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(1507)

Rank #16 in Music category

Music
Music Commentary
Music Interviews

Switched on Pop

Updated 3 days ago

Rank #16 in Music category

Music
Music Commentary
Music Interviews
Read more

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.

Read more

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.

iTunes Ratings

1507 Ratings
Average Ratings
1345
83
26
14
39

Excellent in every way

By sjdhsjsxjjs - Feb 18 2020
Read more
I am so addicted to this show. I love the rapport between the hosts, the generally open & positive digestion of the music choices, and the fact that they never shy away from using elevated language. I get the feeling that any listener will feel like this show is made for them regardless of their age or educational background.

Nate and Charlie are the real deal.

By Yishbania - Feb 12 2020
Read more
They know their stuff. Love listening to this

iTunes Ratings

1507 Ratings
Average Ratings
1345
83
26
14
39

Excellent in every way

By sjdhsjsxjjs - Feb 18 2020
Read more
I am so addicted to this show. I love the rapport between the hosts, the generally open & positive digestion of the music choices, and the fact that they never shy away from using elevated language. I get the feeling that any listener will feel like this show is made for them regardless of their age or educational background.

Nate and Charlie are the real deal.

By Yishbania - Feb 12 2020
Read more
They know their stuff. Love listening to this
Cover image of Switched on Pop

Switched on Pop

Latest release on Feb 18, 2020

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 3 days ago

Rank #1: Hotline Hello: Drake and Adele

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Drake and Adele are two megastars who may not seem to share much in common on the surface, but their recent hits exhibit some surprising parallels. Both revisit past relationships over the phone and both conceal inner anguish beneath subtle musical shifts. Featuring special appearances by the game Snake, Lord Byron and Drake and Adele themselves*, you don’t want to miss this episode. Plus, we check in with Justin Bieber as he completes his epic existential pop suite. For more songs about love on hold, check out our Spotify playlist. And check out Sean Rameswaram’s final episode of Sideshow on Studio 360. Featuring Drake – Hotline Bling Adele – Hello Timmy Thomas – Why Can’t We Live Together Justin Bieber – Sorry Jack Ü – Where Are Ü Now? Justin Bieber – What Do You Mean? Breakmaster Cylinder & Charlie Harding – Why Am I Here? *not really 

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Nov 04 2015

34mins

Play

Rank #2: The Deep History of '7 Rings'

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"7 Rings" is Ariana Grande's latest smash, a glittering banger that owes much to Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1959 classic "My Favorite Things." 60 years later, Grande updates the track for a modern audience, making her the latest artist to repurpose this anthem from the "Sound of Music." When it comes to Ari's flow, however, questions of appropriation arise. Author Lauren Michele Jackson joins to break down who has the right to repurpose sonic history.

Featuring:

• Ariana Grande - 7 Rings

• Julie Andrews - My Favorite Things

• John Coltrane - My Favorite Things

• The Doors - Light My Fire

• Lauryn Hill - Black Rage

• Migos - Bad and Boujee

• Princess Nokia - Mine

• Two Chainz - Spend It

• Soulja Boy - Pretty Boy Swag

Check out Lauren Michele Jackson's article, "To Whom Does '7 Rings' Owe its Sound?," hear more connections between Coltrane and the Doors in this NPR story, and discover the triplet Migos flow on Vox's Earworm.

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Jan 29 2019

39mins

Play

Rank #3: Why is 90s Pop so Bizarre?

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The Switched on Pop Summer Throwback Series continues! This time, with a deep dive into the musical detritus of the 1990s.

In true 90s fashion, our episode is inspired by a pair of classic VH1 shows; "Behind the Music" and "Where Are They Now?"

Our subjects are two songs representing the lunatic fringe of 90s culture, "Cotton Eyed Joe" and "How Bizarre."

In the course of our musicological investigation, we uncover dark truths about these seemingly anodyne hits that will make you question everything you know about pop music.

And in the end, we reach a definitive answer to a perennially vexing question: "WTF was 90s music so weird?"

