Switched On Pop

Switched On Pop


The podcast that explores the making and meaning of popular music hosted by Charlie Harding and Nate Sloan


52. Seduced by the Sound: The Weeknd + Daft Punk  

"I Feel it Coming" might be the slowest burning jam to hit the charts in ages, in which the Weeknd enlists the robotic hum of Daft Punk to help craft a perfectly calibrated climate of desire. Brilliant, sexy songs don't just appear out of thin air, though, so we reveal how this song's perpetual excitement is hard-won through references to past stars of sultriness like Michael and Marvin while employing its own bag of tricks to turn up the heat. 

•The Weeknd + Daft Punk - I Feel it Coming
•Marvin Gaye - Let's Get it On
•Michael Jackson - Rock With You
•Chic - Good Times
•Ike and Tina Turner - Doin' It

For an excellent playlist of listener-submitted sexy songs, direct your dirty self here:

51. Dreaming Of A White Christmas  

White Christmas holds the Guinness World Record for most singles sold and has been covered over 500 times. Pop stars from Elvis to Ella have recorded it, with interpretations from doo-wop to country to punk rock. With new covers each year, it seems listeners have not grown tired of this Tin Pan Alley chestnut. We use our scientific formula for holiday hit success to break down what makes this song so timeless.

FeaturingBing Crosby - White ChristmasThe Beatles - Christmas Time Is HereWhitney Houston - Have Yourself a Merry Little ChristmasJackson 5 - Santa Clause Is Coming to TownThe Beatles - In My LifeFrank Sinatra - White ChristmasKenny G - White ChristmasNashville Cast - White ChristmasLady Gaga - White ChristmasThe Drifters - White ChristmasElvis - White ChristmasElla Fitzgerald - White ChristmasBeach Boys - White ChristmasDean Martin - White ChristmasKaty Perry - White ChristmasKelly Clarkson - White ChristmasRascal Flatts - White ChristmasMichael Bolton - White ChristmasMichael Bublé and Shania Twain - White ChristmasCarol Of The Bells by Audionautix is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)Artist: http://audionautix.com/

Deck the Hall, Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy and Angels We Have Heard by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?collection=004&page=1Artist: http://incompetech.com/

50. How to Listen to Music in 4 Easy Steps  

50 episodes in, hosts Charlie and Nate take a step back to think about how they listen to music and try to define what might be called The Switched on Method™. "Hallelujah," by the late, great Leonard Cohen, acts as a perfect test case for breaking down listening into four key layers: 1) The Liner Notes, 2) The Needle Drop, 3) The Scratch, and 4) The Remix. Through this patented process, artistic revelations are all but guaranteed, with Cohen's opus no exception — his modern classic is not all it appears to be. 

•Leonard Cohen - "Hallelujah"

49. Tove Lo - Cool Girl  

On the surface, Tove Lo's new hit "Cool Girl" boasts a snappy, earworm chorus and an empowering message of self-reliance. Beneath its chill exterior, though, Lo's song burns with a passion bordering on rage, and sinister sonic undertones suggest an unreliable narrator who doesn't always mean what she says. The more layers one pulls back from this song, the more Lo's source material—the novel and film "Gone Girl"—comes to the fore, turning "Cool Girl" into the kind of pop smash that sticks in your head in more ways than one. 

Tove Lo - Cool Girl
Daft Punk - Harder, Better, Faster
Alessia Cara - Scars To Your Beautiful

48. Made In America: Toby Keith & Jay-Z  

Back in 2011, two pop songs dropped with the same patriotic title: "Made in America." But the similarities pretty much end there. Toby Keith's country smash and Jay Z, Kanye West and Frank Ocean's soulful hip hop anthem have little in common except a firm conviction that each song knows what it really means to be American. Five years later, these tracks have a lot to tell us about the role music plays in shaping our national identity, and begs the question: does music truly bring us together?

FeaturingToby Keith - Made In AmericaJay Z and Kanye West ft. Frank Ocean - Made in AmericaSisqo - Thong SongUsher - Yeah!Beyoncé - Daddy LessonsJimmie Rodgers - Blue Yodel No. 9Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys - Ida Red Likes to Boogie

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" by The Chainsmokers, ft. Halsey. This one is different than the rest...or is it? We dive into the styles of the moment to re-learn the old maxim that "great artists steal" - whether that artist is a 2016 DJ duo or an 18th century Classical master. 


