226 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. From Vulture and the Vox Media Podcast Network.

Switched on Pop Vulture

    • Music Commentary
    • 3.3 • 3 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. From Vulture and the Vox Media Podcast Network.

    Pop On A Perilous Planet (with Kyle Devine)

    Pop On A Perilous Planet (with Kyle Devine)

    Earth Day 2021 gives us the chance to pause our usual programming and consider the role pop music plays in our deepening climate emergency. On Side A, we listen to artists who have confronted the climate crisis head-on. Side B considers the environmental cost of streaming music with Kyle Devine, author of Decomposed: The Political Ecology of Music.
    Songs Discussed:
    George Pope Morris - Woodman, Spare That Tree!
    Joni Mitchell - Big Yellow Taxi
    Marvin Gaye - Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)
    Tower of Power - Only So Much Oil in the Ground
    Various Artists - Love Song for the Earth
    Anohni - 4 Degrees
    The Weather Station - The Robber
    DJ Cavem - Sprout That Life
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    • 35 min
    5 Rules of Great Songwriting Collabs, According to Teddy Geiger and Dan Wilson (On Air Fest 2021)

    5 Rules of Great Songwriting Collabs, According to Teddy Geiger and Dan Wilson (On Air Fest 2021)

    On Switched on Pop we talk to songwriters and artists about how they make great songs. Most songs are written with two or more people in the room. Something we've never done before is pair two of the best songwriters in the business to explain how they create a successful collaboration.
    Teddy Geiger is a Grammy nominated songwriter who's written countless number ones. You've likely heard her work with Sean Mendes, Leon Bridges, and Christina Aguilera, among many others. She’s also a critically acclaimed artist who's just released a single called “Love Somebody” written with Ricky Reed and Dan Wilson.
    Dan Wilson is the bandleader of Semisonic, famous for the song “Closing Time,” and the co-writer of Adele's “Someone Like You” and “Ready to Make Nice” by the Chicks. Wilson recently shared his top songwriting and collaboration tips published as a deck of cards called Words and Music in Six Seconds. He shared his ground rules for collaboration from the deck, through the case study of Teddy Geiger’s “Love Somebody” as part of On Air Fest 2021.
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    • 32 min
    Silk Sonic's Retro Soul (with Tayla Parx)

    Silk Sonic's Retro Soul (with Tayla Parx)

    Anderson Paak and Bruno Mars have joined forces as the duo Silk Sonic, and their first release “Leave the Door Open” suggests that their collab is as natural as peanut butter and jelly. The song exudes throwback vibes through its lush harmonies and sensuous lyrics. But this isn’t any run-of-the-mill exercise in empty nostalgia. Silk Sonic have a very specific sound in mind that they’re reviving for 21st century audiences: Philly Soul, the sophisticated 70s sound that “put a bow tie on funk.”
    Charlie and Nate aren’t the only ones trying to blow the dust out of the grooves of “Leave the Door Open.” Songwriter Tayla Parx, who’s worked with everyone from Ariana Grande to Panic! At the Disco to Anderson Paak himself, joins the hosts to help explain how Silk Sonic created such a catchy track, and why modern listeners might be ready for a blast from the past. 
    Songs Discussed
    Silk Sonic - Leave the Door Open
    Aretha Franklin - I Say a Little Prayer
    The Temptations - My Girl
    Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell - Ain’t No Mountain High Enough
    Martha and the Vandellas - Dancing in the Street
    Otis Redding - Try a Little Tenderness
    Sam and Dave - Soul Man
    Commodores - Who’s Making Love
    MFSB - TSOP
    O’Jays - Love Train
    Billy Paul - Me and Mrs. Jones
    The Stylistics - You Are Everything
    Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes - If You Don’t Know Me By Now
    The Delfonics - Didn’t I Blow Your Mind
    Seals and Croft - Summer Breeze
    Smokey Robinson - Quiet Storm
    Teddy Pendergrass - Close the Door
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    • 53 min
    AJR Conjure Broadway on 'OK Orchestra'

    AJR Conjure Broadway on 'OK Orchestra'

    Adam, Jack and Ryan Met, better known as AJR, started playing gigs on the streets of New York City. The sidewalk hustle taught them how to grab the attention of the least forgiving audience. Now on their fourth studio album, OK Orchestra, they’ve honed an ear-stopping sound that combines modern pop with broadway bombast. 
    Their platinum-certified single “Bang” pairs a carnival-like horns section with skittering trap style hi-hats. This strange pairing worked. Peaking at No. 8 on the Hot 100, the song is their strongest commercial release so far, despite sounding like nothing else on Billboard. It is a coming of age celebration (“I’m way too old to try so whatever, come hang / Let’s go out with a bang”) with lyrics that lament the pedestrian parts of adulthood: eating healthy, paying taxes, and remembering your passwords. Like its broadway influences, “Bang” takes little moments and makes them sound larger than life. 
    Switched On Pop’s Charlie Harding spoke with Jack and Ryan Met about the making of “Bang,” their latest single “Way Less Sad” and the showtune influences on OK Orchestra.
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    • 43 min
    Return of the Funk Guitar: Cory Wong Breaks Down Dua Lipa, Jessie Ware and Nile Rodgers

