188 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
    • 4.3, 20 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.

    Bruno Major restyles the Great American Songbook

    Bruno Major restyles the Great American Songbook

    Bruno Major blends old song structures from The Great American Songbook with contemporary production on his new album “To Let A Good Thing Die.” The result is a nostalgic, yet contemporary collection of love songs for the Netflix and chill generation. We speak with Bruno Major about how he draws inspiration from the past to craft something new. He breaks down his songs "Nothing," "To Let A Good Thing Die," and "The Most Beautiful Thing," which he wrote with Finneas. And we unpack how Bruno Major found success only after being dropped from his record label.

    SONGS DISCUSSED
    Bruno Major - Nothing
    Autumn Leaves - Nat King Cole
    Fly Me to The Moon - Frank Sinatra
    Stella By Starlight - Tony Bennett
    There Will Never Be Another You - Nat King Cole
    Like Someone in Love - Chet Baker
    Deep in a Dream - Frank Sinatra
    All The things you are - Ella Fitzgerald
    Paul Simon - Still Crazy After All These Years
    Wes Montgomery - In Your Own Sweet Way
    Bruno Major - Wouldn't Mean A Thing
    Bruno Major - Bad Religion (Live)
    Bruno Major - I'll Sleep When I'm Older
    J Cole - KOD
    J Dilla - La La La
    Bruno Major - The Most Beautiful Thing
    Bruno Major - To Let A Good Thing Die
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    • 47 min
    Black Is King (ICYMI Beyoncé's Gift To Africa ft. Ivie Ani)

    Black Is King (ICYMI Beyoncé's Gift To Africa ft. Ivie Ani)

    Beyoncé' has released "Black Is King," a visual album based off of music that she released last year. We're rerunning that piece so that you can place the visual component of "Black Is King" in context to the music. For the live action remake of the Lion King, Beyoncé, (who voices Nala in the film), recorded and curated a companion soundtrack called The Gift. She worked with leading Afropop stars to expose the music of the continent to a global audience. In her piece, “Diversity Is in the Details: What Beyoncé’s ‘The Lion King: The Gift’ Gets Right and Wrong,” Okayplayer music editor Ivie Ani argues that the album highlights music while unintentionally treating the continent as a monolith. Ani joins Switched On Pop to break down this album and what it means for Afropop.

    SONGS DISCUSSED
    Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Childish Gambino, Oumou Sangaré – MOOD 4 EVA
    Oumou Sangaré – Diaraby Nen
    Burna Boy – JA ARA
    Fela Kuti – Water No Get Enemy
    Fena, MDQ, Mayonde, Kagwe, Blinky Bill – PARTY NATION

    BONUS
    Listen to Blinky and Ivie’s East African playlist recommendations
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    • 39 min
    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

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5
20 Ratings

20 Ratings

Wannapanjan ,

Learning so much!

I recently played my Gr5 music exams (ABRSM). And listening through the pop music lens, this teaches me so much more. Love the approach they take to uncover the construction frameworks of music. It’s fun.

Sirrol ,

Music

One of the best podcasts out.

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