•Tory Lanez - LUV
•Shawn Mendes - Treat You Better
•Frenship - Capsize
•Maroon 5 - Don't Wanna Know
•Cheat Codes - Sex
•The Chainsmokers ft. Halsey - Closer
•Charlie Puth ft. Selena Gomez - We Don't Talk Anymore
•Jack U ft. Justin Bieber - Where Are U Now
•Drake - Know Yourself
•Amine - Caroline
•MO - Final Song
•Mike Posner - I Took a Pill in Ibiza (Seeb remix)
•The Weeknd - I Can't Feel My Face
•The Chainsmokers ft. Phoebe Ryan - All We Know
•Antonio Vivaldi - "La Primavera" Concerto
•Vivaldi - Giustino
•Vivaldi - Dorilla in Tempe
•Vivaldi - Orlando Furioso

46. The World In A Grain Of Sound  

We tend to consider cellphone rings as somewhat antithetical to 
music. There is a whole subset of YouTube videos dedicated to the 
perverse thrill of watching a delicately beautiful musical moment ruined
 by the harsh cry of a default ringtone. In this episode, we zoom in on 
one of these annoying melodies to see if there's not some hidden musical
 craft present in the ubiquitous bleeps and bloops that envelop us. 
Later, Charlie shares a piece made solely of this sonic detritus, and a 
data scientist locates surprising musical patterns in a most unexpected 

Featuring:The Nokia TuneThe Beatles - She's So HeavyOne Direction - Live While We're YoungFrancisco Tarrega - Gran ValsCharlie Harding - Bowl ArrowLinks:Jonathan Berger's Article in Nautlius: How Music Hijacks our Perception of TimeFamous Cell Phone Rings Played on the Piano by Tony AnnGreg Hochmuth's work

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 of her outward appearance is reflected back in her compositions. On first listen, her songs may sound like just another catchy pop tune and this is intentional. Gaga lures us close with the sound of pop fame and then hooks us and reels us into into her dungeon of monstrous sounds.
FeaturingLady Gaga - Perfect IllusionLady Gaga - Just DanceLady Gaga - Government HookerQueen - Radio GagaLady Gaga - Love GameLady Gage - ScheisseMichael Jackson - ThrillerPhantom Of The Opera - OvertureJohn Carpenter - Halloween Theme (Main Title)Lady Gaga - Bad RomanceLady Gaga - AlejandroAce Of Bass - I Saw The SignLady Gaga - SpeechlessQueen - Don’t Stop Me NowLady Gaga - So Happy I Could DieNatasha Bedingfield - Pocket Full of SunshineLady Gaga - Born This WayMadonna - Express YourselfLady Gaga - TeethLady Gaga - Bloody MaryLady Gaga - Dance In The Dark

44. How Beyoncé to The Beatles Modulate Your Emotions  

Certain pop songs have that moment, when everything seems to change but still remain the same, when the drama gets ratcheted up, when the tension increases and our emotions take an elevator ride to the heavens. From Beyoncé to Johnny Cash, savvy pop songwriters know a well-placed harmonic modulation can leave listeners reeling. But what is this mysterious musical trick, and how does it work? Tune in and let us take you higher, and higher, and higher, as we explore the wild world of modulation. 
FeaturingOne Direction - Night ChangesTaylor Swift - Love StoryBackstreet Boys - I Want it That WayStevie Wonder - Knocks Me Off my FeetBeyonce - Love On TopWhitney Houston - I Will Always Love YouMozart - Queen of the Night AriaMichael Jackson - Man in the MirrorThe Beatles - Penny LaneJohnny Cash - Walk the Line
Hear more of Dru Cutler's work at www.drucutler.com

43. Pop Drops and Chipmunk Soul  

A strange syndrome is wreaking havoc on the voices of our biggest pop stars. From Rihanna to Justin Bieber, no one is safe from having their beautiful vocals chopped up, screwed down, repitched and repurposed. As dance music takes over the charts and new software grants vocal manipulation at the click of a button, this uncanny production technique has become nearly ubiquitous. But is this ultramodern sound really that new? We dig deep into the roots of the sound of the moment.


