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Five Podcast Episodes on: Music
“Same Same But Different” is a PodStuff series that explores five different podcast episodes connected by a single theme. This week it’s music, but rather than think solely about music podcasts I’ve looked a little wider to gather together some episodes about music itself: Why do we listen to it at all? How do we talk about it? How do we examine its component parts?
1. Every Little Thing: “Why Does Music Music Give Us The Chills?”
On Gimlet Media’s Every Little Thing, host Flora Lichtman answers a bewildering array of questions from the profound to the trivial: How old is Winnie the Pooh? Why do we underestimate flamingos? Why do we keep goldfish as pets? This episode explores the concept of goosebumps and looks at why we get them in very particular situations, most notably, of course, when listening to certain music.
2. In The Shower With Taz and Marcus: “Why Do Humans Like Music?”
Another show, very much of the Every Little Thing school of podcasts, which also answers all those strange and unusual questions listeners desperately need the answers to (although in this case in a snappy, length-of-a-morning-shower 15 minutes): Why Do Sandwiches Taste Better When Cut Diagonally? Who Put the Alphabet in Order? This episode tries to get to grips with a huge topic in a very, very short space of time, but does it in hosts Taz and Marcus’ typical laid back yet engaging style.
3. The Allusionist: “Architecting About Dance”
Helen Zaltzman’s hugely popular Radiotopia podcast, The Allusionist, tells fascinating stories around the topic of language. It always manages to strike a perfect balance between comedy and education. This early episode starts with a well-known quote – “talking about music is like dancing about architecture” – and runs with it. How exactly we do we talk about music and dance, and why is it so difficult?
4. The Point of Everything: “110: Spies”
The second Irish podcast on the list, this time from Cork, and one that is actually a music podcast. The Point of Everything is an interview show that provides an in-depth look at the Irish music scene. Host Eoghan O’Sullivan interviews new and established musicians about their music and plenty more. The most recent episode is an interview with Dublin band Spies, on a range of topics from their new album to the challenges of trying to make it as Irish musicians when facing the realities of a short supply of studio space or the full-time jobs and differing schedules of band members.
5. Song Exploder: “REM: Try Not To Breathe”
At first glance Hrishikesh Shirway’s podcast, which breaks down individual songs to their constituent parts, seems like it should be a niche show that appeals only to musicians. And yet it’s most certainly not. Instead, it’s a fascinating look at the creative process as each episode meticulously and engagingly dissects a single piece of music. Guests are wide-ranging, from somewhat less well-known musicians to world-renowned groups like U2, Metallica or REM. The episode I’ve chosen here looks at REM’s creation of “Try Not To Breathe”, celebrating 25 years since the release of Automatic for the People.