Switched on Pop

by Vulture

A podcast all about the making and meaning of popular music. Musicologist Nate Sloan & songwriter Charlie Harding pull back the curtain on how pop hits work magic on our ears & our culture. From Vulture and the Vox Media Podcast Network.

Recent Episodes
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Recent Reviews
  • ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜💕💗💖💝💞
    Cool find
    I randomly saw this after learning about synths and switched on bauk
  • basedonmary
    Fun Hosts!
    I always love when Reanna comes on! She has great insights and love her dry sense of humor. I love how goofy Charlie and Nate are, and my favorite eps are definitely when it feels like I’m listening in on a hang out sesh, where they’re all just chatting, debating, and cracking jokes about pop songs. Fun pod! BTW, ever notice how podcasts featuring men and a woman invariably get reviews about how annoying the woman is? I’m sure it means nothing…
  • Lunar Connoisseur
    One of my favorites!
    Truly one of the best, most consistent podcasts. Even when an episode title doesn’t sound very interesting to me, I listen to the episode and invariably learn something fascinating. I always walk away more curious about and energized by the whole world, not just the world of music, and what more can you ask for? Plus, it’s entertaining!
  • travisfili
    My go-to music pod
    The recent episode about Beyoncé’s new singles was great! My favorite episodes are ones that break down songs and talk about the lyrics, instrumentation, musicians, lyrics, and melodies. I liked the new singles before the show, but now I have a deeper appreciation and understanding of them, so thank you!
  • Kingcleooforange
    Used to be good
    I used to love this podcast, but it’s gone downhill over the last few yrs. I enjoyed the in-depth dissection of pop songs and albums - lyrics, composition, vocals, instrumentation, production, music theory, etc. It used to have a pleasing structure as the 2 hosts went through their analysis, sometimes through the lens of a listener question. Now all the interviews are freeform, somewhat superficial conversations with random guests. The most recent episode devolved into trite commentary about musical theater. While everyone seemed to have a good time making fun of the genre… none of the criticism was original. Songs were name-dropped and clips played… seemingly with the sole purpose of listing them in the show notes. Like many episodes lately, there were many missed opportunities for a more profound and nuanced discussion - sacrificed for the sake of levity and banter. Here’s hoping it gets back on track in 2024.
  • cwebb96
    Stream for Iconic Content
    When are we getting more Rihanna Cruz episodes???? The people demand them!!!
  • SlowReader2
    Joe Treble
    The Joe Treble bit was funny for 10 seconds and then it got annoying. I only listened because I was genuinely interested in the subject. Joe, please drop the act. A whole episode is too much
  • podster82
    Ditch Reanna
    The guys, while extremely white and nerdy, have a good rapport and enthusiastic perspectives. But it’s time to pink-slip Reanna. The “Daria” affectation and listless energy lend little to the show: in fact it all drags the show down. I’m sure a lovely person in real life! Just not on a podcast. THIS podcast, specifically.
  • camillemmorgan
    Their depth of knowledge and attention to detail is genuinely impressive - I learn something every episode!
  • Lemyrrio
    great show! ( or as we the emo say, it was maybe as good as your last show, oh ! )
    i have liked this show since the first one i heard, where you spent the whole episode digging into the "it's friday, friday, friday - oh!" pop song and i had the terrible realization that i, who had listened to dashboard confessional, the postal service / death cab for cutie, rooney, and fall out boy for the last 20 years, and in true emo sense feel compelled to make said list, might actually like pop music, and might read the rise and fall of my beloved emo into pop culture not in stubborn and melancholy jealousy but instead in the terms of seeing my fellow skinny jeans wearing falsetto singing eyeliner artists finally recognized as worth it to get the girl or guy who we've been longing for for sooooooooooo looooong! anyway, i made this comment because today you mentioned emo and as i listened to your willow track at the end, you all referenced a few songs but i heard the final chorus of dashboard confessionals "screaming infidelities" with the insane dual octave scream plus open mouthed belting cry of "giving you aaaaawaaaayyyy its over" by chris carabba and with his insane 12 string acoustic guitar . you guys didn't go there but it was so fun to hear even the genre coming back as being cool. may emo be the second best and the other guy in total angst forever except when we get these cathartic moments of being lauded in public by cool pods like this! do you like dreaming of things so impossible? yes? i'll see you here...🎵🎤🎧
  • fakepiet
    Falling off
    Rihanna is so hateful for no reason it makes me not want to listen
  • Marshee10012
    Awesome podcast! Thank youb
    THIS is what I come to podcasts for… programming like this… every episode is informational, funny, fun and so musical… I love the addition of Ms, Cruz, but miss the fantastic and silky, funny , informative, camaraderie between Harding and Sloan ( sp?). Thank you for all you do… this last episode on Gay Anthems was really great…
  • TJBeatty
    Discovered this pod 2 months ago and I’m already 130+ eps deep
    Absolutely love this podcast. Discovered this just a few months ago and it’s now my go-to podcast. I look forward to it every Tuesday and work through the back catalog in between new episodes. I love their personalities, Charlie and Nate’s friendship, and the Gen-Z energy and perspective on music from Reanna when she makes an appearance. I learn a ton about music I already love, as well as music I’ve never heard of, and I’m always incredibly entertained. If you love music, just drop the needle on this pod. You won’t regret it.