•Kiaara - Gold
•Coldplay - Hymn for the Weekend (Seeb remix)
•Hailee Steinfeld ft. Grey & Zedd - Starving
•Calvin Harris ft. Rihanna - This is What You Came For
•Mike Posner -I Took a Pill in Ibiza (Seeb remix)
•DJ Snake ft. Justin Bieber - Let Me Love You
•Cold Crush Brothers - MC Battle (Live)
•Cerrone - Rocket in the Pocket
•Wu Tang Clan - Tearz
•Wendy Rene - After Laughter
•Kanye West - School Spirit
•Whistle - Just Buggin
•Nu Shooz - I Can't Wait

42. The Gideon and Hubcap Show  

This episode marks something of a departure from the norm. With Charlie away, host Nate, aka "Hubcap," takes us on a home-show tour of the Scottish Highlands with his traveling minstrel act, The Gideon and Hubcap Show. It's an entirely different kind of summer music spectacle. 


•13,000 Miles - Gideon Irving
•Oh Wow - Gideon Irving
•Ida Done - Gideon and Hubcap
•Safe Word - Gideon and Hubcap
•Hebrides Overture – Felix Mendelssohn
•Mouth Music - From the Smithsonian Folkways Collection, Scottish Drinking and Pipe Songs
•Breabach - Gig Face
•Cuyahoga - Gideon and Hubcap

Check out www.mynameisgideon.com and www.gideonandhubcap.com for more.

41. Breaking Down The House  

The fingerprints of house music are all over mainstream pop, but much of its sound has been whitewashed. That ubiquitous four-to-the-floor kick and synth bass sound draws from Chicago's queer, black and latinx warehouse club culture. Micah Salkind is working on a book on the history of these communities. Together we break down the sonic origins of this music through a modern track that fully embraces its cultural nexus: "Hideaway" by Kiesza. Micah takes us back to Chicago in the 1980s, and we explore how this sound came to be and where it is going today. 

FEATURINGKiesza - HideawayLoleeta Holloway - Love SensationBlack box - Ride On TimeMadonna - VogueMr. Finder - The JuiceKanye West - FadeRythim Is Rythim - Strings Of LifePaul Oakenfold - You Could Be HappyFrankie Knuckles - Your LoveMFSB ft The Three Degrees - T.S.O.P. (The Sound of Philadelphia)Jesse Saunders - On and OnDiplo - Be Right There Justin Bieber - SorryCalvin Harris - This Is What You Came ForShaun J. Wright & Alinka - Love Inspired 
MORE STUFFFind more of Micah's work at micah-salkind.squarespace.com/about/ and his DJ sets at www.mixcloud.com/micahjacksonListen to Shaun J. Wright & Alinka on SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/aalinkaa/shaun-j-wright-alinka-love

40. Around The World With Drake  

How do you create a hit that both breaks sound barriers and chart records? Drake has done this with a unique mix of international sounds from Africa, the Caribbean, the U.K. and Canada. But is his chart topping success musical appropriation or celebration? A deep listening reveals diverse influences and musical rhythms that have crossed oceans centuries before "One Dance" was even conceived. Plus, we debut Blinky Bill's "So Strong," his first single off his upcoming solo album.

- Drake - One Dance (feat. Whizkid & Kyla)
- Ojuelegba Remix - Wizkid ft. Drake & Septa
- 2Baba - Coded Tinz ft. Phyno, Chief Obi
- DJ Maphorisa - Soweto Baby feat Wizkid & Dj Buckz
- Crazy Cousinz - Do You Mind ft. Kyla
- The Revolutionaries - General For General
- Barrington Levy - Dance Are Changing 
- Joh Thomas - Ghetto Dance
- Papa Biggie - Youth Them Have To Grow
- Yellowman - Adam & Eve
- Mighty Diamonds - Love Me Girl
- Drake - Hotline Bling
- Timmy Thomas - Why Can’t We Live Together
- D.R.A.M. - Cha Cha
- Gil Scott-Heron and Jamie XX - Take Care Of You
- Drake - Take Care ft. Rihanna
- Drake - JunglePaul Simon - Graceland
- Paul Simon - I Know What I Know
- Moby - Natural Blues
- Vera Hall - Trouble So Hard
- David Guetta - Hey Mama (ft. Nicki Minaj)
- Sangkala - Gamelan Degung
- Joel Francisco Perri - Las llamas de Potosi
- Habib Koité - Africa
- Kwaa Mensah - Odo Me, Me Sum No DoChico O’farrell - Sin Titulo
- Trio Matamoros - El Que Siembra Su Maíz 
- Joseph Kabasele - Africa Bola Ngombi
- E.T. Mensa & The Tempos - Fom Fom
- Fela Kuti - Lagos Baby
- Fela Kuti - Elbe Moi (Carry Me)
- Fela Kuti - LadyWizkid - Show You The Money
- Blinky Bill - So Strong

