Podcast: Switched On Pop

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Pop music surrounds us, but how often do we really listen to what we’re hearing? Switched on Pop is the podcast that pulls back the curtain on pop music. Each episode, join musicologist Nate Sloan and songwriter Charlie Harding as they reveal the secret formulas that make pop songs so infectious. By figuring out how pop hits work their magic, you’ll fall in love with songs you didn’t even know you liked.
switchedonpop
switchedonpopadded an audiobook to the bookshelfPodcast: Switched On Pop6 days ago
NPR's Sam Sanders stops by to break down the tracks that Switched On listeners have been loving. Swedish dancefloor confessionals, songs that stop time, the specificity of Lana Del Ray, and the awkwardness of descending fourths: it's all on the table in this freewheeling conversation of deep musical nerdiness. Songs DiscussedTove Lo ft Kylie Minogue - Really don’t like uCamila Cabello - LiarAce of Base - All That She WantsTyler the Creator - EARFQUAKETaylor Swift - Cruel SummerLana Del Ray, Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus - Don’t Call Me AngelLana Del Ray - Happiness is a butterflyKing Princess - ProphetKim Petras - Hillside BoysIDK - PornoJai Paul - Str8 Outta MumbaiJai Paul - Genevieve (Unfinished)Many thanks to everyone who called in for this one: Amanda, Jackie, Melanie, Alec, Madeleine, John B, Steve, Courtney, Julia, Zach, Lee, Tara, Habbi, and of course - John from Baltimore.For more of Sam's great takes on culture, check out It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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switchedonpopadded an audiobook to the bookshelfPodcast: Switched On Pop13 days ago
Dallas Taylor, host of the stellar sound design series Twenty Thousand Hertz, stops by to fill Nate in on the science and style of mastering: the subtle art that explains why Metallica had to re-release a controversial album, Kanye sounds so crisp, and why the best pop really pops.  Songs DiscussedLizzo - JuiceKanye West - HeartlessLed Zeppelin - Stairway to heavenPink Floyd - MoneyDaft Punk - Get LuckyMetallica - The Day That Never ComesDJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince - He's the DJ, I'm the RapperThe Beatles - Lucy In The Sky With DiamondsIntrigued by mastering? Get your fix with the Twenty Thousand Hertz episode The [Compressed] History of Mastering.We are conducting an audience survey to better serve you. It takes no more than five minutes, and it really helps out the show. Please take our survey here: https://voxmedia.iad1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_ewVXHPZIsQNlxCR?Source=noteLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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switchedonpopadded an audiobook to the bookshelfPodcast: Switched On Pop20 days ago
Charlie's out on parental leave, which means no one is here to stop Nate from going off the rails. And you know what means... JAZZ! As soon as dad left the room, Nate enlisted his favorite journalist, jazz and sports writer Natalie Weiner, to come on the show and discuss her incredible 1959 Project — a day-by-day chronicle of jazz during one of its most pivotal years. We listen to classic 1959 albums Miles Davis's Kind of Blue and Dave Brubeck's Take Out, discuss the complex legacy of Billie Holiday, and dig into some of the year's forgotten gems. Sixty years later, jazz is no longer the cultural juggernaut is once was — but it still has much to teach us about pop culture of the present. Playlist:•Miles Davis - So What•Dave Brubeck - Take Five•Billie Holiday - Blue Moon•Billie Holiday - Billie's Blues•Erykah Badu - On & On•Amy Winehouse - There Is No Greater Love•Muriel Roberts - Sleigh Ride•Terry Pollard - Laura•Willene Barton and her Trio - Rice Pudding Check out the 1959 and 2019 jazz cuts we're listening to.We are conducting an audience survey to better serve you. It takes no more than five minutes, and it really helps out the show. Please take our survey here: https://voxmedia.iad1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_ewVXHPZIsQNlxCR?Source=noteLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jazz 1959, Vox
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switchedonpopadded an audiobook to the bookshelfPodcast: Switched On Pop22 days ago
The pace of new music production these days is dizzying. Sometimes it’s like watching someone do a magic trick--we *swear* those songs weren’t there a second ago! But then, there they are, popping up in batches right out of thin air. Of course, behind each of those individual releases sits months of decision-making by each artist: who to collaborate with and when, how to structure the musical product of that collaboration, what to call it, how to release it, when, and on what platform. The list is long, and each of those choices has a big impact on how we hear the song.The Verge’s Dani Deahl recently sat down with reigning Princess of Pop, Charli XCX, to discuss how she personally approaches those decisions, and how that approach is bucking long-established norms in popular music. In this special bonus episode of Switched on Pop, Dani rings up Charlie (not XCX) to recap that conversation and put Charli (XCX)’s artistry in context. Via Dani, we learn that for Charli—collaboration is more than just an artistic choice; and release strategy is much more than a major label playbook. There’s a total freedom in the way Charli releases music, and we love it. Huge thanks to Dani for bringing us this peek into her world.Songs discussed:Charli XCX - Boom ClapCharli XCX, Christine and the Queens - GoneCharli XCX ft. Lizzo - Blame It On Your LoveLizzo - Truth HurtsCatch the rest of Dani’s conversation with both Charli/es in the newest episode of The Verge’s ‘Future of Music’ video series, at youtube.com/theverge. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
BONUS: Charli XCX and The Future of Music (with Dani Deahl), Vox
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switchedonpopadded an audiobook to the bookshelfPodcast: Switched On Poplast month
For most parents, “Baby Shark” is the nightmare that will not end. Ever since the South Korean educational company Pinkfong released the song earlier this year, it’s almost impossible to avoid. The infectious children’s tune has more than 2.3 billion views on YouTube and made it onto the Billboard Top 40 list. So what makes this song so catchy and irresistible to children? And how do the rest of us cope with the unavoidable hit while keeping our sanity?Andrea Silenz, host of the parenting podcast The Longest Shortest Time, and Charlie explore the phenomenon that is “Baby Shark.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The “Baby Shark” Phenomenon (with Andrea Silenz), Vox
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switchedonpopadded an audiobook to the bookshelfPodcast: Switched On Poplast month
Ross Golan is no stranger to Switched on Pop. This week, the songwriter and host of the hit podcast And The Writer Is… joins Charlie for a BONUS episode (cue siren) about the surprising lessons learned from a collective seven years behind the interview mic. Tune in as Ross and Charlie discuss the infinite shelf-life of classic songwriting techniques, the happy accidents behind some of your favorite hit songs, and the essential qualities of a good listener. Find more Ross on Switched on Pop in Episode 58, ‘What’s to Love About Ed Sheeran?’, and catch more of And The Writer Is… when Season 5 premiers this Monday, September 9th — anywhere you listen to podcasts. Episodes discussed:#80 How to ‘Make Me Feel’ with Lizzo#123 What BTS’s “Boy With Love” ft. Halsey Can Teach Us About K-pop#99 Entering Beard Phase (with Mike Posner)#107 How Streaming Changed the Sound of PopSongs Discussed:Lizzo - Truth HurtsSister Nancy - Bam BamPaul Anka - Put Your Hand on My ShoulderBTS ft. Halsey - Boy with LuvAriana Grande - Break FreeLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
BONUS: Who are the Picassos of pop? (with Ross Golan), Vox
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switchedonpopadded an audiobook to the bookshelfPodcast: Switched On Poplast month
On this very special episode, we join forces with the hilarious podcast OFF BOOK. When our powers combine, Zach and Jess of Off Book, plus their killer backing band of Scott, Dana and Brett create an improvised musical, while Nate and Charlie break down the sound and structure of a Broadway show. Stay tuned for deep thoughts about what separates pop music from musicals, wild speculation about the origin of the word “vamp,” and an ENTIRE FREAKING MUSICAL COMPOSED FROM SCRATCH that will make you laugh your face off. This is not one to miss.Find more episodes of Off Book on their website h.earwolf.com/off, or anywhere you find podcasts.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Switched Off Book (with Jess McKenna and Zach Reino), Vox
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switchedonpopadded an audiobook to the bookshelfPodcast: Switched On Poplast month
"Make Me Feel," is the first hit from Janelle Monáe's 2018 album Dirty Computer,  and a sensual song about the fluidity of desire. In the pre-chorus, the singer proudly expresses that she is a "sexual bender." Fans have embraced the song for breaking free of normative sexual expectations. But these non-binary statements aren't limited to the lyrics. The message is reinforced with musical concepts drawn from the blues, Prince and Michael Jackson. To help break down this track, Nate and Charlie are joined by singer/rapper Lizzo. She and Monáe both collaborated with Prince, making Lizzo uniquely qualified to unwind his influence on the song. We also discuss Lizzo's song "Truth Hurts" and her podcast "Good As Hell" where she talks to the queens of hip hop. Hands down, Lizzo is one of the most talented, knowledgable and fun guests. You don't want to miss this episode.Songs DiscussedJanelle Monáe - Make Me FeelMichael Jackson - The Way You Make Me FeelMichael Jackson - Beat ItFats Domino - Blueberry HillPrince - KissYing Yang Twins - Wait (The Whisper Song)Lizzo - Truth HurtsSister Nancy - BamDon't miss Lizzo's podcast "Good As Hell" on SpotifyLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
