Show cover of Switched on Pop

Switched on Pop

A podcast all about the making and meaning of popular music. Musicologist Nate Sloan & songwriter Charlie Harding pull back the curtain on how pop hits work magic on our ears & our culture. From Vulture and the Vox Media Podcast Network.


A History of Whammies at the Grammys - Into It with Sam Sanders
It's Grammys weekend and Sam Sanders, host of Vulture's Into It podcast, is ready for disappointment! Sam is joined by Switched on Pop's Charlie Harding and Reanna Cruz to break down the Grammys' history of tone deafness when it comes to the night's biggest awards. Will Beyoncé lose Album of the Year again... or will the voting body finally give her her due? Subscribe to Into It: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
24:45 2/2/23
Wonders: Bobby McFerrin
In 1988, Bobby McFerrin recorded a song a cappella with a simple message: not to worry, and just enjoy life. That song, aptly titled “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” topped the charts and become one of the most well known one-hit wonders of all time.  In doing so, it also propelled McFerrin into the spotlight, winning him three Grammy awards and an eternal place in pop culture. His career, though, is more than just the Big Mouth Billy Bass: a deep dive reveals an incredible career in jazz, folk, and classical music as well as a remarkable command of his own voice. This episode of Switched on Pop, we explore the history behind "Don't Worry, Be Happy" and the ensuing legacy of Bobby McFerrin. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
34:49 1/31/23
The New Wave of Paramore
Six years after their last record, Paramore is back with new music, and their upcoming record seems to have an uncanny connection to the era of new wave. But what is “new wave” anyway? Is it just a period of time in music or something more?  In this episode of Switched on Pop, we explore some of the tracks from This is Why, out February 10th, and connect them to the works of everyone from Talking Heads to Joy Division. Songs Discussed Paramore – C’est Comme Ça Olivia Rodrigo – good 4 u Paramore – Misery Business Paramore – Ain’t It Fun Paramore – Pool Paramore – This Is Why Talking Heads – I Zimbra Talking Heads – Once in a Lifetime Siouxsie and the Banshees – Happy House The B-52’s – Dirty Back Road Gang of Four – Cheeseburger Oingo Boingo – Just Another Day DEVO – Uncontrollable Urge Paramore – Hard Times Les Rita Mitsouko – C’est comme ça Talking Heads – Psycho Killer Selena Gomez – Bad Liar Paramore – The News Joy Division – Disorder Blondie – The Thin Line Blondie – The Tide Is High The Police – So Lonely Paramore – Pressure Paramore – Told You So Boy Harsher – LA  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
34:23 1/24/23
Taylor Swift and the music industry's next $20
Streaming feels like it's both at its height and on a precipice. Musicians are fed up at getting paid fractions of a penny, and the whole business model seems precarious. Switched On Pop co-host Charlie Harding was talking about the challenges for streaming future with my friend Nilay Patel, editor in chief of The Verge and host the podcast Decoder - a show about big ideas. And they taped a conversation about what’s next for streaming through the case study of Taylor Swift who has deftly navigated the transition from CDs to streaming, and whose era tour may mark the end of an era in music.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
82:24 1/20/23
SZA's Endless Melody
Why does SZA's latest album SOS hit different? It's the way her melodies don't repeat where you expect them to, defying all the rules of pop songwriting. We break down how her endless melodies echo the intimate themes of her most recent release, and how they connect to genres ranging from gospel to Wagnerian opera. Songs Discussed SZA - Kill Bill, SOS, Shirt, Notice Me, Seek & Destroy, Gone Girl, Low, Smoking on My Ex Pack, Ghost in the Machine (ft Phoebe Bridgers), F2F Sam Smith & Kim Petras - Unholy Taylor Swift - Anti-Hero Jazmine Sullivan - Girl Like Me (ft H.E.R.) Summer Walker - No Love (ft. SZA) Jessye Norman - Isoldes Liebestod Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
29:51 1/18/23
Too Fast? We’re Curious: The sped-up remix phenomenon
