In January 2015, Björk released Vulnicura. She described it as "a complete heartbreak album." And in November, she released Vulnicura Strings, a companion album that stripped away the electronics. In this episode, Björk breaks down the making of both the original version of the song "Stonemilker," as well as the strings version. She traces her writing and recording process for the track, her collaboration with the electronic producer Arca, and why she wanted to make a second version.

This episode is sponsored by Hover, Lagunitas Brewing Company, and Turntable Lab.

Direct download: SongExploder60.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:31am PDT

Transparent is an Amazon original series, created by Jill Soloway. The story centers on a family where the father, played by Jeffrey Tambor, comes out to his children and the to world at large as transgender. The first season was released in September 2014. It was critically acclaimed and won a lot of awards, including an Emmy for Outstanding Main Title Theme Music. In this episode, composer Dustin O’Halloran breaks down how he made the Transparent theme, using an 80-year old piano and channeling his own family nostalgia.

This episode is sponsored by Hover, Lagunitas Brewing Company, and MeUndies.

Direct download: SongExploder59.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:21am PDT

Wilco formed in 1994, and 21 years later, they released their 9th album, Star Wars. In this episode, Jeff Tweedy, the band’s singer and principal songwriter, breaks down the song Magnetized. In addition to collaborating with his five bandmates, John Stirrit, Pat Sansone, Mike Jorgensen, Nels Cline, and Glenn Kotche, it turns out Jeff Tweedy makes an active effort to remove his own ego from the process of songwriting.

This episode is sponsored by Vinyl Me Please, Turntable Lab, and lynda.com.

Direct download: SongExploder58.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:56pm PDT

Natalia Lafourcade has won eight Latin Grammys, including three for the song Hasta la Raíz, which won the 2015 Song of the Year and Record of the Year, as well as Best Alternative Song. In this episode, Natalia breaks down the writing and recording process for the track, which borrows from a traditional Mexican folk music called huapango, but also still includes a Juno synthesizer and a pop sensibility.

This episode is sponsored by Lagunitas Brewing Company, Larsen & Lund, and MeUndies.

Direct download: SongExploder57.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01pm PDT

Youth Lagoon is the moniker of Trevor Powers, who has been releasing albums under the name since 2011. In this episode, Trevor breaks down “The Knower,” the lead single from his newest record, Savage Hills Ballroom. He talks about how the idea for the song started by manipulating sampled vocals, and how he flew to Bristol to record the album with producer Ali Chant.

This episode is sponsored by Hover (use offer code LAGOON), Sony Legacy Recordings presenting the new Bob Dylan Box set, andMeUndies.

Direct download: SongExploder56.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:43am PDT

The Arcs is a new project from Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys. He started the band with some of the musicians and producers he's worked with over the years. For this episode, Dan and his bandmates Richard Swift and Leon Michels break down how they made the song Put a Flower in Your Pocket, and how its title was inspired by a three-year-old girl.

Plus: the story behind the Radiotopia logo, and the sounds that went into making it.

This episode is sponsored by Hover (use promo code POCKET), MeUndies, and lynda.com.

Direct download: SongExploder55.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:45am PDT

Chet Faker is the stage name of Australian singer and songwriter Nick Murphy. His debut album, Built on Glass, won five ARIA Awards, Australia’s version of the Grammys, including Best Male Artist, Producer of the Year, and Best Independent Album. In this episode, Nick breaks down the song Gold from that album, and traces the journey it took from a dream, to a cover, to a love song.

This episode is sponsored by iZotope Spire, Dropbox for Business, and Lagunitas Brewing Company.

Direct download: SongExploder54.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:50am PDT

In the film "The Martian," astronaut Mark Watney (played by Matt Damon) is stranded on Mars, forced to rely on science and his ingenuity in order to survive. The film opened at #1 at the box office, and has earned critical praise as well. In this episode, composer Harry Gregson-Williams breaks down his music from the film, where part of his job was to score the excitement of scientific discovery and the grandeur and mystery of Mars itself.

This episode is sponsored by Hover (use the offer code MARTIAN for 10% off your first purchase), Dropbox, and MeUndies.

Direct download: SongExploder53.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:05am PDT

Angel Deradoorian has been a member of the bands Dirty Projectors and Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks, and has contributed to albums by Vampire Weekend, Flying Lotus, and Brandon Flowers. This year she released her first full-length album as Deradoorian, The Expanding Flower Planet. In this episode, Angel breaks down the album's lead single, "A Beautiful Woman." After leaving the Dirty Projectors, Angel moved from the east coast to Los Angeles to focus on her own solo music. She talks about how "A Beautiful Woman" was inspired by the loneliness of moving across the country, overcoming creative self-doubt, and transitioning from a secondary role in other bands to the main role of songwriter and producer for her debut album.

This episode is sponsored by Hover (use offer code ANGEL), Lynda.com, and Lagunitas Brewing Company.

Direct download: SongExploder52.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:11am PDT

Stephin Merritt has fronted the band The Magnetic Fields for over twenty-five years. In this episode, he breaks down the song "Andrew in Drag" from the band’s latest album, Love at the Bottom of the Sea, even though he doesn't actually remember writing it. After releasing his triple-album 69 Love Songs to huge acclaim in 1999, Stephin stopped using synthesizers for the next three Magnetic Fields albums. He talks about why he stopped, and why started using them again, and why he doesn’t write down his melodies.

This episode is sponsored by Spire Recorder by iZotope; Merge Records (use code SONGEXPLODER at checkout for 20% off); and Audible.com (go to audiblepodcast.com/exploder for a free audiobook of your choice, and a 30-day free trial).

Direct download: SongExploder51.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:06am PDT



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