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Switched on Pop
Switched on Pop
Vulture

A podcast all about the making and meaning of popular music. Musicologist Nate Sloan & songwriter Charlie Harding pull back the curtain... more

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Episodes

Freaking out about songwriting with Nile Rodgers

There is no contemporary pop music without Nile Rodgers. Born in 1952, Rodgers grew up playing classical music on flute and... more

11 Jun 2024 · 35 minutes
Begging songs and basketball's musicality (with Hanif Abdurraqib)

There's no music writer like the essayist and poet Hanif Abdurraqib: whether he's narrating the beautiful awkwardness of a Carly... more

04 Jun 2024 · 29 minutes
Charlie Puth should be a bigger artist (with Charlie Puth)

On her latest album, Taylor Swift “declared Charlie Puth should be a bigger artist.” No one was more surprised by... more

28 May 2024 · 39 minutes
Billie Eilish hits both hard and soft

On Billie Eilish’s third album, Hit Me Hard and Soft, Eilish finally graduates from her signature anti-pop persona into full... more

21 May 2024 · 43 minutes
Gastropod: Why are restaurants so loud? Plus the science behind the perfect playlist

When you go out for a meal, it’s not just what's on your plate that matters, it's what's in your... more

17 May 2024 · 44 minutes
Is pop music just fast food? (with Gastropod)

Where were you when you learned that the McDonald's jingle "I'm lovin' it" was originally part of a full-fledged pop... more

14 May 2024 · 39 minutes
Rosie Tucker's unending bliss

Tongue twisters that mock techno-optimism and cite critical theory don’t usually make for catchy song lyrics. But indie rocker Rosie... more

10 May 2024 · 23 minutes
Eurovision 2024: from Baby Lasagna to Windows95Man

It’s that time of year again when the entirety of Europe (and a few other countries) come together to celebrate... more

07 May 2024 · 33 minutes
Justice is never-ending

Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay of the French electronic duo Justice speak with cohost Charlie Harding about their new... more

04 May 2024 · 41 minutes
Best of 2024 so far: hip hop feuds, Hozier’s pop surprise and espresso shots

The beginning of 2024 has brought new music aplenty. Some big releases are in the form of big-ticket albums by... more

30 Apr 2024 · 53 minutes
Taylor Swift's Literary Era

The Tortured Poets Department, Taylor Swift's 11th studio album, finds the songwriter in the world of literature. She interweaves personal... more

23 Apr 2024 · 46 minutes
Lost Notes: How Fela Kuti Found Afrobeat in LA

Lost Notes by KCRW explores how Fela Kuti’s time in LA in 1969 was instrumental in the creation of his legendary Afrobeat... more

20 Apr 2024 · 32 minutes
Berlin's Hottest Club is Rico Nasty & Boys Noize

There are few artists pushing the boundaries of their respective genres like Maryland rapper Rico Nasty and German-Iraqi electronic producer... more

16 Apr 2024 · 44 minutes
Chasing old sounds: Djo's "End of Beginning" with Joe Keery

Joe Keery is best known for his acting roles, such as the reformed jock Steve Harrington in "Stranger Things" and... more

09 Apr 2024 · 39 minutes
Cowboy Carter: This Ain't Country

Beyoncé's Cowboy Carter is her foray into country music, but this isn't just dirt roads, blue jeans and whiskey. Her... more

02 Apr 2024 · 39 minutes
Hip-hop's Sea Change at Rolling Loud

Hip-hop is in a weird place right now. Research says that the genre, in both streaming and chart performance, has... more

26 Mar 2024 · 42 minutes
Rhapsody in Blue, Reimagined

What do Duke Ellington, United Airlines, and the K Pop group Red Velvet share in common? They've all covered George... more

22 Mar 2024 · 30 minutes
Eternal Sunshine of Ariana Grande's Mind

Sidestep the gossip and focus on the music in Ariana Grande’s latest album Eternal Sunshine. The music is an exercise... more

19 Mar 2024 · 44 minutes
How to DIY a Music Career (with Amelia Meath and David Gray at SXSW)

In a landscape where the music industry seems designed to stifle creativity and independence, Amelia Meath stands as a beacon... more