Songs Discussed

Rednex:

Cotton Eye Joe

Pop in an Oak

The Way I Mate

Cotton Eyed Joe:

Fiddlin John Carson

Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys

Karen Dalton

Chieftains

Nina Simone 

OMC:

How Bizarre

Right ON

Start making your summer hit track on Splice and check out our chord pack at splice.com/onpop-chords

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Jul 27 2018

49mins

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Rank #4: ICYMI: Billie Eilish is a Different Kind of Pop Star (ft. FINNEAS)

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On a trajectory to be one of the biggest pop stars for this generation, seventeen year old Billie Eilish is not, however, your typical pop star. Her music speaks to the real anxieties of young people without any veneer. She sings from the perspective of monsters and villains. Her hushed voice, baggy style, and direct demeanor subvert the norms of the pop princess. And her music is dark, but still catchy. Billie co-writes and produces her sound with her older brother Finneas O’Connell. Together this family duo have crafted the second biggest selling album of 2019, “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” On this episode, we examine how Billie and Finneas crafted a cultural phenomenon, why their message speaks to this generation, and we speak with Finneas about the creation of their hit song “Bad Guy.”


MORE

  • Watch Billie and Finneas break down “Bury A Friend” on The New York TimesBillie Eilish – Ocean Eyes
  • Billie Eilish – Bored
  • Billie Eilish – You Should See Me In A Crown
  • Billie Eilish – Bad Guy
  • Billie Eilish – Bury A Friend
  • Marilyn Manson – The Beautiful People
  • The Doors – People Are Strange
  • Nine Inch Nails – Closer
  • Billie Eilish – ilomilo
  • Billie Eilish – All Good Girls Go To Hell
  • Billie Eilish – Xanny
  • Frank Sinatra – Dream A Dream
  • Billie Eilish – I love you
  • John Carpenter – Halloween Theme
  • Billie Eilish – Bellyache


MORE

Billie Eilish explained on Vox.com

Watch Billie and Finneas break down “Bury A Friend” on The New York Times

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Dec 31 2019

46mins

Play

Rank #5: Billie Eilish is a Different Kind of Pop Star (ft. FINNEAS)

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On a trajectory to be one of the biggest pop stars for this generation, seventeen year old Billie Eilish is not, however, your typical pop star. Her music speaks to the real anxieties of young people without any veneer. She sings from the perspective of monsters and villains. Her hushed voice, baggy style, and direct demeanor subvert the norms of the pop princess. And her music is dark, but still catchy. Billie co-writes and produces her sound with her older brother Finneas O’Connell. Together this family duo have crafted the second biggest selling album of 2019, “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?”  On this episode, we examine how Billie and Finneas crafted a cultural phenomenon, why their message speaks to this generation, and we speak with Finneas about the creation of their hit song “Bad Guy.”

Songs Featured: Billie Eilish - Ocean EyesBillie Eilish - BoredBillie Eilish - You Should See Me In A CrownBillie Eilish - Bad GuyBillie Eilish - Bury A FriendMarilyn Manson - The Beautiful PeopleThe Doors - People Are StrangeNine Inch Nails - CloserBillie Eilish - ilomiloBillie Eilish - All Good Girls Go To HellBillie Eilish - XannyFrank Sinatra - Dream A DreamBillie Eilish - I love youJohn Carpenter - Halloween ThemeBillie Eilish - Bellyache Watch Billie Eilish and Finneas break down “Bury A Friend” on The New York Times

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Apr 09 2019

46mins

Play

Rank #6: How Streaming Changed the Sound of Pop

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Streaming hasn't just changed the way we listen to music, it's changed the way that pop music sounds. After years of losses due to the death of the CD and the rise of file sharing, the music industry has finally found a profitable business in streaming services. Streaming has overtaken all other music sales. Digital music platforms are the new Virgin megastore. But these services are more than just a distribution mechanism, they have created a whole new music economy. Album sales have been replaced by "album equivalent units," a business fiction that equates 1,500 streams to one physical sale. Artists are now effectively paid by the song. With ad-supported and subscription based business models, these platforms have upended incentives so significantly that it can be heard in the songwriting. Songs are getting shorter, albums are getting longer, and there is an entirely new section of the song that draws from the classical past: the "pop overture." In this episode, Nate and Charlie are joined by Aisha Hassan and Dan Kopf to unpack the sound of pop in the streaming era.  Be sure to check out their article on Quartz: "The Reason Why Your Favorite Pop Songs Are Getting Shorter."