Over the past few months, you may have heard your favorite song pop up on the Internet – just slightly faster. You’re not alone: the phenomenon of the “sped-up” remix has taken over social media, with everyone from Lady Gaga to Thundercat getting the tempo treatment. The popularity of the craze has led to millions of TikTok videos, Billboard number ones, and songs becoming relevant again, decades after release. Ever since the proliferation of these “remixes,” the big questions remain: where did these songs come from and why are they here?  On this episode of Switched on Pop, we explore this exact phenomenon, tracing its roots from Thomas Edison to Cam’ron to vaporwave to nightcore. Songs Discussed: “Dream On” – Aerosmith (sped up) “Escapism” – RAYE, 070 Shake (sped up) “Bad Habit” – Steve Lacy (sped up) “Miss You” – Oliver Tree (sped up) “Say It Right” – Nelly Furtado (sped up) “Bloody Mary” – Lady Gaga (sped up) “Heat Waves” – Glass Animals (slowed down) “Juicy” – Notorious B.I.G.  “Juicy” – DJ Screw “Jolene” – Dolly Parton (slowed down) “リサフランク420 / 現代のコンピュー |” – Macintosh Plus “In Da Club Before Eleven O’ Clock” – DJ Rashad “Monster [Nightcore]” – Meg & Dia, remixed by Barren Gates  “Concrete Angel” – Hannah Diamond “Witch Doctor” – David Seville “Oh Boy” – Cam’ron, Juelz Santana “Cool for the Summer” – Demi Lovato (sped up) “Them Changes” – Thundercat (sped up & Chopnotslop remix) “That’s All” – Genesis Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
28:52 1/10/23
ICYMI 90s Music Canon
Matt Daniels, editor of the publication The Pudding, wanted to find out what songs from his youth would last into the future. So he designed a study that would test if Gen-Z had a grip on 90s culture. Hundreds of thousands of participants provided over 3 million data points. Daniels parsed through the data for insights. Sadly, the majority of his most beloved songs have not survived even one generation. Though most had been forgotten, he found that just a few songs had staying power across generations — what he defined as the emerging 90s music canon. Find out what songs make it and which have fallen to the wayside.  MORE The Pudding’s study on Defining the 90s Canon Take The Pudding’s quiz yourself SONGS DISCUSSED Spice Girls - Wannabe  Mariah Carey - Fantasy! Lou Bega - Mambo #5 Los Del Rio - Macarena Boys II Men - Motown Philly Whitney Houston - I Will Always Love You Savage Garden - I Want You The Barenaked Ladies - One Week Jewel - You Were Meant For Me Jennifer Lopez - If You Had My Love Celine Dion - My Heart Will Go On Britney Spears - Baby One More Time Smash Mouth - All Star Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
38:04 1/3/23
ICYMI: We *do* talk about Bruno
The number one song on the charts is a bit of a mystery. “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” is the unlikely hit from Disney’s sleeper animated musical Encanto. Set in a mountainous village in Colombia, the film was a middling commercial success when it was released in Nov 2021. But in recent months it has become a pop culture phenomenon for a confluence of reasons: an expansive discourse on Colombian representation in media, fan videos on TikTok, and of course it's ear-wormy hits.  The musical is yet another notch in the belt for Lin Manuel Miranda (the auteur behind Hamilton and In The Heights) who wrote the now chart-topping song book. While Disney certainly commands vast commercial success, its musicals rarely see such crossover attention. The last #1 Disney musical number was “A Whole New World” from the animated Aladdin back in 1993. Where that song was literally uplifting, “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” is quite the opposite.  Bruno is the uncle of the Madrigal family, whose skill for seeing the future portends gloom and sends him into exile. In his namesake song “We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” an ensemble cast trade verses about his ghostly presence (Bruno haunts the family home, living inside its walls). It is an odd ball song, with dark and bizarre lyrics. Sure it starts with a story about rain on a wedding day (which is not ironic), but then it takes a hard left into tales of dead fish, middle aged weight gain, and creeping rats. So then what makes it a hit? A distinctive concoction of salsa piano rhythms, familiar Lin Manuel Miranda-isms, and contemporary pop connections to Camila Cabello, Britney Spears, J Balvin, Bad Bunny and Cardi B.  Listen to Switched On Pop to solve the mystery of what makes “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” a hit.  SONGS DISCUSSED Lin Manuel Miranda - We Don’t Talk About Bruno, In The Heights, Helpless, Satisfied, My Shot, Wait For It, Say No To This Cardi B, J Balvin, I Like It Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee - Despacito Camila Cabello, Young Thug - Havana Britney Spears - Baby One More Time Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
