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Switched on Pop

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Switched on Pop

Switched on Pop

Vox

689
Followers
2.0K
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

What Happens When Justin Bieber Samples Your Music

When Bristol-based producer Laxcity logged onto Twitter to find out that Justin Bieber sampled his music, he was at first unphased. The sampled material came from a royalty-free sample pack on Splice.com, free for Splice users to add to their track. Then accusations of theft started rolling in. Another artist, Asher Monroe, had used the same sample just a few weeks earlier and he accused Bieber of copying the idea. Laxcity inserted himself into the argument to show that the so-called offending sound, was in fact his, but not limited to anyone’s use. This mixup led to Bieber shouting out Laxcity, giving the nascent producer a career boost. On his episode we speak with Laxcity, Splice CEO Steve Martocci, PEX COO Amadea Choplin and Verge reporter Dani Deahl (who first reported the story) to unpack how sampling works in today’s music. Then we hear how Beiber’s new album, “Changes,” interprets the sample to convey Bieber’s personal evolution in the public eye. Songs Discussed Laxci...

35 MIN3 d ago
Comments
What Happens When Justin Bieber Samples Your Music

Return Of The Guitar: Halsey, 5 Seconds of Summer, Joji

In 2019 guitar made a comeback in the top 10. According to analysis from Hit Songs Deconstructed, about a third of all songs featured the electric guitar, a nearly 10% jump from the year before. In 2020 this trend isn’t stopping. Recent releases by Halsey, 5 Seconds of Summer and Joji all prominently feature electric guitars tones. They reference 90s nu-metal, grunge and metal genres. More than a nostalgic nod, these songs draw from an era that was self-consciously “alternative” to convey disaffection, frustration and longing. SONGS DISCUSSED Khalid, Normani - Love Lies Juice WRLD - Lucid Dreams Halsey -Without Me Joji - Slow Dancing In The Dark Joji - Run Metallica - Enter Sandman Santo & Jonny - Sleep Walk Chuck Berry - Johnny B. Goode Buddy Holly -That’ll Be The Day LCD Soundsystem - Losing My Edge 5 Seconds Of Summer - No Shame Nirvana - Come As You Are Halsey - Experiment On Me Rage Against The Machine - Bulls On Parade Limp Bizkit - Break Stuff MORE Listen to our conversation about MIA’s “Paper Planes” and Drake’s “God’s Plan” with Sam Sanders on NPR’s It’s Been A Minute Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

27 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Return Of The Guitar: Halsey, 5 Seconds of Summer, Joji

Look At Selena Gomez Now with Justin Tranter & Ian Kirkpatrick

Selena Gomez has her first #1 song on the Hot 100. “Lose You To Love Me” is a confessional look at her past five years of heartbreak and health challenges. By contrast, her single “Look At Her Now” is a testament to moving on and moving up. Each of these songs inhabits a different musical and lyrical world and we were lucky to get to speak with her collaborators on the songs to take us behind the scenes of how they came to be. Justin Tranter and Ian Kirkpatrick are two of today’s most in-demand writers. They walk us through how Selena takes her personal emotions and translates them into public catharsis on her album “Rare.” Songs Discussed Selena Gomez -Vulnerable, Lose You To Love Me, Look At Her Now Crash Test Dummies -Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmmm Dua Lipa - New Rules More Watch Selena Gomez interviewed by Zane Lowe on Beats One. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

37 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Look At Selena Gomez Now with Justin Tranter & Ian Kirkpatrick

Five Directions: How do the solo efforts of One Direction stack up?

The boy band One Direction has been on hiatus for nearly five years, yet only now have all of the members of the group released a solo album. But how do these efforts from Niall, Liam, Harry, Louis and Zayn stack up? Vox Writer (and One Direction fan) Alexa Lee compares albums as a challenge for each member to rise to their greatest artistic potential. SONGS DISCUSSED Zayn - Let Me Zayn - Entertainer Niall Horan - Nice To Meet You Niall Horan - Put A Little Love On Me Liam Payne - Strip That Down Liam Payne - Hips Don't Lie Louis Tomlinson - Walls Louis Tomlinson - Kill My Mind Harry Styles - Adore You Harry Styles - Watermelon Sugar Harry Styles - Cherry MORE Read Alexa’s piece “2 winners and 3 losers from One Direction’s solo albums” Listen to Nate convince Charlie to love One Direction in an early episode of Switched On Pop Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

36 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Five Directions: How do the solo efforts of One Direction stack up?

