Song Exploder

Song Exploder

“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.  Hosted and produced by Hrishiikesh Hirway.”

Have you ever sat down, listened to your favorite song, and wondered just what that song is all about?  Of course you have.  But I’m not talking just about what the lyrics mean here--that’s probably open for interpretation anyway.  I’m talking about literally: how was this song made?  What was going through the artist’s head?  Why did she select this bass line instead of that one?  Well, look no further, because this is definitely the podcast for you.

Honestly, I really don’t have all that much to review about this podcast other than to say a few key things: you either like this sort of thing--this picking apart of the artistic whole into its component parts--or you don’t.  There’s no judgment here on that.  What I will say is that this podcast as a whole will appeal to musicians in particular, and for most other people it will appeal on an episode-by-episode basis, depending on whether you’re into the music of the given featured artist.  If it’s an artist you really, really like, you’re probably going to want to check out that episode.  If it’s not, well, it probably just won’t be that interesting to you.  

The other thing I’ll say is that this podcast is executed immaculately, and I applaud Hrishiikesh Hirway for being just present enough to make the podcast perfect, and stepping back to let the artists do most of the talking the rest of the time.  The formula is pretty much the same for each episode: Hirway and the featured artist painstakingly take the listener, piece by piece, through the featured song, explaining the function of each piece separately, and how it fits in with the whole of the song.  The climax of every episode is the final few minutes, when the song is played in its entirety.  

For a musician, this podcast should be unhesitatingly subscribed to.  For me personally, I check in from time to time and download select episodes that appeal to me, given my taste in music.  I’ll leave that decision up to you.

Strong.  Hirway is an auteur through and through.

Again, this depends on how you go about listening to the podcast.  If you’re a musician, you’ll probably want to check out every single episode.  For the rest of you, pick and choose as you see fit.

Addressed in the review.

Driveway Moments:
Each episode is such a cohesive whole--and a short one at that--that I struggle to ever want to push pause.

Future Potential:
Extremely high, so long as Hirway has willing participants in the form of featured artists.

Special Notes:
DO NOT listen to this at greater or less than 1x speed.  That should go without saying, considering this podcast is all about the music.  

Episode Length:
15-25 minutes

Overall Score: 8.1/10

Notable Episodes:

  • Obviously, this is going to skew to my tastes, but:
  • Ghostface Killa - The Battlefield
  • tUnE-yArDs - Water Fountain
  • Death Cab for Cutie - El Dorado
  • Joey Bada$$ - Hazeus View
  • Wilco - Magnetized
  • Bjork - Stonemilker
  • MGMT - Time to Pretend
  • Iggy Pop - American Valhalla
  • Weezer - Summer Elaine and Drunk Dori
  • Busdriver - Worlds to Run
  • Flatbush Zombies - Bounce
  • Angel Olsen - Shut Up Kiss Me
  • Solange - Cranes in the Sky
  • Dropkick Murphys - Blood

If you like this podcast, you’ll probably like: 
There really aren’t many that directly compare.

Song Exploder's Website

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