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Switched on Pop

Vox

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Switched on Pop

Switched on Pop

Vox

624
Followers
1.4K
Plays
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About Us

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.

Latest Episodes

Dua Lipa’s Disco Fever

Dua Lipa remembers the disco era in her hit “Don’t Start Now.” What may sound like just another dance floor track, upon deeper listening unfolds as a celebration of the genre. References to Gloria Gaynor, Chic, Giorgio Moroder and The Bee Gees are all waiting here for the curious listener to uncover. But so are the Italian and Daft Punk inspired bass lines. Yet the song is more than just one big disco ball cliché. It is brilliantly written too. We asked our listeners to help us highlight the best moments of the song as this is a song that continues to sound anew upon each playback. In 2020, the influence of Disco is still very much alive and Dua Lip’s “Don’t Start Now,” written withCaroline Ailin, Emily Warren and Ian Kirkpatrick, is a shining example of a great contemporary disco track. Songs Discussed Dua Lipa - Don’t Start Now Gloria Gaynor - Staying Alive Chic - Good Times Giorgio Mordoer -Baby Blue The Bee Gees - You Should Be Dancing The Michael Zager Band - Let’s Al...

38 MIN4 d ago
Comments
Dua Lipa’s Disco Fever

ICYMI: Chance The Rapper, Kehlani, & The Shifting Sound of R&B — with Oak Felder

The sound of R&B is difficult to pin down. Since the 1950s, the label has been used both as a genre and as a catch-all for the entirety of black popular music. Soul, funk, disco and even hip-hop have at times been covered by this "R&B" umbrella. On Chance The Rapper's new album, The Big Day, all of these influences come through—and he's not alone. On recent Kehlani records, 90s R&B and 2000s trap both play a role. But both these artists are a far cry from the 50s R&B sounds of Sam Cooke. To understand how R&B has changed over time, we consult with Trevor Anderson, manager of Billboard's R&B/Hip Hop chart. Then we speak with R&B super-producer Oak Felder to understand how R&B is progressing and what it might become. Songs Discussed Chance The Rapper – Hot Shower Chance The Rapper – I Got You Sam Cooke – You Send Me Elvis Presley – Crying In the Chapel The Temptations – I Can’t Get Next To You Mtume – Juicy Fruit Biggie – Juicy Toni Braxton – Breath Again Janet Jackson – That’s The Way Love Goes Boys II Men – I’ll Make Love To You Lauryn Hill – Doo Wop (That Thing) Diddy – I’ll Be Missing You (feat. Faith Evans & 112) Nelly – Dilemma Kehlani – Distraction SWV – Weak Aaron Hall – I Miss You Usher – You Make Me Wanna Brandy – Sit-in Up In My Room Dru Hill – In My Bed Silk – Freak Me Demi Lovato – Sorry Not Sorry Jodeci – Cry For you Mariah Carey – Vision of Love Kehlani Everything Is Yours Chance The Rapper – All Day Long Queen – Fat Bottom Girls Diana Ross – I’m Coming Out For an in depth history of R&B on Billboard, read Chris Molanphy's feature onPitchfork. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

55 MIN1 w ago
Comments
ICYMI: Chance The Rapper, Kehlani, & The Shifting Sound of R&B — with Oak Felder

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

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” onThe New York TimesBillie Eilish – Ocean Eyes Billie Eilish – Bored Billie Eilish – You Should See Me In A Crown Bi...

46 MIN2 w ago
Comments
ICYMI: Billie Eilish is a Different Kind of Pop Star (ft. FINNEAS)

Dolly Parton's America (with Jad Abumrad)

