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What if music awards were given out for only musical qualities? It may seem like celebrity and spectacle are more important than ever at the […]
Author Courtney Smith joins to offer her expertise on an urgent topic in advance of Valentine’s Day: Can we abstract the sexiest songs of all […]
“7 Rings” is Ariana Grande’s latest smash, a glittering banger that owes much to Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1959 classic “My Favorite Things.” 60 years later, […]
Two artists who haven't released new music since 2013 recently remerged into the limelight: Katy Perry, with her dystopian disco banger "Chained to the Rhythm" and Lorde, with the melodramatic-yet-uplifting anthem "Green Light." Listening carefully, a fact becomes apparent, despite Lorde's insistence that she "hears new sounds" in her mind: there's something familiar lurking beneath both these tracks. And indeed, both were co-written and produced by key figures of the modern pop music firmament. Who are they, and how do we detect their fingerprints on the latest from these two low-voiced chanteuses? Tune in and test your acumen in a high-stakes game of musical forensics. Featuring:Katy Perry - Chained to the RhythmLorde - Green Light...and some secret songs
With the Academy Awards around the corner, Charlie and Nate try something new: a break down of the movie musical La La Land through two of its key songs, "City of Stars" and "Start a Fire." These numbers, one by composer Justin Hurwitz, the other by Hurwitz and John Legend, might represent the two poles of the film's dramatic structure. But a deep dive into their musical construction reveals leitmotifs and left turns that leave us staggered at the different levels to La La Land's score. Special guest Genevieve Koski, deputy culture editor for Vox and co-host of the film podcast The Next Picture Show, joins to help our hosts journey through the uncharted terrain of cinema. Featuring:• Start a Fire - John Legend• City of Stars - Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone• John Legend - Ordinary People• Backstreet Boys - Everybody• Ariana Grande - Side To Side• Die Walkure, The Ring Cycle - Richard Wagner• Engagement, Planetarium, Epilogue, Mia + Sebastian's Theme - Justin Hurwitz• Générique, Dans le magasin de parapluies, Final  - The Umbrellas of Cherbourg• Tie Fighter Theme - John WilliamsCheck out Genevieve Koski's writing on Vox and her great podcast on La La Land here.
"I Don't Wanna Live Forever," the new track from Zayn and Taylor Swift, finds two members of the pop pantheon joining forces with producer Jack Antonoff to craft an inexorable hit song. But this duet—between a former One Direction heartthrob aiming to avert the sophomore slump and a megastar returning to the limelight—is far from triumphant. Instead, "Forever" delves into themes of loss and separation—emotions in turn embedded in the very structure and melody of this most unusual duet. Also, Charlie and Nate discuss what upcoming Grammy nominations have them most excited, From Chance the Rapper to Radiohead, Bowie to Solange, there's much to celebrate from 2016. Musically speaking, that is. Featuring:• Zayn & Taylor Swift - I Don't Wanna Live Forever• Giovanni Gabrieli - Symphoniae Sacrae II• Solange - Cranes in the Sky• Chance the Rapper - All We Got• David Bowie - Lazarus• Radiohead - Burn the Witch• Tycho - Glider
"Into You" was one of the biggest hits of 2016, the stellar production of reclusive legend Max Martin combining with the acrobatic vocals of Ariana Grande to create an undeniable, ubiquitous earworm. With "Into You" still burning up the charts, we dive deep to uncover the insane puzzles, Trompe-l'oiel tricks and Baroque games that lie under the surface of this morsel of pop perfection. PLUS, brilliant rocker and rapper K. Flay joins to discuss the mysteries of Ariana Grande and takes us through the composition of her own, bass-heavy anthem of catharsis, "Blood in the Cut."Featuring• Ariana Grande - Into You • K Flay - Blood in the Cut• Bee Gees - Stayin' Alive• J.S. Bach - A little hocket example• Ariana Grande - Dangerous Woman• The Chainsmokers - Closer• The Rolling Stones - Can't Get No Satisfaction• The Rolling Stones - Paint It Black
