love this episode!

Apr 23rd
Reply

Oleg Petrunchak-Fesenko

💎

Apr 23rd
Reply

Vicente Jofre

loved the song!

Apr 4th
Reply

Baber Ali Zeb

this song is just beautiful.

Mar 21st
Reply

William Rachal-Curtis

This podcast is awesome!! Please add more hip hop and R&B songs.

Mar 18th
Reply

benjamin schleiken

Great one

Mar 18th
Reply

Luke Morrill

My favorite quote from this episode is when Jack says: "It's really about anybody who wants to build any kind of walls that divide us... Whenever I feel anti-something I try to quickly catch myself and say 'if I'm against these ideas, then what ideas am I for?' I try to at least come from this place of 'if you're going to try to tear something down, what are you trying to build?'"

Mar 12th
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Comrade Quashie

Surreal

Mar 10th
Reply

Ofc. Webber

Such a great song.

Feb 21st
Reply

Steve Yencho

Really nice - what a brilliant musician and treasure of our generation. Incredible also to think about musicians back from the classical era and the dedication to the longevity of their art.

Feb 9th
Reply

timma h

OMG this song's my favourite

Jan 9th
Reply

REVERSE

timma h Weird flex but ok

Jan 13th
Reply

Justin Brown

one of my faves

Jan 6th
Reply

Karissa Carnival

EW

Dec 28th
Reply

Ray Blizzard

Really ejoyed this i play too!!

Dec 17th
Reply
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