336 episodes

A podcast all 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 New York Magazine

    • Music
    • 4.6 • 2.3K Ratings

A podcast all 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.

    Reinventing Bach

    Reinventing Bach

    If you’ve ever learned classical piano, you probably tried to play one of Bach’s Inventions. The composer wrote fifteen pieces containing the most important fifteen keys in order to teach his son the fundamentals of piano and composition. Today, they remain some of the most popular pieces of piano music. Acclaimed jazz pianist Dan Tepfer recently revisited his childhood music books seeing them in a way he’d never realized as a student: the Inventions are much more than novice piano works.

    For Tepfer, each of the Inventions not only highlight masterful command over harmony and counterpoint, but also contain moving character arcs that resemble the hero’s journey. A character is introduced at home in place of safety in act I. And then they are thrust into chaos and must overcome unsurmountable challenges in Act II. Finally, in Act III, our hero overcomes their final battle and returns home transformed by the journey. Once Tepfer heard this character arc, he started to apply it to his own free improv.

    Through studying Bach, Tepfer conceived a new album: Inventions / Reinventions. In this project Tepfer fills in the missing keys from the Bach to complete all twenty four keys (there are twelve major and twelve minor keys) while updating the music with modern improvisation. In this conversation Tepfer walks co-host Charlie Harding through his process of playing Bach and applying it to jazz improv.

    Listen to Dan Tepfer’s Inventions / Reinventions on StorySound Records
    Listen to Into It with Sam Sanders on Fair Use
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 40 min
    100 gecs and the new sound of hyperpop

    100 gecs and the new sound of hyperpop

    Everyone will describe the music of 100 gecs differently. To some, Dylan Brady and Laura Les make deeply satisfying earworms, tracks able to scratch the itches that occupy the deepest memory-holed corners of the brain. To others, though, their music is an "anarchic assault on the ears,” a quilt of all of the genres historically ridiculed in the popular canon: nu-metal, scuzz-rock, ska and 90’s pop punk are all fair game in the world of gecs.

    On their latest record, aptly titled 10000 gecs, Brady and Les double down on the crunchy distortion and harmonics, creating tracks equally influenced by Primus and Eddie Van Halen as they are by their hyperpop contemporaries. The album reflects a Internet-core approach to music as a whole, shedding notions of “good” and “bad” music in favor of catchy melodies and intricate song construction. 

    On this episode on Switched On Pop, we dig deep into the ethos of 100 gecs, and producer Reanna Cruz talks to the duo themselves about their eclectic sophomore record.

    Songs discussed: 

    100 gecs – Hollywood Baby

    100 gecs – Billy Knows Jamie

    100 gecs – stupid horse

    100 gecs – 745 sticky

    100 gecs – Doritos & Fritos

    Primus – Jerry Was A Racecar Driver

    Ween – Bananas and Blow

    Limp Bizkit – My Generation

    Gorillaz – Dirty Harry

    Future – I Been Drinking

    J-Kwon – Tipsy

    Justin Timberlake – Summer Love

    Violent Femmes – Added Up

    100 gecs – Dumbest Girl Alive

    THX Deep Note

    Cypress Hill – Insane in the Membrane

    100 gecs – The Most Wanted Person in the United States

    100 gecs – Frog on the Floor

    Alan Jackson – Chattahoochee

    Limp Bizkit – Dad Vibes

    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 39 min
    Switches Brew

    Switches Brew

    Every week the Switched On Pop team gets together and everybody shares one song they’re loving right now. It is one of our favorite conversations each week because we hear music that is new and old, on and off the charts. We’re sharing that conversation with you as a new format we’re calling Switches Brew alongside friend of the show Brittany Luse, host of NPR's It's Been A Minute

    Listen to Brittany Luse on NPR’s It’s Been A Minute: Web, Apple, Spotify

    Songs Discussed

    Little Freddie King - Messin' Around tha House

    De La Soul - Tread Water

    Nick Hakim - Qadir

    Lana Del Rey - Born to Die (Marcus Intalex Remix) on Bandcamp

    Madison Cunningham - Hospital (One Man Down) (feat. Remi Wolf)

    Remi Wolf - Down the Line

    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 24 min
    Modern Classics: Seal - Kiss From a Rose

    Modern Classics: Seal - Kiss From a Rose

    “Kiss From a Rose” is one of the most unusual number one hits of all time. Seal’s song can’t decide if it’s in minor or major, it uses an old-fashioned waltz rhythm, and its lush orchestration and elaborate vocal harmonies support mysterious lyrics about a “greying tower alone on the sea.” Seal himself wasn’t sure about the song, and needed some convincing to include the composition on his 1994 album SEAL II. But once director Joel Schumacher decided to use the track for the end credits of the film Batman Forever, the song went global and has remained a cultural phenomenon ever since. Ahead of his upcoming 30th anniversary tour for the albums SEAL I and SEAL II, we speak with the singer and songwriter about the enduring appeal of “Kiss From A Rose.”
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 37 min
    How John Denver got huge in Asia

