301 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 • 660 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

    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
    Danny Brown - Y.B.P. (feat. Bruiser Wolf)

    Danny Brown - Y.B.P. (feat. Bruiser Wolf)

    Danny Brown started his career in 2007 by handing out mixtapes in Detroit, where he’s from. In 2011, he put out his acclaimed second album, XXX. Since then, he’s collaborated with rappers like Kendrick Lamar, A$AP Rocky and JPEGMafia, but he’s also worked with electronic bands like Purity Ring and The Avalanches, and he did a verse on a remix for Korn.

    When I first heard him, around when XXX came out, I was really drawn to his voice. And I also appreciated that, given how young so many artists are now when they get really famous, Danny Brown’s career really started taking off in his 30s. He put out his sixth album, Quaranta, in 2023. And for this episode, I talked to him about one of the songs from that album, called “Y.B.P.," which features guest vocals from Bruiser Wolf.

    For more, visit songexploder.net/danny-brown.

    • 17 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
660 Ratings

660 Ratings

LeandroDend ,

Still love it

Great podcast

Karqb ,

Magical

This pod is hosted in such a way that exploring the individual elements, influences and production of songs is the opposite of mechanical - it’s magical. So good.

OrangeB1ur ,

Black dog had me in tears

Yea

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