Check out Blinky's music at www.soundcloud.com/blinkyb
Supported by Casper and Amazon Prime Music's Song of Summer Playlist Amazon www.amazonsongsofsummer.com/pop

39. When Good Music Happens To Bad People  

We have more information about pop stars lives than ever before, but this transparency is not always uplifting for music lovers. Just as we may enjoy following the intimate lives of celebrities on Instagram, we simultaneously uncover how stars abuse their power to marginalize others, commit heinous crimes and inspire mass atrocity. Sometimes skeletons in the closet turn our to be literal skeletons. As listeners, this undoubtedly colors the way we hear our old favorite songs. Join us as we explore how to listen to good music that happens to bad people.

Jerry Lee Lewis - Great Balls Of Fire
The Righteous Brothers - You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling
Garry Glitter - Hey
R. Kelly - Ignition (Remix)
Wagner - Ride Of The Valkyries
The Ronettes - Be My Baby  
Queen - You’re My Best Friend
Drake - Keep The Family Close
Wagner - Tristan Und Isolade: Prelude
Wagner - Tristan Und Isolade: Liebestod 
Wagner - Lohengrin: Bridal Chorus

38. Justin Timberlake Goes Medieval  

Summer heat is upon us and so are the jams. Our ears are hooked on Justin Timberlake's "Can't Stop The Feeling." What you may not know is that this song leans on the success of mononymous giants: Pharrell, Michael and Handel. If you think that pop is a modern phenomenon, you may be surprised by medieval references and techniques comped by JT. Join us as we break down the hidden hooks and musical tricks that make this song an ear worm.

Justin Timberlake - Can't Stop The Feeling!
Pharrell Williams - Happy
Michael Jackson - Thriller
Michael Jackson - Rock With You
Elvis Costello - Allison
M.C. Hammer - U Can't Touch This
Electric Six - Improper Dancing
Nicki Minaj - Feeling Myself ft. Beyonce
Justin Timberlake - What Goes Around
Justin Timberlake - Cry Me A River
Bernart De Ventadorn - Can Vei La Lauzeta

37. All About Those Baseline Assumptions About Feminism in Pop  

With Meghan Trainor's new singles "No" and "Me Too" ubiquitous on the radio dial, a larger discussion about the uneasy relationship between social movements and selling records takes a feminist bent. Memories of the polarizing 2014 hit "All About that Bass" come to the surface, reigniting debates over whether Trainor's songs express radical thought or package it for mass consumption. Or is that distinction a distraction, forgetting that manufactured pop can still pack a political punch? That might depend on how you listen. Andi Zeisler, author of "We Were Feminists Once," professor Robin James, blogger Jenny Trout and writer Andrea Warner join for a dive into the complexities of feminist pop politics. FEATURING Meghan Trainor - Me Too Meghan Trainor - No Meghan Trainor - All About That Bass Spice Girls - Wannabe Big Sean - Dance (A$$) Taylor Swift - Shake It off Demi Lovato - Confident Grimes - Flesh Without Blood The Slits - Typical Girls Sleater-Kinney - #1 Must Have Jonathan Hoyle - Never Ending Road Lizzo - Good As Hell

36. Jonas vs. Jonas: Or How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love a Boy Band  

A battle between brothers is playing out on the pop charts, a sibling rivalry the likes of which the music industry hasn't seen since 1987, when Michael and Janet Jackson's 1987 "Bad" and "Let's Wait Awhile" jockeyed for peak position on the Hot 100. Today, Nick, the youngest of the Jonas Brothers, looks for redemption from their boy band past in the moody, adult love song "Close" ft. Tove Lo, while middle brother Joe and his band DNCE use the explosive, retro "Cake By the Ocean" to replace a squeaky-clean look with a profane party anthem. Tune in to learn how these two songs, sounding so different on the surface, have something very surprising in common. Then, stick around for a deep dive through the wonders of the Jonas back catalog, along with a detour to the life and music of another troubled child prodigy named Wolfgang, that will leave you thinking of the frère Jonas in a whole new light. FEATURING - Nick Jonas - Close - DNCE - Cake By The Ocean - Beach Boys - Misirlou - Jonas Brothers - Mandy - Jonas Brothers - Burnin’ Up - Demi Lovato - La La Land - Mozart - Laureate Dominum - Mozart - Eine Kleine Nachtmusik - Mozart - Batiene Und Bastienne - Mozart - Bona Nox! bist a rechts Ox, K. 561 - Jonas Brothers - Bounce - Mozart - Requiem in D minor K626: I Requiem - Nikolaus Harnoncourt - Mozart - Le nozze di Figaro, K. 492: Overture: Wiener Philharmoniker

