Song Exploder is a podcast where musicians take apart their songs, and piece by piece, tell the story of how they were made. Each episode features an artist discussing a song of theirs, breaking down the sounds and ideas that went into the writing and recording.
As Song Exploder describes itself, it is a podcast where “musicians take apart their songs and piece by piece, tell the story of how they were made.” Beyond appealing to my inner music nerd (which it does), this show provides insight into each artist’ creative process. Taken individually, each episode is an exploration of a specific moment in time and confluence of factors that resulted in a popular song, but taken in its entirety, the series provides a treasure trove of tools for tackling creative challenges.
Each 20-minute or so episode is dedicated to a single song, which run the gamut from recent top 40 hits to early 2000s throwbacks to movie scores. The voice of the artist is front and centre, and additional commentary from the host (originally Hrishikesh Hirway, more recently Thao Nguyen) serving to fill in important context without disrupting the flow of the story. Slick production values and a tight format make this a podcast that deserves your focused attention and your best headphones.
If you’re jumping into Song Exploder for the first time and are looking for a place to start, stand-out episodes include Episode 70 where Rivers Cuomo breaks down his songwriting methodology of morning pages and spreadsheets, Episode 95 with composer Nicholas Britell who wrote the score for Moonlight, and Episode 91 with DJ Shadow.
Toronto-based strategist motivated by the ceaseless pursuit of good ideas and dancing. @thatseamstress