  • Schroadd
    Always fun. Always enlightening. Often inspiring. The knowledge and chemistry the hosts share is absolutely delightful. The Daft Punk mini series is nothing short of thrilling. It is timely, rich, thought provoking, and damned fun. A dense and chewy nugget of synth history and contextualization that goes down very easily and leaves you all the more nourished by the end. In the immortal words if R2D2, “Bleep bloop!” 🤖🤖❤️
  • Bfreal
    All style no substance
    I can’t take the vapid superficial analysis anymore. They failed to mention Chicago in a whole episode on house. They think daft punk wasn’t part of a whole synth and edm movement. They project text painting on every lyric like it’s a neurological tick. I want to shake them like a bad baby in the 19th century. Do a little research. Please, just a little.
  • Heathwulf
    My favorite podcast
    I’ve been listening to these guys for years. Maybe one of my first podcasts. I will say that the Daft Punk series is my all time favorite. Great job guys. Keep up the good work! -Heath from OH (now Maine)
  • Beeline81
    Not what it used to be
    I used to love this podcast, but lately they’ve been veering away from their astute analysis and toward what feels more like infomercials for new albums. They have artists on to describe their new albums which… maybe is fine for some listeners but it’s not what I’m here for. Bring back the OG format!
  • arothfield
    Longtime listener, but that detective episode about key changes finally made me leave a review. Love what y’all do and would LOVE more like that episode!
  • peanutbutterandmandi
    so fun and smart always
    i have listened to this show for a long time now but the key change episode was SO fun and goofy and a great new & fresh format i had to come rate! you committed to the bit and it paid off in a huge way, i hope for more fun takes like this in the future :)
  • kevindaniel
    Okay guys, I tried.
    I think I hung on for like 5 minutes hoping it was just a long cheesy intro or something. But that last episode about the key change was RUFF. I would suggest abandoning character work. There are people that probably. I mean I love the show, and you guys, but it was almost like listening to eating sounds… so grating. Misophonia is what it’s called, I think. Do an episode on that!
  • CLT Wook
    Please, no more will Will Arner
    If it wasn’t Will Arnet, whoever played the detective voice on the who killed the key change episode was way too distracting. The regular hosts do just fine. Don’t change something that works.
  • Tim Elliott
    Had to stop listening
    Charlie did a voice that was so grating during the key change episode that I had to stop listening. I was really interested but my skin wouldn’t stop crawling. Please no more funny voices.
  • Jaleek
    The Best Podcast In Music
    The best thing about this podcast is I think it will take an angle on a subject and it takes me somewhere I never expected . I consistently gain a greater appreciate for music as a whole and the artists I enjoy from the insights given here. In a world of people bloviating boring music critic garbage to hear the sound of their own voices, SOP does the opposite and considers the listener and what they will take away from each episode and it is so appreciated. Every subject is handled masterfully and Reanna has brought a whole new depth to the podcast I really enjoy.
  • Mattthecoolest
    Best Music Podcast by Far
    Charlie and co. produce an amazing podcast about pop music with an eye towards deeper analysis and musicology. Some of my favorite episodes take on historic topics that aren’t often highlighted by other shows. They also tend to take a critical eye towards any musician in the spot light, without dismissing it as lowest common denominator pop. A must listen!
  • aichman2
    A must-listen for music lovers
    As someone who’s always been fascinated by the intricate details of music, Switched on Pop has quickly become one of my favorite podcasts. Nate and Charlie’s deep dive into the world of pop music is both informative and entertaining, as they break down everything from melody and harmony to production techniques and cultural influences. Their analysis of popular music is always insightful, and I’ve learned so much about the craft of songwriting and music production from listening to their show. What sets Switched on Pop apart, though, is the way they use music as a lens to explore broader cultural issues, whether it’s race, gender, or politics. Overall, I would highly recommend Switched on Pop to anyone who loves music and wants to deepen their understanding of how it works. Nate and Charlie are fantastic hosts, and their passion for music is infectious. Give it a listen – you won’t be disappointed!
  • Bugs Frances
    My favorite podcast
    I’ve been listening to Switched on Pop for perhaps 5 years now and I’m so grateful it exists! It always lends a neat perspective and new lens to look at music, and I’ve learned a ton. I’m glad there are other nerds out there as excited about dissecting music as I am!! And I’m also gra’eful for the amount of Taylor Swift talk I get here. Plus, I always appreciate Charlie
  • ⚛️Betty
    A Top Tier Podcast!
