207 episodes

Best Arts & Culture podcast Webby 2020 winner 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.

Switched on Pop Vox

    • Music Commentary
    • 4.8 • 227 Ratings

Best Arts & Culture podcast Webby 2020 winner 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.

    The Cyndi Lauper Conspiracy (with Sam Sanders)

    The Cyndi Lauper Conspiracy (with Sam Sanders)

    Every song Cyndi Lauper writes is pop perfection according to Sam Sanders, host of NPR’s “It’s Been A Minute.” Many fall for “Girls Just Want To Have Fun,” but Sanders's favorite song is the slow burner “All Through The Night,” save for one moment: the synthesizer solo. For Sanders, this solo never fit in. Charlie investigates the source of his musical malady and uncovers how the 80s got its groove. 

    Songs Discussed
    Cyndi Lauper - Girls Just Want To Have Fun
    Cyndi Lauper - Time After Time
    Cyndi Lauper - She Bop
    Cyndi Lauper - All Through the Night
    Janet Jackson - When I Think Of You
    Janet Jackson - The Pleasure Principle
    Janet Jackson - Nasty
    Kenny Loggins - Danger Zone
    Whitney Houston - Greatest Love Of All
    Queen - Who Wants To Live Forever
    Tina Turner - What's Love Got To Do With It
    Cyndi Lauper - Change Of Heart
    Phil Collins - In The Air Tonight
    Kim Carnes - Bette Davis Eyes
    Tom Petty - You Got Lucky
    Cars - Lets Go
    Talking Heads - Burning Down The House
    Parliament Funkadelic - Atomic Dog
    The Weeknd - Blinding Lights
    Dua Lipa - Physical
    Little Mix - Break Up Song
    Miley Cyrus - Heart of Glass (Blondie Cover)

    More
    Read Dr. Megan L. Lavengood's research on the DX7: https://meganlavengood.com/research/
    Listen to Dave Smith's (recently re-released) Sequential Prophet 5 synthesizer: https://www.sequential.com/product/prophet-5/
    Learn about William Wittman's production credits on Discogs: https://www.discogs.com/artist/170639-William-Wittman
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    • 36 min
    ANTHEMS: Missy Elliott — Work It

    ANTHEMS: Missy Elliott — Work It

    Cultural critic Ivie Ani breaks down how Missy Elliott broke into the pantheon of anthems, and how she changed the scope of who could belong.

    Songs Discussed
    Missy Elliott - Work It
    Blondie - Heart of Glass
    RUN-DMC - Peter Piper
    Rock Master Scott & the Dynamic Three - Request Line
    Snoop Dogg - Y'All Gone Miss Me
    Vanilla Ice - Ice Ice Baby
    Justin Timberlake - Sexy Back
    Trace Adkins - Honky Tonk Badonkadonk
    Missy Elliott - The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)
    Lil Kim - Not Tonight (Remix)
    Missy Elliott - Lose Control (feat. Ciara & Fat Man Scoop)
    Missy Elliott - Sock It 2 Me
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    • 37 min
    ANTHEMS: Smash Mouth — All Star

    ANTHEMS: Smash Mouth — All Star

    When Smash Mouth wrote "All Star,” they knew that it was going to change their lives. But they never expected it would become an anthem played in sports arenas, soundtracked by Hollywood, and embedded into seemingly every internet meme. Darryn King joins the show to break down "The Never-ending Life of Smash Mouth's 'All Star.'"
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    • 34 min
    ANTHEMS: Jock Jams — Get Ready For This

    ANTHEMS: Jock Jams — Get Ready For This

    In 1995, ESPN launched Jock Jams Volume 1, a compilation record that would define the sound of sports for the next quarter century. We listen to the album's biggest songs to define what makes a "Jock Jam," and tell the story of how this record came to define the sound of the stadium.

    MORE
    Read Emily VanDerWerff's article: “The Jock Jam” megamix inadvertently plays out ESPN’s inner tensions
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    • 35 min
    ANTHEMS: Queen — We Are The Champions

    ANTHEMS: Queen — We Are The Champions

    Freddie Mercury and team made one of the most unusual anthems of all time. “We Are The Champions” has a somber beginning, an uncertain ending and a sprinkling of operatic allusions. Yet more than 40 years after this slow burners debut, it continues to be a staple at sporting events. In the first episode in a four part series, ANTHEMS, Nate and Charlie break down the song’s fundamental elements that place this song in the anthemic pantheon. 
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    • 36 min
    Cory Henry has something to say

    Cory Henry has something to say

    Cory Henry is a remarkably gifted multi-instrumentalist. Growing up in the church, he started playing the Hammond B3 organ at age 2 and played his first gig at Apollo theater in NYC at age 6. As a professional musician he’s played along side Bruce Springsteen, Boyz II Men, The Roots, Kirk Franklin and many others including the acclaimed group Snarky Puppy which earned 3 Grammys during his tenure playing keys. Now he leads his band Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles who are releasing an album on Oct 30th called Something To Say, which features all of Henry’s gifts, but especially his voice in an album that makes you want to get up and dance as much as it makes you want to take action. 
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    • 31 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
227 Ratings

227 Ratings

Kat :) ,

Love it 💃

Just discovered this pod and I really really really really really love it 🎶🙌 I’m starting from the beginning and going in sequential order so hope it just gets better! I wish sometimes they’d be less objective and just say what their favourite parts are or share more personal anecdotes about their relationship to the music. Would love to know their favourite Taylor Swift song/album and maybe rankings of albums or songs just in their opinion. 😊

Renegades 21 ,

You’ll Never Listen to Music the Same

This is a must listen if you have any interest in the craft of songwriting. The guys are informative, enthusiastic and super enjoyable. Keep up the great work fellas.

Weat Coast Blue ,

Cancelling Beethoven?

Nate and Charlie, I’ve been a fan of this podcast, but your recent attempt to ‘cancel’ Beethoven comes across as burnishing your reputations at the expense of an immensely talented artist.

Beethoven’s music has no set agenda or political program. He left the interpretation of his music up to his listeners. If you choose to imagine that Beethoven’s 5th symphony depicts people of colour crushed by western oppressors, that’s on you. Don’t blame Beethoven.

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