15 Mar 2024 · 37 minutes
Is Beyoncé's music #sponcon? And other mysteries LIVE in Brooklyn

Live from On-Air Fest in Brooklyn, Nate and Charlie investigate listeners’ burning musical mysteries, such as: Is Beyoncé’s reference to... more

12 Mar 2024 · 44 minutes
Jacob Collier unites the world

One of the most inventive and gifted musicians working today is none other than Jacob Collier. Maybe you know him... more

05 Mar 2024 · 1 hour,
Beyoncé's Country

Renaissance Act II truthers, your time has come: There’s new music from Beyoncé, and boy, is it country. Her two... more

27 Feb 2024 · 44 minutes
Adult Contemporary, but make it cool (with CHROMEO)

The Canadian Electro-Funk duo CHROMEO have made consistently funky, highly danceable music for twenty years. They’ve released five studios albums,... more

20 Feb 2024 · 29 minutes
The Star Spangled Banger!

Who is the biggest Diva of them all? The U.S. National Anthem, which borrows its melody from a historic British... more

13 Feb 2024 · 53 minutes
Brittany Howard's Chaos Theory (with Brittany Howard)

When it comes to powerful artistry, few can match the intensity of Brittany Howard. Over the past decade, we’ve seen... more

06 Feb 2024 · 35 minutes
The b*tch of loving musical theater (with Bridger Winegar)

When it comes to musical theater, everyone has an opinion. And Bridger Winegar, host of the very funny podcast I... more

30 Jan 2024 · 45 minutes
Kali Uchis takes on the world

Colombian-American singer Kali Uchis has cemented herself as something of a vibe curator; her signature genre fusion has brought forward... more

23 Jan 2024 · 36 minutes
Soundalikes: Lil Nas X and Ariana Grande

We live in an age of musical nostalgia where artists wear influences on their sleaves. Case in point, two established... more

16 Jan 2024 · 38 minutes
The case of the missing vocals, and other listener questions

All throughout the year, Switched on Pop gets a litany of musical questions that need answering. To kick off 2024,... more

09 Jan 2024 · 46 minutes
Too Fast? We’re Curious: The sped-up remix phenomenon - ICYMI

In case you missed it, last January, we published this story on the rising trend of sped-up music. It seems... more

02 Jan 2024 · 25 minutes
Wham! Op. 84 “Last Christmas” with Chilly Gonzales - ICYMI

In case you missed it, Wham’s 1984 contribution to the holiday cannon, “Last Christmas,” has surprising staying power. When Grammy-winning... more

25 Dec 2023 · 48 minutes
"Did I mention that it's Christmas in this club?" (w Matt Rogers)

Holiday album releases sometimes have a sense of pandering to them. "I'm a pop star. Here's me singing the nineteen-millionth... more

19 Dec 2023 · 32 minutes
Nicki Minaj's Roman Empire

Nicki Minaj is one of the most unique rappers of all time. She’s given us numerous iconic guest verses from... more

12 Dec 2023 · 50 minutes
Hear the Year: The music we loved in 2023

Sign up for the Switched On Pop Newsletter When you make a weekly podcast about pop music, there’s some things that,... more

05 Dec 2023 · 44 minutes
Behind the Scenes of Switched on Pop on Harman Audio Talks

Nate and Charlie were recently featured on Harman Audio Talks. While our team takes the week off, we wanted to... more

28 Nov 2023 · 31 minutes
Noah Kahan’s Folk Pop Revival

Noah Kahan is having a banner year. Between his Best New Artist nomination at the Grammys, his debut SNL performance,... more

21 Nov 2023 · 39 minutes
Why Country Music Dominated 2023's Charts

Country music's had a massive year. Seriously, not since 1958 have we seen so many country tunes topping the Hot... more

14 Nov 2023 · 47 minutes
The Beatles: "Now and Then" and Forever

When Paul McCartney announced that he and Ringo Starr had produced a new Beatles song with the aid of AI,... more