27:49 12/27/22
Anitta & Rosalía on the borders of Latin pop
When it comes to distinguishing what exactly Latin music is, what makes the cut? To some, it’s simply music from the Latin American region, and to others, it’s any music that is sung in Spanish – but much like the pop canon, the phrase encapsulates so many different eras, styles, and genres. Like any distinction, there’s also music on the periphery: specifically, the music of Brazil, where the sounds are similar but the main language is different, and Spain, where the history of colonization looms over the country’s relationship with Latin America, raising controversial questions of appropriation.  Nonetheless though, music from both countries has made big waves amongst U.S. listeners on Latin radio stations and at award shows. Anitta’s record Versions of Me has been finding success on streaming and the radio, while Rosalía’s MOTOMAMI has become one of the most acclaimed records of the year, winning this year’s Album of the Year award at the Latin Grammys. This episode of Switched on Pop, we take a look at these artists and how they incorporate both native and Latin sounds in their tracks. Vote for the Signal Awards: SONGS DISCUSSED:  Anitta – Girl From Rio Rosalía – DESPECHÁ Anitta, Ty Dolla $ign – Gimme Your Number MC Marcinho, DJ Marlboro – Glamourosa (Rap Glamurosa) M.I.A. – Bucky Done Gun Anitta, Papatinho, MC Kevin o Chris, Mr. Catra, YG – Que Rabão Anitta – Envolver Karol G – PROVENZA Rosalía – MALAMENTE - Cap.1: Augurio Rosalía – BULERÍAS Rosalía – DELIRIO DE GRANDEZA Justo Betancourt – Delirio De Grandeza Tego Calderon – Al Natural Rosalía – SAOKO Wisin, Daddy Yankee – Saoco Rosalía – CHICKEN TERIYAKI Rosalía – DIABLO Rosalía, TOKISCHA – LA COMBI VERSACE Rosalía, The Weeknd – La Fama Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
27:02 12/20/22
How Bad Bunny won 2022
For Switched On Pop’s end of year coverage, we just have one superlative: who won 2022? The answer, of course, is Bad Bunny. This year alone, the prolific Puerto Rican artist has topped charts worldwide, became Spotify’s most streamed artist globally, and his record Un Verano Sin Ti has obtained many accolades including being the first Spanish-language album nominated for Album of the Year at the Grammys. The record itself serves as a textbook to the sounds of Latin America: over the course of 23 songs, we’re introduced to bachata, dembow, cumbia, merengue, bomba, and of course, reggaeton. This episode, alongside LA Times journalist Suzy Exposito, we unpack Un Verano Sin Ti and why the album is so important, both for Bad Bunny and the Latin diaspora. Vote for the Signal Awards: Songs Discussed: Bad Bunny – Callaita Bad Bunny – Diles Cardi B, Bad Bunny, J Balvin – I Like It N.O.R.E., Daddy Yankee, Nina Sky, Gemstar, Big Mato – Oye Mi Canto Ruben Blades – Plástico Bad Bunny – Después de la Playa Bad Bunny – Tití Me Preguntó Bad Bunny – El Apagón Héctor Lavoe, Fania All Stars – Mi Gente - Live Omega – Si Te Vas Aventura, Don Omar – Ella Y Yo Nando Boom – Ellos Benia Dem Bow Daddy Yankee – Gasolina El General – Tu Pun Pun Shabba Ranks – Dem Bow El Alfa, CJ, Chael Produciendo, El Cherry Scom – La Mamá de la Mamá Bad Bunny – Me Fui de Vacaciones Bad Bunny, Bomba Estéreo – Ojitos Lindos Stan Getz, João Gilberto, Astrud Gilberto – The Girl From Ipanema Bad Bunny – Si Veo a Tu Mamá Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
34:57 12/13/22
The soft sounds of Kali Uchis (live from Vulture Fest)
Through crafting a unique, cross-cultural sound, Kali Uchis has emerged as one of indie music’s most promising talents. From playing in jazz band as a kid to collaborating with Bootsy Collins and Kaytranada, the Grammy Award-winning artist has managed to take her bilingual, one-of-a-kind music to the Billboard charts while still keeping her DIY ethos. At this year’s Vulture Fest live in Los Angeles, host Charlie Harding talked with Uchis about her career, her songcraft and her two upcoming albums: one in Spanish and one in English.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
32:03 12/6/22
Why do new Christmas songs fail?
