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

Joey Bada$$ released his debut album on January 20, 2015: his 20th birthday. It hit the Top 5 on the Billboard charts. For the track "Hazeus View," he worked with Kirk Knight, another member of the Pro Era hip-hop collective. In this episode, the two of them break down the process of making "Hazeus View," how the lyrics reflect Joey’s wide-angle take on religion, and how the beat was inspired by DJ Premier and a beat he made for the Biggie song "Ten Crack Commandments."

Direct download: SongExploder50.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:10am PDT

The band American Football formed in 1997, and released only one album and an EP before breaking up about three years later. Their critically acclaimed debut went on to achieve cult status as one of the most influential records of the '90s, and was reissued as a deluxe double-LP last year.

In this episode, Mike Kinsella, Steve Holmes, and Steve Lamos of American Football break down the first song they wrote together, "The One with the Tambourine," from their self-titled EP. They talk about being influenced by the Chicago music scene of the '90s, and how they combined alternative tunings, unconventional time signatures, and naiveté to craft their sound.

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

Direct download: SongExploder49.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:10pm PDT

In this episode, Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno of the band Best Coast take apart their song "Feeling Ok," from the 2015 album California Nights. They trace their process and their influences, from the movie "10 Things I Hate About You" to the video game Rock Band. Plus, we'll hear from producer Wally Gagel.

This episode is sponsored by Hover (use the offer code BESTCOAST), Simple, and Lagunitas Brewing Company.

Direct download: SongExploder48.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:14pm PDT



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