"I Feel it Coming" might be the slowest burning jam to hit the charts in ages, in which the Weeknd enlists the robotic hum of Daft Punk to help craft a perfectly calibrated climate of desire. Brilliant, sexy songs don't just appear out of thin air, though, so we reveal how this song's perpetual excitement is hard-won through references to past stars of sultriness like Michael and Marvin while employing its own bag of tricks to turn up the heat. Featuring:•The Weeknd + Daft Punk - I Feel it Coming•Marvin Gaye - Let's Get it On•Michael Jackson - Rock With You•Chic - Good Times•Ike and Tina Turner - Doin' ItFor an excellent playlist of listener-submitted sexy songs, direct your dirty self here:
White Christmas holds the Guinness World Record for most singles sold and has been covered over 500 times. Pop stars from Elvis to Ella have recorded it, with interpretations from doo-wop to country to punk rock. With new covers each year, it seems listeners have not grown tired of this Tin Pan Alley chestnut. We use our scientific formula for holiday hit success to break down what makes this song so timeless.FeaturingBing Crosby - White ChristmasThe Beatles - Christmas Time Is HereWhitney Houston - Have Yourself a Merry Little ChristmasJackson 5 - Santa Clause Is Coming to TownThe Beatles - In My LifeFrank Sinatra - White ChristmasKenny G - White ChristmasNashville Cast - White ChristmasLady Gaga - White ChristmasThe Drifters - White ChristmasElvis - White ChristmasElla Fitzgerald - White ChristmasBeach Boys - White ChristmasDean Martin - White ChristmasKaty Perry - White ChristmasKelly Clarkson - White ChristmasRascal Flatts - White ChristmasMichael Bolton - White ChristmasMichael Bublé and Shania Twain - White ChristmasCarol Of The Bells by Audionautix is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license ( the Hall, Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy and Angels We Have Heard by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (
50 episodes in, hosts Charlie and Nate take a step back to think about how they listen to music and try to define what might be called The Switched on Method™. "Hallelujah," by the late, great Leonard Cohen, acts as a perfect test case for breaking down listening into four key layers: 1) The Liner Notes, 2) The Needle Drop, 3) The Scratch, and 4) The Remix. Through this patented process, artistic revelations are all but guaranteed, with Cohen's opus no exception — his modern classic is not all it appears to be. Featuring:•Leonard Cohen - "Hallelujah"
On the surface, Tove Lo's new hit "Cool Girl" boasts a snappy, earworm chorus and an empowering message of self-reliance. Beneath its chill exterior, though, Lo's song burns with a passion bordering on rage, and sinister sonic undertones suggest an unreliable narrator who doesn't always mean what she says. The more layers one pulls back from this song, the more Lo's source material—the novel and film "Gone Girl"—comes to the fore, turning "Cool Girl" into the kind of pop smash that sticks in your head in more ways than one. Featuring:Tove Lo - Cool GirlDaft Punk - Harder, Better, FasterAlessia Cara - Scars To Your Beautiful
Back in 2011, two pop songs dropped with the same patriotic title: "Made in America." But the similarities pretty much end there. Toby Keith's country smash and Jay Z, Kanye West and Frank Ocean's soulful hip hop anthem have little in common except a firm conviction that each song knows what it really means to be American. Five years later, these tracks have a lot to tell us about the role music plays in shaping our national identity, and begs the question: does music truly bring us together? FeaturingToby Keith - Made In AmericaJay Z and Kanye West ft. Frank Ocean - Made in AmericaSisqo - Thong SongUsher - Yeah!Beyoncé - Daddy LessonsJimmie Rodgers - Blue Yodel No. 9Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys - Ida Red Likes to Boogie