In case you missed it last year: why are there no new Christmas songs? One one hand, there's more holiday songs than we’ll ever need. Every year pop stars drop countless holiday-themed album. But despite the annual glut of Christmas releases, few of these new songs join the rotation of holiday classics. On Billboard's Holiday Hot 100 chart right now, there's only four songs from the past ten years that have made it to the top fifty. We listen to each of these holiday hits—from Kelly Clarkson, Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, and the Jonas Brothers—and and ask if these songs can go the distance and become the 21st century members of the Christmas music canon. Songs Discussed - Playlist Kelly Clarkson - Underneath the Tree Ariana Grande - Santa Tell Me Justin Bieber - Mistletoe Jonas Brothers - Like It's Christmas The Bird and the Bee - You and I at Christmas Time Loretta Lynn - White Christmas Blue Woody Goss - One for One Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings - 8 Days of Hannukah Jenny Owen Youngs, Tancred, John Mark Nelson - Fireside Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
27:49 11/29/22
The Art of Flow
In hip-hop, what draws us to an artist is not just the content of their lyrics but how they deliver them. Along with tapping your foot to the rhythm, understanding something called “flow” is essential to understanding hip-hop as a whole. In this episode of Switched On Pop, we interview genre icon DJ Jazzy Jeff on the concept of flow: what it is, how it applies to all music – not just hip-hop – and how any rapper’s flow can be analyzed under his guidelines. Taking his word for it, we put our magnifying glasses on to look at the bars of our favorite rappers, from Megan thee Stallion to Babytron. Songs Discussed: The Notorious B.I.G. - Big Poppa Mary J. Blige - Family Affair A Tribe Called Quest - The Hop Danger Mouse, Black Thought - Aquamarine BabyTron - Crocs & Wock’  RXKNephew - Take Three JID - Better Days (feat. Johnta Austin) Megan Thee Stallion - Not Nice Megan Thee Stallion - Cocky Af Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
36:43 11/22/22
Willow Smith rocks harder
Coping Mechanism, Willow's new album, is her heaviest music yet. Charlie and Willow chat about the making of the new record and the many multitudes of rock music. Music Discussed The Anxiety - Meet Me At Our Spot Willow - Maybe It's My Fault, UR Town, Human Leach, PrettyGirlz, Lipstick, Why, Breakout, Hover Like a Goddess, Curious/Furious, Ur A Stranger Yungblood - Memories (with Willow) Deftones - Sextape Radiohead - I Will Straight Line Stitch - What You Do To Me Killswitch Engage - My Curse Lamb of God - Redneck Primus - Lacquer Head Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
26:01 11/15/22
The Sound of Sapphism
Tegan & Sara and King Princess have found themselves placed under the banner, "sapphic pop," a term recently coined referring to music by and/or for sapphics (a.k.a. women or femme folks attracted to other femme folks). Journalist Emma Madden defines the folk-inspired sound as having a “soft tactile approach” that’s “more sensual than it is sexual.” This umbrella folds in everyone from indie pop veterans Tegan & Sara to nonbinary artists like King Princess; even artists like Hozier and Sufjan Stevens are, improbably, considered sapphic pop, with their music having the same sonic qualities of other songs dedicated to feminine yearning. From articles popping up in multiple news outlets to the majority of Taylor Swift’s openers for this upcoming tour (looking at MUNA, girl in red, and Phoebe Bridgers, specifically), the terminology of “sapphic pop” has come to define a scene almost out of nowhere. This week on Switched On Pop, we explore exactly what sapphic pop is, where it came from, and how artists feel about it – even asking Tegan & Sara and King Princess directly. You can listen wherever you get podcasts. Songs discussed Clairo – Sofia King Princess – Talia girl in red – i wanna be your girlfriend Hozier – Cherry Wine (live) Alex G – Sarah The Velvet Underground – I Found A Reason Sufjan Stevens – To Be Alone With You Cris Williamson – Shine On Straight Arrow Jaylib, Madlib, J Dilla – The Red Taylor Swift – betty Brittany Howard – Georgia MUNA, Phoebe Bridgers – Silk Chiffon Tegan & Sara – Call It Off Tegan & Sara – Smoking Weed Alone King Princess – 1950 King Princess – I Hate Myself, I Want To Party King Princess – Pussy is God Kate Bush – Why Should I Love You? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