There are icons, and then there’s Dolly Parton. The country singer-turned-actress-turned-cultural phenomenon has produced a nearly unparalleled body ofwork, in both quantity (Parton is the sole or co-author of more than three thousand songs) and in legacy. Despite releasing her first album over 60 years ago, Parton’s songs are still covered and performed live by today’s pop artists. Presidential candidates are still selecting her songs as official walk-on music. So what is it exactly that makes her music so enduring? Today, we select four essential Dolly songs for dissection and try to answer that big question with the help of composer, longtime radio-maker and host of the new hit podcast, Dolly Parton’s America--Jad Abumrad. Whether or not you identify as a Dolly Parton fan, or even a country music fan, we think you’ll love this one. Songs discussed Dolly Parton - Dumb Blonde Dolly Parton - Down from Dover Dolly Parton - Jolene Dolly Parton - Light of a Clear Blue Morning Kesha - Praying Mariah Carey - Hero Andra Day - Rise Up Dolly Parton - 9 to 5 Stevie Wonder - I Wish Dolly Parton - Mule Skinner Blues Thanks to Jad, producer Shima Oliaee and the rest of the Dolly Parton’s America team. You can check out the eight episodes they’ve released so far, and keep an eye out for the final one at www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/dolly-partons-america. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

40 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Dolly Parton's America (with Jad Abumrad)

Who's Afraid of the Sound of TikTok? (w Cat Zhang)

Bass distorted to the edge of audibility; voices croaking out dark and violent lyrics; a hacked-together DIY aesthetic. This isn't a fringe musical movement, this is the sound of TikTok, the video app used by millions in Generation Z. And soon enough it might also be the sound of pop as we know it. Cat Zhang from Pitchfork stops by to clue us into the sonic reality of music's newest platform, from Gordon Ramsay to pumpkins screaming in the dead of night. Songs Discussed Savage Ga$p, 93FEETOFSMOKE - Pumpkins scream in the dead of night haroinfather, Savage Ga$sp - Tunnel of Love Arizona Zervas - ROXANNE HL Wave, Jhonny Flames - Gordon Ramsay Hooligan Chase - Asshole Comethazine - Walk Peter Kuli, Jed Will - ok boomer Young Spool, Jakob - WTF Check out Cat's article The Anatomy of a TikTok Hit on Pitchfork Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

36 MIN2019 DEC 17
Comments
Who's Afraid of the Sound of TikTok? (w Cat Zhang)

Paper Planes, Chandelier & What the #@%! is Timbre? (with Constance Grady)

We hand over the hosting duties to Constance Grady, book reviewer for Vox.com, to discussour new book/baby - Switched on Pop: How Popular Music Works and Why it Matters, and go deep on two specific concepts we haven’t touched nearly enough on the show: timbre (with the help of Sia’s “Chandelier) and sampling (via M.I.A.’s iconic “Paper Planes). The book of course goes further, devoting a full chapter each to sixteen different concepts we’ve explored on the show (think harmony, modulation, syncopation, genre), and pairing those concepts with the pop tracks that really bring them to life. There are so many people who helped us get this thing from concept to bound stack of papers that you can hold in your hands, but right now, right here, we want to shout out: our listeners. You all shape the show every week by suggesting incredible episode ideas and recommending songs for us to break down. You also inspired this book, when you asked us year in and year out for a definitive guide...

39 MIN2019 DEC 10
Comments
Paper Planes, Chandelier & What the #@%! is Timbre? (with Constance Grady)

Prelude & Feud on a 'G' Thang: Biggie vs Tupac

The East Coast / West Coast hip hop feud between Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls is full of tragedy and conspiracy, but what did it really sound like? For the third season of of the hit podcast Slow Burn, host Joel Anderson and producer Christopher Johnson dig up untold stories about this infamous rivalry, and they join Nate and Charlie to break down boom bap, G Funk, and the surprising points of overlap between two titans of rap. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

45 MIN2019 DEC 3
Comments
Prelude & Feud on a 'G' Thang: Biggie vs Tupac

Pop is the Sound We Need Right Now (with Electric Guest)

Electric Guest (Asa Taccone and Matthew Compton) take a left turn towards pop on “Dollar" — a song about making more out of less, something too many people find themselves to do right now. The music follows the same principle, turning cheap synths and canned horns into a symphony of sound. We chat with Asa about how the track — equally inspired by Stevie Wonder and Bertolt Brecht —came to be and why pop can be a balm in dark times. Songs Featured Electric Guest - Dollar Stevie Wonder - Uptight (Everything's Alright) Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

41 MIN2019 NOV 26
Comments
Pop is the Sound We Need Right Now (with Electric Guest)

The Past, Present, and Future of EMO (with Allegra Frank)