Host Charlie spent the last two weeks listening to every song on the Billboard Hot 100. What did he discover? That the sonic similarities of most chart-toppers sound closer than ever. Except for the #1 song in America, as of this episode's release - "Closer" by The Chainsmokers, ft. Halsey. This one is different than the rest...or is it? We dive into the styles of the moment to re-learn the old maxim that "great artists steal" - whether that artist is a 2016 DJ duo or an 18th century Classical master. Featuring:•Tory Lanez - LUV•Shawn Mendes - Treat You Better•Frenship - Capsize•Maroon 5 - Don't Wanna Know•Cheat Codes - Sex•The Chainsmokers ft. Halsey - Closer•Charlie Puth ft. Selena Gomez - We Don't Talk Anymore•Jack U ft. Justin Bieber - Where Are U Now•Drake - Know Yourself•Amine - Caroline•MO - Final Song•Mike Posner - I Took a Pill in Ibiza (Seeb remix)•The Weeknd - I Can't Feel My Face•The Chainsmokers ft. Phoebe Ryan - All We Know•Antonio Vivaldi - "La Primavera" Concerto•Vivaldi - Giustino•Vivaldi - Dorilla in Tempe•Vivaldi - Orlando Furioso
The Nokia ringtone used to be heard more than a billion times per day, making it one of the most popular songs in the world. We tend to consider cellphone rings as somewhat antithetical to music. There is a whole subset of YouTube videos dedicated to the perverse thrill of watching a delicately beautiful musical moment ruined by the harsh cry of a default ringtone. In this episode, we zoom in on one of these annoying melodies to see if there's not some hidden musical craft present in the ubiquitous bleeps and bloops that envelop us. Later, Charlie shares a piece made solely of this sonic detritus, and a data scientist locates surprising musical patterns in a most unexpected source.Featuring:The Nokia TuneThe Beatles - She's So HeavyOne Direction - Live While We're YoungFrancisco Tarrega - Gran ValsCharlie Harding - Bowl ArrowLinks:Jonathan Berger's Article in Nautlius: How Music Hijacks our Perception of TimeFamous Cell Phone Rings Played on the Piano by Tony AnnGreg Hochmuth's workRedaction: an earlier edit of this show made in insensitive and inappropriate quip about an act of war, which we have removed. We apologize to our listeners. 
Lady Gaga's new single "Perfect Illusion" is the apotheosis of her artistic statement. She is well known for her visual style that too often overshadows her music. But when taken together, it is evident that Lady Gaga is playing all of us because the non-conformity of her outward appearance is reflected back in her compositions. On first listen, her songs may sound like just another catchy pop tune and this is intentional. Gaga lures us close with the sound of pop fame and then hooks us and reels us into into her dungeon of monstrous sounds.FeaturingLady Gaga - Perfect IllusionLady Gaga - Just DanceLady Gaga - Government HookerQueen - Radio GagaLady Gaga - Love GameLady Gage - ScheisseMichael Jackson - ThrillerPhantom Of The Opera - OvertureJohn Carpenter - Halloween Theme (Main Title)Lady Gaga - Bad RomanceLady Gaga - AlejandroAce Of Bass - I Saw The SignLady Gaga - SpeechlessQueen - Don’t Stop Me NowLady Gaga - So Happy I Could DieNatasha Bedingfield - Pocket Full of SunshineLady Gaga - Born This WayMadonna - Express YourselfLady Gaga - TeethLady Gaga - Bloody MaryLady Gaga - Dance In The DarkTony Bennett and Lady Gaga - Anything GoesTony Bennett - I Wish I Were In Love Again
Certain pop songs have that moment, when everything seems to change but still remain the same, when the drama gets ratcheted up, when the tension increases and our emotions take an elevator ride to the heavens. From Beyoncé to Johnny Cash, savvy pop songwriters know a well-placed harmonic modulation can leave listeners reeling. But what is this mysterious musical trick, and how does it work? Tune in and let us take you higher, and higher, and higher, as we explore the wild world of modulation. FeaturingOne Direction - Night ChangesTaylor Swift - Love StoryBackstreet Boys - I Want it That WayStevie Wonder - Knocks Me Off my FeetBeyonce - Love On TopWhitney Houston - I Will Always Love YouMozart - Queen of the Night AriaMichael Jackson - Man in the MirrorThe Beatles - Penny LaneJohnny Cash - Walk the LineHear more of Dru Cutler's work at