07 Nov 2023 · 30 minutes
Rerecording Taylor Swift's 1989s, Dark Side of the Moon, and Demi Lovato

Three big artists have rerecorded their most hallowed musical material. Taylor Swift, Roger Water and Demi Lovato each have different... more

28 Oct 2023 · 42 minutes
Chartbreakers: Mitski tops the TikTok chart

It’s time for another edition of our series Chartbreakers, where we take a look at the trends and shakeups happening... more

24 Oct 2023 · 43 minutes
How Talking Heads reinvented the concert film (with Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz)

Talking Head's concert film Stop Making Sense first came out forty years ago, and it’s just been rereleased in theaters... more

17 Oct 2023 · 50 minutes
Feeling Fine with Faye Webster

The past two episodes of the show have been in Atlanta, and this week, we’re staying there with a look... more

11 Oct 2023 · 41 minutes
Metro Boomin Wants Some More

Few producers have had such a demonstrated impact on the the last decade of music as Metro Boomin. Described by... more

06 Oct 2023 · 39 minutes
In Defense of Crunk

Twenty years ago, the song "Get Low" by Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz and Ying Yang Twins was... more

03 Oct 2023 · 41 minutes
Made In America: Jay-Z & Toby Keith ICYMI

In case you missed it rerun from 2016. Back in 2011, two pop songs dropped with the same patriotic title:... more

28 Sep 2023 · 46 minutes
The Art of Flow (with DJ Jazzy Jeff) ICYMI

In hip-hop, what draws us to an artist is not just the content of their lyrics but how they deliver... more

26 Sep 2023 · 35 minutes
Doja Cat’s Satanic Suite

For the first time in 2023, a rap song is at number one on Billboard's Hot 100: Doja Cat's “Paint... more

19 Sep 2023 · 39 minutes
Jimmy Buffett: Next Year in Margaritaville

When Jimmy Buffett died on the first day of September, 2023, musicians from Paul McCartney to Pitbull mourned the death... more

12 Sep 2023 · 36 minutes
Beyoncé's 'Renaissance' Era ICYMI

In case you missed it, Beyoncé’s new album Renaissance is one of her most ambitious albums yet. On this week’s... more

05 Sep 2023 · 30 minutes
Olivia Rodrigo’s Good Ideas

Everyone seems to be getting Olivia Rodrigo wrong. She's one of the few pop stars who has made it big... more

29 Aug 2023 · 31 minutes
Wonders: "Stacy's Mom" and Adam Schlesinger

In 2003, amidst a bunch of bleak alternative rock bangers like “Numb” by Linkin Park and “Bring Me To Life”... more

22 Aug 2023 · 30 minutes
The mid-career crises of Travis Scott and Post Malone

Right now, the two biggest records in the country come to us from two of hip-hop’s biggest superstars: Travis Scott... more

15 Aug 2023 · 36 minutes
Song Camp 2: Electric Boogaloo! (with Alex Tumay, Wolftyla, Nicholas Petricca, Grace VanderWaal)

Part two of the secret world of song camps looks at the different roles in a songwriting session. There are... more

11 Aug 2023 · 34 minutes
The secret world of songwriting camps

Beginning in the nineties, pop songwriters have traveled to a 13th-century castle in the south of France for what’s come... more

08 Aug 2023 · 34 minutes
Your cursive singing is tearing this family apart!

Recently while scrolling twitter we saw a clip from American Idol of judge Katy Perry admonishing an auditioner on the... more

01 Aug 2023 · 31 minutes
Barbie and the plasticity of pop

This past week, the film Barbie opened nationwide to massive success – and with it came a soundtrack, executive produced... more

25 Jul 2023 · 46 minutes
How Louis Armstrong invented the modern pop star

In 1964, Louis Armstrong knocked the Beatles off the top of the charts with his recording of “Hello, Dolly!” becoming,... more

18 Jul 2023 · 33 minutes
Speak Now (about Taylor's versions)

Taylor Swift is currently the most streamed artist in the world as she’s commandeered the media as she embarks on... more

11 Jul 2023 · 46 minutes
My Beyoncé Ticket Cost $4,000: Why the Touring Industry Might Be Broken – Into It with Sam Sanders

