302 episodes

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.

Song Exploder Radiotopia

    • Music
    • 4.8 • 785 Ratings

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

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.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

    Crowded House - Don't Dream It's Over

    Crowded House - Don't Dream It's Over

    Crowded House formed in 1985 in Melbourne, Australia. They’ve released eight albums, including their most recent one, Gravity Stairs, which came out last month. But on their very first album, they had a big hit with "Don’t Dream It’s Over."Crowded House made “Don’t Dream It’s Over” with Grammy-nominated producer Mitchell Froom, who they went on to work with multiple times. For this episode, I talked to frontman Neil Finn about how the song was first written, and how it developed with his bandmates and collaborators in the studio. And we talked about the profound connection people have had with the song over the years.For more, visit songexploder.net/crowded-house.

    • 22 min
    Lizzy McAlpine - Staying

    Lizzy McAlpine - Staying

    Lizzy McAlpine released her first album in 2020, and her second album in 2022. And between the two, she’s had a lot of success. One of her songs, "Ceilings," was a viral TikTok hit, and has been streamed over half a billion times. So you might think, with all that success, you’d want to keep working in way that’s been working. But while Lizzy was making her third album, Older, after almost a year into the process of recording, she threw the whole thing out. She brought in a new band, and started over with a totally different approach. I talked to her about the song "Staying," from her new album. You’ll hear her original voice memos, as well as the first version she made in the studio, and then how it really came to life once she reimagined it.For more, visit songexploder.net/lizzy-mcalpine.

    • 18 min
    The Flaming Lips - Do You Realize??

    The Flaming Lips - Do You Realize??

    The Flaming Lips formed in Oklahoma City in 1983. Over the last four decades, they’ve put out 16 albums. In 1999, they put out their album The Soft Bulletin, and that brought them a new level of success. And then, in 2002, they followed it up with Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, which was their biggest album to date. Pitchfork named it one of the top 5 albums of the year, Stereogum called it one of the best albums of the decade, and they won a Grammy. And the biggest song from the album was "Do You Realize??" So, for this episode, I talked to Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd about how that song was first imagined. You’ll hear the very first demo Wayne recorded for the song, and the demo he and Steven put together later, on their way to making the final version with producer Dave Fridmann. For more, visit songexploder.net/the-flaming-lips.

    • 20 min
    Re-issue: Arooj Aftab - Mohabbat

    Re-issue: Arooj Aftab - Mohabbat

    One of the songs I keep coming back to is “Mohabbat” by Arooj Aftab. It’s really special to me. I listen to it all the time. I’ve been listening to it so often that I wanted to revisit Arooj's episode about it. In the time since the episode has come out, she has released a collaborative album with Vijay Iyer and Shahzad Ismaily called Love In Exile, which got two Grammy nominations. And she has a new album that’s about to come out on May 31st, called Night Reign. Here’s her episode: Arooj Aftab is a singer and composer based in Brooklyn. She grew up in Saudi Arabia, but her family is from Pakistan. And earlier this year, she made history by becoming the first Pakistani artist to win a Grammy. Her song, “Mohabbat" won the Best Global Music Performance Grammy, and she was nominated for Best New Artist. "Mohabbat" was first released on her 2021 album, Vulture Prince, but it’s been a part of Arooj’s life for a long time . In this episode, she tells the story of how the song was first born, and how it lived with her and evolved over the years before she finally recorded it.For more, visit songexploder.net/arooj-aftab.

    • 24 min
    War - Low Rider

    War - Low Rider

    The band War formed in 1969, in Long Beach, California. “Low Rider” is from their 1975 album Why Can’t We Be Friends? The song was a hit as soon as it came out. It went to #1 on the Billboard R&B charts. And it’s just had tremendous lasting power ever since. Besides being in Dazed and Confused, where I heard it, it’s been sampled by The Beastie Boys, it was covered by Korn, and it was the theme song for all six seasons of The George Lopez Show.For this episode, I talked to War’s bandleader Lonnie Jordan, and their producer Jerry Goldstein. The two of them told me how “Low Rider” was made in the studio, through a combination of improvisation and meticulous editing.For more, visit songexploder.net/war.

    • 18 min
    Shania Twain - You're Still The One

    Shania Twain - You're Still The One

    Shania Twain is a singer and songwriter from Ontario, Canada. She’s the only female artist to have had three consecutive Diamond albums — albums that have sold over ten million copies. Actually, her 1997 album Come On Over is the best-selling album by a female solo artist of all time. One of the most iconic songs from that iconic album is "You’re Still The One." It was co-written and produced by Mutt Lange, who had previously produced some other classic albums, like Back in Black by AC/DC and Pyromania by Def Leppard. He had also produced Shania Twain’s previous album, The Woman in Me.  For this episode, Shania told me the story of writing “You’re Still The One.” She told me about what the song meant to her when she was making it, over 25 years ago, and what it means to her now.For more, visit songexploder.net/shania-twain.

    • 18 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
785 Ratings

785 Ratings

Maxjsmum ,

Great podcast

Brilliant podcast. I love that each artist shares their process and how a song came to be. Please, please if you can somehow interview Bob Dylan, your listeners would be forever grateful.

Benjik88 ,

Brilliant show

This podcast deep-dives into so many well loved and brand new (to many) songs in a way that almost always brings a tear to my eye. The insight into songwriting and production makes for a beautiful show. Thank you for doing what you do!

sarahhhhhh12121 ,

A wonderful podcast

I love this podcast! I often get tired of the same narrator, and listening to the artists tell their own stories is so interesting and the different genres is wonderful too. Keep doing what you’re doing! Thank you!

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