ICYMI: How to 'Make Me Feel' with Lizzo, Vox
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switchedonpopadded an audiobook to the bookshelfPodcast: Switched On Pop2 months ago
Today we're revisiting an episode inspired by a pair of classic VH1 shows: “Behind the Music” and “Where Are They Now?”Our subjects are two songs representing the lunatic fringe of 90s culture, “Cotton Eyed Joe” and “How Bizarre.”In the course of our musicological investigation, we uncover dark truths about these seemingly anodyne hits that will make you question everything you know about pop music.And in the end, we reach a definitive answer to a perennially vexing question: “WTF was 90s music so weird?”Songs DiscussedRednex:Cotton Eye JoePop in an OakThe Way I MateCotton Eyed Joe:Fiddlin John CarsonBob Wills and his Texas PlayboysKaren DaltonChieftainsNina SimoneOMC:How BizarreRight OnLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
ICYMI: Why is 90s Pop so Bizarre?, Vox
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switchedonpopadded an audiobook to the bookshelfPodcast: Switched On Pop2 months ago
Every year, critics and media outlets the world over put out definitive song-of-summer guides based on... well, we’re not always entirely sure. Certainly popularity, as measured by streams and radio play; not to mention that bewildering feeling that creeps up some time mid-July, prompting whispered exclamations of: “man, this song is everywhere.” But the most ubiquitous track isn’t necessarily the one you’ll have on repeat on those steamy summer commutes to work, nor is it the song you’ll want soundtracking this year’s vacations, graduations, summer flings and backyard cookouts. In this episode, we abandon the pursuit of a single song of summer, and ask the question we’re more interested in: What does summer sound like? To answer that question, we asked you, our listeners, and got some downright awesome suggestions in return. Your voicemails covered everything from Hot Girl Summer anthems and nostalgia-inducing dance jams, to globally infused collaborations and just-released future-feeling indie rock cuts. Today, we travel across the full spectrum of summer feels, and the music that comes through when we need it the most. Songs DiscussedMUNA - Number One FanAmber Mark - Put You OnJonas Brothers - Only HumanShawn Mendes, Camila Cabello - SeñoritaCharlie XCX, Christine and the Queens - GoneBTS, Zara Larsson - Brand New DayKaty Perry - Teenage DreamPost Malone - SunflowerLil Nas X, Billy Ray Cyrus - Old Town RoadPinkfong - Baby Shark Khalid - BetterMegan Thee Stallion - Big ol’ FreakMegan Thee Stallion, Juicy J - Simon SaysSaweetie - My TypePetey Pablo - Freak-A-LeakCity Girls - Act UpMegan Thee Stallion, DaBaby - Cash ShitClairo - Sofia HAIM - Summer GirlLou Reed - Walk on the Wild SideMother’s Daughter - Miley CyrusRosalía - Aute CutureAriana Grande - NASABANKS - GimmeGrimes, Hana - We appreciate powerLizzo - Truth HurtsPaul McCartney - JetDon Henley - The Boys of SummerSantana, Rob Thomas - SmoothBritney Spears - ToxicThe Slits - I Heard it Through the Grapevine Missy Elliott - SlideFreddie Gibbs, Madlib - CataractsVampire Weekend - 2021Misc extrasListen to all of these songs and more on the Switched on Pop Songs of Summer 2019 Playlist. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Songs of Summer Call-in Special, Vox
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switchedonpopadded an audiobook to the bookshelfPodcast: Switched On Pop2 months ago
The sound of R&B is difficult to pin down. Since the 1950s, the label has been used both as a genre and as a catch-all for the entirety of black popular music. Soul, funk, disco and even hip-hop have at times been covered by this "R&B" umbrella. On Chance The Rapper's new album, The Big Day, all of these influences come through—and he's not alone. On recent Kehlani records, 90s R&B and 2000s trap both play a role. But both these artists are a far cry from the 50s R&B sounds of Sam Cooke. To understand how R&B has changed over time, we consult with Trevor Anderson, manager of Billboard's R&B/Hip Hop chart. Then we speak with R&B super-producer Oak Felder to understand how R&B is progressing and what it might become.Songs DiscussedChance The Rapper - Hot ShowerChance The Rapper - I Got YouSam Cooke - You Send MeElvis Presley - Crying In the ChapelThe Temptations - I Can’t Get Next To YouMtume - Juicy FruitBiggie - JuicyToni Braxton - Breath AgainJanet Jackson - That’s The Way Love GoesBoys II Men - I’ll Make Love To YouLauryn Hill - Doo Wop (That Thing)Diddy - I’ll Be Missing You (feat. Faith Evans & 112)Nelly - DilemmaKehlani - DistractionSWV - WeakAaron Hall - I Miss YouUsher - You Make Me WannaBrandy - Sittin' Up In My RoomDru Hill - In My BedSilk - Freak MeDemi Lovato - Sorry Not SorryJodeci - Cry For youMariah Carey - Vision of LoveKehlani - Everything Is YoursChance The Rapper - All Day LongQueen - Fat Bottom GirlsDiana Ross - I’m Coming OutFor an in depth history of R&B on Billboard, read Chris Molanphy's feature on Pitchfork.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