A strange syndrome is wreaking havoc on the voices of our biggest pop stars. From Rihanna to Justin Bieber, no one is safe from having their beautiful vocals chopped up, screwed down, repitched and repurposed. As dance music takes over the charts and new software grants vocal manipulation at the click of a button, this uncanny production technique has become nearly ubiquitous. But is this ultramodern sound really that new? We dig deep into the roots of the sound of the moment.Featuring:• Kiaara - Gold• Coldplay - Hymn for the Weekend (Seeb remix)• Hailee Steinfeld ft. Grey & Zedd - Starving• Calvin Harris ft. Rihanna - This is What You Came For• Mike Posner -I Took a Pill in Ibiza (Seeb remix)• DJ Snake ft. Justin Bieber - Let Me Love You• Cold Crush Brothers - MC Battle (Live)• Cerrone - Rocket in the Pocket• Wu Tang Clan - Tearz• Wendy Rene - After Laughter• Kanye West - School Spirit• Whistle - Just Buggin• Nu Shooz - I Can't Wait
This episode marks something of a departure from the norm. With Charlie away, host Nate, aka "Hubcap," takes us on a home-show tour of the Scottish Highlands with his traveling minstrel act, The Gideon and Hubcap Show. It's an entirely different kind of summer music spectacle. Featuring:•13,000 Miles - Gideon Irving•Oh Wow - Gideon Irving•Ida Done - Gideon and Hubcap•Safe Word - Gideon and Hubcap•Hebrides Overture – Felix Mendelssohn•Mouth Music - From the Smithsonian Folkways Collection, Scottish Drinking and Pipe Songs•Breabach - Gig Face•Cuyahoga - Gideon and HubcapCheck out and for more.
The fingerprints of house music are all over mainstream pop, but much of its sound has been whitewashed. That ubiquitous four-to-the-floor kick and synth bass sound draws from Chicago's queer, black and latinx warehouse club culture. Micah Salkind is working on a book on the history of these communities. Together we break down the sonic origins of this music through a modern track that fully embraces its cultural nexus: "Hideaway" by Kiesza. Micah takes us back to Chicago in the 1980s, and we explore how this sound came to be and where it is going today. FEATURINGKiesza - HideawayLoleeta Holloway - Love SensationBlack box - Ride On TimeMadonna - VogueMr. Finder - The JuiceKanye West - FadeRythim Is Rythim - Strings Of LifePaul Oakenfold - You Could Be HappyFrankie Knuckles - Your LoveMFSB ft The Three Degrees - T.S.O.P. (The Sound of Philadelphia)Jesse Saunders - On and OnDiplo - Be Right There Justin Bieber - SorryCalvin Harris - This Is What You Came ForShaun J. Wright & Alinka - Love Inspired MORE STUFFFind more of Micah's work at and his DJ sets at to Shaun J. Wright & Alinka on SoundCloud:
How do you create a hit that both breaks sound barriers and chart records? Drake has done this with a unique mix of international sounds from Africa, the Caribbean, the U.K. and Canada. But is his chart topping success musical appropriation or celebration? A deep listening reveals diverse influences and musical rhythms that have crossed oceans centuries before "One Dance" was even conceived. Plus, we debut Blinky Bill's "So Strong," his first single off his upcoming solo album.FEATURING- Drake - One Dance (feat. Whizkid & Kyla)- Ojuelegba Remix - Wizkid ft. Drake & Septa- 2Baba - Coded Tinz ft. Phyno, Chief Obi- DJ Maphorisa - Soweto Baby feat Wizkid & Dj Buckz- Crazy Cousinz - Do You Mind ft. Kyla- The Revolutionaries - General For General- Barrington Levy - Dance Are Changing - Joh Thomas - Ghetto Dance- Papa Biggie - Youth Them Have To Grow- Yellowman - Adam & Eve- Mighty Diamonds - Love Me Girl- Drake - Hotline Bling- Timmy Thomas - Why Can’t We Live Together- D.R.A.M. - Cha Cha- Gil Scott-Heron and Jamie XX - Take Care Of You- Drake - Take Care ft. Rihanna- Drake - JunglePaul Simon - Graceland- Paul Simon - I Know What I Know- Moby - Natural Blues- Vera Hall - Trouble So Hard- David Guetta - Hey Mama (ft. Nicki Minaj)- Sangkala - Gamelan Degung- Joel Francisco Perri - Las llamas de Potosi- Habib Koité - Africa- Kwaa Mensah - Odo Me, Me Sum No DoChico O’farrell - Sin Titulo- Trio Matamoros - El Que Siembra Su Maíz - Joseph Kabasele - Africa Bola Ngombi- E.T. Mensa & The Tempos - Fom Fom- Fela Kuti - Lagos Baby- Fela Kuti - Elbe Moi (Carry Me)- Fela Kuti - LadyWizkid - Show You The Money- Blinky Bill - So StrongCheck out Blinky's music at by Casper and Amazon Prime Music's Song of Summer Playlist Amazon
Comments (54)