Post Malone has us Running in Circles

Post Malone has confounded your hosts since he emerged on the scene, so this week we sit down to try and get to the bottom of our cycles of attraction and repulsion through deep analysis of his current hit, "Circles." Along the way, we discuss trenchant questions such as: How is the minor IV always the saddest of all chords? Why does Posty tend to sound like a certain ruminant mammal? And, what happens when you plug Tchaikovsky into a Wu Tang name generator? Songs Discussed: Post Malone - Circles, Rockstar, Stay, Congratulations, Candy Paint, Fleetwood Mac - Landslide Tchaikovsky - Symphony No 6, Finale And don't forget to enter the Wu Tang Name Generator Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

40 MINJAN 28
Comments
Post Malone has us Running in Circles

Hopes and Fears of Mac Miller, Future, Drake, and Billie Eilish

Mac Miller, Future and Billie Eilish all have good and bad news to share. On Miller’s posthumous album, Circles, he exposes personal struggles with fame, addiction, and mental illness — sobering topics given his unintentional drug overdose last year. Yet at the same time we hear him searching for “good news,” practicing self care and accepting that “there's a whole lot more” waiting. Future & Drake’s celebration of material excess also finds them “working on the weekend” just to keep up appearances. Similarly, Billie Eilish has achieved “everything [she] wanted,” but dreams of death and darkness overwhelm her. But she’s buoyed by the support of her brother FINNEAS. Many pop songs are about a single emotion: love, heartbreak or exuberant joy. But these great songs evoke more complex emotions, existing somewhere in a liminal space between our hopes and fears. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

44 MINJAN 21
Comments
Hopes and Fears of Mac Miller, Future, Drake, and Billie Eilish

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 - I Will Survive Chic - Good Times Giorgio Mordoer -Baby Blue The Bee Gees - You Should Be Dancing The Michael Zager Band - Let’s A...

38 MINJAN 14
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 MINJAN 7
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 MIN2019 DEC 31
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 MIN2019 DEC 24
Comments
Dolly Parton's America (with Jad Abumrad)

Latest Episodes

What Happens When Justin Bieber Samples Your Music

When Bristol-based producer Laxcity logged onto Twitter to find out that Justin Bieber sampled his music, he was at first unphased. The sampled material came from a royalty-free sample pack on Splice.com, free for Splice users to add to their track. Then accusations of theft started rolling in. Another artist, Asher Monroe, had used the same sample just a few weeks earlier and he accused Bieber of copying the idea. Laxcity inserted himself into the argument to show that the so-called offending sound, was in fact his, but not limited to anyone’s use. This mixup led to Bieber shouting out Laxcity, giving the nascent producer a career boost. On his episode we speak with Laxcity, Splice CEO Steve Martocci, PEX COO Amadea Choplin and Verge reporter Dani Deahl (who first reported the story) to unpack how sampling works in today’s music. Then we hear how Beiber’s new album, “Changes,” interprets the sample to convey Bieber’s personal evolution in the public eye. Songs Discussed Laxci...

35 MIN3 d ago
Comments
What Happens When Justin Bieber Samples Your Music

Return Of The Guitar: Halsey, 5 Seconds of Summer, Joji

In 2019 guitar made a comeback in the top 10. According to analysis from Hit Songs Deconstructed, about a third of all songs featured the electric guitar, a nearly 10% jump from the year before. In 2020 this trend isn’t stopping. Recent releases by Halsey, 5 Seconds of Summer and Joji all prominently feature electric guitars tones. They reference 90s nu-metal, grunge and metal genres. More than a nostalgic nod, these songs draw from an era that was self-consciously “alternative” to convey disaffection, frustration and longing. SONGS DISCUSSED Khalid, Normani - Love Lies Juice WRLD - Lucid Dreams Halsey -Without Me Joji - Slow Dancing In The Dark Joji - Run Metallica - Enter Sandman Santo & Jonny - Sleep Walk Chuck Berry - Johnny B. Goode Buddy Holly -That’ll Be The Day LCD Soundsystem - Losing My Edge 5 Seconds Of Summer - No Shame Nirvana - Come As You Are Halsey - Experiment On Me Rage Against The Machine - Bulls On Parade Limp Bizkit - Break Stuff MORE Listen to our conversation about MIA’s “Paper Planes” and Drake’s “God’s Plan” with Sam Sanders on NPR’s It’s Been A Minute Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