    Return of the Funk Guitar: Cory Wong Breaks Down Dua Lipa, Jessie Ware and Nile Rodgers

    Cory Wong is a Minneapolis native and Vulfpeck collaborator known for pushing rhythm guitar from a background instrument to the star of the show. Wong’s a walking encyclopedia of funk guitar, and he takes us through the riffs and styles—from Nile Rodgers to Quincy Jones—that power modern bops such as Dua Lipa’s “Levitating” and Jessie Ware’s “Step Into My Life.” 
    For Cory, rhythm guitar isn’t just a source of propulsive joy, but a sound that’s intimately connected to different regional scenes: change one note in a riff and you’ve moved from Philadelphia to Cincinatti. Every bubble and chuck speaks to a history of musical innovation - a history Cory mines on his new album-slash-variety show, Cory and the Wongnotes. Mixing comedy sketches, massively funky performances, and interviews, Cory’s project imagines what happens when the bandleader takes over as late night host.
    Songs Discussed (it’s a long one)
    VULFPECK - Cory Wong
    Doja Cat - Say So
    Mark Ronson - Uptown Funk (Audio) ft. Bruno Mars
    Dua Lipa - Levitating
    Chic - Good Times
    Earth, Wind & Fire - Shining Star
    Ohio Players - Love Rollercoaster
    Prince - I Wanna Be Your Lover
    Maroon 5 - Moves Like Jagger feat. Christina Aguilera
    Morris Day & The Time - The Bird
    Bootsy Collins - Stretchin' Out (In a Rubber Band)
    Gap Band - I Don't Believe You Want To Get Up And Dance (Oops Up Side Your Head)
    James Payback - The Payback
    Sly & The Family Stone - Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)
    Jessie Ware - Step Into My Life
    Chic - Le Freak
    David Bowie “Modern Love” 
    Duran Duran “Notorious” 
    Diana Ross - I’m Coming Out
    The B52’s “Love Shack” 
    Avicii “Lay Me Down” 
    Diana Ross - Upside Down
    Sister Sledge - We Are Family
    Sister Sledge - Thinking Of You 
    Sister Sledge - He’s The Greatest Dancer 
    Steve Winwood “Higher Love” chorus
    Stevie wonder - Higher Ground
    Michael Jackson - Billie Jean
    Michael Jackson - Thriller
    Daft Punk - Get Lucky (Feat. Pharrell Williams)
    David Bowie - Let's Dance
    Madonna - Like a Virgin
    Eminem - Lose Yourself
    Miley Cyrus - Party In The U.S.A
    Stevie wonder - Higher Ground
    Michael Jackson - Billie Jean
    Michael Jackson - Thriller
    Daft Punk - Get Lucky (Feat. Pharrell Williams)
    David Bowie - Let's Dance
    Madonna - Like a Virgin
    Eminem - Lose Yourself
    Miley Cyrus - Party In The U.S.A
    Cory Wong - Tiki Hut Strut

    Cory and The Wongnotes - Episode 4, “Genre (ft Grace Kelly)”
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    • 34 min
    What the 63rd Grammys say about the state of pop

    What the 63rd Grammys say about the state of pop

    The 63rd Grammys was as unprecedented and unusual as last year. Backdropped by the pandemic, the show was delayed and had to be taped in multiple locations in front of a bare bones audience. Echoing the public cries against injustice, standout performances by Mickey Guyton, DaBaby, and Lil Baby decried racism to the nation and to the Grammys—the academy made multiple public statements throughout the night promising to do better. The more light hearted performers played best against highly produced backdrops (Silk Sonic, Megan Thee Stallion, Cardi B, and Taylor Swift), but others fell flat, lacking an audience reaction. Not unexpectedly, the Grammy awards ranged from predictable to jaw dropping. Notably, Beyoncé broke records: she now holds more Grammys than any other singer in history. And the major four categories —Best New Artist, Song of the Year, Album of the Year and Song of the Year — were all awarded to women. While the Grammy ceremony horse race can be as much a commentary on commercial worth as musical strengths, the ceremony has much to teach us about what pop music means in 2021. 
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    • 42 min

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3 Ratings

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