When Rihanna released her song “Work,” one publication described its style as “tropical house-flavored.” That didn’t sit well with today’s special guest, music writer Bianca Gracie, who argued that the song owes more of a debt to the genre called dancehall. In this episode, we listen to dancehall, tropical house, and Rihanna to ask about fairness, recognition, and labels when local sounds go international.
Hanson’s “MMMBop”—one version of it, anyway—turned twenty years old this March. While discussing the anniversary in a recent interview, the Hanson brothers revealed that we’ve all been singing it wrong this whole time. In this episode, we take a listen to the mid-90s smash hit to sort out what they mean—and find that this classic has a more complicated history than we remembered.
And a special thanks to Jon Fuller for this episode's credits music. Here's the full playlist of his delightful piano covers.
In the pantheon of pop classics, Frankie Valli’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” has to rank near the top. A funny thing about classics, though, is that their fame and reputation can lull us into thinking that they’re all-too-normal. So, this week, we’ll listen for all the odd and surprising things about “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” and we’ll wonder if sometimes classics aren’t at least a bit accidental.
Adele is setting insane records with her new album. Everyone is talking about her, and it seems like everyone loves her. Well, almost everyone. On today's show, we look at Adele's "Hello" to try to get to the bottom of why John doesn't like one of the most beloved voices in pop music.
Boy bands come and boy bands go. But the Beatles seem like they might stick around forever. This week, we listen to “Olivia,” a track off of One Direction’s new (and probably last) album to hear how the pop vocabulary of the Beatles continues to inform our musical sensibilities.
The musical “Hamilton” and its cast album have become something of a sensation. Today, we look at the song “My Shot” to explore how it uses musical tactics both old and new to introduce us to an ambitious founding father.