Antonio Brown

so happy for your episode. just listened to this song and then opened up my podcast app (castbox) to see the song and group featured!

Nov 9th


Such an amazing album, truly ✨

Nov 1st


Human? Of all the songs to pick. Wow.

Sep 3rd

Evan Parker

After the pandemic was over, the first thing I did was buy a ticket to a music festival because I'm a huge fan, and the atmosphere there is fantastic. I try to attend every festival I find, even if I haven't heard of the bands before, and it's still an amazing experience. I managed to find many great artists that way, and thanks to , it's not that hard for me to listen to them even if they don't upload their songs on streaming services.

Jun 7th

Em H.

jfc why title it BTS when you spend 90% of it talking about other kpop groups? especially when a lot of aspects mentioned about the big3 don't even apply to BTS

Oct 23rd

Heather YyY

Love them so much. So talented

Oct 1st

Rui Pedro Pereira

This is very stupid. The truth is, unless you copy the same "song"/lyrics, there shouldn't be any copyright ownership.

Sep 21st

Heather YyY

More music. Less talking. Most annoying guest.

Aug 14th

Simona Hristova

Can you, please, talk about Marina (fka Marina and the diamonds)? Her most recent work is particularly interesting, and something worth exploring on a deeper level. Her lyricism is really what stands out. She has one of the rarest writing styles in the industry.

Apr 21st

Rui Pedro Pereira

black eyed peas I got a feeling is a sports anthem. this one is absolutely not.

Nov 20th


How I love the critics and the analysis!

Oct 29th

Fabio Gioia

have it a chance, and glad I did.

Oct 27th

Imperfectionist Podcast

hey guys...not sure if you guys get messages through this platform, but commercial placement and movie placement is likely the biggest reason the next generation knows a rune from before their birth... ;)

Sep 27th

Yasmine C

Kaleidoscopic pop, keyboard pop, korporate pop, Korean pop... what a great introduction to kpop.

Feb 17th


nice podcast

Feb 13th

Whitney Rodden

Another great episode.

Feb 5th

Cristofer Dorante

buttcheeks bumping?? 🤣🤣🤣

Jan 15th

Owen Ball

how did Freddie Mercury not get a mention in an episode about falsetto? great show!

Nov 20th

Claudio Rodriguez Valdes


Nov 20th
Reply (1)


I wish they wouldn't have so many guests on. It's cool every now and then but it's a disruption to the formula of the show. Especially when the guests are just there to be interviewed, it's better when they are there to bring analysis like the latest Rihanna episode guest

Nov 2nd
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