33:45 11/8/22
Scary Pockets funkify pop classics (with Lizzy McAlpine)
Scary Pockets is the musical collective that has been transforming pop classics into funk anthems for over half a decade. Each week they release a new cover on YouTube featuring razor-sharp instrumentalists and a rotating cast of virtuosic lead singers. Amazingly, each of their 200-plus covers is arranged on the fly, in a span of about 90 minutes—capturing the talent and spontaneity of a group of musicians at the top of their game. We here at Switched on Pop were struck by the band's ability to infuse familiar songs with syncopation and backbeat, and rack up millions of views in the process, so we reached out to Scary Pockets's leaders—guitarist Ryan Lerman and keyboardist Jack Conte—to arrange for Nate and Reanna to be flies on the wall during their creative process. After documenting the behind-the-scenes dialogue that led to a slow-burning interpretation of the Bee Gees's 1977 classic "Staying Alive," we called up Ryan, Jack, and the song's lead vocalist, Lizzy McAlpine, to hear their insights on making a song that everyone knows sound fresh and unfamiliar  Songs Discussed Bee Gees - Staying Alive (Scary Pockets Cover) Paul McCartney and Wings - Arrow Through Me (Scary Pockets Cover) Beatles - Maxwell's Silver Hammer Coldplay - Fix You (Scary Pockets Cover) Parcels - Tieduprightnow Bill Withers - Just the Two of Us (Scary Pockets Cover) Justin Bieber - Peaches (Lizzy McAlpine Cover) More on Scary Pockets Watch the video of Scary Pockets and Lizzy McAlpine covering "Staying Alive" See them LIVE with David Ryan Harris & John Scofield, November 16 at Echoplex in Los Angeles! Tickets Subscribe to their YouTube Channel: Merch Store: Patreon: Listen on Spotify: Scary Pockets Instagram: @scarypockets  Musician Credits: Vocals: Lizzy McAlpine BGVs: Sophia James, Arielle Kasnetz Guitar: Ryan Lerman, Will Graefe Wurlitzer & Synth: Jack Conte Bass: Travis Carlton Drums: RJ Kelly Audio: Engineered & mixed by Caleb Parker Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
33:45 11/1/22
Up late with Taylor Swift’s ‘Midnights’
 A Taylor Swift album is just not a collection of new music, it’s an exploration of a theme. For the last eight years, each release has embodied a single idea. Reputation marked a turn to the dark side, Lover a return to the light, and her pair of albums Folklore and Evermore painted acoustic, fictional landscapes. Each album propels fans to find covert lyrical connections to her personal life, and easter eggs to past compositions. Whereas Swift's pop star contemporaries have focused their energies on becoming business moguls, Swift has gone deeper into songwriting and receiving accolades in the process. In September 2022, the Nashville Songwriting Association International awarded Swift the Songwriter of the Decade award. In her acceptance speech she says, “writing songs is my life’s work and my hobby and my never-ending thrill.” Now she continues that thrill collaborating with her frequent producing partner and friend of the show, Jack Antonoff, on Midnights, her 10th studio album (not counting her recent “Taylor’s version” re-recordings of past releases). On Midnights Swift builds a lyrical and sonic world that takes place across “13 sleepless nights.” Nate and Charlie listen closely to hear how she constructs this late night feeling.   More Nate’s article on “Taylor Swift and the Work of Songwriting” for the Contemporary Music Review Journal John Hull's Soundfly course on Advanced Synths and Patch Design for Producers Music Discussed: Taylor Swift - Anti-Hero, Lavender Haze, Maroon, Question, Snow On the Beach, Mastermind, Bejeweled, Vigilante Shit, Labyrinth, Midnight Rain, You’re On Your Own Kid, You Belong With Me, Stay Kevin “Reese” Saunderson - Just Want Another Chance Ray “Renegade” Keith - Terrorist P.A. Mix Burial - Archangel  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
38:17 10/24/22
Steve Lacy brings bedroom pop to the Billboard top