27 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Return Of The Guitar: Halsey, 5 Seconds of Summer, Joji

Look At Selena Gomez Now with Justin Tranter & Ian Kirkpatrick

Selena Gomez has her first #1 song on the Hot 100. “Lose You To Love Me” is a confessional look at her past five years of heartbreak and health challenges. By contrast, her single “Look At Her Now” is a testament to moving on and moving up. Each of these songs inhabits a different musical and lyrical world and we were lucky to get to speak with her collaborators on the songs to take us behind the scenes of how they came to be. Justin Tranter and Ian Kirkpatrick are two of today’s most in-demand writers. They walk us through how Selena takes her personal emotions and translates them into public catharsis on her album “Rare.” Songs Discussed Selena Gomez -Vulnerable, Lose You To Love Me, Look At Her Now Crash Test Dummies -Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmmm Dua Lipa - New Rules More Watch Selena Gomez interviewed by Zane Lowe on Beats One. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

37 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Look At Selena Gomez Now with Justin Tranter & Ian Kirkpatrick

Five Directions: How do the solo efforts of One Direction stack up?

The boy band One Direction has been on hiatus for nearly five years, yet only now have all of the members of the group released a solo album. But how do these efforts from Niall, Liam, Harry, Louis and Zayn stack up? Vox Writer (and One Direction fan) Alexa Lee compares albums as a challenge for each member to rise to their greatest artistic potential. SONGS DISCUSSED Zayn - Let Me Zayn - Entertainer Niall Horan - Nice To Meet You Niall Horan - Put A Little Love On Me Liam Payne - Strip That Down Liam Payne - Hips Don't Lie Louis Tomlinson - Walls Louis Tomlinson - Kill My Mind Harry Styles - Adore You Harry Styles - Watermelon Sugar Harry Styles - Cherry MORE Read Alexa’s piece “2 winners and 3 losers from One Direction’s solo albums” Listen to Nate convince Charlie to love One Direction in an early episode of Switched On Pop Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

36 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Five Directions: How do the solo efforts of One Direction stack up?

Post Malone has us Running in Circles

Post Malone has confounded your hosts since he emerged on the scene, so this week we sit down to try and get to the bottom of our cycles of attraction and repulsion through deep analysis of his current hit, "Circles." Along the way, we discuss trenchant questions such as: How is the minor IV always the saddest of all chords? Why does Posty tend to sound like a certain ruminant mammal? And, what happens when you plug Tchaikovsky into a Wu Tang name generator? Songs Discussed: Post Malone - Circles, Rockstar, Stay, Congratulations, Candy Paint, Fleetwood Mac - Landslide Tchaikovsky - Symphony No 6, Finale And don't forget to enter the Wu Tang Name Generator Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

40 MINJAN 28
Comments
Post Malone has us Running in Circles

Hopes and Fears of Mac Miller, Future, Drake, and Billie Eilish

Mac Miller, Future and Billie Eilish all have good and bad news to share. On Miller’s posthumous album, Circles, he exposes personal struggles with fame, addiction, and mental illness — sobering topics given his unintentional drug overdose last year. Yet at the same time we hear him searching for “good news,” practicing self care and accepting that “there's a whole lot more” waiting. Future & Drake’s celebration of material excess also finds them “working on the weekend” just to keep up appearances. Similarly, Billie Eilish has achieved “everything [she] wanted,” but dreams of death and darkness overwhelm her. But she’s buoyed by the support of her brother FINNEAS. Many pop songs are about a single emotion: love, heartbreak or exuberant joy. But these great songs evoke more complex emotions, existing somewhere in a liminal space between our hopes and fears. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

44 MINJAN 21
Comments
Hopes and Fears of Mac Miller, Future, Drake, and Billie Eilish

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 - I Will Survive Chic - Good Times Giorgio Mordoer -Baby Blue The Bee Gees - You Should Be Dancing The Michael Zager Band - Let’s A...

38 MINJAN 14
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 MINJAN 7
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 MIN2019 DEC 31
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 MIN2019 DEC 24
Comments
Dolly Parton's America (with Jad Abumrad)

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