186 episodes

What makes pop songs so catchy? Musicologist Nate Sloan & songwriter Charlie Harding pull back the curtain on how pop hits work their magic on our ears & our culture. You’ll fall in love with music you didn’t even know you liked.

Switched on Pop Vox

    • Music Commentary
    • 4.7, 1.7K Ratings

What makes pop songs so catchy? Musicologist Nate Sloan & songwriter Charlie Harding pull back the curtain on how pop hits work their magic on our ears & our culture. You’ll fall in love with music you didn’t even know you liked.

    folklore: taylor swift's quarantine dream

    folklore: taylor swift's quarantine dream

    Taylor Swift has released folklore, her unexpected eighth studio album. It is an understated work that firmly puts celebrity gossip behind her (there are no who's-dating-who easter eggs to be found). Instead we're gifted Swift's greatest strength: songwriting. The lyrics blur "fantasy and reality." There are imagined teenage love trysts, recreated dynasties and intimate reflections on modern love. We break down the sounds and lyrics that make up Swift's strongest album yet.

    SONGS DISCUSSED
    Taylor Swift - the 1, illicit affairs, my tears ricochet, august, epiphany, cruel summer, this is my trying, hoax, peace, you belong with me, mirrorball, epiphany, our song, cardigan, the last great american dynasty, betty
    The National - Light Years
    Bon Iver - 666

    BONUS
    The correct term for the piano line is a "turn"
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    • 40 min
    The Women Reclaiming Nu-Metal ft. Rina Sawayama

    The Women Reclaiming Nu-Metal ft. Rina Sawayama

    Nu-Metal, the mid 90s creation that blended metal, rap and pop, is one of the most critically derided pop genres. So it is strange that this genre is having a comeback. But whereas its first incarnation was dominated by men, now women are leading the way. Artists like Poppy, Grimes and Rina Sawayama have recast the heavy guitars, sung-rap lyrics and gaudy aesthetic to fight back the patriarchy.

    SONGS DISCUSSED

    Korn - Freak On A Leash

    Rina Sawayama - STFU!

    Limp Bizkit - Break Stuff

    Poppy - I Disagree

    Nine Inch Nails - Head Like A Hole

    Grimes, Hana - We Appreciate Power

    Rina Sawayama - XS

    Britney Spears - Gimme More

    Britney Spears - Toxic


    MORE
    Check out Finn McKenty's YouTube channel The Punk Rock MBA starting with his video on what killed Nu-Metal https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATllyNXF3Kg&t
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    • 42 min
    Rosie: Investigating a Crime at the Heart of the Music Industry

    Rosie: Investigating a Crime at the Heart of the Music Industry

    Listen closely to the start of the 2015 hit "Hey Mama" by David Guetta, Nicki Minaj, Afrojack, and Bebe Rexha and you'll hear voices intoning a chant: "Be my woman, girl, I'll be your man." It's sample from a 1948 recording called "Rosie," and it's the propulsive hook of "Hey Mama," driving the song to over a billion views on YouTube. The voices in the sample belong to CB Cook and ten other unidentified prisoners at the Mississippi State Penitentiary, aka Parchman Farm. These men never got credit for their work, even though it's been reused by everyone from Guetta to the Animals to Nina Simone. We investigate the story of "Rosie" to understand an inequity that lies at the heart of the music business and our national consciousness.
    Songs Discussed
    David Guetta ft Nicki Minaj, Bebe Rexha, and Afrojack - Hey Mama
    CB Cook and Axe Gang - Rosie
    The Animals - Inside Looking Out
    Grand Funk Railroad - Inside Looking OUt
    KRS-One - Sound of Da Police
    Jay Z - Takeover
    Nina Simone - Be My Husband
    Check out Kembrew McLeod's and Peter DiCola's book Creative License to learn more about the law and culture of digital sampling.
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    • 28 min
    Song of Summer 2020: TikTok Jams, Protest Anthems, Breezy Bops & Bummer Bangers

    Song of Summer 2020: TikTok Jams, Protest Anthems, Breezy Bops & Bummer Bangers

    The 2020 song of summer competition is underway. We asked you for your favorite songs and put them in a head-to-head tournament. Find out which is the song for this very unusual summer. 