It’s the song that launched a thousand TikTok videos – or over 500,000 to be exact: Steve Lacy’s “Bad Habit.”  The track is a smooth, psychedelia tinged ode to yearning, currently spending its third week on the top of the Billboard Hot 100. Lacy is an artist dedicated to shifting form and convention, from his records with alternative R&B band The Internet to his productions for artists like Mac Miller and Vampire Weekend. Even in his solo work, his songs are unpredictable, deftly moving through genre in the vein of artists like Prince and Stevie Wonder.  “Bad Habit” specifically, though, is rooted in the genre of bedroom pop, a scene slowly gaining mainstream traction. With this track, Lacy is taking the sound that’s seeped through TikTok and Spotify to the top of the charts. On this episode of Switched On Pop, we dig deep into Lacy's career and his ability to craft immaculate melodies. Songs Discussed: Steve Lacy, “Bad Habit” Sam Smith, Kim Petras, “Unholy” The Internet, “Dontcha” The Internet, “Special Affair” The Internet, “Palace/Curse (feat. Tyler, The Creator & Steve Lacy) Steve Lacy, “C U Girl” Steve Lacy, “Dark Red” Steve Lacy, “Only If” Steve Lacy, “Like Me” Steve Lacy, “Playground” Steve Lacy, “Static” Stevie Wonder, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
34:51 10/18/22
Why it hurts to release a record (with Sylvan Esso)
Earlier this year, the members of Sylvan Esso took a gamble, making their "most free and wild and strange" album yet: No Rules Sandy. And to add to the overall theme of lawlessness, Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn decided to do something equally as free and radical: they decided to forgo the typical multi-year album cycle as well as a standard promo campaign. While wrapped in what Amelia calls a “PR cocoon,” she began to think about the less tangible aspects of the album rollout process, and wanted to enlist other musicians (as well as Switched On Pop) in exploring certain aspects of what it means to be an artist to answer the question: why does it hurt to release records? Songs Discussed Sylvan Esso - Your Reality Sylvan Esso - Cloud Walker Sylvan Esso - Didn’t Care Sylvan Esso - Look At Me Sylvan Esso - How Did You Know Sylvan Esso - Sunburn MUNA - Number One Fan MUNA - Silk Chiffon MUNA - What I Want Bartees Strange - Heavy Heart Bartees Strange - Co Signs Bartees Strange - Hennessy Wilco - Cruel Country Maggie Rogers - Alaska Maggie Rogers - That’s Where I Am Maggie Rogers - Anywhere with You Maggie Rogers - Want Want Maggie Rogers - Begging for Rain Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
47:40 10/11/22
Santigold sings Spirituals
After a four-year hiatus – and a name drop on a Beyoncé remix – musical polymath Santigold is back with a brand new album. Known for her signature blend of genre-defying songcraft, the artist’s fourth studio album Spirituals is one of her most artistically challenging projects yet. It’s another venture into what she does best: addressing heavy themes through toe-tapping melodies. From Nate’s personal favorite, 2016’s “Can’t Get Enough of Myself,” to “My Horror,” a pan-genre sonic vision has always been present in her career. On this episode of Switched On Pop, Santigold speaks about her new record, being a mother, and the emotions that went into making Spirituals.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
26:36 10/4/22
The future of music pt I
In part 1 of our Vergecast: Future of Music series, Alex Cranz talks with Switched on Pop's Charlie Harding about the trends in music today that make new songs out of old material, and whether it's foreshadowing the future of pop. Further reading: Selena Quintanilla Will Sound Older on Her New Posthumous Album Michael Jackson songs removed from streaming services to 'move beyond' fake vocals controversy Shred with Green Day, with some help from AudioShake Invasion of the Vibe Snatchers Music discussed: Como Te Quiero Yo A Ti - Selena My Way - Frank Sinatra I'll Be Seeing You - Billie Holiday We Can't Stop - Miley Cyrus bad guy - Billie Eilish Through The Wire - Kanye West Breaking News - Michael Jackson Real Love - The Beatles Free As A Bird - The Beatles 2000 Light Years Away - Green Day Betty (Get Money) - Yung Gravy Genius of Love - Tom Tom Club Fantasy - Mariah Carey Big Energy - Latto I'm Good (Blue) - David Guetta, Bebe Rexha Bang Bang - Rita Ora, Imanbek Higher Love - Kygo, Whitney Houston Don't Start Now - Dua Lipa Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
33:53 9/27/22
Lady Gaga & The Pequeños Monstruos
