298 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
    • 4.7 • 78 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

    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
    Rhiannon Giddens - You Louisiana Man

    Rhiannon Giddens - You Louisiana Man

    Rhiannon Giddens has released five solo albums since 2015. Before that, she was a member of the Grammy-winning band, the Carolina Chocolate Drops. She is now also the artistic director of the Silkroad Ensemble, the musical supergroup that Yo-Yo Ma founded.

    Rhiannon Giddens is one of those people where I feel like they have to start inventing new awards, because she’s already won all of them. She’s got multiple Grammys, she won the Pulitzer Prize for an opera she co-wrote called Omar, she’s a MacArthur Genius, and the new Beyonce song “Texas Hold ‘Em,” the one that features the banjo? That’s Rhiannon Giddens playing the banjo. (I guess that’s not technically an award, but it feels like one to me.)

    In 2023, Rhiannon released an album called You’re The One, and I talked to her about the song she wrote called "You Louisiana Man," which was nominated for a Grammy for Best American Roots Performance.

    For more, visit songexploder.net/rhiannon-giddens.

    • 19 min
    Re-issue: Arlo Parks - Black Dog

    Re-issue: Arlo Parks - Black Dog

    I wanted to revisit an episode about one of my favorite songs from 2021, “Black Dog” by Arlo Parks. A few months after this episode originally came out, Arlo Parks won the Mercury Prize for Album of the Year. She was also nominated for two Grammys: Best New Artist and Best Alternative Album. Since then, she released a new album called My Soft Machine, and she’s going to be on tour this spring.

    Arlo Parks is a singer and songwriter from London. In January 2021, she released her debut album, Collapsed in Sunbeams. It hit number three on the UK charts, and she won this year’s BRIT award for Breakthrough Artist. Last year, NME called her song "Black Dog" the year’s "most devastating song." In this episode, Anaïs breaks down “Black Dog," which she made with producer Gianluca Buccellati.

    For more, visit songexploder.net/arlo-parks.

    • 19 min
    Green Day - Basket Case

    Green Day - Basket Case

    Green Day is a punk band from the East Bay in California. Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tré Cool have been playing music together since 1987. They’ve sold over 90 million records. They’ve won four Grammys, including twice for Best Rock Album. They put out their first album in 1990, and their second album, Kerplunk!, in 1991. And then, they moved to a major label and in 1994 they put out their third album, Dookie, which was huge. It helped bring punk into the mainstream. And this month is its 30th anniversary. So for this episode, I talked to Billie Joe Armstrong about the making of one of Green Day’s biggest hits of all time: “Basket Case."

    Coming up, you’ll also hear from Rob Cavallo, who produced the album. Plus, you’ll hear two different demo versions of “Basket Case,” the first of which is basically a totally different song.

    Billie Joe Amstrong traces the history of “Basket Case,” from its origins as a cassette recording in a punk basement, all the way to becoming a song that helped define an era of music.

    For more, visit songexploder.net/green-day.

    • 21 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
78 Ratings

78 Ratings

mikerrry ,

Illuminating

I’m a big music fan, but know very little about playing, recording, editing, etc. so I love how this podcast illuminates those dark arts for me.

louiseobirl ,

Excellent podcast

Makes me look st my favourite songs in a whole new way!

Realshifty ,

5 star

I’m not a musician but this podcast makes me appreciate good music. Top class

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