Nate doesn’t know much about the musical style known as emo. Sadly, he was too busy nerding out on jazz during his youthful years to catch the moment. That’s a shame, because emo is experiencing a revival right now - most surprisingly within the world of hip hop. All of which leaves Nate in the awkward position of not really having any idea what’s going on, so thank goodness for some schooling by Vox culture reporter Allegra Frank, who spent her teenage years the right way: getting emotional to the soundtrack of emo. Her first lesson about this endlessly fascinating subculture? It’swaymore than just a sound. Songs discussed: Sunny Day Real Estate - Seven Jawbreaker - Do You Still Hate Me?! My Chemical Romance - I’m Not Okay (I Promise) Fall Out Boy - Sugar, We’re Goin Down Panic! At the Disco - I Write Sins not Tragedies Jimmy Eat World - Lucky Denver Mint Jimmy Eat World - A Praise Chorus Jimmy Eat World - The Middle American Football - Never Meant Foxing - Lich My Prince The...

53 MIN2019 NOV 19
Comments
The Past, Present, and Future of EMO (with Allegra Frank)

When Pop and Classical Collide (with James Bennett II)

Once upon a time, classical music was pop, so today it's worth stepping back and asking: where does one genre stop and the other begin? Can classical ever be popular again? And why do only some classical tracks makes for good samples? Luckily James Bennett II of classical station WQXR is on hand to break down these and other musical conundrums, including but not limited to: killer opera clowns, Bach hip hop hybrids, and the namesake album of this very podcast. Songs discussed: Dessa and the Minnesota Orchestra - Chaconne Enrico Caruso - Vesti la Giubbia Mario Lanza - Because You’re Mine Wendy Carlos - Prelude and Fugue in C Minor Jackie Evancho - Nessun Dorma Jackie Evancho - Burn Lindsay Stirling - Underground Vitamin String Quartet - Shallow Florence Price - Symphony 1 Nas - I Can Black Eyed Peas - Back 2 Hip Hop Victoria - Impropreia Kanye West - Gone Check out more of James's writing here: https://www.wqxr.org/people/james-bennett-ii/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit meg...

60 MIN2019 NOV 12
Comments
When Pop and Classical Collide (with James Bennett II)

Latest Episodes

Dua Lipa’s Disco Fever

Dua Lipa remembers the disco era in her hit “Don’t Start Now.” What may sound like just another dance floor track, upon deeper listening unfolds as a celebration of the genre. References to Gloria Gaynor, Chic, Giorgio Moroder and The Bee Gees are all waiting here for the curious listener to uncover. But so are the Italian and Daft Punk inspired bass lines. Yet the song is more than just one big disco ball cliché. It is brilliantly written too. We asked our listeners to help us highlight the best moments of the song as this is a song that continues to sound anew upon each playback. In 2020, the influence of Disco is still very much alive and Dua Lip’s “Don’t Start Now,” written withCaroline Ailin, Emily Warren and Ian Kirkpatrick, is a shining example of a great contemporary disco track. Songs Discussed Dua Lipa - Don’t Start Now Gloria Gaynor - Staying Alive Chic - Good Times Giorgio Mordoer -Baby Blue The Bee Gees - You Should Be Dancing The Michael Zager Band - Let’s Al...

