Last yr, one in every of my lengthy-held musical beliefs was shattered. I discovered that various rock band REM’s 1991 single ‘Losing My Religion’, regardless of all of the symbolism in its iconic music video, just isn’t about lead singer Michael Stipe’s struggles together with his religion. ‘Losing my faith’, I now know, is a southern American phrase meaning “feeling incredibly frustrated” and the track is in regards to the extra pedestrian topic of unrequited love.
I used to be enlightened by Stipe’s interview on one of many eight episodes of the Netflix sequence Song Exploder, an offshoot of the immensely in style podcast of the identical identify created and hosted by US-primarily based Indian-American musician Hrishikesh Hirway. On each, Hirway uncovers insights in regards to the making and which means of the featured tracks.
On one degree, Song Exploder is in regards to the seemingly chilly and medical job of selecting aside and inspecting a composition’s bones or “stems”. What makes it such an attention-grabbing hear or watch is that, truly, that is only a stepping stone to get creators to disclose the center and soul of their tunes. Consequently, Song Exploder is as a lot in regards to the artist as their artwork. “The thing I’m looking for is a way to depict a portrait of the artist that’s interesting and compelling and unique-and [to] do that through the lens of a song,” Hirway advised India Today over a Zoom name.
Since the launch of the podcast in 2014, Hirway has put beneath his metaphorical microscope each signature tracks and deep cuts. The net sequence, as an illustration, options industrial rock group Nine Inch Nails’ basic ‘Hurt’ and pop singer Dua Lipa’s non-single ‘Love Again’. “What I usually ask [the guest is]: ‘What’s a song that has personal significance to you?’,” he says. “[This] might not be the biggest hit [but] something that’s going to reveal the most about them.”
Musician artists Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ty Dolla Sign, Michael Stipe and Alicia Keys all featured in Netflix’s Song Explode (Courtesy of Netflix)
The net sequence performs very like an instalment of the podcast, which just lately accomplished a milestone of 200 episodes. The key distinction, other than the presence of Hirway who edits his questions out of the podcast in order that it runs like a primary-particular person narrative, is that we additionally get to see archival footage and listen to from a number of speaking heads corresponding to co-writers and producers. This provides the webisodes the appear and feel of a monographic rockumentary.
An enormous a part of Song Exploder’s enchantment is that the listener or viewer learns one thing new even when they’re accustomed to the topic. “I feel like in every single episode, there’s always at least one thing, if not more, that really ends up surprising me,” says Hirway. “That’s why it’s still fun to make. It’s been seven years. I’ve never had a day job that has lasted that long.”
He says that normally, the revelations the artists make change listeners’ perspective of the tune, like with REM’s ‘Losing My Religion’. In some instances, they’ve occurred to affect his personal inventive course of. For occasion, throughout his interview with erstwhile experimental music duo The Books, Hirway-who considers himself “first and foremost a musician”-found out that what he thought was a drum machine on ‘Smells Like Content’ was truly a vinyl file that guitarist-vocalist Nick Zammuto reduce small notches into and performed in a loop. “[Zammuto] said, ‘All rhythm is geometry’,” Hirway advised us, recalling the 2014 episode. “If you cut it in 90-degree angles, that’s four-four time; if you cut it at 120-degree angles, that’s three-four time. That blew my mind. I’ve never stopped thinking about it since.”
Other sequence and podcasts you will get pleasure from in case you like Song Exploder
The extensively used lyrics web site, on which followers annotate strains, publishes a sequence of ‘Verified’ video interviews through which an act “breaks down the meaning” behind their tracks
Switched On Pop
On this lengthy-operating podcast, musicologist Nate Sloan and songwriter Charlie Harding analyse how and why sure songs, like Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber’s ‘Despacito’ and The Weeknd’s ‘Blinding Lights’, grew to become big hits
The Soundtrack Show
This podcast, which dissects the OSTs of movies and TV reveals, typically options interviews with composers; previous friends have included these behind the scores and songs for Frozen and Cobra Kai.