Game of Thrones premiered on HBO in April 2011 and became the most watched show in HBO's history. The main title theme was written by Emmy-nominated composer Ramin Djawadi. In this episode, he'll break down the different elements in the piece, and how themes within the show inspired his composition and choice of instruments.

Direct download: SongExploder40.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:39am PDT

The title card for Avengers: Age of Ultron comes up twelve minutes into the movie. Against a black background, the Avengers logo takes up almost the entire screen. You might expect a triumphant, heroic piece of music, but the film called for something more complicated. Coming up, you'll hear why, and how composer Brian Tyler tackled that piece of score, in his third feature for Marvel Studios. It was recorded at Abbey Road Studios with the London Philharmonic, with Brian himself conducting.

Direct download: SongExploder39.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:21pm PDT

In this episode, Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs breaks down "Water Fountain." It's a song that draws inspiration from the politics of drought and dancehall reggae, and you'll hear how (and why) she tried to make this song less catchy. Despite that effort, in 2014 the tUnE-yArDs album Nikki Nack climbed the Billboard Charts and got widespread critical praise.

Direct download: SongExploder38.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:53am PDT

The British TV show Downton Abbey is the most popular drama in PBS history, with over 10 million viewers per episode, and more Emmy nominations than any non-US show ever. The theme music is one of its signatures, but it was originally written as a piece of score for the first episode, and then later condensed and turned into the version that appears in the opening credits. The music was recorded by a chamber orchestra, all at once, in the same room, so in order to isolate different pieces for Song Exploder, we went back to composer John Lunn’s original demo compositions, made with samples in the computer. In this episode, you'll get to hear how those two compare.

Direct download: SongExploder37.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:43pm PDT

Jim James is the lead singer of the Grammy-nominated band My Morning Jacket. Since starting in 1998, they've put out six albums, and in this episode, Jim breaks down the song Spring (Among The Living), from their soon-to-be released seventh album, The Waterfall.

Direct download: SongExploder36.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:28am PDT

Over the past five years, Chaz Bundick, aka Toro y Moi, has made music that's spanned a range of genres and styles. On his newest album, What For?, he shifted styles again. In this episode, Chaz explains why. He'll break down the song Half Dome, named after a landmark in Yosemite National Park that's a popular hike, but also a difficult one.

Direct download: SongExploder35.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:30am PDT

RJD2 has been making music since 2002. His song "A Beautiful Mine" was turned into the opening credits music for Mad Men. He's a producer and beatmaker, but also a singer and songwriter. But for the vocals on the song "Games You Can Win," he tapped Kenna, a Grammy-nominee whom Malcolm Gladwell wrote about in Blink. In this episode, you’ll get to hear the parts that make up the track, as well as the unreleased demo vocals that RJ originally recorded himself.

Direct download: SongExploder34.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

In an interview with Belgian filmmakers the Dardenne brothers, talking about the kinds of stories they tell, Luc Dardenne says, "Human suffering; that interests us very much." It also interests Tom Krell, a songwriter and producer who goes by the name How to Dress Well. After seeing one of the Dardenne brothers films, The Kid with a Bike, he was inspired to make the song "Pour Cyril." In this episode, he'll dig deep into that where that inspiration led him, from transformations within the song, to within the film, and within himself.

Direct download: SongExploder33.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am PDT

Casey Dienel is a producer, singer, and songwriter who goes by the name White Hinterland. In this episode, she'll break down her song Ring the Bell. To make it, she had to break out of her comfort zone of working alone and reach to other people. She got a little unexpected help from Beyonce.

Direct download: SongExploder32.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:42pm PDT

In 2013, Warpaint starting working on their sophomore album. They retreated away from their home in Los Angeles to the nearby desert oasis of Joshua Tree, California. There, they wrote the song "Love Is to Die," and it was decided that it would be the single from the record. Now, with over 6 million plays on Spotify and nearly 3 million more on YouTube, "Love Is to Die" is by some measures their most popular song. Designating it as the single was a decision that was easy to make early on, but it was also carried unforeseen consequences for the band. In this episode, three of the four members break down the sounds in the song, and weigh in on some of the difficulty they faced getting this track from the initial idea to the finished recording.

Direct download: SongExploder31.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:06pm PDT



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