65. Bad Liar

65. Selena Gomez: Bad Liar, Psycho Songwriter

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 […]

64. Alanis

64. Breaking Down Alanis Morissette (and our own Preconceptions) with guest Andrea Warner

Author, critic and podcaster Andrea Warner joins for a throwback episode exploring politics in Lilith Fair, harmonic anger in Alanis Morissette’s iconic “You Oughta Know,” and the blind spots in your host’s assessment of women in rock. Featuring: • Alanis Morissette – You Oughta Know […]

63 Rule Of Three 2

63. Morgan Page Reveals the Rule of 3: Julia Michaels and Maroon 5

Your brain can only hear three things at the same time. What you may not know is that musicians use this cognitive limitation to guide your listening all the time. Charlie and Nate are joined by Grammy Nominee music producer Morgan Page to reveal the […]

62. I'm the I vi IV V

62. DJ Khaled – I’m The One… six… four… five

DJ Khaled, Justin Bieber, Chance the Rapper, Quavo from Migos and Lil Wayne have allied for a new smash hit: “I’m The One.” Despite the star power present, the resulting track is less than the sum of its parts—repetitive, derivative, uninventive. And yet, the lackluster […]

61. Puth & Haim

61. Musical Architecture in Charlie Puth + HAIM

Two new songs have captured the attention of your hosts—Charlie Puth’s “Attention” and HAIM’s “Want You Back.” On the surface, these two songs appear to have little in common. A closer look, though, reveals the subtle musical architecture undergirding each track, a perfect balance of […]

59. Harry Styles

59. Harry Styles, Eschatology and Teen Girl Fandom

One Direction wunderkind Harry Styles has just released his first ever single, “Sign of the Times,” and it’s a doozy. Strap in for a discussion of the apocalypse, late Beatles, teen wisdom, and the amen cadence—among other demons exorcised in this most peculiar pop tune. […]

58. Ed Sheeran

58. What’s to Love About Ed Sheeran? (guest Ross Golan)

Songwriter Ross Golan comes over to start up a conversation, encouraging us to follow his lead and give Ed Sheeran’s chart-annihilating record “Shape of You” a chance. Ross, a studio vet with multiple #1 hits (including numbers discussed on this very podcast, such as Ariana […]

53. Ariana Grande

53. The Puzzle of Ariana Grande’s “Into You” (with K. Flay)

“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 […]

47-borrow-or-steal

47. Good Artists Borrow, Great Artists Steal – The Chainsmokers, ‘Closer’

Host Charlie spent the last two weeks listening to every song on the Billboard Hot 100. What did he discover? That the sonic similarities of most chart-toppers sound closer than ever. Except for the #1 song in America, as of this episode’s release – “Closer” […]