Switched On Pop

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.




      Justin Timberlake's Identity Crisis

      What's up with Justin Timberlake? Two years ago he gifted us the ebullient family-friendly jam "Can't Stop the Feeling," now he's on the cusp of a deeply serious new record called "Man of the Woods," whose first single, strangely, is a bit of electro-funk snarl expertly produced by long-time collaborators Timbaland and Danja. What's going on here—who is JT trying to be? We listen deep to his latest, "Filthy," to try and understand its creator's conflicting musical w...



      episode 75: BONUS: Dua Lipa's Minor Mantra (w Emily Bootle)

      Charlie talks laments, Baroque opera, and gender politics in Dua Lipa's sleeper hit "New Rules" with writer Emily Bootle.



      episode 74: All I Want for Xmas is a Year in Review Episode

      Charlie and Nate breakdown Mariah Carey's classic "All I Want for Christmas is You" and revisit their favorite tracks of 2017. Sleigh bells abound.


      • Mariah Carey - All I Want For Christmas
      • Laura Marling - Semper Femina
      • Lorde - Melodrama
      • Khalid - Location
      • Dua Lipa - New Rules
      • Logic - Everybody / 1-800-273-8255
      • Childish Gambino - Redbone
      • Sampha - (No One Knows Me) Like the piano in my mothers house
      • Father John Misty - Pure Comedy...



      episode 73: Björk's Emotional Landscapes

      Björk is uniquely both a pop star and avant-garde composer. Though her music often challenges our ears, underneath her records you'll find more in common with today's pop music than you'd expect. Pieced together, you'll hear that she paints emotional landscapes composed of all the complexities of human experience. We give you a way to enjoy listening to her music. Using this hybrid pop/modernist method, we deconstruct her latest album Utopia. Plus Nate & Charlie fall in love all over ...



      episode 72: Taylor Constructs A Darker Reputation

      Taylor Swift unveils a new, darker identity on her latest album "Reputation," and many have read the lyrics on her latest as not-so-subtle volleys in an ongoing celebrity feud. Still, a question remains: how does Swift cast this dark personality in music? Two songs offer evidence. Melodic drops and temporal gaps in "I Did Something Bad" signal the album's themes of descent and decay. On "Getaway Car," however, some of Swift's old songwriting tricks may betray her new persona.

      We also...



      BONUS: Switched On Pop Reddit AMA this Monday at 2pm EST

      Charlie and Nate will be answering your questions on www.reddit.com/r/iama under the user name 'switchedonpop.' Bring questions about your favorite pop songs, unresolved issues from past episodes or anything you want to know about the show. See you on Reddit on Monday, November 13th at 2pm EST. 

      this episode is not available



      BONUS: Switched On Pop Reddit AMA Monday Nov 13th 2-4pm EST

      Nate and Charlie will answer any question you have about pop music you love, unresolved questions from past episodes, or anything about the podcast. Just visit www.reddit.com/r/ama/ on Monday Nov 13th 2-4pm EST and ask us your questions.

      this episode is not available



      episode 71: Unlikely Mashups: Taylor + Cardi B | Clean Bandit + Berlioz

      [AUDIO FIXED] At the top of the pop charts, Taylor Swift and Cardi B, two artists with seemingly little in common, exploit the same compositional technique to hook listeners in. Meanwhile, across time and space, electro producers Clean Bandit ft. Julia Michaels, channel the thematic tricks of French Romantic composer Hector Berlioz in his 1830 Symphonie Fantastique.

      FeaturingTaylor Swift - Look What You Made Me Do Cardi B - Bodak YellowRight Said Fred - I'm Too SexyClean Bandit...



      episode 70: Kendrick Lamar's HUMBLE deconstructed w. guest Amber Mark

      With Charlie off the grid, Nate sits down with singer/producer Amber Mark to explore the different levels of Kendrick's hit HUMBLE.. Then, they turn to the diverse influences (including house music, Carnatic samples, and autodidactic piano chords) behind Mark's own track "Lose My Cool."


      Kendrick Lamar - HUMBLE.
      Amber Mark - Lose My Cool
      Amber Mark - SPACE



      episode 69: Demi Lovato is Not Sorry

      Demi Lovato's latest, "Sorry Not Sorry" is at once an unapologetic anthem of defiance and a super catchy mashup of multiple genres. As we'll see, every small musical choice is here for a reason, together fostering Lovato's message of ascension—or even, transcendence. And as we pick apart "Sorry Not Sorry," we'll go to some surprising places ourselves including: Klezmer melodies, spiritual pretzels and musical dementors. 


      •Demi Lovato - Sorry Not Sorry
      •Cardi B...