switchedonpop
switchedonpopadded an audiobook to the bookshelfPodcast: Switched On Pop2 months ago
For the live action remake of the Lion King, Beyoncé, (who voices Nala in the film), recorded and curated a companion soundtrack called The Gift. She worked with leading Afropop stars to expose the music of the continent to a global audience. In her piece, “Diversity Is in the Details: What Beyoncé’s 'The Lion King: The Gift' Gets Right and Wrong,” Okayplayer music editor Ivie Ani argues that the album highlights music while unintentionally treating the continent as a monolith. Ani joins Switched On Pop to break down this album and what it means for Afropop. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Beyoncé's Gift To Africa (with Ivie Ani), Vox
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switchedonpopadded an audiobook to the bookshelfPodcast: Switched On Pop2 months ago
Why is it that every hip restaurant plays the same music? When Eater restaurant editor Hillary Dixler Canavan kept hearing similar songs while dining for work assignments, she compiled a playlist of what she heard. It included songs by LCD Soundsystem, M83, Grimes, Biggie, Beck and the like. Her subsequent article about this music, “This Is Every Generically Cool Restaurant’s Playlist,” went viral. She’d captured the elusive sound of small plate dining. But what left her guessing was why this sound? And how did it reach so many restaurants in cities across the U.S.? She brought this question to Switched On Pop to understand why this 00s mostly indie sound was the ideal background for post-industrial chic establishments. Investigating the issue, she discovered a small bubble of music selectors who curate these lists for businesses. She spoke with Yvette Bailhache, a D.C. based music selector for restaurants and bars about how these lists are made. And she asked Jonathan Shecter, founder of the Las Vegas based background music service Playback Prodigy, about what makes an ideal background sound. What she discovered is surprising. The sounds in the background may dictate more of our foreground than you’d expect. Music DiscussedLCD Soundsystem - I Can ChangeM83 - Midnight City Grimes - GenesisIce Cube - It Was A Good DayWu-Tang Clean - CREAMThis Will Destroy You - KitchenListen to Hillary’s Every Restaurant Playlist and for more stories and news on food, subscribe to Eater's podcast UpsellLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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switchedonpopadded an audiobook to the bookshelfPodcast: Switched On Pop3 months ago
Lil Nas X licensed the beat for “Old Town Road” from an e-commerce platform. He originally bought a non-exclusive copy of the backing track for just $29.99 from a 19 year old Dutch record producer called YoungKio. And he’s not the first hitmaker to do so. Desiigner, Bryson Tiller and Queen Naija have all made hit songs from internet beats. These beats are big business. The arguable market leader, BeatStars, has paid its producers over $50M since its inception in 2008. The platform allows producers to market their beats to MCs and singers, boasting 340,000 active sellers and 1.5M tracks. BeatStars CEO Abe Batshon originally created the company to connect artists who may not live in the music industry hubs in L.A., N.Y., Nashville and Atlanta. His global ambitions were realized—producers on the platform come from all over the world. They release a steady stream of new music, marketing their original and sound-a-like beats to aspiring and emerging artists everywhere turning into ad music, Instagram stories and even Billboard Hot 100 hits. While BeatStars increases access to music, could this commoditization of music devalue the creative process? We speak with Abe as well as producers on the platform—songwriter Breana Marin and producer Dansonn—to understand how online beat selling is effecting the sound of pop music. Music Discussed:Lil Nas X - Old Town RoadBryson Tiller - Don’tYBN Nahmir - Rubbin off the PaintDesiigner - Panda’Queen Naija - MedicineCERTIBEATS - MojoBEATDEMONS - NohoBrytiago ft Bad Bunny - NETFLIXXXBreana Marin’s BeatStars pageDansonn’s BeatStars pageListen to “Bouncing On The Band Stand” by Marian Hill’s Jeremy Loyd (Clear Eyes) and Charlie (Charlatan). You can even license it for $29.99 for your own production. Vote for Switched On Pop in this year's People's Choice Podcast Awards!Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The $50M Beat Marketplace That Broke the Billboard, Vox
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switchedonpopadded an audiobook to the bookshelfPodcast: Switched On Pop3 months ago
