REVIEW: Song Exploder
It’s been a while since I’ve put up a podcast review – many apologies, but my real job has kept me busy of late, and my listening time has plummeted, so to speak. However, I’ve been able to start listening to a few shorter podcasts – and the one that I’ve been getting into lately is a music podcast called Song Exploder.
Song Exploder is hosted and produced by Hrishikesh Hirway, an American musician and composer, who also co-hosts The West Wing Weekly podcast with Josh Malina. He has a relaxed style, and doesn’t get in the way of the guest. Episodes are put out weekly (on average) and the longest one I’ve seen is 22 minutes, though 15 minutes seems to be the average.
The show starts with Hirway doing his ad reads – Casper mattresses ($50 voucher for listeners) and MeUndies (20% off your first order), then briefly introduces the song and the artist. You then hear very little of him after that.
The artist spends around 10-15 minutes taking apart one of their own songs, explaining the origins of the song, and walking the listener through its making. More often than not, you’ll hear how the artist came up with the idea for the song, how they wrote it, and the process of writing the song. You’ll hear short clips from the song, often with separate instruments isolated. For example – you may hear a guitar play a melody with all other instruments taken out, as the artist explains the melody. Finally, the episode ends with the song in question.
If you’re a music nerd, you will enjoy this podcast, and even if you’re just a casual listener – there’s sure to be one of your favourites crop up every now and then – Song Exploder has featured artists like Weezer, Bjork, Iggy Pop, MGMT, Chet Faker, Garbage, and U2, as well as deconstructed music from video games and TV and film scores (Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, Age of Ultron to name a few).
I have subscribed to this podcast – the shorter episodes are appealing to me – and I’m going through the back catalogue and cherry picking from the 74 episodes released so far. I don’t expect to listen to every episode going forward, and of the recent episodes, I’m probably downloading 1 in 3.
Verdict: Give it a listen, music fan or not.