    ROUND 1 - TikTok Jams
    SAINt JHN - "Roses" Imanbek Remix 
    Megan Thee Stallion - Savage Remix (Feat. Beyoncé)
    The Weeknd - Blinding Lights

    ROUND 2 - Protest Anthems
    Beyoncé - Black Parade
    Anderson .Paak - Lockdown 
    YG - FTP

    ROUND 3 - Breezy Bops
    Dua Lipa - Physical
    Chloe x Halle - Do It
    Harry Styles - Watermelon Sugar

    ROUND 4 - Bummer Bangers
    Taylor Swift - Cruel Summer
    Lana Del Rey - Summertime Sadness
    HAIM - Up From A Dream
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    • 41 min
    The Many Colors of Lady Gaga’s ‘Chromatica’

    The Many Colors of Lady Gaga’s ‘Chromatica’

    Lady Gaga’s 6th album is a conceptual release about a future that is neither utopian nor dystopian. Despite its sci-fi visuals, the album looks more to the past and present than the future. Chromatica gives us a world that sounds like 90s house music made for this summer’s cancelled Pride parties. It is lyrically somber, but musically upbeat, a productive tension that inspires hope. Gaga shared that she made this album to help her and her ‘little monsters’ dance through the pain. So we called on our listeners to dig up the most meaningful moments on the album and help us tour the world of Chromatica.
    SONGS DISCUSSED

    Lady Gaga - Chromatica I, 1000 Doves, Alice, Bad Romance, Stupid Love, Fun Tonight, Paparazzi, The Fame, Rain On Me, Since From Above, Babylon

    Gwen McCray - All This Love

    Cassius - Feeling For You

    Avicci & Sebastien Drums - My Feelings For You


    MORE
    "Welcome To Chromatica" playlist: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/6nIb85jPqtjhjuOB3DUI49?si=Vy9LLNWcSAeih_V2Amq6Aw
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    • 35 min
    I Am America (w Shea Diamond and Justin Tranter)

    I Am America (w Shea Diamond and Justin Tranter)

    Shea Diamond has experienced so many facets of America as a black trans woman, and with songwriter Justin Tranter, she's woven those experiences into "I Am America," a blistering, funky anthem about community and belonging. Her track is also the theme song for the new HBO show "We're Here," which follows a team of a drag queens bringing drag shows to small towns across the country, challenging our assumptions about who makes up the "real America."
    We sit down with Diamond and Tranter to discuss singing as preaching, what it means to release this track during Pride month, why the flat seventh hits so good, and how the horns on the song feature producer Eren Cannata's dad Richie on sax, making this bop a true family affair.
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    • 22 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
1.7K Ratings

1.7K Ratings

啊赞 ,

As a non professional

I enjoy this show...makes me happy in office.....

johannatdubs ,

Excellent, informative, enjoyable show for all music lovers

This has come to be one of my favorite podcasts over only the few short months I’ve been listening to it. Nate and Charlie are intelligent and thoughtful hosts who dive deeply into songs and pick apart every rhythm, melody, and turn of phrase into a deliciously comprehensive analysis sure to please any music geek. I appreciate the breadth of songs they include in their episodes as well as other collaborators and artists for input and advice. They’re self aware and do an excellent job of teaching and explaining the concepts they discuss, including the listener, as opposed to some other reviewers and critics who snobbishly cling to their technical jargon. Even if you have no musical training, you will LOVE this show.

As a bonus, they’re alums of my school! GO BRUNO!

JimTurner ,

Good podcast thank you

I like this podcast. Please keep doing it. Thank you!

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