Shawn Mendes’ hit song “If I Can’t Have You” is so ridiculously catchy that Charlie had it stuck in his head after the first chorus. How is that possible?! Declamation, or the way that text is set to music, is a big part of the song’s appeal—every word that Mendes sings is perfectly in rhythm. In this episode we use Mendes’ latest track to explore creative declamation throughout history. How do artists from Whitney Houston to Queen to Taylor Swift keep finding new ways to sing the word “somebody”? Why did the composer Georg Friedrich Handel get in trouble for a bit of awkward text setting in one of the most famous pieces of Baroque music? And, does Beyoncé even know how to pronounce “sandcastles”? Finally, Mendes’ hit leads us to ask: is “incorrect” declamation is something to celebrate, or criticize?Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Shawn Mendes and the Rhythm of Rhyme, Vox
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switchedonpopadded an audiobook to the bookshelfPodcast: Switched On Pop3 months ago
Find out how music creates a feeling of space in this three part episode. First, we may not realize it when we listen to Madonna's new record, but the location of her music is essential. In exploring her catalogue we hear the sound of different eras by just the space evoked in a song. Second, the same is true for Stephen Puth who uses spacial effects for brilliant creative purposes on his song "Look Away." When music is recorded in a studio with perfect acoustics, engineers manipulate that audio to place it in a 3D virtual space using reverb, delay, volume, panning and filters. Each of those effects changes our relationship to the music, and in Steven's case, the lyric. Finally, when we get outside the studio, like with Street Studios's "Make Music Day," music can echo the geography it is made in. Take this wild journey with us and truly expand your listening. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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switchedonpopadded an audiobook to the bookshelfPodcast: Switched On Pop3 months ago
How should we listen to K-pop? This music has become a global phenomenon, charting on the Billboard Hot 100, taking over social media feeds, and touring the world. In particular, the group BTS has captured the ears of millions, building an Army of fans along the way. As uninitiated listeners, the language and culture barrier left us uncertain about how to approach listening to, let alone breaking down their music. So we sought out the support of Dr, Suk-Young Kim, Professor of Critical Studies and the Director of the Center for Performance Studies at UCLA, and KCON's Vanessa Augsbach. Dr. Kim's research on K-pop helps to expand our ears and understand the genre's history and aesthetics, while Augsbach helps us better appreciate the fandom. Applying their insights, we listen to "Boy With Luv" as a  first foray into the wonders of K-pop. Read Dr. Kim's book K-pop Live: Fans Idols, and Multimedia Performance, Watch Vox's Netflix series Explained on the history of K-popLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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switchedonpopadded an audiobook to the bookshelfPodcast: Switched On Pop4 months ago
Fans are not happy with Will Smith's update of the classic Disney song "Prince Ali" in the live-action Aladdin. Their complaint? The new "Prince Ali" is slow, sluggish, and dull. Indeed, the Smith version is 8 BPM (beats per minute) slower than Robin Williams's 1992 original—a subtle musical detail. We dig into the properties of tempo and key to understand why people have such a visceral reaction to a relatively small change and consider whether it suggests that we—meaning all of us humans, from musicians to amateurs—are more musically literate than we think.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
"Prince Ali" and Why We're All Music Theorists, Vox
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switchedonpopadded an audiobook to the bookshelfPodcast: Switched On Pop4 months ago
Nice Try! is a new podcast from Curbed and the Vox Media Podcast Network that explores stories of people who have tried to design a better world, and what happens when those designs don't go according to plan. Season one, Utopian, follows Avery Trufelman on her quest to understand the perpetual search for the perfect place. Enjoy this special preview of the first episode, Jamestown: Utopian for Whom, and subscribe to Nice Try! for free in your favorite podcast app.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
switchedonpop
switchedonpopadded an audiobook to the bookshelfPodcast: Switched On Pop4 months ago
Ever notice that wobbly, drunken and underwater sound common in so many contemporary pop songs? In an era of pristine recording quality, music producers are referencing old and impure technologies to add character to their recordings. Digital cassette hiss, tape wobble, and vinyl crackle are intentionally added to productions as a facsimile of "authentic" recording technology. Why the sudden nostalgia? Where does this underwater sound come from? What does it mean? How is it made? Find out on a live episode of Switched On Pop, recorded at Recode's annual Code conference with guest host Estelle Caswell, creator of Vox's Earworm video series. Listen to Estelle's Spotify playlist of underwater intros. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Why Does Every Intro Sound Like It's Underwater? (Live), Vox
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