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 […]

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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” […]

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45. Lady Gaga Is A Perfect Illusion

Lady Gaga’s new single, “Perfect Illusion,” is the apotheosis of her artistic statement. She is well known for her visual style that too often overshadows her music. But when taken together, it is evident that Lady Gaga is playing all of us because the non-conformity […]