Music: it's good. On each episode of Strong Songs, host Kirk Hamilton takes listeners inside a piece of music, breaking it down and figuring out what makes it work.
Ska Horns & Madonna Melodies
Mailbag time! We've got listener questions about Madonna earworms, National piano parts, Breath of the Wild music, online vocal teachers, the French horn, The Lemon Twigs, and much more.
"You've Got a Friend" by Carole King
Winter, spring, summer, or fall... all you have to do is call, and Strong Songs will be there with an in-depth analysis of one of the most influential songwriters of the 20th century.
"New Born" and "Micro Cuts" by Muse
Link it to the world, link it to yourself, link it to your podcast app, because it's time to talk about Muse!
Kirk takes a deep dive into not one but two songs off of Muse's seminal 2001 album Origin of Symmetry: "New Born," which kicks the album off with a strong pop-rock approach, and "Micro Cuts," a mid-album high point that shows off their more eclectic influences. It's time for some contrapuntal harmony mixed with some good old fashioned blues riffs, with a lot of guitar fuzz on top.
"Nessun dorma" by Giacomo Puccini (Aria Code)
The fine folks at WNYC's fabulous opera podcast Aria Code recently reached out about doing a cross-promotion with Strong Songs, and now here we are, running an episode of their show in the Strong Songs feed.
If you enjoy it, you should definitely go check out the show - Aria Code is very easy to find on all major podcast platforms.
Strung Beats, Jazz Battles & The Notes You Don't Play
The Strong Songs mailbag has gotten pretty overstuffed lately, so Kirk decided to take another crack at it. That means it's time for more of your musical questions!
On this episode, we bounce around between the best songs for performing CPR, country music multiphonics, Noname's strung beats, the slide saxophone, Stevie Nicks guitar tones, Roxanne syncopation, how to find a voice teacher, whether competition is good for music, and what it means when people say jazz is about "the notes you don't play."
Explaining Musicals, with Lindsay Ellis
If an emotion is too big for talking, you sing. If it's too big for singing, you dance. And if it's too big for dancing, well, you just gotta podcast!
Author, podcaster, and video essayist Lindsay Ellis knows a thing or two about outsized Broadway emotions—in addition to her many other pursuits, she's created a whole side endeavor talking about them on her musical theater podcast, Musicalsplaining. Ellis guested on last year's Strong Songs episode about Hadestown, and it seemed only natural to have her back for a longer conversation about musical theater.
Back in March, she and Kirk hopped on Zoom and chatted about the first musicals they loved, why musicals resonate with teens, how Hadestown's visual design helps tell a story, and just what the deal is with Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Just the best.
Such an incredible wealth of information. Mr. Hamilton presents it all with an infectious enthusiasm and his love for what does is unmistakable. There is something for everyone here whether you’re an accomplished multi-instrumentalist or have never touched an instrument.
I listen and re-listen to my favorite episodes. I always love learning something new. Thanks. I love the way it really opens up a song, but keeps it light and fun. Thanks.
Great musical analysis
Kirk has a great style. Very accessible and informative.