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Song Exploder

Chloe Parker Episode 235: Monica Martin

“Go Easy, Kid”



Monica Martin is a singer and songwriter based in Los Angeles. Before that, she was based in Madison, Wisconsin, where she was part of the indie rock band Phox. She’s been a featured guest vocalist on songs by James Blake and Vulfpeck. In this episode, Monica breaks down her song “Go Easy, Kid,” along with the tracks’s producer, Khushi. It’s a pretty meta story, as she talks about making a song that’s in part about how hard it can be to make a song. And more generally, how hard it can be to let go of things we get hung up on.

You can buy or stream “Go Easy, Kid” here.

Illustration by Carlos Lerma.

footnotes
Theo Katzman
Jacob Jeffries
Jason Goldstein
Matteo Roberts
James Blake
The Caribou, bar
Splice
Fiverr
Portal, plugin
Ásgeir
Carole King
Burt Bacharach
Amar Chadha-Patel

The post Episode 235: Monica Martin appeared first on Song Exploder.

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Casey Deal Episode 234: Maren Morris

“Humble Quest”



Maren Morris is a Grammy-winning, multi-platinum artist. She’s also won multiple country music awards, including CMAs for Female Vocalist of the Year, and Single of the Year in 2020, but her feelings about the country music industry are kind of complicated, as she discusses in this episode. She breaks down her song “Humble Quest,” which is the title track from her third album. It was produced by Greg Kurstin, who’s won the Producer of the Year Grammy more than once. The album came out in March, and hit #2 on Billboard country chart. But before “Humble Quest” was a title, Maren had to figure out what the words meant to her, and that’s where the song began.

You can buy or stream “Humble Quest” here.

Illustration by Carlos Lerma.

footnotes
Jimmy Robbins
Laura Veltz
Rich Hinman
Cardi B
Dua Lipa

The post Episode 234: Maren Morris appeared first on Song Exploder.

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Casey Deal Episode 233: Rick Astley

“Never Gonna Give You Up”



Rick Astley is a singer and songwriter from England, whose debut single, “Never Gonna Give You Up,” became an international smash hit. The song came out in July 1987 and won the BRIT Award for “British Single of the Year,” “International Hit of the Year” and “Debut Single of the Year.” It hit number one in 25 countries. And then, 20 years after the song came out, it became a new kind of phenomenon, when the meme Rickrolling was born. Last year, the music video for “Never Gonna Give You Up” passed a billion streams on YouTube. The song was written and produced by the production team Stock Aitken Waterman, who became hitmakers for artists like Kylie Minogue, and others. For this episode, I spoke to Rick Astley, and songwriter and producer Mike Stock, and the two of them tell the story of how “Never Gonna Give You Up” was made.

You can buy or stream “Never Gonna Give You Up” here.

Illustration by Carlos Lerma.

footnotes
Ian Curnow
Dee Lewis
Coral Gordon
Fairlight
Linn 9000
Rick’s high school band, FBI
Rick Astley on Top of the Pops, 1987
“Never Too Much” by Luther Vandross
Rick’s cover of “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” by The Temptations
RCA Records
Motown
Luciano Pavarotti
Bananarama
Mel & Kim
Dead or Alive
“Hotel California” by The Eagles
Never Gonna (emote)– Fortnite

The post Episode 233: Rick Astley appeared first on Song Exploder.

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Chloe Parker Episode 232: Kevin Morby

“This Is a Photograph”



Kevin Morby is a singer and songwriter based in Kansas City. He’s put out seven albums since 2013, including his most recent one, This is a Photograph which just came out on May 13th, 2022. For this episode, I talked to Kevin about the title track from This is a Photograph. It’s a story about his family, the pandemic, and memories of times that have happened — and times that haven’t happened yet.

You can buy or stream “This Is A Photograph” here.

Illustration by Carlos Lerma.

footnotes
Waxahatchee
Silver Jews – “We Could Be Looking for the Same Thing”
Sam Cohen
Nathaniel Rateliff
Cochemea Gastelum
Alecia Chakour
Nick Kinsey
Stax Academy

The post Episode 232: Kevin Morby appeared first on Song Exploder.

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Chloe Parker Episode 231: Arooj Aftab

“Mohabbat”



Arooj Aftab is a singer and composer based in Brooklyn. She grew up in Saudi Arabia, but her family is from Pakistan. And earlier this year, she made history by becoming the first Pakistani artist to win a Grammy. Her song, “Mohabbat” won the Best Global Music Performance Grammy, and she was nominated for Best New Artist. “Mohabbat” was first released on her 2021 album, Vulture Prince, but it’s been a part of Arooj’s life for a long time. In this episode, she tells the story of how the song was first born, and how it lived with her and evolved over the years before she finally recorded it.