35. Purple Lemonade: Prince & Beyoncé  

It has been a period of musical loss and celebration. On the same week we lost Prince, the world was gifted Beyoncé’s Lemonade. Both artists contain multitudes of musical traditions, collaborators and themes that weave throughout their song. In the first half of the show, we break down Beyoncé's “Hold Up,” an exemplary piece about Lemonade's main theme of marital distress. But the song is not as simple as it may seem. Its compositional restraint suggests more complex ideas about love. Speaking of love, Prince may have published more songs on the subject than any other recording musician. In the second half of the show, we speak with scholar and Musiqology contributor Matthew Valnes about Prince’s musical legacy. Featuring - Beyoncé - Pray You Catch Me - Beyoncé - Freedom - Beyoncé - Formation - Beyoncé - Love Drought - Beyoncé - Sorry - Beyoncé - All Night - Beyoncé - Daddy Lessons - Beyoncé - Hold Up - Major Lazer & DJ Snake - Lean On - Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Maps - Vampire Weekend - Obvious Bicycle - Beyoncé - Don’t Hurt Yourself - Prince - Musicology - Joshua Redman - How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore - Prince - How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore - Prince - When Doves Cry - Sly & The Family Stone - Thank You - Prince - Super Bowl Press Conference Performance - Marcus Miller - Jean Pierre (live at North Sea Jazz Festival) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7Q8Ual3coM You can read Matthew Valnes' article "When Doves Cry" over at Musiqology: http://musiqology.com/blog/2016/04/25/when-doves-cry-prince-and-black-popular-music-history/ Also check out Behind The Linear Notes’s latest episode on the history of the Castrati featuring a clip from our episode on One Direction: http://www.betweenthelinernotes.com/episodes-1/castrato

34. Pablo And The Wolves  

The Life Of Pablo is Kanye West’s latest album. Despite its lack of hits, it has been at the fulcrum of pop music for months. With its gradual online release and its changing track lists, this shapeshifting album is difficult to grasp. We recruit Andrew Marantz from The New Yorker Magazine to break down Pablo and the “Wolves,” a song that embodies the multiplicities of West’s larger project and connects his work to the classical past of Bach and Prokofiev. Featuring: - Kanye West: Wolves - Jay Z: Where's Th e Love - Kanye West: All Falls Down - Kanye West: Gold Digger - Kanye West: Heartless - Kanye West: All Of The Lights - Kanye West: Black Skinhead - Gary Glitter: Rock N Roll Part 2 (Hey!) - Kanye West: I Love Kanye - Bach: Canon Perpetuus - Prokofiev: Peter And The Wolf (narrated by David Bowie) - Paul McCartney: Driving Rain - Drake: Jumpman (featuring Future) - Missy Elliot: Work It - R. Kelly: The Zoo - Justin Timberlake: Give Me What I Don't Know - DJ Snake: Birdsong - Pink Floyd: Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict

33. The Populist Pop of Twenty One Pilots  

Out of nowhere, Twenty One Pilots has rocketed to the top of the charts with their surprise hit "Stressed Out." Charlie and Nate pull this millennial anthem apart to discover a deep political resonance, the kind that rarely hits the Hot 100. Tracing this sound back in time reveals further connections, to Compton, Motown, and the alternate universe of Parliament/Funkadelic. And, a trip further down the chart suggests that political pop still has no party affiliation. Featuring: •Twenty One Pilots—Stressed Out •NWA—Alwayz Into Somethin' •Dr. Dre ft. Snoop Dogg—Nuthin' but a G Thang •Parliament/Funkadelic—Aquaboogie •Stevie Wonder—Livin' for the City •G-Eazy x Bebe Rexha—My Myself and I •Iggy Azalea—Team

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