After an enlightening experience at Lady Gaga's Chromatica Ball, producer Reanna Cruz takes a look at the connection between Gaga's music and the Latin sounds she's engaged with over the years, from traditional rancheras to the rhythm of reggaeton. Songs discussed: Lady Gaga, “Alejandro” Ace of Base, “Don’t Turn Around” ABBA, “Chiquitita – Spanish Version” Madonna, “La Isla Bonita” Rihanna, “Te Amo” Vittorio Monti, Sarah Nemtanu, Chilly Gonzales, “Csárdás” Lady Gaga, “Americano” Rosemary Clooney, The Mellomen, “Mambo Italiano (with the Mellomen)” Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee, “Despacito” La Flavour, “Mandolay” Lady Gaga, “Dancin’ In Circles” Alejandro Fernández, “Como Quien Pierde una Estrella” Pedro Fernández, “Yo…El Aventurero” Lola Beltran, “Cucurrucucu Paloma” War, “Cinco de Mayo” Santana, The Product G&B, “Maria Maria (feat. The Product G&B)” Lady Gaga, “Dancin’ In Circles” Justin Bieber, “Sorry” French Montana, Swae Lee, “Unforgettable” Tego Calderon, “Pa’ Que Retozen” Rosalia, J Balvin, “Con Altura” Juan Gabriel, “Abrázame Muy Fuerte” Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, “Rain On Me” Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, Arca, “Rain On Me – Arca Remix” Lady Gaga, “Fun Tonight” Lady Gaga, Pabllo Vittar, “Fun Tonight – Pabllo Vittar Remix” Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
32:40 9/20/22
Invasion of the Vibe Snatchers
Why do so many songs sound familiar? Because the number of chart topping interpolations — songs built off of old hits — has roughly doubled in the five years. It’s everywhere, you can’t escape because many people are embracing it. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
26:55 9/13/22
Into It: Song of Summer 2022
Who had the song of the summer? Sam Sanders chats with Switched on Pop's Charlie Harding and Reanna Cruz about whose song (and album) is in the running: Beyoncé, Bad Bunny, Lizzo, or Kate Bush?  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
17:09 9/6/22
Learning to love the Killers (maybe)
Are you like Nate? Is there one artist that, every time you hear them, you can't help it—you start to grimace, sweat, seethe. You can't explain it, but there's something about them that you just. can't. stand. For Nate, that band is the Killers. Lots of people love this band, they've been around for almost two decades, they're practically an institution! So why can't he get past his hang up? Charlie and Reanna step in to help break down what it is about the Killers that rankles their normally open-eared colleague so, and then step back to consider what it is that makes us think we hate the bands we do—and whether we can change those opinions. Songs Discussed The Killers - Human, All These Things That I've Done, When You Were Young, Mr. Brightside, Deadlines and Commitments, Where the White Boys Dance, boy, Shot at the Night, The Man, Tranquilize Ariana Grande and Zedd - Break Free Erasure - A Little Respect Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
32:47 8/30/22
K-Pop Chartbreakers: BLACKPINK, Girls’ Generation, NewJeans, IVE
A lot has happened in the world of Kpop this summer, from Girls’ Generation sugar coated banger “Forever 1” marking a triumphant return from a five year hiatus, to the ascendance of newcomers NewJeans, whose R&B infused sounds have quickly taken over the charts. But it's the return of BLACKPINK that has lit up the world literally in pink. Get a full deep dive on the songs at the top of the Kpop charts on the latest episode of Switched On Pop, where hosts Charlie Harding and Nate Sloan speak with journalist Kristine Kwak. Songs Discussed Psy, SUGA - That That J-hope - MORE BLACKPINK - Pink Venom Girls’ Generation IVE - LOVE DIVE NewJeans - Attention SWV - I’m So Into You Rihanna - Pon De Replay Missy Elliot - Work It 50 Cent - Just A Lil Bit Taylor Swift “Look What You Made Me Do” Panjabi MC, JAY-Z - Mundian to Bach Ke Britney Spears, Madonna - Me Against the Music Justin Timberlake - What Goes Around Comes Around Snoop Dogg - Drop It Like It’s Hot Snoop Dogg - I Wanna Rock The Notorious B.I.G. - Kick in the Door Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
34:12 8/23/22
Demi Lovato Searches for "Substance" In Pop-Punk Perfection