38 MIN4 d ago
Comments
Dua Lipa’s Disco Fever

ICYMI: Chance The Rapper, Kehlani, & The Shifting Sound of R&B — with Oak Felder

The sound of R&B is difficult to pin down. Since the 1950s, the label has been used both as a genre and as a catch-all for the entirety of black popular music. Soul, funk, disco and even hip-hop have at times been covered by this "R&B" umbrella. On Chance The Rapper's new album, The Big Day, all of these influences come through—and he's not alone. On recent Kehlani records, 90s R&B and 2000s trap both play a role. But both these artists are a far cry from the 50s R&B sounds of Sam Cooke. To understand how R&B has changed over time, we consult with Trevor Anderson, manager of Billboard's R&B/Hip Hop chart. Then we speak with R&B super-producer Oak Felder to understand how R&B is progressing and what it might become. Songs Discussed Chance The Rapper – Hot Shower Chance The Rapper – I Got You Sam Cooke – You Send Me Elvis Presley – Crying In the Chapel The Temptations – I Can’t Get Next To You Mtume – Juicy Fruit Biggie – Juicy Toni Braxton – Breath Again Janet Jackson – That’s The Way Love Goes Boys II Men – I’ll Make Love To You Lauryn Hill – Doo Wop (That Thing) Diddy – I’ll Be Missing You (feat. Faith Evans & 112) Nelly – Dilemma Kehlani – Distraction SWV – Weak Aaron Hall – I Miss You Usher – You Make Me Wanna Brandy – Sit-in Up In My Room Dru Hill – In My Bed Silk – Freak Me Demi Lovato – Sorry Not Sorry Jodeci – Cry For you Mariah Carey – Vision of Love Kehlani Everything Is Yours Chance The Rapper – All Day Long Queen – Fat Bottom Girls Diana Ross – I’m Coming Out For an in depth history of R&B on Billboard, read Chris Molanphy's feature onPitchfork. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

55 MIN1 w ago
Comments
ICYMI: Chance The Rapper, Kehlani, & The Shifting Sound of R&B — with Oak Felder

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

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” onThe New York TimesBillie Eilish – Ocean Eyes Billie Eilish – Bored Billie Eilish – You Should See Me In A Crown Bi...

46 MIN2 w ago
Comments
ICYMI: Billie Eilish is a Different Kind of Pop Star (ft. FINNEAS)

Dolly Parton's America (with Jad Abumrad)

There are icons, and then there’s Dolly Parton. The country singer-turned-actress-turned-cultural phenomenon has produced a nearly unparalleled body ofwork, in both quantity (Parton is the sole or co-author of more than three thousand songs) and in legacy. Despite releasing her first album over 60 years ago, Parton’s songs are still covered and performed live by today’s pop artists. Presidential candidates are still selecting her songs as official walk-on music. So what is it exactly that makes her music so enduring? Today, we select four essential Dolly songs for dissection and try to answer that big question with the help of composer, longtime radio-maker and host of the new hit podcast, Dolly Parton’s America--Jad Abumrad. Whether or not you identify as a Dolly Parton fan, or even a country music fan, we think you’ll love this one. Songs discussed Dolly Parton - Dumb Blonde Dolly Parton - Down from Dover Dolly Parton - Jolene Dolly Parton - Light of a Clear Blue Morning Kesha - Praying Mariah Carey - Hero Andra Day - Rise Up Dolly Parton - 9 to 5 Stevie Wonder - I Wish Dolly Parton - Mule Skinner Blues Thanks to Jad, producer Shima Oliaee and the rest of the Dolly Parton’s America team. You can check out the eight episodes they’ve released so far, and keep an eye out for the final one at www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/dolly-partons-america. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

40 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Dolly Parton's America (with Jad Abumrad)

Who's Afraid of the Sound of TikTok? (w Cat Zhang)

Bass distorted to the edge of audibility; voices croaking out dark and violent lyrics; a hacked-together DIY aesthetic. This isn't a fringe musical movement, this is the sound of TikTok, the video app used by millions in Generation Z. And soon enough it might also be the sound of pop as we know it. Cat Zhang from Pitchfork stops by to clue us into the sonic reality of music's newest platform, from Gordon Ramsay to pumpkins screaming in the dead of night. Songs Discussed Savage Ga$p, 93FEETOFSMOKE - Pumpkins scream in the dead of night haroinfather, Savage Ga$sp - Tunnel of Love Arizona Zervas - ROXANNE HL Wave, Jhonny Flames - Gordon Ramsay Hooligan Chase - Asshole Comethazine - Walk Peter Kuli, Jed Will - ok boomer Young Spool, Jakob - WTF Check out Cat's article The Anatomy of a TikTok Hit on Pitchfork Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

36 MIN2019 DEC 17
Comments
Who's Afraid of the Sound of TikTok? (w Cat Zhang)

Paper Planes, Chandelier & What the #@%! is Timbre? (with Constance Grady)

We hand over the hosting duties to Constance Grady, book reviewer for Vox.com, to discussour new book/baby - Switched on Pop: How Popular Music Works and Why it Matters, and go deep on two specific concepts we haven’t touched nearly enough on the show: timbre (with the help of Sia’s “Chandelier) and sampling (via M.I.A.’s iconic “Paper Planes). The book of course goes further, devoting a full chapter each to sixteen different concepts we’ve explored on the show (think harmony, modulation, syncopation, genre), and pairing those concepts with the pop tracks that really bring them to life. There are so many people who helped us get this thing from concept to bound stack of papers that you can hold in your hands, but right now, right here, we want to shout out: our listeners. You all shape the show every week by suggesting incredible episode ideas and recommending songs for us to break down. You also inspired this book, when you asked us year in and year out for a definitive guide...