    How John Denver got huge in Asia

    “Take Me Home, Country Roads” is a song about West Virginia, but its message of homecoming has resonance far beyond Appalachia. Songwriter and producer Ian Fitchuk found this out when he was requested to perform Denver’s music at a music festival in Tibet. Fitchuk discovered that Denver has a huge following in East and South East Asia, where Denver toured multiple times from the 70s through the 90s. Denver’s songs first came to the region through the US Armed Forces Network radio as well as a diplomatic performance for China’s leader Deng Xiaoping at the Kennedy Center in 1979. Denver performed alongside the Harlem Globetrotters and the Joffrey ballet, and he left such an impression, the show led to an invitation to be one of the first western musicians to tour China. To better understand Denver’s meaning in the region, Switched On Pop co-host Charlie Harding speaks with Ian Fitchuk about his performance and interviews journalist Jason Jeung who wrote about “Country Roads” in The Atlantic.

    Songs Discussed

    John Denver - Take Me Home, Country Roads

    Kacey Musgraves - Oh, What A World

    The East Is Red

    John Denver - Rocky Mountain High

    Creedence Clearwater Revival - Fortunate Son

    James Taylor - Carolina in My Mind

    Carpenters - (They Long To Be) Close To You

    John Denver - Thank God I'm a Country Boy

    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 33 min
    Chartbreakers: Jersey Club, Complicated Country, and 50s Crooners

    Chartbreakers: Jersey Club, Complicated Country, and 50s Crooners

    Currently on Billboard’s hot 100 there is an unexpected UK Garage / Jersey House mashup, a disgraced country star making a questionable comeback, and an out of nowhere fifties ballad all jockeying for their moment on the charts. This week, we take a listen to the FEBRUARY 25, 2023 Hot 100, looking for triumphs, fumbles, and oddities.

    Songs Discussed

    PinkPantheress, Ice Spice - Boy's a liar Pt. 2

    Ice Spice - Munch (Feelin’ U)

    Drake - Currents

    Lil Uzi Vert - Just Wanna Rock

    Sweet Female Attitude - Flowers - Sunship Edit

    Todd Edwards - Wishing I Were Home

    Ice Spice - In Ha Mood

    Morgan Wallen - You Proof

    Morgan Wallen - Last Night

    Tyler Childers - Way of the Triune God - Jubilee Version

    Mac DeMarco - Heart To Heart

    Miguel - Sure Thing

    Metro Boomin, The Weeknd, 21 Savage - Creepin' (with The Weeknd & 21 Savage)

    Mario Winans - I Don't Wanna Know

    Fugees, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean, Pras - Ready or Not

    Enya - Boadicea

    Stephen Sanchez - Until I Found You

    The Everly Brothers - Let It Be Me

    Ritchie Valens - We Belong Together

    The Righteous Brothers - Unchained Melody

    Patsy Cline, The Jordanaires - Crazy

    Ray Charles - Georgia on My Mind - Original Master Recording

    The Beatles - In My Life - Remastered 2009

    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 30 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
2.3K Ratings

2.3K Ratings

Jaleek ,

The Best Podcast In Music

The best thing about this podcast is I think it will take an angle on a subject and it takes me somewhere I never expected . I consistently gain a greater appreciate for music as a whole and the artists I enjoy from the insights given here. In a world of people bloviating boring music critic garbage to hear the sound of their own voices, SOP does the opposite and considers the listener and what they will take away from each episode and it is so appreciated. Every subject is handled masterfully and Reanna has brought a whole new depth to the podcast I really enjoy.

Mattthecoolest ,

Best Music Podcast by Far

Charlie and co. produce an amazing podcast about pop music with an eye towards deeper analysis and musicology. Some of my favorite episodes take on historic topics that aren’t often highlighted by other shows. They also tend to take a critical eye towards any musician in the spot light, without dismissing it as lowest common denominator pop. A must listen!

aichman2 ,

A must-listen for music lovers

As someone who’s always been fascinated by the intricate details of music, Switched on Pop has quickly become one of my favorite podcasts. Nate and Charlie’s deep dive into the world of pop music is both informative and entertaining, as they break down everything from melody and harmony to production techniques and cultural influences.

Their analysis of popular music is always insightful, and I’ve learned so much about the craft of songwriting and music production from listening to their show. What sets Switched on Pop apart, though, is the way they use music as a lens to explore broader cultural issues, whether it’s race, gender, or politics.

Overall, I would highly recommend Switched on Pop to anyone who loves music and wants to deepen their understanding of how it works. Nate and Charlie are fantastic hosts, and their passion for music is infectious. Give it a listen – you won’t be disappointed!

Top Podcasts In Music

Cadence13 and Parallel
The Joe Budden Network
Interval Presents
Barstool Sports
Double Elvis
Pushkin Industries

You Might Also Like

The New York Times
Hrishikesh Hirway
Vulture & New York Magazine
Slate Podcasts
Rolling Stone | Cumulus Podcast Network

More by Vulture