Demi Lovato has found herself in many avenues over the past few years – from releasing a tell-all documentary to uncovering extraterrestrials – but 2022 finds them traveling back in time to the sound of the late 90’s and early 2000’s: pop-punk. On this episode of Switched On Pop, we check out her two latest singles, “Skin of My Teeth” and “Substance,” and through focusing on the latter, pull out what, exactly, pop-punk is, and how Demi embodies the genre’s ever-evolving sound in their new track. Songs Discussed: Demi Lovato - Substance Demi Lovato - Skin of My Teeth Demi Lovato - Sorry Not Sorry Demi Lovato - La La Land Demi Lovato - Heart Attack Turnstile - MYSTERY Bring Me The Horizon - Chelsea Smile Blink-182 - Dysentery Gary Misfits - Astro Zombies My Chemical Romance - Astro Zombies Blink-182 - What’s My Age Again WILLOW, Travis Barker - t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l Yellowcard - Ocean Avenue Machine Gun Kelly - bloody valentine Citizen - Stain La Dispute - Such Small Hands Mom Jeans - Edward 40hands Rise Against - Savior NOFX - Whoa on the Whoas Jarrod Alonge, Sunrise Skater Kids - Pop Punk Pizza Party Paramore - For A Pessimist, I’m Pretty Optimistic Fall Out Boy - Of All The Gin Joints In The World Soundgarden - Black Hole Sun The Police - Message in a Bottle Modern Baseball - Tears Over Beers Jimmy Eat World - Sweetness Good Charlotte - The Anthem The Offspring - The Kids Aren’t Alright Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
25:08 8/16/22
Beyoncé's ‘Renaissance’ Era
Beyoncé’s new album Renaissance is one of her most ambitious albums yet. On this week’s episode of Switched On Pop, we discuss Renaissance with beloved guest Sam Sanders, host of the new Vulture podcast Into It. In Sanders’ words: “it’s trying to do a lot” – but in the best way. The album incorporates seemingly every decade of contemporary popular dance music from Chic’s “Good Times” to Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy.” Much of the early discourse surrounding the album was marred by a confusing controversy over a small sample (we try to resolve the issue musicologically) – but the references on Renaissance are worth listening closely to, acting as a guide through essential dance music. The album is an homage to the black and queer innovators of dance; with samples and interpolations of songs both niche and mainstream flying by, like a DJ set curated by house music pioneers.  On Renaissance, Beyoncé goes out of her way to cite, credit and compensate her influences, resulting in a triumph of musical curation. Just look at “Alien Superstar”: the song credits twenty-four people, largely due to Beyoncé’s musical nods, rather than an exercise in boardroom style songwriting. Sanders says “the liner notes themselves are showing you that this woman and her team have a PhD in music history.” Listen to Switched On Pop to hear how Renaissance honors dance music innovators and finds new modes of expression in the genre.  Subscribe to Into It with Sam Sanders Listen on Apple Podcasts: Listen on Spotify: Listen elsewhere: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
31:43 8/9/22
Into It: The Business of Beyoncé
Subscribe to Into It with Sam Sanders Listen on Apple Podcasts: Listen on Spotify: Listen elsewhere: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
39:08 8/5/22
"It's About Damn Time" for Another Lizzo #1
In the middle of a long, hot summer 2022, the people have spoken, and the people want to dance. Lizzo's "About Damn Time" just replaced Harry Styles's "As It Was" to become the top song on the Billboard Hot 100. Powered by retro instrumentation, a propulsive groove, meme-worthy lyrics, and a generous dose of slash chords (not the Guns 'n Roses guitarist, the harmonic voicing), Lizzo's hit song marks a deepening of the sound she established in past tracks like "Juice." But on other tracks from her latest album Special, Lizzo aims for new aesthetics. "Coldplay"—featuring a rare Chris Martin vocal sample—opts for emotional honestly over pithy affirmations. With the upbeat "Grrrls," Lizzo found herself in an online controversy: she had used a ableist slur in the song's lyrics. Taking the criticism as an opportunity to learn, Lizzo chose to replace the offensive line—but have other artists of pop's past always followed suit when met with fan feedback? Songs Discussed Lizzo - About Damn Time, Juice, Coldplay, Grrrls Daft Punk, Pharrel Williams - Lose Yourself to Dance Michael Jackson - Rock With You, They Don’t Care About Us Quelle Chris, Chris Keys - Sudden Death Coldplay - Yellow Beastie Boys - Girls, Sure Shot Taylor Swift - Picture to Burn Lady Gaga - Born This Way Orville Peck - Born This Way Ella Fitzgerald - How Long Has This Been Going On Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
30:30 8/2/22