Songs FeaturedLil Pump - I Love ItBenny Blanco - Eastside ft. Khalid & HalseyKodak Black - Calling My SpiritPost Malone - Better NowLeonard Bernstein - West Side Story OvertureDua Lipa - One KissDrake - God’s PlanPost Malone - I Fall ApartAriana Grande - NasaTommy Dorsey - All The Things You Are

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Mar 12 2019

36mins

Play

Rank #7: ICYMI: Why is 90s Pop so Bizarre?

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Today we're revisiting an episode inspired by a pair of classic VH1 shows: “Behind the Music” and “Where Are They Now?”

Our subjects are two songs representing the lunatic fringe of 90s culture, “Cotton Eyed Joe” and “How Bizarre.”

In the course of our musicological investigation, we uncover dark truths about these seemingly anodyne hits that will make you question everything you know about pop music.

And in the end, we reach a definitive answer to a perennially vexing question: “WTF was 90s music so weird?”

Songs Discussed

Rednex:

Cotton Eye Joe

Pop in an Oak

The Way I Mate

Cotton Eyed Joe:

Fiddlin John Carson

Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys

Karen Dalton

Chieftains

Nina Simone

OMC:

How Bizarre

Right On

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Aug 27 2019

48mins

Play

Rank #8: Taylor Swift’s Beethovian Blank Space

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Taylor Swift’s Blank Space is about emptiness of the heart. This motif of Blank Space is contained through the entire piece: from the drums, to the melody, to the lyrics. We pull away the sonic structures to show how Taylor recreates that empty feeling and explores the predictable devolution of fiery romance.

FEATURING

Taylor Swift – Blank Space

NY Magazine – Why You Keep Mishearing That Taylor Swift Lyric

This episode first broadcast on the Very Loose Women podcast on Resonance 104.4FM

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Mar 26 2015

16mins

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Rank #9: Taylor Swift Causes a PANIC!

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When a listener asked us about the "sorcery" behind Taylor Swift's new song "ME!" we knew we had to investigate. And because the track features Brendon Urie of Panic! At the Disco, we couldn't resist digging into their concurrent hit "High Hopes." Along the way we cover baby talk, dreamy augmented chords, drumlines, and songs with exclamation points in their titles — all to explain why you can't get these two out of your head.

Featuring:

Taylor Swift featuring Brendon Urie - ME!

Swift - Shake it Off

Swift - The Way I Loved You

Gustav Mahler - Blicke mir nicht in die Lieder!

Shania Twain - Up!

Panic! At the Disco - High Hopes

Western Carolina University Drumline - High Hopes

Check out two great pieces on "High Hopes," one by Top 40 Theory and the other by Rolling Stone article citing Flypaper's Dean Olivet. 

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Apr 30 2019

41mins

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Rank #10: Lizzo And The End of Genre (with Sam Harris of X Ambassadors)

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On her new album, Cuz I Love You, Lizzo shows off her genre bending musicality. We speak with X Ambassadors lead singer, Sam Harris, who helped co-write three songs on the album, including its eponymous track. We discuss how Lizzo's songs glide across sixties soul, seventies rock rock, eighties new wave, and nineties hip-hop. But we find that her music is much more than a history lesson in genre. Lizzo's writes vulnerable and courageous lyrics about self love, body positivity, female empowerment, and black identity. Rather than craft a singular sound for her album, Lizzo utilizes the genre that best fits the message of any given song. Her subversion of genre to the mood of her lyric matches changes in music consumption. According to Chartmetric, more people than ever are listening across genres to context based playlists. Does this mean genre no longer matters? Nate and Charlie try to find out with the help of Lizzo's genre busting music.