    I’ve been listening to this podcast for six years and I continue to be just as entertained, surprised and excited at what Charlie and Nate bring to the table each episode. This podcast illuminates new and different ways of listening to pop music at every level from the artistry, the songwriting, and the production. It’s perfectly paced, sprinkled with fun, and filled with insightful moments. As a songwriter, this podcast is priceless and I can’t recommend it enough!
  • jjjj11233
    Long live pop
    Big fan of the breadth and depth that the pod goes into - it’s been wonderful for discovering new genres, as well as diving deeper into sentimental favorites
  • pelicanst96
    Getting worse
    I love this podcast and the topics are still great, but I wish Reanna the producer would be on less or dial it back a bit. Not everything needs to be a snarky joke! Her insights on the Paramore episode were great and interesting but the delivery was grating after a while. She just sounds so smug about everything? I’m not someone that gets annoyed easily by female hosts so it really kills me to feel this way!
  • Pete Trg
    Woke drivel
    Who are these nerds to call Bobby McFerrin misguided for doing a goofy accent? Cringe hosts, had to unsub.
  • jleeruns
    Don’t Worry Be Happy
    I love Bobby McFerrin and the Ave Maria Clío gave me literal goosebumps! Great job guys!
  • mannymr
    Sooo good
    Stumbled across the pod and now I am on a massive binge. Moments of thought provoking analysis, intellectual challenges, education and lots and lots of laughter. And of course music. Thanks for doing what you’re doing.
  • Motefaint
    Out of touch
    Love hearing commentary about nfts from someone who pronounces gif as “jif”
  • mlittle103
    White Ppl who can’t connect
    There are some stellar episodes of the podcast but anytime a unique artist pops up that is also a person of color they make me angry. With SZA they “can’t connect”. Tyler the Creator’s Igor, they don’t get it. Please find a host that isn’t white. The sound after morris code on SOS is a flare gun being shot off. Had you done 2 seconds of research like you do for ppl like Taylor Swift you’d have known that.
  • Need a Nickname to Review?
    This show is a gem
    I’ve been listening to this podcast for years, since its early days. It has such a generous and curious spirit. I love the way Charlie and Nate dissect modern hits and find historical threads, taking us back to earlier eras of music. And they do it with such good humor and informed appreciation of songwriting and composition. Don’t ever stop.
  • yourhairyballs
    So good!!
    With ever hanging genres and topics Switched never disappoints! The group nails the analysis of pop songs from old to new. Recommended for all music lovers
  • olivehandstands
    Disappointing shift in tone
    I used to love this podcast and how it dissected pop music from a position of curiosity rather than judgement. I enjoyed Nate and Charlie’s deep dives into specific songs and interesting analysis. I recently tuned into the Steve Lacy episode and was so disappointed by how the tone of this show seems to have changed! Much of the episode was dedicated to Reanna (producer and now apparently the main host?) bashing Unholy by Sam Smith based on personal preference alone. She opens with “I think Unholy is maybe the worst song to hit the charts in years but that’s a personal opinion...” and goes back to this several times “I love comparing the two, Bad Habit a song that I love and Unholy a song that I despise” What I loved so much about the show before was that even if Nate and Charlie didn’t personally like a song, they always offered non-judgmental insight and appreciation for the elements that worked. I’m disappointed and if this is the new tone of the show, won’t be listening anymore.
  • Srconroy77
    Not so much
    Not half as clever, insightful or funny as the hosts seem to think they are, this is for anyone who likes their music critics heavy on academics and light on passion.
  • G Woodbery
    The Story of a Sample!!!
    This review turned into an ode to Nate and Charlie and the whole SoP team. I’m going to leave it. If you’re wondering if yo I should listen to this podcast, **yes**. If you want my pitch, it’s the last paragraph. Scroll down. I listen to the show on and off for years, but in the past few months it’s been an absolute staple. It brings so much joy into my day today to hear The sincerity and joy you all take in breaking down these BANGERS. I feel like hanging along and needy out with y’all every episode. When you causally dropped the ‘Story Story of Sample’ I had to stop what I was doing, pause the episode and go…. “Boom.” This is what I do in my free time. As I’ve broadened my music horizon infinitely in the past 5 years, I’ve complied a playlist of sampled I’ve organically discovered. Your pod has been an awesome part of that discovery and I can’t wait for more of those sessions. I just added the triple Tom Tom Club evolution! This show rules. If your interested enough in the concept of music appreciation to have clicked through the reviews of this podcast, you’re gonna love this show. Start with a sock you recognize and like, and Nate and Charlie will dissect for you why those sounds elicit joy for you hand so many others. Highly recommend. 10/10
  • D a n J o n e s
    I know pop is pop culture but
    I don’t want to listen to you anymore. Unborn women are women also.