Us at Switched On Pop are off on vacation, but don't fret – this week we're still bringing you an... more

04 Jul 2023 · 25 minutes
What makes a gay anthem?

Vulture might have killed the song of the summer back in 2016, but if you’re a member of the LGBTQ+... more

27 Jun 2023 · 35 minutes
Switches Brew: blink-182, Kate Bush, BewhY, The Pointer Sisters, Saint Levant

Another installment of Switches Brew the show where you get to hear from the larger team Switched On Pop team... more

20 Jun 2023 · 26 minutes
Chartbreakers: Mexican regional y más

As summer comes upon us, it’s time for some Billboard shake ups. On this week’s edition of Chartbreakers, we’re looking... more

13 Jun 2023 · 44 minutes
Listening 2 Daft Punk: Random Access Memories

In the song "Touch" from Daft Punk's final studio album, 2013's Random Access Memories, featured artist Paul Williams sings a... more

06 Jun 2023 · 36 minutes
Listening 2 Daft Punk: Human After All / Alive 2007

Throughout their legendary career, Daft Punk continued to prove that the more robotic their music became, the more human they... more

30 May 2023 · 39 minutes
Listening 2 Daft Punk: Discovery

Daft Punk’s first album laid the groundwork for their robot personas, with four to the floor beats, programmed drum machines,... more

23 May 2023 · 36 minutes
Listening 2 Daft Punk: Homework

Ten years ago, Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories gave life back to music. The world-beating smash “Get Lucky” broke streaming... more

16 May 2023 · 37 minutes
The Jonas Brothers' Yacht Rock Revival

After nearly two decades as a band the Jonas Brothers are staking their claim to a magnum opus by calling... more

09 May 2023 · 39 minutes
From Westeros-techno to trance metal: Eurovision 2023

It’s May, and that can only mean one thing: it’s time for the Eurovision Song Contest. This year’s edition of... more

02 May 2023 · 28 minutes
Who killed the key change in pop music?

When trouble strikes in music town, there’s one guy who gets the call. That’s me, Joe Treble, forensic musicologist. This... more

25 Apr 2023 · 33 minutes
A.I. Drake has put music in a tailspin

We have an emergency podcast drop because the biggest and fastest moving story on the internet right now is about... more

21 Apr 2023 · 37 minutes
BTS goes solo together

The South Korean idol group BTS is one of the biggest musical sensations in history. They're constantly breaking records and... more

18 Apr 2023 · 49 minutes
This Generation's Caroline Polachek

From the first seconds of her latest album Desire, I Want to Turn Into You, Caroline Polachek asserts that she is... more

11 Apr 2023 · 43 minutes
The Shakira Conspiracy

Shakira is back on the Billboard Hot 100 – thanks to the help of Argentinian producer Bizarrap. Together, their song... more

04 Apr 2023 · 31 minutes
Reinventing Bach

If you’ve ever learned classical piano, you probably tried to play one of Bach’s Inventions. The composer wrote fifteen pieces... more

28 Mar 2023 · 40 minutes
100 gecs and the new sound of hyperpop

Everyone will describe the music of 100 gecs differently. To some, Dylan Brady and Laura Les make deeply satisfying earworms,... more

21 Mar 2023 · 39 minutes
Switches Brew

Every week the Switched On Pop team gets together and everybody shares one song they’re loving right now. It is... more

17 Mar 2023 · 24 minutes
Modern Classics: Seal - Kiss From a Rose

“Kiss From a Rose” is one of the most unusual number one hits of all time. Seal’s song can’t decide... more

14 Mar 2023 · 37 minutes
How John Denver got huge in Asia

“Take Me Home, Country Roads” is a song about West Virginia, but its message of homecoming has resonance far beyond... more

07 Mar 2023 · 33 minutes
Chartbreakers: Jersey Club, Complicated Country, and 50s Crooners

Currently on Billboard’s hot 100 there is an unexpected UK Garage / Jersey House mashup, a disgraced country star making... more

28 Feb 2023 · 30 minutes
Five years later, the legacy of Nipsey Hussle's "Victory Lap"

Five years ago, Los Angeles rapper Nipsey Hussle released Victory Lap, his only full length album. It was the high... more