Songs DiscussedLizzo - Better In ColorLizzo - Cuz I Love YouLizzo - JuiceLizzo - TempoMissy Elliott - Get Ur Freak OnLizzo - JeromeRadiohead - CreepLed Zeppelin - Royal OrleansPrince - When Doves CryLizzo - Exactly How I Feel (ft. Gucci Mane)Aretha Franklin - RespectAretha Franklin - Say A Little PrayerAretha Franklin - Chain Of FoolsAretha Franklin - I Knew You Were WaitingEurythmics ft. Aretha Franklin - Sisters Are Doin' It For ThemselvesListen to our Lizzo playlist that pairs each song on her new album with a song from the past.

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May 07 2019

51mins

Play

Rank #11: How Beyoncé to The Beatles Modulate Your Emotions

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Certain pop songs have that moment, when everything seems to change but still remain the same, when the drama gets ratcheted up, when the tension increases and our emotions take an elevator ride to the heavens. From Beyoncé to Johnny Cash, savvy pop songwriters know a well-placed harmonic modulation can leave listeners reeling. But what is this mysterious musical trick, and how does it work? Tune in and let us take you higher, and higher, and higher, as we explore the wild world of modulation.

FeaturingOne Direction - Night ChangesTaylor Swift - Love StoryBackstreet Boys - I Want it That WayStevie Wonder - Knocks Me Off my FeetBeyonce - Love On TopWhitney Houston - I Will Always Love YouMozart - Queen of the Night AriaMichael Jackson - Man in the MirrorThe Beatles - Penny LaneJohnny Cash - Walk the Line

Hear more of Dru Cutler's work at www.drucutler.com

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Sep 09 2016

38mins

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Rank #12: Selena Gomez: Bad Liar, Psycho Songwriter

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Selena Gomez's "Bad Liar" stands out on the charts by doing things a little differently: it's a subtle, at times even awkward, summer surprise. Breaking down this pop morsel reveals it has teeth, though—and not just because it borrows a bass line from the Talking Heads' macabre "Psycho Killer." This is a fun one. Come along for the ride. 

Featuring:

• Selena Gomez - Bad Liar

• Julia Michaels - Issues

• Selena Gomez - Same Old Love

• Talking Heads - Psycho Killer

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Jul 13 2017

44mins

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Rank #13: Listening Differently to Lorde | with MARIAN HILL

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Samantha Gongol and Jeremy Lloyd are songwriting duo Marian Hill and they are here to share their annoyingly sharp insights on music. They come bearing the wistful pop of Lorde's "Ribs," and we deconstruct its primordial roots in classical composers like Scelsi, Beethoven and Haydn. Then, we turn to Marian Hill's new single "Differently" to uncover the subtle musical shifts that outline a complex dialogue lurking among the track's sparse, funky textures.

Songs Discussed:

