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.
Lianne La Havas - Can't Fight
Lianne La Havas is a singer and songwriter from London. She’s been nominated for a Grammy and a Brit award, and in 2020, she released her third album. In this episode, she breaks down her song "Can’t Fight," and traces its evolution — along with her own evolution – over several years.
For more, visit songexploder.net/lianne-la-havas.
Jon Batiste - We Are
Jon Batiste is a pianist, songwriter, and composer from New Orleans. He’s been nominated for multiple Grammys, and just won the Golden Globe and got an Oscar nomination for the soundtrack to the Pixar film Soul, which he composed along with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. Jon is also a recipient of the American Jazz Museum’s lifetime achievement award, and on weeknights, you can see him as the bandleader on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. In March 2021, he put out his new album, We Are. But the title track from it came actually came out much earlier, last year, in June 2020. In this episode, Jon talks about how he drew from his roots, at a very personal level — and at a cultural, historical level — and wove all of it into the song.
For more, visit songexploder.net/jon-batiste.
Glass Animals - Heat Waves
Glass Animals is a band from Oxford, England. They’ve released three albums since forming back in 2010. One of their biggest hits is the song "Heat Waves," which came out in June 2020. It was certified Gold in several countries, and Platinum in Australia, where it hit #1. Dave Bayley is the singer, songwriter, and producer of the band. He won the UK’s Music Producers Guild award for "Self-Producing Artist of the Year," and he’s produced songs for other artists, as well. In this episode, Dave tells the story of making "Heat Waves," over several months. First, on his own, and then later with his bandmates, Joe Seaward, Ed Irwin-Singer, and Drew MacFarlane.
For more, visit songexploder.net/glass-animals.
Sasha Sloan - Until It Happens To You
Sasha Sloan is a singer and songwriter based in Nashville. She put out her debut album, Only Child, last year. Before that, she’d written songs for artists like Katy Perry, John Legend, and Charli XCX, and she’s been a featured guest vocalist on songs by electronic artists Odesza and Kygo. Sasha made her album with her boyfriend, producer Henry Allen, aka King Henry, whose other production credits include songs by Beyoncé and Diplo. In this episode, Sasha, along with Henry, tells the story of making her song "Until It Happens to You."
For more, visit songexploder.net/sasha-sloan.
PJ Morton - Say So (feat. JoJo)
PJ Morton is a singer, songwriter, and producer. He’s the first artist ever to be nominated for a Grammy for the Best R&B album three years in a row. In 2020, he won the Grammy for Best R&B song for his track, "Say So," which is a duet with the singer JoJo, a platinum-selling artist in her own right. But that version of "Say So" almost didn’t come to exist. In this episode, PJ takes us through his original voice memos, the demos, and the isolated pieces of the final studio recording, as he tells the story of how the track was created, then disappeared, and then got re-created—and ended up becoming one of his biggest songs.
For more, visit songexploder.net/pj-morton.
HAIM - Summer Girl
HAIM is a band from Los Angeles, made up of the sisters Danielle, Este, and Alana Haim. They’ve released three albums, and they’ve been nominated for three Grammys. Over the years, they’ve worked extensively with Grammy-winning producer Ariel Rechtshaid. Danielle and Ariel share the emotional backstory of the song “Summer Girl,” from HAIM’s third album, Women in Music Pt. III. In this episode, they break down their experience creating the song, along with Este Haim and the song’s co-producer and co-writer Rostam.
For more, visit songexploder.net/haim.
Everything I Wanted
Dear friends around the world, DON’T let ANY of your friends, family members or other dear ones in your life go another day without listening to this session! This session is about the writing of a song that will rock the listener’s soul to the core!!
I am a nearly seventy year old, “DeadHead” from back in the seventies; and a Jewish, Brooklyn-born practitioner of Nichiren Buddhism (we’re the ones that chant the mantra, “Nam-myoho-renge-kyo”). I have considered committing suicide several times in years over the past decades; and now truly have everything I have ever wanted in my life.
I am an avid music lover, with eclectic tastes ranging from Classic Rock, Alternative, Smooth Jazz, Southern Rock, Classical, Country Rock, the Blues, New Age, Folk, and even Jewish Klezmer music; and I have got to tell you, there has NEVER been (lMHO), a more powerful, heartfelt, melodic and exquisite original song ever written. These two siblings have created a timeless masterpiece!
HAIM ruins everything
Unfortunately the first episode I listened to involved HAIM admitting in detail how they ripped off Lou Reed’s “Take a Walk on the Wild Side”. Sad really.
Obsessed with music and this podcast
I can’t believe I am so late to the party but to hear some of my favorite songs broken down in such an honest, interesting way is world-changing. Just teared up while driving listening to “Summer girl” episode. Keep going and thanks ♥️