  • baepsalmbook
    A Must-Listen for Music Fans
    Switched On Pop was one of the very first podcasts I began listening to regularly way back in 2015. An early episode on the history of The Star-Spangled Banner and its use at major sporting events caught my attention and, well, I’ve listened to nearly every single episode since then. Nate and Charlie have a knack for mining the pop music and pop culture landscape for rare gems to present to listeners during each episode. They find clever ways of tying current trends in the Top 40 to musical expressions of decades (or sometimes centuries) past. With Charlie’s songwriting and production chops and Nate’s musicological and historical acumen, they always find ways to add to the conversation around a song or artist - even ones that already loom large in the cultural zeitgeist.
  • Emery Rouette
    Forced conclusions re Britney aka “this is a story about control”
    They need more queer and color in the room if they truly want to offer insight into pop. They conclude that Britney gives up full throated singing after Blackout—ahistorical! Hello her two greatest songs: Criminal & Perfume. Also you presume to do a show on pop and you can’t recognize MC fantasy in 2 sec or less!! See Pop’s Philosopher Queen Charlie XCX podcast for someone who approaches pop with appropriate humility. Subjecting art to science is about control not clarity.
  • britney profile
    Technical and artistic. The best kind of art criticism
    Great show. The balance of technical and artistic criticism is spot on. I'm a mid 50's cis POC guy, who never gave Britney much thought when she was new. Like all good criticism, this show gave me an inside view of the technique used, and an outside view of the historical context surrounding a compex piece of art. Thanks for the education. Your show is my musical equivalent of New York Book Review
  • RyRo_85
    Fascinating Episodes Are Much Too Short!!
    Started listening with your 4 episode series diving into the iconic music of Britney Spears. I’m in love with these episodes, but a wish they were so much longer!!! Currently only the first 3 episodes have been released, and there is way too much of Britney’s discography that has yet to be discussed. Please do more BRITNEY episodes in the future!! 🙏🏻 I would listen to entire episodes dedicated to a single Britney Spears song, similar to the Toxic episode. If the upcoming 4th Britney episode does not dive into ALL of the amazing, ahead-of-their-time songs from Britney’s magnum opus Blackout album…which single-handedly changed the evolution of Pop Music, I will be very disappointed! 😫 The songs from Blackout are so dynamic, with so many new and unique sounds/instruments and I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts on all of this! Gimme More, Piece of Me, Break The Ice, Heaven On Earth, Get Naked, Freakshow, Perfect Lover, Toy Soldier, Hot As Ice, and Everybody. The entire Blackout album was so influential on Pop Music, and I’d love to hear you discuss this entire album in depth!! I feel like the reason this is such an amazing album is it’s cohesiveness throughout; a complete work of art which Britney gave to the world during one of the most tumultuous times of her life. The instrumentals/background sounds are so intricate in that I’m always hearing new beats and nuances years later, which I think is the reason I never get tired of these songs…always hearing something new that refreshes the songs for me and keeps me interested even after 15 years!! GIMME MOAAARRRR! I just want more episodes of your amazing podcast to add to the Britney series! 🥰❤️🌹😘
  • C-von
    Made me love pop music!
    I’ve always been a hipster who defined my personality by the range of obscure artists I enjoyed. By definition, pop music didn’t fit into my life. This show changed that and taught me that it’s hip to like pop music! Nate and Charlie break down the biggest trends and styles in pop music and provide the context for how they came to be. They enhanced my appreciation for all forms of music by putting pop under a magnifying glass. I also recommend their book by the same title! It’s almost the master class in the Switched on Pop framework for understanding pop music.
  • fujiapplepi
    Interesting Dissection of Popular Music
    Thoughtfully-made and insightful episodes on interesting topics and songs!
  • sylyep
    Super interesting
    At first, I only chose the episodes of songs I knew, but I quickly learned that every episode is super interesting, so now I don’t skip over any.
    You misgendered SOPHIE... How could you not know? (The) god (of pop) is trans and you weren’t listening 👂
  • Sadie7000
    A pleasure to listen to people who really know what they are talking about
    I just listened to the “Deja Vu” episode about musical copyright and was extremely impressed by the breadth and depth of detail that Charlie Harding brought to the discussion. He drew on his knowledge of music and song craft, but also law and technology. He clearly did a lot of homework to prepare. It is such a pleasure to listen to people who really know what they are talking about! Also, they are consistently very respectful and appreciative of female artists in a way that music geeks have not always been. An excellent podcast!
  • zonkzos
    Facebook ads???
    Bro. How much are they paying you for running those?!?! We truly hate to see it. Love the podcast but the ads are a big big big yikes.
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