Lorde - Ribs

Broken Social Scene - Lover's Spit

Giacinto Scelsi - Memories

Ludwig van Beethoven - 9th Symphony

Franz Josef Haydn - Creation

Kid Rock - All Summer Long

Miley Cyrus - Party in the USA

Marian Hill - Mistaken

Marian Hill - Differently

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Apr 19 2018

45mins

Play

Rank #14: Purple Lemonade: Prince & Beyoncé

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It has been a period of musical loss and celebration. On the same week we lost Prince, the world was gifted Beyoncé’s Lemonade. Both artists contain multitudes of musical traditions, collaborators and themes that weave throughout their song. In the first half of the show, we break down Beyoncé's “Hold Up,” an exemplary piece about Lemonade's main theme of marital distress. But the song is not as simple as it may seem. Its compositional restraint suggests more complex ideas about love. Speaking of love, Prince may have published more songs on the subject than any other recording musician. In the second half of the show, we speak with scholar and Musiqology contributor Matthew Valnes about Prince’s musical legacy. Featuring - Beyoncé - Pray You Catch Me - Beyoncé - Freedom - Beyoncé - Formation - Beyoncé - Love Drought - Beyoncé - Sorry - Beyoncé - All Night - Beyoncé - Daddy Lessons - Beyoncé - Hold Up - Major Lazer & DJ Snake - Lean On - Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Maps - Vampire Weekend - Obvious Bicycle - Beyoncé - Don’t Hurt Yourself - Prince - Musicology - Joshua Redman - How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore - Prince - How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore - Prince - When Doves Cry - Sly & The Family Stone - Thank You - Prince - Super Bowl Press Conference Performance - Marcus Miller - Jean Pierre (live at North Sea Jazz Festival) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7Q8Ual3coM You can read Matthew Valnes' article "When Doves Cry" over at Musiqology: http://musiqology.com/blog/2016/04/25/when-doves-cry-prince-and-black-popular-music-history/ Also check out Behind The Linear Notes’s latest episode on the history of the Castrati featuring a clip from our episode on One Direction: http://www.betweenthelinernotes.com/episodes-1/castrato

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May 05 2016

45mins

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Rank #15: A Brief History of Men Singing Really High

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Men singing high is so ubiquitous in modern pop that we might take it granted, never pausing to ask: has it always been this way? Estelle Caswell, who makes the Emmy-winning Earworm series for Vox, decided to find out, and she stops by to share results from her painstaking study of male falsetto in pop music from 1958 to today. Some of her findings may surprise, like 1996 was the peak year for falsetto, Justin Timberlake doesn't sing as you high at might think, and falsetto has been around as long as pop itself. 

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Oct 15 2019

46mins

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Rank #16: Rihanna Party! (with Gina Delvac)

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Last year, NPR Music ran an audacious headline: "Rihanna Is The 21st Century's Most Influential Musician." Millions and millions of fans the world over agree, and while we try to avoid overt expressions of pop favoritism, we think they’ve got a strong case. It’s for that reason and a dozen others that we were thrilled to welcome Gina Delvac of the hit podcast Call Your Girlfriend back to the show to discuss the legendary career of one Ms. Robyn Rihanna Fenty. As we all await her ninth studio album (R9), join us for a virtual* blunt-smoke-laced tour through the hit songs that defined her early sound, and a delectable deep dive into her most recent album, ANTI.

*Zero blunts were enjoyed at the time of recording.

Songs Discussed

Rihanna - Pon de Replay

Rihanna ft. Jay-Z - Umbrella

Rihanna - What’s My Name

Rihanna ft. Calvin Harris - We Found Love 

Rihanna - Cheers (Drink to That)

Rihanna - You Da One

Rihanna - B*tch Better Have My Money

Rihanna ft. Drake - Work

Rihanna ft. SZA - Consideration

Rihanna - Needed Me

Check out Jenny Gathright's NPR article “Rihanna Is The 21st Century's Most Influential Musician” here: https://www.npr.org/2018/08/15/638551793/rihanna-is-the-21st-centurys-most-influential-musician

And find even more work from our wonderful contributors this week down below:

Gina: http://ginadelvac.com/

Ivie: https://ivieani.contently.com/

Zoe: https://zoehaylock.com/

Cate: https://www.cate-young.com/

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Oct 29 2019

55mins

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Rank #17: 808s & Havana Heartbreak

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In Camila Cabello's "Havana" we hear both her Cuban roots and the modern sounds of Atlanta. Though the singer and featured guest Young Thug reference these two geographic identities, the song says so much more through its core musical elements. A Roland TR-808 kick drum evokes an entire repertoire of Atlanta Hip Hop, while the track's supporting piano montuno descends from a Cuban style lamenting the loss of one's traditional home. 

Also in this episode, we discuss Camila's unlikely path to number one with writer Hannah Steinkopf-Frank — and the musical glass ceiling that holds so many young women artists back.