You can buy or stream “Mohabbat” here.

Illustration by Carlos Lerma.

footnotes
Maeve Gilchrist, harpist
Gyan Riley, guitarist
Shahzad Ismaily, synth
Jamey Haddad, drummer
Nadje Noordhuis, flugelhorn
Mehdi Hassan – “Mohabbat Karne Wale Kam Na Honge”
Mehdi Hassan
Hafeez Hoshiarpuri

The post Episode 231: Arooj Aftab appeared first on Song Exploder.

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Casey Deal Partners: Robert Plant & Alison Krauss

Bonus Episode



This week, I want to introduce you to another podcast that I make, called Partners. It’s a show about partnerships that was born out of Song Exploder. I’ve made a bunch of episodes with bandmates, or co-writers, or an artist and a producer who worked together, all these stories where the songs were the result of a really special collaboration. And I was always fascinated by the origins of the relationship, as part of the story of the origin of the song. When you hear those stories, it becomes clear that what these people made together is something that reflects not just each of them individually, but this other, unique entity that only exists where the two of them meet. And I wanted to make a podcast that was entirely about that idea. And I feel like all successful long-term partnerships could be thought of as love stories. It’s a matter of luck, and being in the right place at the right time, and also work and patience, plus some ineffable magic spark. So that’s what Partners is about. The first season came out in 2020, and the second season just began last week. You can subscribe to the show at Partners.show, or wherever you get your podcasts, etc, but I also just want to play you this episode from season 2, with two music greats, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, who have made two incredible albums together.

You can buy or stream both of their albums,Raising Sand and Raise the Roof.

Illustration by Carlos Lerma.

footnotes

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Chloe Parker Episode 230: Peaches

“Boys Wanna Be Her”



Peaches is a musician, producer, and performance artist. She’s released six albums and in 2015, she won the Polaris Heritage Music Prize. Her fourth album, Impeach My Bush, came out in 2006, and features the song “Boys Wanna Be Her.” She produced the song with Mickey Petralia, whose other production credits include Beck, Ladytron, and Flight of the Conchords. “Boys Wanna Be Her” has become kind of an anthem since it came out. It’s been used in a lot of film and tv. To name just a couple examples, it was in the season 2 finale of ‘The Boys,’ and it’s the theme song for ‘Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.’ In this episode, Peaches tells the story of what inspired the song originally, and how she made it, with a few thoughts from Mickey Petralia.

You can buy or stream “Boys Wanna Be Her” here.

Illustration by Carlos Lerma.

footnotes
AC/DC
“TNT” by AC/DC
Def Leppard
Roland Groove Box MC505
Greg Kurstin
Fleabag – trailer

The post Episode 230: Peaches appeared first on Song Exploder.

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Casey Deal Episode 229: Steve Reich

Different Trains: America, Before the War



Steve Reich is a legendary composer who was one of the pioneers of minimalism. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music, and the New York Times called him “America’s greatest living composer.” I had the incredible honor of getting to speak to Steve Reich about his piece Different Trains, written for string quartet and pre-recorded performance tape. It was first performed in 1988 by the Kronos Quartet, and they released a recording of it in 1989, which won the Grammy for Best Classical Contemporary Composition. Different Trains is a piece about World War II and the Holocaust. It’s made up of three movements: America – Before the War, Europe – During the War, and After the War. For this episode, Steve Reich breaks down the first movement, which was inspired by his own childhood experiences.

You can buy or stream Different Trains: America, Before the War here.

And you can buy Steve Reich’s new book, Conversations here.

Illustration by Carlos Lerma.

footnotes
It’s Going to Rain – Steve Reich
Come Out – Steve Reich
Beryl Korot

The post Episode 229: Steve Reich appeared first on Song Exploder.

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Casey Deal Episode 228: Sarah Kinsley

“The King”



Sarah Kinsley is a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. Her most recent release is an EP called The King, which came out in 2021. When she made it, she was in college in New York—and actually, at the moment, she still is. But the title track on The King was written at a time when the pandemic had shut things down, and she was back in Connecticut, living with her parents. In this episode, Sarah tells the story of demo’ing the song in her childhood bedroom, then recording it in the studio with producer Jake Aron, before it went on to become a hit with over twenty millions streams online. Sarah’s performing at the Song Exploder show at SXSW on March 16, along with Perfume Genius, Kimbra, and more. Hope to see you there.

You can buy or stream “The King” here.

Illustration by Carlos Lerma.

footnotes
Big Thief, band

The post Episode 228: Sarah Kinsley appeared first on Song Exploder.

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