39 MIN2019 DEC 10
Comments
Paper Planes, Chandelier & What the #@%! is Timbre? (with Constance Grady)

Prelude & Feud on a 'G' Thang: Biggie vs Tupac

The East Coast / West Coast hip hop feud between Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls is full of tragedy and conspiracy, but what did it really sound like? For the third season of of the hit podcast Slow Burn, host Joel Anderson and producer Christopher Johnson dig up untold stories about this infamous rivalry, and they join Nate and Charlie to break down boom bap, G Funk, and the surprising points of overlap between two titans of rap. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

45 MIN2019 DEC 3
Comments
Prelude & Feud on a 'G' Thang: Biggie vs Tupac

Pop is the Sound We Need Right Now (with Electric Guest)

Electric Guest (Asa Taccone and Matthew Compton) take a left turn towards pop on “Dollar" — a song about making more out of less, something too many people find themselves to do right now. The music follows the same principle, turning cheap synths and canned horns into a symphony of sound. We chat with Asa about how the track — equally inspired by Stevie Wonder and Bertolt Brecht —came to be and why pop can be a balm in dark times. Songs Featured Electric Guest - Dollar Stevie Wonder - Uptight (Everything's Alright) Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

41 MIN2019 NOV 26
Comments
Pop is the Sound We Need Right Now (with Electric Guest)

The Past, Present, and Future of EMO (with Allegra Frank)

Nate doesn’t know much about the musical style known as emo. Sadly, he was too busy nerding out on jazz during his youthful years to catch the moment. That’s a shame, because emo is experiencing a revival right now - most surprisingly within the world of hip hop. All of which leaves Nate in the awkward position of not really having any idea what’s going on, so thank goodness for some schooling by Vox culture reporter Allegra Frank, who spent her teenage years the right way: getting emotional to the soundtrack of emo. Her first lesson about this endlessly fascinating subculture? It’swaymore than just a sound. Songs discussed: Sunny Day Real Estate - Seven Jawbreaker - Do You Still Hate Me?! My Chemical Romance - I’m Not Okay (I Promise) Fall Out Boy - Sugar, We’re Goin Down Panic! At the Disco - I Write Sins not Tragedies Jimmy Eat World - Lucky Denver Mint Jimmy Eat World - A Praise Chorus Jimmy Eat World - The Middle American Football - Never Meant Foxing - Lich My Prince The...

53 MIN2019 NOV 19
Comments
The Past, Present, and Future of EMO (with Allegra Frank)

When Pop and Classical Collide (with James Bennett II)

Once upon a time, classical music was pop, so today it's worth stepping back and asking: where does one genre stop and the other begin? Can classical ever be popular again? And why do only some classical tracks makes for good samples? Luckily James Bennett II of classical station WQXR is on hand to break down these and other musical conundrums, including but not limited to: killer opera clowns, Bach hip hop hybrids, and the namesake album of this very podcast. Songs discussed: Dessa and the Minnesota Orchestra - Chaconne Enrico Caruso - Vesti la Giubbia Mario Lanza - Because You’re Mine Wendy Carlos - Prelude and Fugue in C Minor Jackie Evancho - Nessun Dorma Jackie Evancho - Burn Lindsay Stirling - Underground Vitamin String Quartet - Shallow Florence Price - Symphony 1 Nas - I Can Black Eyed Peas - Back 2 Hip Hop Victoria - Impropreia Kanye West - Gone Check out more of James's writing here: https://www.wqxr.org/people/james-bennett-ii/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit meg...

60 MIN2019 NOV 12
Comments
When Pop and Classical Collide (with James Bennett II)

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