22 Feb 2023 · 35 minutes
“Flowers” and the art of the response song

“Flowers” by Miley Cyrus is spending another week on top of the Billboard 100 – quite fitting for Valentine’s Day. The... more

14 Feb 2023 · 39 minutes
Rihanna Party! ICYMI

In case you missed it, “Rihanna Is The 21st Century’s Most Influential Musician” according to NPR. Millions and millions of... more

12 Feb 2023 · 54 minutes
The L.A. guitar shop that reinvented indie folk

In 2010, a photographer named Reuben Cox moved to Los Angeles to start Old Style Guitar Shop. In the years... more

07 Feb 2023 · 36 minutes
A History of Whammies at the Grammys - Into It with Sam Sanders

It's Grammys weekend and Sam Sanders, host of Vulture's Into It podcast, is ready for disappointment! Sam is joined by Switched... more

02 Feb 2023 · 24 minutes
Wonders: Bobby McFerrin

In 1988, Bobby McFerrin recorded a song a cappella with a simple message: not to worry, and just enjoy life.... more

31 Jan 2023 · 34 minutes
The New Wave of Paramore

Six years after their last record, Paramore is back with new music, and their upcoming record seems to have an... more

24 Jan 2023 · 34 minutes
Taylor Swift and the music industry's next $20

Streaming feels like it's both at its height and on a precipice. Musicians are fed up at getting paid fractions... more

20 Jan 2023 · 1 hour, 22 minutes
SZA's Endless Melody

Why does SZA's latest album SOS hit different? It's the way her melodies don't repeat where you expect them to,... more

18 Jan 2023 · 29 minutes
Too Fast? We’re Curious: The sped-up remix phenomenon

Over the past few months, you may have heard your favorite song pop up on the Internet – just slightly... more

10 Jan 2023 · 28 minutes
ICYMI 90s Music Canon

Matt Daniels, editor of the publication The Pudding, wanted to find out what songs from his youth would last into... more

03 Jan 2023 · 38 minutes
ICYMI: We *do* talk about Bruno

The number one song on the charts is a bit of a mystery. “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” is the... more

27 Dec 2022 · 27 minutes
Anitta & Rosalía on the borders of Latin pop

When it comes to distinguishing what exactly Latin music is, what makes the cut? To some, it’s simply music from... more

20 Dec 2022 · 27 minutes
How Bad Bunny won 2022

For Switched On Pop’s end of year coverage, we just have one superlative: who won 2022? The answer, of course,... more

13 Dec 2022 · 34 minutes
The soft sounds of Kali Uchis (live from Vulture Fest)

Through crafting a unique, cross-cultural sound, Kali Uchis has emerged as one of indie music’s most promising talents. From playing... more

06 Dec 2022 · 32 minutes
Why do new Christmas songs fail?

In case you missed it last year: why are there no new Christmas songs? One one hand, there's more holiday... more

29 Nov 2022 · 27 minutes
The Art of Flow

In hip-hop, what draws us to an artist is not just the content of their lyrics but how they deliver... more

22 Nov 2022 · 36 minutes
Willow Smith rocks harder

Coping Mechanism, Willow's new album, is her heaviest music yet. Charlie and Willow chat about the making of the new... more

15 Nov 2022 · 26 minutes
The Sound of Sapphism

Tegan & Sara and King Princess have found themselves placed under the banner, "sapphic pop," a term recently coined referring... more

08 Nov 2022 · 33 minutes
Scary Pockets funkify pop classics (with Lizzy McAlpine)

Scary Pockets is the musical collective that has been transforming pop classics into funk anthems for over half a decade.... more

01 Nov 2022 · 33 minutes
Up late with Taylor Swift’s ‘Midnights’

A Taylor Swift album is just not a collection of new music, it’s an exploration of a theme. For the... more

24 Oct 2022 · 38 minutes
Switched on Pop
Why do new Christmas songs fail?
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Description

In case you missed it last year: why are there no new Christmas songs? One one hand, there's more holiday songs than... more