RecommendationsSwitched On Pop recommends the podcast about sound: Twenty Thousand Hertz Hannah recommends the book: Girl Groups Girl Culture by Jacqueline WarwickCheck out more music and writing from Kwami Coleman at his websiteYou can listen to you playlist of 808s and Montunos on Spotify

Featured SongsCamila Cabello - HavanaTI - Whatever You Like2NE1 - I Am The BestMarvin Gaye - Sexual HealingMariah Carey, Jermaine Dupri - Always Be My BabyOutkast - So Fresh, So CleanLil Jon - Get LowGucci Mane ft. Migos - I Get The BagCompay Segundo - Guajira GuantanameraCuarteto Caney - Guajira GuantanameraBig Mama Thorton - Hound DogElvis - Hound DogLittle Mix & Missy Elliott- How Ya Doin?The Shangri Las - Leader Of The PackSleater-Kinney - I Wanna Be Your Joey RamoneSpice Girls - WannabeSpice Girls - Spice Up Your LifeThe Ronettes - Be My BabyThe Shirelles - Will You Love Me TomorrowTLC - No Scrubs

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Feb 22 2018

57mins

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Rank #18: What Makes An Award Winning Song?

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What if music awards were given out for only musical qualities? It may seem like celebrity and spectacle are more important than ever at the 61st Grammy Awards, but we believe many of this years winners earned their accolades with noteworthy music. Still, we thought the winners should be heralded by new, more musical categories. Find out how

And The Awards Go To:

Best Chord Progression: H.E.R. - "Hard Place" & "Focus"

Best Throwback: Silk City & Dua Lipa ft. Diplo & Mark Ronson - "Electricity"

Worst Metaphor: Lady Gaga ft. Bradley Cooper "Shallow"

Best Conceptual Song: Childish Gambino - "This Is America"

Best Bridge: Kacey Musgraves - "Rainbow"

Also Featured

The Weeknd - "Often"

Khalid - "Location"

Alison Limerick - "Where Love Lives"

Cher - "Strong Enough"

Elton John - "Mellow"

Bonus

Listen to Ezra Klein's discussion with Jill Lepore on America's two revolutions

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Feb 20 2019

41mins

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Rank #19: The Puzzle of Ariana Grande's "Into You" (with K. Flay)

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"Into You" was one of the biggest hits of 2016, the stellar production of reclusive legend Max Martin combining with the acrobatic vocals of Ariana Grande to create an undeniable, ubiquitous earworm. With "Into You" still burning up the charts, we dive deep to uncover the insane puzzles, Trompe-l'oiel tricks and Baroque games that lie under the surface of this morsel of pop perfection.

PLUS, brilliant rocker and rapper K. Flay joins to discuss the mysteries of Ariana Grande and takes us through the composition of her own, bass-heavy anthem of catharsis, "Blood in the Cut."

Featuring

• Ariana Grande - Into You 

• K Flay - Blood in the Cut

• Bee Gees - Stayin' Alive

• J.S. Bach - A little hocket example

• Ariana Grande - Dangerous Woman

• The Chainsmokers - Closer

• The Rolling Stones - Can't Get No Satisfaction

• The Rolling Stones - Paint It Black

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Jan 27 2017

49mins

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Rank #20: Searching for Max Martin

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The most omnipresent figure in pop music is also the most elusive: Karl Sandberg, AKA Max Martin, the mad Swedish genius who’s ruled the charts for 20 years. With the help of New Yorker writer John Seabrook, author of The Song Machine, and comedian Chris Duffy, host of You’re The Expert, we go deep into a 21st century pop classic to try and locate the secret formula behind Max Martin’s success. FEATURING Taylor Swift – Blank Space The Weeknd – Can’t Feel My Face Backstreet Boys – I Want It That Way Kelly Clarkson – Since You Been Gone Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Maps Kelly Clarkson – My Life Would Suck Without You Katy Perry – California Girls Taylor Swift – We Are Never Getting Back Together Ariana Grande – Problem N’Sync – It’s Gonna Be Me Britney Spears – Oops I Did It Again Taylor Swift – Bad Blood Icona Pop (ft. Charlie XCX) – I Love It Tove Lo – Talking Body Backstreet Boys – We’ve Got It Going On 

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Nov 19 2015

44mins

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